ObamaCare Is Likely To Die a Painful Death

It is suggested in "How Obama could win if ObamaCare loses," published on September 29th, that if the Supreme Court finds the individual insurance mandate unconstitutional prior to the 2012 elections it could be helpful to the president by removing ObamaCare as a campaign issue.

The author argues,

By urging an expedited review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the president knows that the politics cuts his way. If the court strikes down the plan, then Obama won’t have to defend it in the fall campaign, robbing the Republicans of one of their two lines of attack, the other being the moribund economy. He could rally his base by arguing that he had pushed through a great “progressive” reform only to be foiled by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court. People, like markets, hate uncertainty, and the presumed swing vote by Justice Kennedy could settle the issue.

It is suggested here that such a decision could "remove a thorn in the electorate's side." However, that seems more likely to wiggle the thorn around in an irritating way and thereby reinforce the views of those who consider it bad law and an expensive blunder for reasons transcending its constitutional implications.

What Obama might have in mind is beyond me; it often is. However, with a Supreme Court determination of unconstitutionality, and the demise of the entire law (as per Judge Vinson), there would be substantial debate in the time remaining before the elections about how best to deal overall with national health care.

Following the rejection only of the insurance mandate, the administration would have to hustle during the heat of the election season to try to explain how ObamaCare can be made viable without the mandate. That would be very difficult if not impossible. Perhaps "free" government-provided health care or subsidized health care would be a way. For many reasons, however, including the costs of and general disenchantment with entitlement programs, that would be very difficult to sell to the voters.

There are many who seem to view ObamaCare as very bad.

According to a Rasmussen poll released on September 19th,

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, with 44% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-six percent (36%) at least somewhat oppose repeal, including 26% who are Strongly Opposed. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These findings are virtually identical to two weeks ago. A majority of voters have favored repeal of the law in every survey but one since the measure was passed by Congress in March of last year.

Should the Supreme Court uphold the individual mandate, and therefore the rest of ObamaCare, that might be a plus for the Obama administration. The author of the "How Obama Could Win" article contends,

If Obama wins the judicial appeal, it will still be a win for him along the lines of today’s conventional thinking. He will be able to argue that the Administration always knew Obamacare was constitutional, and the expedited review will muffle the issue in the general-election campaign.

However, in view of the bad odor the law is perceived to have, it might well intensify demands by those generally adverse to ObamaCare for the Congress to eliminate the mandate along with the rest of the statute as bad policy, as distinguished from simply because of the unconstitutionality of the mandate. That could easily make ObamaCare an even more compelling campaign issue than now.