Every article I've read since the Supreme Court's oral arguments on Obamacare that addressed the "what if" question started with the assumption that they would declare the individual mandate unconstitutional. Those kinds of "what if's" are important to consider. But nowhere have I seen anyone talk about the other possibility...what if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare?"
I know that most of this pontificating has gone in that direction because people think the oral arguments went badly and that the justices showed their leanings based on the questions they asked. But most legal scholars recognize that as a lousy way of predicting the outcome.
So lets think about it for just a minute...what happens if Obamacare survives?
First - and most importantly - are that:
30 million more people get health insurance
People with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage
Young people up to age 26 can stay on their parent's health insurance plans
The Medicare prescription donut-hole remains closed
The medical loss ratios stay in place
There will be no lifetime limits on health insurance
The Medicare Advisory Board will be tasked with finding cost savings
Medicaid will be expanded to cover 12-15 million additional people
States will set up health insurance exchanges
Small businesses will get tax breaks for offering health insurance
And on and on...
But, from a political standpoint, the right wing will explode. And perhaps even more so due to the fact that expectations of Obamacare being declared unconstitutional have been raised. That should give the Republicans a big boost in the current enthusiasm gap. Because you can count on them making repeal of Obamacare a signature issue. That might help Republicans running for Congress is some key districts, but I'm not so sure its would be a good thing for Mitt Romney. I suspect that with his history in Massachusetts, he'd prefer that Obamacare be taken off the table in this election. But for the rest of the wingnut crowd, it will become open season on the Supreme Court. Things are pretty sure to get ugly because, as we've seen in the past, that crowd doesn't show the same kind of restraint that someone like President Obama has demonstrated.
I'd suggest that we need to be prepared for either scenario. Anyone who thinks they have a lock on predicting the outcome here is fooling themselves and anyone who bothers to pay attention to what they say.
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