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Supreme Court health care ruling

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
June 28, 2012 1:06:53 PM PDT
So what's your take on the health care reform decision by the U.S. Supreme Court? We're getting so much reaction today on our website.

The high court ruling - that the centerpiece of Pres. Obama's reform, the requirement that everyone buy health insurance, the so-called "individual mandate" - is Constitutional, is perhaps the biggest Supreme Court decision since it ruled on the Bush/Gore election debacle in Florida in 2000.

That ruling determined the election back then, and today's ruling could very well determine the election outcome this coming November.

The truth is we all pay for the 26 million Americans who aren't currently covered by some kind of health insurance. We pay in one form or another, and that amounts to an undeclared tax. Always has. When a public hospital treats someone who isn't insured ? who pays? Taxpayers. Us.

The question of whether the federal government has the right to require peeps to buy health insurance was the central issue - and Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal justices to create a 5-4 win for the President.

Roberts and Obama - quite a duo. Then-Senator Obama trashed Mr. Roberts when he was a nominee for the high court. And you'll remember during the inauguration, and the swearing-in, Mr. Roberts bungled the oath. Today, pundits called the Chief Justice and the President - best friendemies.

And what a week for Mr. Obama and the court. Today the health care reform decision, and on Monday it was the trashing of Arizona's immigration law. Mr. Roberts then, as well, sided with the Administration.

It's estimated that the individual penalty/tax on peeps who don't pay for health insurance will bring in $34 billion in federal revenues between 2015 and 2021. The IRS will collect it - although for those who don't pay taxes, how do you really enforce it?

And Republicans were quick to blast the ruling - and their once-golden boy the Chief Justice - by saying that the President always said this wasn't a tax, but the ruling clearly said it was a tax. (Mr. Roberts, in fact, argued that the court can't prohibit Congress from imposing taxes, even though the court might not agree with the tax.)

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney said that what the court didn't do on its last day of its term will be first thing he does in his term as President - eliminate "Obamacare." In fact, Mr. Romney mentioned the word "Obamacare" 18 times in his brief statement. The one word he didn't mention? "Mandate." That's because he ordered a similar personal mandate for health care coverage when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

Glass houses and all.

I'm just sayin'.

There are, of course, lots of things in the reform that are worthy - and acknowledged by both sides. Like not turning someone down for health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions. And kids being able to stay on their parents' health care coverage till they're 26.

And there was a bit of a dust-up in the initial coverage of the decision. CNN and Fox both jumped the gun and incorrectly reported that the court had ruled against the mandate. That's because Roberts' initial statement said that the individual mandate was not a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause.

But had they waited a minute, they would have heard him say it was valid under Congress' ability to impose a tax.

Better to be right than first.

I'm just sayin'.

Tonight at 11, we'll have complete coverage and reaction to this historic decision.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join us, tonight at 11.

One more note: I'll be off tomorrow, so this blog will resume on Monday. Have a great weekend.

BILL RITTER

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