There are a few good aspects of the Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the ObamaCare mandate as a tax. Among them are 1) the deception by which Obama’s administration passed ObamaCare in Congress; 2) the preservation of the Commerce Clause; 3) the ease at which ObamaCare can now be repealed and 4) the invalidation of the Medicaid expansion, which upheld State’s rights and may ultimately undermine the entire efficacy of ObamaCare.
For the first time in history, a major piece of legislation passed Congress as an intentional deception of the American electorate. The only way this law was passed in March 2010 was the result of a clear and patent lie by the Obama Administration. ObamaCare supporters, including the President himself, repeatedly and emphatically denied that ObamaCare was a tax, and instead pointed to the Commerce Clause to validate its existence. Then, in front of the Supreme Court, the Obama Administration argued that ObamaCare was a tax. “Taxation Without Representation?”. This bait-and-switch tactic must be relentlessly hammered home between now and November. Between Obama’s aggressive use of the Executive Order and now this clear example of deceit, the American citizens must be continuously reminded that Obama will use any tactic to get what he wants — and is a tax-raiser too.
That being said, the Supreme Court opinion gave us five clear votes that this law would not have passed muster under the Commerce Clause. Thus this ruling clarified, strengthened and protected the Commerce Clause while establishing a precedent from further Congressional usurpations. The Supreme Court has now firmly stated Congress does not have the power of commerce coersion. It also upheld the separation of the three branches of government – that it was not the Supreme Court’s job to prevent Congress from passing a bad law (and thus a check against overt judicial activism); rather its function was solely to interpret the constitutionality of said law. ObamaCare however, is still bad law.
Furthermore, ruling that ObamaCare is a tax creates the opportunity for a simpler repeal than if it was considered valid under the Commerce Clause. Here’s how: the ObamaCare mandate is now a constitutionally established tax to be levied. It becomes revenue provision of a budget, and therefore can be subject to the Budget Act’s reconciliation process. During such a process, the number of votes necessary to appeal it is a simple majority: 51 votes. Ironically, this reconciliation process was the same procedure that the Democrats used to pass the bill in Congress. Ultimately then, an ObamaCare repeal would not be subject to the filibuster process.
Finally, the Medicaid provision may be the lynchpin for undermining ObamaCare’s efficacy. Remember, the reason so many states sued the Administration was because the Medicaid expansion program would have caused severe fiscal distress to the states while simultaneously creating expansive and coercive Federal spending power over States Rights. Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled that the such an act was unconstitutional. Therefore, this established that not only can the federal government not compel the states to participate in expanding Medicaid, it also cannot withhold existing funding for it as a punishment. States can now decline to participate. So, what happens if enough states do just that?
Even though ObamaCare was not struck down in its entirety, the rulings on various parts of the law had some positivity. It preserved the integrity of the Commerce Clause while simultaneous restricting the federal government’s ability to coerce spending onto states. Firmly establishing ObamaCare as a tax greatly enhances its probability for successful repeal, and also stamps Obama and its Congressional and political supporters as tax hikers for the November election. All in all, not an entirely bad outcome for a very bad piece of legislation.