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Supreme Court upholds Obamacare individual mandate as a tax

posted 6/28/2012 10:50:58 AM |
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  StraddleMyNose

And here we were worried about Kennedy going the other way, and instead it was Roberts that fucked up! IMO

In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court decided to uphold his signature health care law's individual insurance mandate in a 5-4 decision, upending speculation after hostile-seeming oral arguments in March that the justices would overturn the law. The mandate has been upheld as a tax, according to SCOTUSblog, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal wing of the court. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog says Roberts' vote "saved" the Affordable Care Act.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe "the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety."

The court's four liberal justices agreed that the individual mandate could be upheld as part of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce, but Roberts disagreed, and wrote that the mandate is actually a tax, despite the Obama administration's reluctance to describe it that way during the bill's passage. Under the law, people who do not have health insurance will have to pay 1 percent of their income to the IRS starting in 2014.

Twenty six states sued over the law, arguing that the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or face a fine starting in 2014, was unconstitutional. Opponents cast the individual mandate as the government forcing Americans to enter a market and buy a product against their will, while the government countered that the law was actually only regulating a market that everyone is already in, since almost everyone will seek health care at some point in his or her life.

Before oral arguments in March, polls of Supreme Court experts and scholars showed that most believed the mandate would be upheld as an exercise of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. But after justices seemed deeply skeptical of the mandate in oral arguments in March, the consensus flipped, with most experts guessing the court would strike down the law.

House Republicans have vowed to repeal the entire law, though it's unlikely the Democratic-controlled Senate would let that happen, and this decision will most likely slow momentum for that move.

Though the sweeping, 1,000-page plus law passed more than two years ago, much of it will not go into effect until 2014. That's when states will have to set up their own health insurance exchanges, Medicaid will be expanded by 16 million low-income people, and Americans will have to buy health insurance (for many, with a government subsidy) or pay a penalty of 1 percent of their income to the IRS. Employers who have more than 50 employees and don't offer insurance will also begin to face a penalty. Insurers will no longer be able to turn away people with preexisting conditions, or charge people higher premiums based on their gender or health.

Only about 6 percent of the population will actually be required to buy health insurance or face a tax under the mandate, since most people already have coverage or will get it through Medicare, according to the Urban Institute.

Many of the more popular provisions of the law have already gone into effect, including a regulation saying insurers have to let children stay on their parents' plans until they are 26 years old, which 2.5 million Americans have already taken advantage of. Insurers can also no longer turn away children with preexisting conditions, and sick uninsured people can buy coverage in high-risk pools set up by the government.

Despite this intentional front-loading of consumer friendly, popular provisions of the law, the American public is pretty evenly split on the law's benefit. Slightly more people wanted the Supreme Court to strike down the law than uphold it in a recent poll.


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StraddleMyNose

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Jun 28 @ 10:58AM  
The court's four liberal justices agreed that the individual mandate could be upheld as part of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce, but Roberts disagreed, and wrote that the mandate is actually a tax, despite the Obama administration's reluctance to describe it that way during the bill's passage.
The fact that this healthcare bill was written this way, it should have been tossed instead of Roberts trying to change the wording in that bill that's in the constitution so it can be passed as a tax.
wetnsilky601

Jun 28 @ 12:45PM  
The funny part about all this is, I knew U had to pay for it. It was never free, Its not free in Europe, or Canada, So in other words, to all those liberals who think your getting free health care Wake The Fuck Up, Whether you want it or not you have to get it, You have to pay for it, and if not You go to jail.
Pass go and and no get out of jail free card.
StraddleMyNose

online now!
Jun 28 @ 12:57PM  
The funny part about all this is, I knew U had to pay for it. It was never free, Its not free in Europe, or Canada, So in other words, to all those liberals who think your getting free health care Wake The Fuck Up, Whether you want it or not you have to get it, You have to pay for it, and if not You go to jail
You're absolutely right!
somnium

Jun 28 @ 5:59PM  
This is why I have nothing but contempt for all politics- not just the left or right or independent! The previous administrations and the present one, were/are Hell bent on confiscating all that the citizens work for throughout their lives and lose most of it through taxation- not just 'income taxes' but all of the 'little' taxes we pay as we go through our daily lives!

And now, THIS 'tax'. It's not a tax, it's a fine for non compliance for that which the government isn't even supposed to be involved in. Next will be a 'national auto insurance' policy... 'taxed' if not in compliance.! The government's mortgage insurance plans ended up as a mega-ton bomb!

So now Unky Sam is updating the word 'TAX' as a 'nice' way to punish people into compliance rather than call it a fine, if they don't comply with the government's whims in any law they deem fit to pass?? And you as Mr. & Mrs. citizen, is OK with that?? The 'few' are a group of sick, sick, greedy people, that want what YOU have!

It's our fault, the citizens, for letting the politicians get away with more and more egregious bull shit that they're getting away with as time goes on- the few stealing from the masses for their own benefit!

There are no words that I can use to describe just how much I despise the group of freaks in Washington we have to deal with! We need some new words that have much more in-depth meaning to show what pukes the 'few' are, that are ruining our country!

'nuff said!

My 2ยข worth and then I probably have change coming back!


RevDocLove

Jun 28 @ 10:59PM  
The URL with the whole story is on MD in my blog

By Bruce Watson
Posted 12:47PM 06/28/12
HealthcareOn Thursday morning, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- aka "Obamacare"(AKA RomneyCare ) -- was constitutional, there was a brief pause as the country took a moment to imagine what this brave new world would look like. Had socialism won the day? Were death panels on the way? Would children be roused out of their beds for compulsory morning calisthenics?

Within moments, Twitter was hopping with messages from conservative dissenters such as Michelle Malkin, Ari Fleischer, the Heritage Foundation, and dozens of others, vowing to keep fighting health care reform all the way. But outside the beltway in the rest of the country, many Americans simply wondered how this ruling would affect their daily lives.

Back to the Future
In some ways, the future is already here. Many portions of the PPACA have already been quietly enacted. The government has streamlined the approval process for generic drugs and expanded Medicare's prescription benefit. It has levied a 10% tax on tanning booths, and passed several rules that will make it easier for people with "pre-existing conditions" to get the lifesaving treatments they need. For insurance companies, lifetime limits on coverage, price gouging, and a host of other cost-cutting measures are now illegal.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, medication is getting cheaper, insurance coverage is getting easier to attain, and a healthy lifestyle is becoming more attainable.

Now, we can expect that over the next few months, more and more of the future will show up. Starting in August, insurance companies will not be able to charge a copay for many forms of preventative care -- treatments like colonoscopies and mammograms will now be free for patients. A few months later, people who make more than $200,000 per year will start having to pay an extra 0.9% tax which will help fund health care.

The Big Changes You'll Hardly Notice

These are little things, incremental changes that most people won't notice, except perhaps to occasionally wonder about when medications got cheaper or why achieving the Snooki look has gotten more expensive. But the big transition, the creeping socialism that Obamacare detractors are really worried about, will arrive in 2014. That's when everyone will either have to get insurance or pay a tax.

The funny thing is, creeping socialism probably won't feel much different than the current system. Imagine, if you will, an ordinary, middle class family. For mom and dad, who work full time, insurance will still be provided through work. They'll still go to the same doctor, pay the same copay, and head to the same hospital when things get dire. Their kids will still get the same care, too, although they'll be able to take advantage of their parents' health insurance until they're 26, if they need to.

As for grandpa and grandma, if they're over 65, they'll still be insured by Medicare, and their lives will largely go on as usual. If they're younger, and suddenly find themselves without insurance -- if, for example, grandpa is laid off from his job -- they will be able to get health insurance in spite of their pre-existing conditions. So grandpa may be stuck working part-time as a Walmart greeter, but he won't have to worry about paying for his insulin and blood pressure meds.

The Big Changes You Will

But what if grandpa's new job doesn't pay much and he can't afford insurance? Well, the new law may still cover him. One aspect of PPACA is that people who make up to 133% of the poverty line -- for a household of two adults and one child, this would be $23,344 -- would be eligible for Medicaid at no cost. Meanwhile, families that make up to 400% of the poverty line -- for a household of two adults and one child, this would be $70,208 -- would be eligible for some form of discounted insurance rate, scaled to their income.

So mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, and the kids are covered. What about Uncle Hank, the uninsured rebel with the ponytail and the motorcycle? Well, assuming he makes more than 400% of the poverty line, Hank's going to face a tough decision: He can either get insurance or pay a tax that will probably be slightly higher than the cost of insurance.

Hank might be able to get insurance through his work, but if he can't, the new law will give him another choice. It requires each state to create a health insurance exchange -- basically, an online marketplace where various insurance companies can directly compete with each other. Here are some proposals for Minnesota's health insurance exchange.

If Uncle Hank decides not to pay the health care tax, he would likely go to the exchange, pick a plan, set up a direct deposit program to take money from his paycheck -- much like the health insurance withholding that mom and dad pay -- and get an insurance card. And, later, if Hank gets into an accident on his bike, his insurance would cover his trip to the emergency room, as well as his ensuing operation and physical therapy.

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Supreme Court upholds Obamacare individual mandate as a tax