The citizens of the United States are waiting anxiously for the Supreme Court to announce its decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act or as it has come to be known, Obamacare. The controversial legislation is the cornerstone of the Obama presidency despite the fact that the majority of Americans do not agree with his policies on healthcare. Obamacare has resulted in a flood of lawsuits that contend the ACA violates the principals of the United States Constitution. The Individual Mandate, in particular, has aroused the ire of the populace, who feel the Federal Government does not have the authority to force every American to buy health insurance.
Both supporters of the law and its opponents are fretting away the hours as the fateful day draws ever nearer. The nine justices have announced that the decision will be handed down during the current Supreme Court session, which is due to conclude at the end of June, 2012. The ruling is expected, on or about, Thursday, June 28, 2012.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare is one of the most important and contentious decisions that America’s highest court has ever faced and it promises to have a major impact on the future of American society. Many observers of the political scene have stated that this decision will define the limits of the power of the Federal Government for generations to come. Major Garrett, the Congressional Correspondent for The National Journal said, “What the Supreme Court decision is primarily about is the Commerce Clause and setting precedent for its reach for the next hundred years.”
The Affordable Care Act is immensely unpopular with American people. Even the liberal New York Times admitted this in a memorable quote from Adam Liptak on today’s Times Topics page: “The court’s ruling is expected in June, but even if the Obama administration wins in the nation’s highest court, most evidence suggests it has lost miserably in the court of public opinion. National polls have consistently found the healthcare law has far more enemies than friends, including a recent New York Times/CBS News poll that found more than two-thirds of Americans hope the court will overturn some or all of it.”
Obama insiders have announced that they will move forward with their vision for healthcare reform no matter what the Supreme Court decides. Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, stated in no uncertain terms that the President believes strongly in the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. However, Carney made it clear that the White House is considering all the possibilities. On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Carney told reporters, “We’re, as I’ve said in the past, confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. We continue to implement the law accordingly, and we are ready for the Supreme Court’s decision, whatever it may be. Once that decision is rendered, we’ll make decisions about what to say about it.”
Presumptive Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney, has said that if the Supreme Court overrules the ACA, it will indicate the failure of Obama’s presidency. Romney made his opinion crystal clear, when he stated, “If Obamacare is not deemed constitutional, then the first three-and-a-half years of this President’s term will have been wasted on something that has not helped the American people. If it’s not, If it is deemed to stand, then I’ll tell you one thing. Then we’ll have to have a president, and I’m that one, that’s gonna get rid of Obamacare.”
Political pundits of all persuasions are of the opinion that the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare will put more pressure on Romney than it will on Obama. If the court overturns part or all of the ACA, it may serve to re-energize Obama’s disillusioned liberal base. On the other hand, if the court upholds the entire ACA, it may influence undecided voters to vote for Obama if they perceive the court’s decision as a vindication of his policies.
Of course, it is always difficult to predict how American voters will react. As Jonathan Bernstein so clearly states in his March 28, 2012 article in The New Republic, “First, most events have much less staying power than we expect they do… It’s not at all hard to find a half dozen or more events that are said to be election-changing when they happen, only to disappear without a trace months later.”
Bernstein explained his take on the tendencies of American voters even further with this comment: “The second reason is just that the room for influencing the vote is much less than some believe. Most voters are partisans, and are going to vote on that basis… For swing voters, health care reform must compete with everything else: the economy, the death of bin Laden and the continuing war in Afghanistan, and whatever smaller issues affect them personally.”
Certainly, anything can happen in the next four months. There will be many other factors that will influence the presidential election. No matter what effect the Supreme Court decision may have on presidential politics, we can be certain it will have a major impact on the lives of each and every American. The financial burden of the ACA is enormous and recent analysis shows the costs spiraling way beyond the predictions of the Obama Administration.
Whatever the nine men and women of the Supreme Court may decide, there is one essential truth. The American healthcare system is broken and the time has come for a true non-partisan effort to fix it. Too many Americans have seen their life savings dwindle away from one illness to allow our health care to continue in its current direction. Too many Americans are uninsured or overwhelmed by their medical expenses. We must demand our elected officials put aside the political games, cast out the lobbyists and write a healthcare law that treats all Americans fairly. One that puts American citizens first, respects our constitutional freedoms and the rights of our 50 sovereign states.
A large majority of Americans have decided that the Affordable Care Act is not what they want for their health care. The Individual Mandate offends the sensibilities of many who are strong believers in the Constitution. Most states feel the ACA destroys the balance of Federal power and tramples on the individual state’s rights. Certainly the citizens of this country have a right to demand a better healthcare law than one that was passed by reconciliation in the dead of night. Now we must wait and see what the Supreme Court has to say on this very important subject.