The Supreme Court might have upheld the individual mandate, but in turn it gave the Republicans a mandate of their own: keep control of the House of Representatives, take control of the Senate and, of course, put Mitt Romney in the White House.
This healthcare law has never been a popular one and it has been roundly rejected by much of America. The Democrats and the White House have not been truthful about this law, and now that the Supreme Court has defined it for what it is — a massive tax increase on everyone, including the middle class and the poor — whatever bump in popularity Obama and Obamacare might have gotten from Thursday’s ruling will be erased when people start to see how much it’s really going to cost them.
The reality of the situation is that this is no victory for the president or the Democrats. They passed a law that survived a review by the Supreme Court. Whoop-dee-doo. That happens all the time. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
The Supreme Court may have spared the individual mandate, but now Obama has to justify it to a worried and grumpy electorate. It is the law of the land, and he will spend the next four months running from his broken campaign promises and trying to defend Obamacare. Remember what the Individual Mandate actually does. It requires everyone to spend a big chunk of their income on health insurance or pay a fine that could amount to several thousand dollars. Since the court has ruled that the fine, which will be levied by the IRS, is actually a tax, this amounts to a massive tax increase for two big groups that Obama is counting on for support: the young and the poor. The one part of the law that was struck down by the court, Medicaid expansion, would have provided insurance for these people but that’s not happening.
This is a bitter pill to swallow for a man who said in 2008, “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
He broke that promise a little bit with the tanning salon tax and a little more with cigarette taxes to fund SCHIP, but this one takes the cake. This is a tax increase of several thousand dollars on the poor and the middle class, and the Supreme Court has confirmed it. This isn’t political spin, it’s the law.
Currently, polls have both President Obama and Mitt Romney in the mid-40s. Obamacare has been intensely divisive and now it’s the centerpiece of campaign 2012. As long as the Republicans don’t muck it up with talk about abortion and contraception, the court’s decision may be a winner for the Republicans.
Many Democrats nationwide have distanced themselves as much as possible from Obamacare and the public anger that led to huge losses for them in 2010. As much as they would like it to go away, it won’t. It’s big news now and it’s the centerpiece of every campaign from Romney on down.
The Democrats are doing their best to bury the rejection of the Medicaid expansion, but herein lies the key to securing a Romney victory in November. The expansion, which would have quadrupled the Medicaid population in some states, isn’t going to happen. Now, when the mandate kicks in, Americans will be hit with the biggest tax increase in decades. In an attempt to fundamentally transform the health care insurance system in this country the Democrats have unwittingly committed a cardinal sin and raised taxes on their most ardent supporters.
If the Republicans want to win this November and make a Romney presidency a reality, they need to release their own health care reform plans to give Americans a real choice.
Many have heralded this ruling as a colossal victory for Obama and the Democrats but that just isn’t the case. This debate will rage on from now until Election Day, and if Romney and other Republicans play their cards right, Obama’s signature accomplishment will lead to his undoing.
Sean Cary is a local business owner, freelance writer, host of “Week in Review” heard on Fox News Radio 99.1 FM and pundit on the television show “Nevada Newsmakers.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read his blog at www.seancary.com.