Is the health care reform bill doomed?
The Supreme Court challenge to the health care reform bill should
have been arcane and easy to work around. The media don’t think so.
Whether they are correct, or not, no one will know until the end of
June, when the Court publishes its majority opinion. But few expect that
opinion to say that the health care reform bill stays within the
Health care reform bill postmortem
The Wall Street Journal‘s editors said at the outset that this case, that everyone thought would be easy to decide, will not be easy. Michael Brendan Dougherty at Business Insider assembled a long list
of “tweets” from Twitter about the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on
the health care reform bill. At the top: Jeffrey Toobin, of CNN,
who on Tuesday said that the arguments were a “train wreck” for the
government. Yesterday he chose a more-extreme metaphor: “plane wreck.”
Another analyst, Philip Klein, quoted Justice Anthony Kennedy as saying that to try
to sever the “individual responsibility mandate” from the rest of the
health care reform bill would be more extreme than to declare the entire
bill invalid. This is what Kennedy meant:
[This would] impose a risk on insurance companies that
Congress had never intended. By reason of this Court, we would have a
new regime that Congress did not provide for, did not consider.
That alone suggests that the mandate to buy health-care insurance will not stand. At least, this corroborates David Hogberg at Investors Business Daily. He said that the Supreme Court would rule that all of the health care reform bill should stand, or none.
Justice Antonin Scalia, according to Hogberg, summed up the problem best of all:
Can you give us a prior case … that resembles this one in
which we are asked to strike down . .. the heart of the Act, and yet
leave in … the rest of it? When have we ever really struck down what was
the main purpose of the Act, and left the rest?
The government’s lawyer could not.
Adam Liptak of The New York Times said that the Court, yesterday, took up “the real-world consequences” of their ruling. Chief among them:
If you take out the heart of the statute, the statute is gone.
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