Big healthcare victory may have downside for Obama

Democratic political strategist Brad Bannon for LBN

In a 50/50 nation, there are no clear wins or losses. President Obama wins a big policy victory which may have a political downside.

The individual mandate is the foundation of the President Obama’s health care reform effort and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it validates the president’s singular achievement. In effect, the Court legitimizes the Obama presidency. The participation of the conservative Chief Justice, John Roberts in the majority throws the cloak of bipartisanship on an expansion of federal power and an important effort to solve a major problem. The majority opinion and Robert's endorsement may soften opposition to the mandate.

But the president’s policy victory may bring political penalties. The mandate was the most unpopular feature of the Affordable Care Act and the Court’s decision will galvanize and energize the Tea Party in the fall. Plus, the Court upheld the mandate on the basis of the government’s taxing power which means the Court validated the argument that ACA is a tax increase in disguise.

The Christian Science Monitor....How will it affect families?

When it issued a 5-to-4 ruling upholding President Obama's health-care reforms, the US Supreme Court rendered judgment on an issue that carries a direct impact for millions of American families.

The reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), seeks to expand health insurance coverage by requiring individuals to purchase it and requiring insurers to offer coverage to all comers.

The Supreme Court rejected arguments that such a mandate on individuals is unconstitutional, ruling that the mandate is acceptable under Congress's power to levy taxes. (Many people who fail to buy insurance would owe a fine – in effect a tax.)

The court also declined to strike down a portion of the law that would extend Medicaid to more low-income families, up to 1.33 times the current poverty level.

The mammoth law contains many interconnected provisions, so the impact of the court's ruling will vary greatly by family circumstance.

For the roughly 50 million uninsured Americans, the court's ruling has the biggest implications. For the majority of citizens who currently have insurance, the ruling could mean some important changes as well, such as to their health plans or their personal tax rates.

Many less affluent Americans who do not qualify for Medicaid may now gain health coverage as the program is expanded.

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