Health Care Mandate

The John Roberts Legacy Hanging On Tenterhooks As Health Care Decision Nears!

Chief Justice John Roberts is reported to be writing the majority opinion for Thursday’s Health Care decision on “ObamaCare”.

Coming on top of his siding with Anthony Kennedy and three liberals on the Court on the immigration case, many observers sense that he and Kennedy will again be in the majority with the four liberals on the Court, and decide in favor of “ObamaCare”.

If Roberts does so, it will transform him immediately into one of the giants of the 17 Chief Justices of the Supreme Court historically.

If he does not do so, he is doomed to a negative role in judicial history, and will be seen by many observers as a failure as a Chief Justice.

The choice is that stark, as this case is the most important since Bush V. Gore, and follows the disastrous Citizens United Case, tragically upheld again yesterday in a Montana case on straight party line and ideology.

Roberts’ reputation is already in trouble, but could be resurrected by an open minded attitude toward health care as covered under the interstate commerce clause.

Roberts, it is said, worries about his and the Court’s reputation, and even if he serves another 20 years, he will never outlive the disappointment and turmoil that will occur if the Court rejects “ObamaCare”.

Since he seems to be a strong believer in federal power, as shown yesterday in the immigration case and the juvenile murderer case, we expect him to come down on the right of the federal government to regulate health care, and require a mandate, a demand that all citizens have health care coverage, if they wish to gain health care when needed, rather than sponging off those of us who have paid for health care.

The actual mandate would be the equivalent of about $15 a week, equivalent of one person having one meal per week at a restaurant, or half a tank of gasoline. Is this too much to ask of all citizens? The answer is NO!

Chief Justice Roberts: We are watching you!

The Catholic Church, Georgetown University, And Commencement Speaker Kathleen Sebelius

A controversy has arisen over the selection of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as commencement speaker at the prestigious Catholic institution of higher learning, Georgetown University.

Sebelius, who is Catholic, has come out for abortion rights and the health care mandate, which calls for contraception coverage even for religiously based institutions, which challenges the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America.

The local Church bishops were outraged at her selection, and demanded that the University rescind their invitation, which was promptly rejected by the University leadership, who decided to go ahead with the commencement arrangements.

This is not the first time that Catholic hierarchy has interfered, as they objected when Notre Dame University invited President Obama to give the commencement address three years ago, and Boston College has ignored protests in inviting the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy to its commencement this year.

It is good to see major Catholic universities, such as the above examples, ignore dictates and censorship, and instead promote discussion, debate, and alternative ideas to the rigid views of the Catholic hierarchy, who insist on uniformity, while they cannot control the behavior of their own church leadership, and have been shown to be practicing hypocrisy in their teachings, when compared to their inability to control immoral behavior!

If a Catholic university allows itself to be dictated to in this manner, it loses respect as an institution of higher learning which should be open to diverse views and attitudes, so let us all applaud Georgetown, Notre Dame and Boston College for their open mindedness and tolerance, something not noticed in the Catholic Church’s teachings!

Trying To Fathom The Supreme Court On Health Care: The Court Under The Microscope

Yesterday’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court led many observers to think that the Court is about to declare the Obama Health Care law unconstitutional this coming June.

Not so fast, ladies and gentlemen! This is hysteria and panic before the fact, with plenty of opportunity after the Court decision, if it is, indeed, negative!

Emphasis was put on Justice Antonin Scalia’s sarcastic comments about mandating broccoli, a totally ridiculous statement! But one must remember that Scalia is a showboat, a maniacal egotist who loves to hear the sound of his own voice, and get everyone’s attention, and one must remember that the Court was issuing an audio of the oral arguments immediately after the event, a very rare circumstance, and that had to be on Scalia’s mind!

Scalia was thought to be a possible vote, but if it is not, so what, as Scalia is, arguably, a hypocrite who is constantly contradictory, utilizing a broad interpretation of the Constitution, when he wishes to, and other times, pontificating on “originalism”, the idea that we must literally follow the Founding Fathers as they saw things in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention.

More importantly, the view of Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts will be the crucial votes, and although Kennedy and Roberts both expressed some reservations about the Obama Health Care bill and the mandate contained within it, there were also key comments by both that indicated a mind open to consideration of the constitutionality of the law.

Kennedy is usually the swing vote, and seemed conflicted, which can be seen as a good sign, and Roberts seemed very evenhanded, and is known to want to be in the majority, and probably write this most important decision of the past decade, and aware that the Supreme Court does not look very good in the eyes of many people based on recent cases, particularly the Citizens United Case of 2010, on top of the Bush V. Gore case of 2000.

The argument is that if Kennedy goes to the majority, then Roberts will join, and the vote would be 6-3.

And one must point out that the four defenders of the legislation were excellent in their arguments supporting the legislation, with Justice Stephen Breyer, a true intellectual, particularly outstanding in his arguments, but joined by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

So, with one more day of oral arguments, it is not time to give up on support of the legislation, and also realize that one cannot always judge how members of the Court will vote, based on oral argument alone, as often, what is being done is to test both sides in the case, and sometimes, purposely mislead on intentions, in the process of asking the lawyers in the case to defend their side.

This decision is far from certain, but progressives should feel optimistic about it at this point, and simply wait patiently to see the result, knowing that the cause is just and compassionate, and that those of us who support it are on the right side of history with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society!

Two Year Anniversary Of Health Care Law, And Oral Arguments On Case Next Week In Supreme Court

The Affordable Care Act, the Obama Health Care legislation, hits its two year anniversary this week, and next week, the US Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of the legislation, seen as the landmark case of the past decade by many, and as the crucial issue that will have a dramatic effect either way on the upcoming Presidential Election of 2012.

The Obama Health Care law has allowed young people to remain on their parents’ health insurance to age 26; has prevented pre-existing conditions from being used to deny health care; and has cut down the “donut hole” for senior citizens in relation to their prescription costs.

Many other reforms must wait until 2014, assuming that the Supreme Court does not declare the whole act unconstitutional.

There is furious action to try to destroy the signature legislation that really defines the Obama Presidency, a law that took a full year to pass, and that was passed on party lines, which is actually not at all unusual in history.

Some federal judges have upheld the legislation, while others have challenged it, and it will be argued by both sides over three days for the unusually long total period of six hours, showing just how significant this case is!

As it seems now, the four “liberal” Justices–Bill Clinton appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, and Barack Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—will support the legislation.

For it to survive in one piece, at least one of the five “conservative” Justices would have to join the four liberal appointees of Clinton and Obama.

Anthony Kennedy, usually the swing vote, and usually joining the liberals on about one third of the cases before the Court, is thought to be a good bet, but not a guarantee.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is very aware of the significance of this case for the Court and for his reputation, is thought to join in the majority, but again no certainty.

Ironically, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who one would think would be opposed, has indicated in other cases as hints that he just might support the legislation.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito is thought less likely to support the legislation, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is thought to be the one certain, guaranteed vote against the health care legislation.

The argument for the legislation is the application of the commerce clause of the Constitution, which has been utilized over and over again by the US Supreme Court in the past, adding to the powers of the federal government. This was the same controversy with the Social Security Act, with a conservative oriented Supreme Court in the 1930s, and that legislation was upheld.

The argument against is based on opposition to the so called “mandate” that all citizens MUST obtain health insurance coverage by 2014, or face a fine.

What the critics fail to address is that when someone does not have health insurance and ends up needing medical care, he or she ends up in the emergency room, and all of us have to pay for the health care provided. Is it proper that some have no health care coverage and gain medical aid, and the rest of us have to pay for our health care, and also for those who are irresponsible enough to avoid paying for care that he or she knows he or she can gain for free?

This is the crux of the matter, and it is hoped and believed that a majority of the Supreme Court will end up backing the Health Care law, with a prediction by many of at least 5-4, but even possibly 6-3, or 7-2, or even 8-1.

A victory by more than 5-4 would be a real endorsement of the health care legislation, while a 5-4 defeat would be a major blow to 50 million citizens who benefit from the legislation.

In either case, this decision, when it is announced in June, will have a transformative effect on our nation, and on the Presidential Election of 2012. We will all wait with “baited breath” for the result!

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Health Insurance Mandate: A Warning Sign Of Trouble Ahead For Obama Health Care Plan!

A federal Appeals Court in Atlanta has ruled against the health care mandate contained in President Barack Obama’s Health Care plan, this coming after another appeals court ruled that it was constitutional!

This guarantees with certainty that the US Supreme Court will have to rule on the legislation, with the likelihood of a 5-4 vote, with Justice Anthony Kennedy probably the swing vote who will decide whether the plan survives or dies.

Were the Supreme Court to declare the Obama Health Care Law unconstitutional, it would have a major impact on the whole Obama agenda long term and historically, so it is a case that will gain the maximum attention imaginable when it comes up likely in 2012, before the Presidential election takes place!

It is amazing to the author of this blog that anyone could believe that it is responsible for anyone to feel that he or she has no need to commit financial resources in the form of health insurance in case of an accident or serious illness, and instead will lean on the public support and expense for his or her medical care in the form of an emergency room or simply not paying his or her bill for medical care!

This is the total antithesis of the idea of personal responsibility for one’s own health care, and it throws the expense on the rest of society, which sounds to many like the “socialism” that the critics denounce!

This is utter and rank hypocrisy, and it works against the concept that all Americans have to expect to pay for their own health care, as much as they have to pay taxes, obey the laws, and often serve in the military if called upon, in much of our history!