10:37 AM, June 28th, 2012

SCOTUS Blog’s Amy Howe Explains Ruling in Plain English

Take a breath and read this slowly. It helped us. 

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.

(via SCOTUSblog)

10:21 AM, June 28th, 2012


In case you haven’t heard, CNN sorta screwed this up. The law was mostly upheld. (ht @BuzzfeedAndrew)

Oops. (It’s not there first time.) 

Reblogged from ShortFormBlog
1:31 PM, June 27th, 2012

Who’s Screwed If Obamacare Gets the Ax?


These are just a few of the people who could get the shaft if the Supreme Court axes the Affordable Care Act:

  1. Debt-Strangled Young 20-Somethings
  2. People Who Are Bad at Paperwork
  3. Southerners
  4. Fans of Non-Procreative Sex
  5. Insurance Companies

So we’re screwed a few times over, huh. Great!

So screwed. 

Reblogged from Newsweek
1:41 PM, June 25th, 2012

Bill Clinton Warns About Supreme Court Ruling Against Obamacare

“[The Republicans] refused to back the president in his support for state and local government, and that has allowed 670,000 teachers, police officers, firefighters, and others to be laid off…If they had supported the president, the unemployment rate would be 7.3 percent instead of the current 8-plus percent.”

12:05 PM, June 25th, 2012

Frontpage: Monday, June 25th

1. Court Decides on Immigration Law: The Supreme Court struck down key portions of Arizona’s SB 1070 on Monday, a strict set of immigration regulations that was signed into law in 2010 by Governor Jan Brewer.

2. Mumbai ‘08 Attack ‘Planner’ Arrested: Police in India have arrested a man they say is responsible for planning the brutal 2008 attacks that left 165 dead in Mumbai.

3. Health-Care Decision Looms: The Supreme Court may hand down its ruling as soon as Monday on President Obama’s signature health-care law. The much-anticipated ruling is sure to continue to draw debate, as both Mitt Romney and Obama defined it as a key election-year issue in the lead-up to the decision.

4. Issa: No Evidence of Cover-Up: Going after the attorney general is one thing. Implicating the president, Congressman Darrell Issa said in an appearance on Fox News Sunday, is something else.

5. Tortoise Lonesome George Dies: Thought to be the last of his kind, giant tortoise Lonesome George was found dead by officials at Galápagos National Park on Sunday.

Read More Cheats

Photo by Seth Wenig/AP Photo

A man waves a large rainbow flag in the street during the Gay Pride Parade in New York, Sunday, June 24, 2012. See photos here from more of this weekend’s gay pride parades from around the world.

1:06 PM, March 28th, 2012
Going into the hearings I was very confident . Now I am less so. Almost all experts have said this was a very clear legal call in favor of the mandate, but the conesrvative justices appear to be taking a very liberaterian stand in their questioning. I still think it will pass muster, but 5-4 at best.
MIT economist and Affordable Care Act architect Jonathan Gruber is live chatting with us right now. Come ask questions! 
4:57 PM, March 27th, 2012


The 12 Questions That Could Kill the Individual Mandate

Today was the most important day in the history of the individual mandate. And it might be the day the individual mandate died, based on the conservative justices’ creative and painstaking assault on the law. “This was a train wreck for the Obama administration,” Jeffrey Toobin told CNN. “This law looks like it’s going to be struck down.”

Let’s go to the tape.

Here is the transcript of the Supreme Court arguments this morning. It is a remarkable, entertaining, triumphant (for some), and aggravating (for others) document. The four conservative justices — Thomas doesn’t say a word — launch a cannonade of metaphors and arguments by analogy that Attorney General Verrilli often fails to deflect or combat. Over the course of the hour, health insurance was compared to cell phones, broccoli, exercise, and cars. We collected 12 of the most withering questions, in chronological order, with some context in italics:

1) Justice Kennedy: A fundamental question: Can you create economic activity to regulate it?

“Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?”

2) Chief Justice RobertsEverybody needs access to emergency assistance. If you can make people buy health insurance, can you make people buy cell phones for safety?

“So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services? You can just dial 911 no matter where you are?”

3) Justice AlitoEverybody dies. If you can make people buy health insurance, can you make people buy burial insurance?

“Suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, ‘You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else.’ Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing? I don’t see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care. Almost everybody. Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point. What’s the difference?”

Read the rest. [Image: Reuters]

Reblogged from The Atlantic
3:46 PM, March 2nd, 2012

It’s important to point out that among President Obama’s biggest financial backers are precisely the Big Pharma companies who benefit from the mandate.  Sally Sussman, head of government affairs for Pfizer, is one of his biggest campaign bundlers, who co-hosted a fundraiser for Obama on Thursday night. Pfizer sells numerous contraceptives that now must be covered by health-care plans.  Obama’s financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry run deep. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he collected three times more in contributions from pharmaceutical manufacturers than John McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Peter Schweizer takes a look at how Big Pharma is affecting the current debate over birth control

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