By now everyone knows that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Some of the conversation has centered on why the reform was upheld, but more so the story has been advanced to focus on what this all means for the future of the country as well as President Obama’s re-election chances.
One thing is certain: The 5-4 majority decision ensures all U.S. citizens, regardless of pre-existing condition, will have access to healthcare by 2014.
In the never-ending game of political point scoring—think of it as a interminable cricket match played in suits—some news outlets are calling President Obama the big winner and Republican ideologues the big losers.
In his statement immediately following the verdict, Obama called today’s decision “a victory for people all over this country whose laws will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.” Meanwhile, Mitt Romney was quick to vow that if elected he “will act to repeal Obamacare” his first day in office.
But Chief Justice John Robert’s surprising justification of the individual mandate as a tax argument might not be the stamp of approval almost everyone is calling it, according to Tom Scocca at Slate. The decision could be part of an assault on the Commerce Clause.
Nonetheless, some pundits are framing this as a Democrat tax hike. In fact, Rush Limbaugh—always measured in his opinion—took no time at to call it “the largest tax increase in the history of the world.”
There are reports that the decision could cause insurance rates to rise, but not simply because it costs more to tend to the sick. The nation’s healthcare companies could be passing on costs to keep their profit margins where they’re at currently.
Michael McCallister, CEO of Humana Inc., the fifth-largest health insurer, told SF Gate that the “younger, healthier Americans might be hit with higher premiums because insurers will likely look to make up for the fact that they can no longer charge older, sicker customers more.”
Partisan assessments aside, one thing most people can agree upon is the humor to be found in early misreports of the decision. While most news outlets were pivoting to the future this morning, CNN and Fox News were still trying to figure out what happened.
The media giants raced to be first in reporting the decision and ended up incorrectly reporting that the Affordable Care Act was ruled unconstitutional. Buzzfeed reported that CNN employees said the mistake was “f—-ing humiliating.”