Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Supreme Court to Decide Obamacare Fate in June 2012

The Justice Department on Monday declined to ask a U.S. appeals court in Atlanta to reconsider its August ruling that declared part of last year's federal health-care overhaul unconstitutional, a move that sets the stage for the Supreme Court to weigh in.

Brent Kendall, “Health Law Path to High Court Clears,” WSJ, September 26, 2011

September 27, 2011 - The health care end game is at hand. In June 2012, four months before the Presidential election, the Supreme Court will likely decide if Obamacare, in part or as a whole, is constitutional.

The Justice Department’s decision not to reconsider the Atlanta appeals court decision that the health law is unconstitutional is monumental. It’s as consequential as Bush Vs. Gore in 2000.

The Supreme Court may determine the fate of Obamacare and of Obama himself. A defeat would be hard to overcome. The health law is Obama’s signature achievement and his claim to fame.

Over the next nine months, between now and June 2012, awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision will likely suspend any actions for implementing Obamacare. For the health law it’s may day.

• The 26 states that brought the case to the appeals court in Atlanta may suspend actions on health exchanges, a pillar of Obamacare.

• The federal government may delay its push for initiatives like physician and hospital financial incentives for installing electronic health records or forming accountable care organizations.

• Physicians and their organizations may sit back and await further developments before restructuring or changing their practices.

• Businesses may continue not to hire or expand until uncertainties over the requirements of Obamacare begin to clear.

An Elephant Pregnancy

The whole scenario reminds me of an elephant’s pregnancy.

The usual symbol of the Democratic party is a donkey, while that of the Republicans is an elephant. But when the donkey converted itself into a health care elephant, that changed the symbolism. Democrats, acting alone, created the elephantine creature known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The health law is an elephant of a law, turning 1/6 of the economy upside down and causing many businesses to delay hiring until they see the law’s financial consequences. The gestation period of an elephant is 22 months, the longest of any mammal.

In the case of the health law, the gestation period was preceded by grunts, groans, and other weird noises at elephantine high altitudes, before its conception. The gestation period, from March 23, 2010, to June 2012, would be 26 months.

Twenty six months is a little long for the gestation period of an ordinary elephant, but it is understandable in view of the United States as the world’s largest economic elephant and complications along the way – increased premiums, stopping coverage for 300,000 workers, waivering 1500 businesses from the law, electing a Republican majority in the House, and an increasingly wobbly economy.

Will Obamacare will be stillborn or viable come next June?

The answer will haunt or vaunt the Obama administration for years to come.

Tweet: In June 2012, the Supreme Court will likely decide if the health care law, in part or as whole, is constitutional. The decision may determine the outcome of the 2012 election.


BobbyG said...

I'm intrigued by the "ripening" argument, i.e., you can't sue today on the grounds of an asserted "harm" that has yet to occur (like that "tax penalty" for not buying insurance).

Anonymous said...

Republicans are elephants, Democrats are donkeys

www.camobel.net said...

Quite worthwhile info, much thanks for the post.

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