Health Care Decision Rallies

WordPress (or more likely user error) seems to have eaten my last post, so here again is the link to info about the rallies after tomorrow’s Supreme Court decisions.

Attend a rapid response event near you!

This Thursday, the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on Rob McKenna’s partisan challenge to the Affordable Care Act – President Obama’s health care reform law. It’s perhaps the most anticipated Supreme Court ruling in our nation’s history.

Regardless of the outcome, we’ll be ready. Please RSVP on Washington Community Action Network’s web site.

Thursday, June 28 outside the Attorney General’s offices around the state


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Actually, this isn’t Rob McKenna’s challenge. He’s only a bit player. Did he even get a ticket to the oral arguments? This seems to have been the extent of McKenna’s personal participation:

    “In a stop at Issaquah High School early Friday, state Attorney General Rob McKenna defended Washington’s participation in a lawsuit against federal health care law … to seniors in Jeremy Ritzer’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics class.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: I did something similar when I was in law school; we called it “moot court.”

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    By contrast, Christine Gregoire was lead counsel in the tobacco litigation that resulted in history’s biggest legal settlement, when McKenna was the guy in the back of the room refilling the water pitchers.

  3. 3

    proud leftist spews:

    For how many generations has the rightwing complained about activist judges? How long has the rightwing bitched about legislating from the bench? Since well before Nixon. Yet, the Roberts Court is the most political, activist Court since that which blocked many of FDR’s reforms. See a pattern here? The rightwing Supreme Courts legislate from the bench; they are activist Courts. Roberts, Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas–these folks could give a rat’s ass about the democratic process. They could give a rat’s ass about the Constitution.

  4. 4

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 4

    Actually, the Roberts court overturns significantly fewer opinions and intervenes far less than recent prior courts.

    I know it doesn’t fit the libbie meme, but before spewing misinformation at least read about the statistical review:

    – The Warren, Burger and Rehnquist Courts overturned precedents at an average rate of 2.7, 2.8 and 2.4 per term, respectively. The Roberts Court, on the other hand, has only overturned an average of 1.6 precedents per term.

    – The Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts struck down an average of 7.9, 12.5, and 8.2 laws per term, whereas the Roberts Court has only invalidated an average of 3 laws per term.

    The data is through 2010, but adding the past two terms would not change much.

  5. 5

    Serial Conservative spews:

    Best seat in the house for today’s decision(s) is the live-blog on

    90,000 people online there on Monday morning. I suppose it could crash if that number goes a lot higher, which certainly is possible.

  6. 6

    Serial Conservative spews:

    Looking for someone to blame for the Court’s rightward tilt?

    Look inward, first:

    …its most liberal member (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is considerably less liberal than previous justices on the left side of the spectrum.

    Yeah, the ACLU is just full of conservatives masquerading as liberals.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Breaking News: Stolen Valor Act Struck Down

    “In Alvarez, the Ninth Circuit is affirmed.”

    This means the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes lying about receiving military medals, is unconstitutional by a 6-3 decision in which Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissented. Blogger: “So the upshot is that this version of the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional, but Congress may be able to do a new law.”

  8. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Roberts is the decisive vote that upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare’s individual mandate. This is consistent with what I posted on HA a couple days ago; i.e., it’s difficult to distinguish between the Medicare tax and the individual mandate.

  9. 14

    Steve spews:

    From the Texas 2012 Republican Party Platform,

    Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

    Fuck critical thinking skills. If you desire a nation of unquestioning, dumbfuck voters. Like Bob.

  10. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What we see so far is the individual mandate is held constitutional, the Medicaid provision is limited but not invalidated … Blogger says: “The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Massive victory for Obama.

  11. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Blogger says: “Chief Justice Roberts’ vote saved the ACA.” This means it was a 5-4 decision. Very interesting. The justices knew this was the biggest SCOTUS case in decades. Chief Justice Roberts knew this decision would define his court and his career. He knows which side of history he wants to be on.

  12. 19

    Steve spews:

    “This is consistent with what I posted on HA a couple days ago”

    You must mean the time when Bob, a truly ignorant slut, called you a dumbfuck idiot and declared that he knew more about law than you, a retired attorney and judge?

  13. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Blogger Amy Howe at Scotusblog: “The money quote from the section on the mandate: Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it. The court reinforces that individuals can simply refuse to pay the tax and not comply with the mandate.”

    Looks like the opt-out penalty provision may have saved it, analogous to the “shop fee” provision of union shop laws that allow workers to opt out of belonging to a union.

  14. 21

    Serial Conservative spews:

    A $750 tax on American adults.

    If ACA is upheld and the cost is determined to be a tax, what does that do to Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class?

    “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 said in a Sept. 12, 2008, speech in Dover, New Hampshire.

  15. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    MSNBC just posted their headline:

    SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS OBAMA’S HEALTH CARE LAW; dramatic victory preserves president’s top domestic policy win.

    CNBC just posted their headline:

    Obamacare’s Insurance Rule Is Upheld By Supreme Court

    And CNBC confirms it’s a 5-4 decision.

    Scotusblog says it has 866,000 live readers.

  16. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 The power to tax is explicit in the Constitution. Are all taxes bad? Mrs. Rabbit and I are paying $2,400 a year of higher insurance premiums to pay for the freeloaders, who will now be taxed for their own damn healthcare. For me, it’s a tax cut. Trying getting me to vote against that in November, Bob.

  17. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    From Scotusblog: “The Court holds that the mandate violates the Commerce Clause, but that doesn’t matter b/c there are five votes for the mandate to be constitutional under the taxing power.”

    Ginsburg wrote the opinion representing the views of the liberal justices. She would uphold the law under the Commerce Clause, too. This view has 4 votes. So, the Roberts and Ginsburg opinions together represent the 5-4 majority upholding the individual mandate under the taxing power but not under the Commerce Clause. Obamacare just barely survives, thanks to Roberts’ vote, as a tax.

  18. 28

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 25

    The claim that Obama is levying a huge tax on the American public won’t be directed at you, RR. Your vote won’t change.

    It will be directed at the undecideds, and the voters who usually skew right but went left in 2008.

    You know that.

  19. 30

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 27

    That’s the bone thrown to conservatives. There HAS to be a limit on Congressional power to affect commerce. That’s the broccoli line.

  20. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Kennedy, who was expected to be the swing vote, is reading the dissent and he feels the law is invalid “in entirety.” So he would have struck down the whole thing. What a surprise! The pundits got this way wrong — Kennedy turns out to be opposed to the law and Roberts is the swing vote that upholds it. This is history before our eyes.

  21. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Scotusblogger Amy Howe summarizes the decision:

    “In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.”

  22. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The stock market, as expected, is down on the news. Dow index is down 121 points right now and appears to be leveling off … for the moment. Hospital stocks should get a bounce today as they have to treat all patients and this law will make more of their accounts collectible — less writeoffs and bad debts for hospitals.

  23. 36

    Serial Conservative spews:

    Memory check:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: [I]t’s still a tax increase.

    OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.

  24. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Scotusblogger Amy Howe: “Yes, to answer a common question, the whole ACA is constitutional, so the provision requiring insurers to cover young adults until they are 26 survives as well.”

  25. 39

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @34 Yeah, the wingers didn’t expect Roberts to stab them like this. They thought he was one of theirs. Funny what thinking about history books does to a SCOTUS justice’s mental process. Eisenhower had that problem with his SCOTUS appointments, too.

  26. 40

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 35

    Er, stock market down at the open, about 40 minutes BEFORE the ACA decision.

    JPM’s loss on the Whale debacle might be as much as $9B.

    Had nothing to do with the decision. Nothing.

  27. 41

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 18: Roberts might have joined the majority so he could assign himself the job of writing the opinion. But I don’t know yet who actually wrote the opinion, so this could just be speculation. It’s still early, the decision was just announced. Unfortunately, this is a busy day for me, so I won’t have time to post here much.

  28. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Here’s the opinion(s):

    It’s 193 pages (pdf) and says: “CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS announced the judgment of theCourt and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D.” Doesn’t explicitly say he wrote the controlling opinion, but he probably did.

  29. 43

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 41

    I thought of that as well. But, whichever way he voted, if he was the swing vote, he would have had the option of writing the opinion as Chief Justice.

    So I don’t think it’s that.

    I do have to wonder if he changed his mind after the initial vote, though.

  30. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 I’m only posting from the Scotusblog link you provided @7 above. You’re reading the same stuff on that blog that I am. I’m providing a little of my own commentary based on my legal background. It helps to be a lawyer on a day like this.

  31. 45

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 42


    Page 43 is headed ‘Opinion of the Court’. Page 44 is headed ‘Opinion of C.J. Roberts’. But the transition between the pages is in mid-sentence.

  32. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @36 For people and employers already paying for health insurance there’s no tax increase. Their premiums should go down as the cost of paying for the uninsured comes off.

    This law effects a net transfer of costs to the uninsured from those who’ve been subsidizing them. The former will start paying for their medical care and the latter will get relief from paying for that subsidy.

    I can hardly wait for Romney to campaign on a platform that this is unfair and immoral.

  33. 49

    Serial Conservative spews:

    This may take awhile to fully figure out. Here’s the scorecard (page 6):

    ROBERTS, C. J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered
    the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, in which
    GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined; an opinion with
    respect to Part IV, in which BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., joined; and an
    opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D. GINSBURG, J.,
    filed an opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part,
    and dissenting in part, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined, and in which
    BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., joined as to Parts I, II, III, and IV.

  34. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @46 I don’t know what you mean. I scrolled through it and have all 193 pages. What’s missing on yours?

  35. 51

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @49 Well, I obviously haven’t read a 193-page opinion yet. I’ve been posting the summary from Scotusblog. They have four bloggers who are “still reading the opinions.” They’re probably lawyers. Wikipedia says, “SCOTUSblog is a law blog written by lawyers and law professors about the Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes abbreviated ‘SCOTUS’). The blog is sponsored by Bloomberg Law.” So these bloggers probably are professional SCOTUS watchers who know how to quickly parse a SCOTUS decision. Chances are pretty high the commentary we’re getting from Scotusblog is about as accurate as you can get in a short time. They have multiple people reading the opinion and they’re also hearing the justices talk about the decision from the bench.

  36. 52

    Serial Conservative spews:

    @ 47

    Problem with that is that the ACA survives based on this decision. And yet the costs of ACA are already about $450B higher than predicted – CBO has told us that.

    Premiums will not go down. They just won’t. The law insists on far, far greater coverage. How do premiums stay the same?

  37. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @52 Well, that remains to be seen. I can’t prove that at this point; it just seems logical that premiums would go down if some of what they pay for is shifted to a new group of insurance buyers. Yes, this could get offset by “greater coverage” if by that you mean insureds will get broader services or use more medical care. But to the extent this law transfers the costs of existing medical care from those who’ve been paying for it to those who’ve been using it, the existing payers should pay less. The only way that wouldn’t be so is if new costs appear from somewhere, either from higher utilization or broader services or providers charging more.

  38. 55

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    For people like me who have comprehensive coverage, and pay a lot for it, premiums should go down. People with bare-bones or high-deductible policies who see their coverage expand may not get a premium reduction but they’ll get more coverage for what their money. That’s how the economics should work.

  39. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Not to be overlooked is pudge’s prognostication posted yesterday morning on Stefan’s sucky little blog:

    “I believe there’s an excellent chance the health insurance act will be shot down, either in significant part, or in its entirety.”

    Well, not so excellent, it turns out. But every failure has a silver lining:

    “If that does happen, President Obama and the Democrats will attack conservative Attorneys General, conservatives in Congress, and conservatives in the Supreme Court. They will leverage this into even more divisiveness. Obama has been pitting Us vs. Them since his inaugural address, and he’s not going to stop now.”

    As that didn’t happen, it isn’t necessary for us to attack conservative AGs, conservative congress critters, conservative justices, and conservatives in general. However, I think we should do so, just for sport. I’ll start with Rob McKenna: How many Washington tax dollars did he waste on this court challenge? How many junkets did he take to D.C. to “confer” with his fellow conservative AGs on this case? How many nice meals in D.C. restaurants for him and his family did we state taxpayers foot the bill for? Not accusing, just askin’.

  40. 58

    Liberal Scientist is a a dirty fucking hippie spews:

    Gotta run.

    Buzz, buzzzzzing away – the mosquito can’t compete on a day like today.
    His mainlining of Republican talking points du jour just won’t fly…

    Guess he’ll have to spend his day writin’ checks and creatin’ jobs.

  41. 59

    Serial Conservative spews:

    The only way that wouldn’t be so is if new costs appear from somewhere,

    Gee, I can’t imagine a government program costing more than predicted, can you?

  42. 60

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    So you guys won’t miss out on our friend Rick D.’s reaction over on Sucky Politics:

    “Shouldn’t this site be in all black by now? A good day for Obama and Mommy government types everywhere. A bad day for individual freedoms in this country and the US Constitution.”

    Not a bad idea, Ricky. Guys, let’s all chip in to ship a crate of black crepe over to Pudge. He needs it right now.