Reflections on SCOTUS' ACA Decision

Some reflections on today's SCOTUS decision re. the Affordable Care Act follow:

  • The "individual mandate" provision is unconstitutional when viewed through the lens of the Commerce Clause. The prevailing justification provided when the law was created and sold to the public was thus deemed out of bounds.
  • The "individual mandate" provision is Constitutional if construed as a "tax." SCOTUS apparently applied the "duck test" to reach this conclusion (i.e, if it waddles like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck). 
  • The determination that the individual mandate is a tax directly contradicts President Obama's assertion  that the individual mandate is not a tax and makes clear that the ACA imposes a huge tax increase on much of America (or at least the minority of Americans that actually pay income taxes). One gets the impression that the "liberal" justices, joined by the Chief Justice, were at pains to make obvious the President's lie.
  • The court's finding that the mandate is a "tax" reveals that the intent of the Affordable Care Act is to raise revenues for the government; not to make health care affordable. 
  • The tax determination fits the stereotype of President Obama as a "tax and spend liberal."
  • The tax determination will likely afford the Tea Party with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and focus, especially for Tea Party rallys already scheduled to occur in conjunction with Independence Day celebrations. 
  • A majority comprised of "liberal" and "conservative" justices converged on the decision that the individual mandate is a tax.  This "bipartisan" majority has the potential to nullify (or confuse) critics prone to characterize the decision as "partisan politics." 
  • SCOTUS severely limited powers under the Commerce Clause with regards to provisions of the ACA that would discontinue a state's Medicare funding if it did not comply with federal government mandate. 
Taken all together, SCOTUS' decision appears to have the potential to create more challenges for the Obama administration than it resolves.  On balance, the decision seems to afford critics of the ACA greater traction than is provided supporters of the ACA.  The decision also streamlines messaging objectives for opponents of the ACA in a way that makes it more difficult to message support of the ACA. It will be fun to observe how this unfolds in the coming weeks and months. @AnnAlthouse summed all this up with her concise Tweet: 

My view of the Obamacare case in 2 words: President Romney.