Alas, to the surprise of no one, the justices announced last week that they would not permit the Care Act arguments to be broadcast live or on video. Instead, interested people will be able to hear the argument, but only in the afternoon, after the day’s argument has concluded. …It’s the sort of show that millions of Americans deserve to see live, as it unfolds, and not on tape delay. To me, no matter how the justices come down on the merits of the Affordable Care Act, they’ve already made a big mistake.
Today was the most important day in the history of the individual mandate. And it might be the day the individual mandate died, based on the conservative justices’ creative and painstaking assault on the law. “This was a train wreck for the Obama administration,” Jeffrey Toobin told CNN. “This law looks like it’s going to be struck down.”
Let’s go to the tape.
Here is the transcript of the Supreme Court arguments this morning. It is a remarkable, entertaining, triumphant (for some), and aggravating (for others) document. The four conservative justices — Thomas doesn’t say a word — launch a cannonade of metaphors and arguments by analogy that Attorney General Verrilli often fails to deflect or combat. Over the course of the hour, health insurance was compared to cell phones, broccoli, exercise, and cars. We collected 12 of the most withering questions, in chronological order, with some context in italics:
1) Justice Kennedy: A fundamental question: Can you create economic activity to regulate it?
“Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?”
2) Chief Justice Roberts: Everybody needs access to emergency assistance. If you can make people buy health insurance, can you make people buy cell phones for safety?
“So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services? You can just dial 911 no matter where you are?”
3) Justice Alito: Everybody dies. If you can make people buy health insurance, can you make people buy burial insurance?
“Suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, ‘You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else.’ Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing? I don’t see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care. Almost everybody. Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point. What’s the difference?”
Read the rest. [Image: Reuters]
Source: The Atlantic
A new report by an independent government auditor concludes that implementing President Obama’s health care law as intended will make a significant dent in the long-term debt forecast.
The report comes as Supreme Court justices weigh striking some of “Obamacare’s” central provisions — and perhaps the law in its entirety — and as the Republican Party remains committed to repealing the law if it seizes control of government in November.
“[I]f the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is implemented as intended it would have a major effect on the [fiscal] gap but would not eliminate it,” the Government Accountability Office wrote in a Monday report — a conclusion in line with its own past research and similar research conducted by other government and non-government analysts.
GAO doesn’t isolate PPACA’s stand-alone contribution to long-term budget consolidation. But it does conclude that if key cost-control measures in the law, and other automatic cuts to Medicare spending baked into current law, are ignored, or overridden by Congress, the implications for the national debt are vast.
If “Obamacare” is implemented as intended, and other measures, such as automatic payment cuts to Medicare physicians, take effect, “spending on Medicare and Medicaid grows from 5 percent of GDP in 2010 to over 7 percent by 2030.”
By contrast, if Congress overrides those provisions, “[s]pending on health care grows much more rapidly under this more pessimistic set of assumptions,” according to the report. “Absent changes to these programs, spending on Medicare and Medicaid under the Alternative simulation grows to over 8 percent of GDP by 2030.”
Congress has consistently passed temporary legislation to prevent Medicare doctors from experiencing a pay cut baked into current law. But the current patch expires on Jan. 1 — along with the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax holiday — just as other automatic cuts to Medicare are set to take effect as a penalty for the Super Committee’s failure to pass deficit-cutting legislation.
The confluence of these fiscal triggers suggests lawmakers will be forced to act quickly after the election to put the country’s budget on a more sustainable path. But if Republicans win big in November and move ahead with their plan to repeal the health care law, they’ll only make matters worse.
This is beyond bizarre. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court is hearing a challenge to Obamacare, but when a Justice Department lawyer began arguments this morning she was stopped short:
Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law. The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes — and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom.
Smith then became “very stern,” the source said, telling the lawyers arguing the case it was not clear to “many of us” whether the president believes such a right exists….Smith, a Reagan appointee, went on to say that comments from the president and others in the Executive Branch indicate they believe judges don’t have the power to review laws and strike those that are unconstitutional, specifically referencing Mr. Obama’s comments yesterday about judges being an “unelected group of people.”
Despite the fact that Kaersvang immediately acknowledged that courts can indeed strike down laws, the panel ordered her to “submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power.”
Seriously? These judges are acting like a middle school teacher handing out punishment to a student because of something her father said at a city council meeting the night before.
Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:
2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.
3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.
4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.
5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.
6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.
7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.
8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.
Full Text of the Supreme Court’s 196-page ruling on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare!!!
Glenn Beck’s for profit reaction.
Saying the Supreme Court decision “destroys Bush’s legacy,” dimmed conservative star Glenn Beck put his rhetoric where his online store is. He is selling screen-printed Roberts “coward” t-shirts for $30 a pop.
I kind of wonder if Roberts had an ulterior motive for siding with the more liberal justices on the ACA.
This *is* the guy who leads the SCOTUS that has also destroyed democracy in the form of the Citizens United decision, after all.
Activate the Mechanism!: If all of these companies who are whining about how they "have" to cut hours and raise pricees because of Obamacare...
And I’m sure they know it too. But there they are, crying away about how Obama is ruining their businesses on national television and issuing press releases and the like. And it’s all to make Obama the bad guy, like no company has ever cheated their employees out of hours,…
When the legislation that became known as “Obamacare” was first drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Folwer, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: “If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.”
What was most amazing about all of that was that, before joining Baucus’ office as the point person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider (before going to WellPoint, as well as after, Folwer had worked as Baucus’ top health care aide). And when that health care bill was drafted, the person whom Fowler replaced as chief health counsel in Baucus’ office, Michelle Easton, was lobbying for WellPoint as a principal at Tarplin, Downs, and Young.
Whatever one’s views on Obamacare were and are: the bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry; as Wheeler wrote at the time: “to the extent that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well.”
[…] More amazingly still, when the Obama White House needed someone to oversee implementation of Obamacare after the bill passed, it chose … Liz Fowler. That the White House would put a former health insurance industry executive in charge of implementation of its new massive health care law was roundly condemned by good government groups as at least a violation of the “spirit” of governing ethics rules and even “gross”, but those objections were, of course, brushed aside by the White House. She then became Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy at the National Economic Council.
Now, as Politico’s “Influence” column briefly noted on Tuesday, Fowler is once again passing through the deeply corrupting revolving door as she leaves the Obama administration to return to the loving and lucrative arms of the private health care industry:
“Elizabeth Fowler is leaving the White House for a senior-level position leading ‘global health policy’ at Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group.”
The pharmaceutical giant that just hired Fowler actively supported the passage of Obamacare through its membership in the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobby. Indeed, PhRMA was one of the most aggressive supporters - and most lavish beneficiaries - of the health care bill drafted by Fowler. Mother Jones’ James Ridgeway proclaimed “Big Pharma” the “big winner” in the health care bill. And now, Fowler will receive ample rewards from that same industry as she peddles her influence in government and exploits her experience with its inner workings to work on that industry’s behalf, all of which has been made perfectly legal by the same insular, Versailles-like Washington culture that so lavishly benefits from all of this.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin continues to hide behind an “Executive Privilege” that does not exist in Oklahoma. She is using this tactic to hide emails that she received which helped guide her decision to not implement parts of the Affordable Care Act for Oklahomans. She has made the conscience choice to tell the people of Oklahoma to basically “not worry your pretty little head about grown-up stuff.”
Her secrecy reminded us of a famous scene from the movie “A Few Good Men”. Jack Nicholson plays the role of a government official who does not tell the public everything, and he has to own up to his mistake in the end.
I really didn’t want to reblog this because Content Advisory: Gov. Mary Fallin, but you gotta question why she thinks it’s okay for her to withhold those e-mails. If she thinks she can keep what’s in those e-mails secret, what else is Queen Mary hiding from the people of the State of Oklahoma?