June 28, 2012

Obama Calls Court Ruling a 'Victory' For U.S. As Romney Vows Repeal

US President Barack Obama:

"I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost,' Obama said in remarks at the White House, in which he emphasized many of the law's benefits. 'That discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives are more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it."

A couple of notes. There won't be a repeal of this law, no matter who is elected come November. The more interesting political question is why Chief Justice Roberts sided with the liberals on this decision. Avoiding the specter of another Bush v. Gore decision, perhaps?

(And does anyone besides me recall that candidate Obama was against the notion of an individual mandate for health care coverage when he was running against then-candidate Hillary Clinton, who was in favor of it? That was one of the few major differences between their campaigns.)

Roughly half the provisions of the 2010 law will come into effect over the next few years, the rest are already in effect. Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney claims he'll begin the process of repealing the law the day he enters office, if elected.

But if "Obamacare" is to be repealed, defunded or otherwise rendered toothless, who better, after three years of their party's intransigence, to commit that act of political suicide than a Republican president and Congressional majority? The greater portion of those most-served by this law are working poor, and minority citizens and residents of the US.

Let's see president Mitt take away those people's only source of health care, smiling for the cameras as he signs the law on broadcast TV. This year's ballots will contain the last significant number of non-white, crossover votes the GOP gets for a generation.

But a president Mitt won't act to repeal the law. A president Mitt will govern just as he did in Massachusetts: center-right, working with the opposition. His campaign aide said as much. That's how Massachusetts got universal health care in 2006.

More interesting: why'd Justice Roberts side with the Court's liberal minority in this ruling? Here's a good read on that from a crusty old conservative, Charles Krauthammer.

The conspiracist in me likes his reasoning. The rationalist in me knows Roberts joined the liberals because he saw a way to uphold the law on constitutional grounds so that everyone would benefit: those in need to health care, those who pay for it, and our society as a whole. How well we all benefit won't be well understood for decades.