Monday, July 9, 2012

Summertime, Supreme Court, and Flying Squirrel Maneuver
Summertime, and the living is easy.
Ira Gershwin (1896-1983), Porgy and Bess (1935)
Roberts Flying Squirrel Maneuver Takes Down Affordable Care Act.
Jeff Goldsmith, president of Health Futures, Inc., title of blog post, July 9, 2012, The Health Care Blog, July 9, 2012
July 9, 2012 - It’s summertime. I am  lazy, and I am always in the hunt for easy blog material. 
Jeff Goldsmith, president of Health Futures, Inc., in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave me an easy source of material for today’s post.
In his post, Jeff describes how Chief Justice John Roberts executed the Flying Squirrel Maneuver on the Affordable Care Act.  For those of you not in the know about wrestling lingo, the Flying Squirrel Maneuver is a gambit whereby you lull your opponent into a state of complacency.  Then you surprise him by leaping over his head and take him down, pinning both his shoulders to the mat.
Roberts lulled his liberal critics into a state of exultation by seemingly endorsing the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate, and then leaped over the Court’s liberal wing's heads  by allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion.
Immediately, seven state attorney generals and governors said they would decline federal funds of Medicaid expansion, thus gutting the intent of the law to cover 16 million more Medicaid recipients and millions more below more than 4 times below the poverty line.  Eight more states said they were leaning towards opting out.
Together these 15 states contain 40% of the nation’s uninsured.  The states include Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Wisconsin, and other unmentionables in liberal circles. 

This maneuver, if executed and sustained, could take 8 million to 10 million out of the state Medicaid and uninsured pool the health law expected to enroll in 2014.  Says Goldsmith, “The Court’s Medicaid decision could end up depriving millions of economically marginal folks of benefits they did not even know they were getting.”
Obama’s health reform effort has received a serious, albeit not fatal blow.  Whether his law has been pinned to the mat by Roberts’ Flying Squirrel Maneuver awaits the final judgment of the voters in November.
Tweet:  By letting states opt out of Medicaid, Justice Roberts executed the Flying Squirrel Maneuver, pinning liberals  to the mat.

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