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Ron Radosh

Regardless of one’s view of the arguments made by Chief Justice John Roberts in his majority decision on Obama Care, and we have seen that conservative and libertarian writers and legal analysts are already split on their verdict on Roberts’ logic, on one matter we can agree. Speaking for the majority of the Court, Roberts stressed that the decision was not meant as either an endorsement of or comment on the nature of the policy and the arguments for universal health care made by the Obama Administration.

In effect, John Roberts was saying that acceptance of or rejection of Obama Care is to be left to politics and to the citizens. Its implementation and passage should not be the duty of the Supreme Court to decide. The Court interprets the law; the citizens through their representatives in the Senate and the House make the law. He has, in effect, thrown the ball back into our court.

The first impressions of the pundits were that the ruling was a victory for Barack Obama. Had the Court ruled the Act unconstitutional in its entirety, it would have been construed as a complete failure for Barack Obama, since it would have ruled against his signal piece of legislation on which he staked the reputation of his presidency. Hence the applause and congratulations heard in the ranks of the liberals and the Left. The President, they said, has been vindicated. The country will now move on to implement universal health care that will provide free and unlimited health coverage to all citizens, regardless of their income. For those who favor social-democracy or an increased welfare state that provides cradle to grave coverage for all needs, its Constitutionality was indeed seen as a major victory.

As time passes, however, and the realization of what Obama Care will cost and what it will do to the income, standard of living and actual ability to access health care when needed becomes clearer, its popularity will quickly begin to decline. Already, having justified its constitutionality by defining the Act as a tax, the voters will quickly learn that to finance the Affordable Care Act, it means a vast increase in taxes for the middle-class—including taxes for those that the President claimed would never be subject to increased taxes.

It will also become quite clear that what the Act does is introduce a new two-tier health system in our country—those who can afford it will gain access to doctors by paying into concierge service systems of doctors who opt out of Medicare and all health insurance, while those who cannot afford it will be subject to doctors in the system who are overworked and underpaid, and to government boards that dictate which health procedures they can have and which they cannot have. And, those who believe the poor will now get coverage since everyone is in the system, will also find out- as Darshak Sangavi argued in Slate, that over half the uninsured will still not get any health insurance coverage.

The most important point is that the latest polls- taken after the SCOTUS ruling- reveal that the public is even more against Obama Care than before it was deemed constitutional. The Newsweek-Daily Beast poll, conducted by Democratic Party stalwart Doug Schoen- no opponent of the Act- reveal that voters dislike Obama Care by a margin of 50-45! Nick Summers summed up the poll this way:

Overall, 50 percent of those polled said they disapprove of the court’s 5–4 decision, while 45 percent said they support it. Consistently, a majority of voters said that they oppose the individual mandate (53 percent); believe taxes will increase (52 percent); believe their personal health-care costs will increase (56 percent); and disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care in general (58 percent). Only 24 percent of those polled said that they believe the ruling will make the country better off.

The same poll also indicated that Obama maintains only a slim margin over Romney, and that 21 per cent of voters are open to changing their minds. That result in particular, when correlated with the poll’s finding about the electorate’s view of Obama Care, spells the kind of news that will give most Democrats serious pause for thought. And 59 per cent still believe that our country is heading in the wrong direction! Why, if this is the case, would these voters cast their ballot on Election Day once again for Barack Obama?

The Rasmussen poll, taken a few days before the SCOTUS ruling, produced similar results. Scott Rasmussen’s poll shows that 54 per cent of the public still want Obama Care repealed—the same percentage that objected to the Act after it passed in Congress. The poll reports: “Most voters have consistently expressed the view that the law will hurt the quality of care, drive up costs and increase the federal deficit. They also don’t like the government ordering people to buy health insurance and don’t think the Constitution permits that anyway.” This finding is similar, as we can see, to the attitudes stated to Schoen’s recipients of the poll questions. Rasmussen said, after assessing the numbers, that the “health care law is doomed regardless of what the court decides.”

So, while President Obama won a temporary victory, in the long run, he may well indeed have not only lost the war- but a second term as well. The vast sums of money that poured into the Romney campaign after the Court’s decision, and the growing anger of the electorate that turned against the Obama health care program from the start, is a good indication that an Obama second term is no longer a sure thing. No wonder that Obama wants the country to move on, and forget as quickly as possible about health care as an issue.

 

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