Now that we know the Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning health care reform and the individual mandate that is part of it, I have to say that whichever way they rule, we win in the end. Let’s take a look at the decision of the Obama administration to allow for the fast tracking of this case to the Supreme Court. It is my understanding that had the administration wanted, they could have appealed the decision and delayed the case going to the Supreme Court until after the 2012 elections. So why let it skip the appeal process and go before the courts. Well, not trying to be a cynic but let’s take a few scenarios and see how they play out.
Appeal the decision and delay until after 2012 elections. The democrats suffered a very solid thrashing in the mid-term elections and much was attributed to health care reform and the tea party’s mobilization against it. If the case was not heard by the Supreme Court until after the 2012 election, would the democrats find themselves being beaten badly again as conservatives would go to the polls in large numbers with the hope of legislation to repeal health care reform. If the republican base were to be mobilized against health care reform, there might have been those in the administration who felt that not only might they lose the White House, but possibly both the House and Senate. This would be disastrous to the party and legislation would most likely be introduced to repeal the law anyway. Obviously, this scenario was not to their liking.
Allow the Supreme Court to hear the case and make a ruling in favor of health care reform. This would permit the Obama administration to hang their hat on a piece of legislation that would be history making. Every administration wants to be remembered for something they have done, a legacy, and health care reform is that piece of legislation for Obama. Unfortunately, it again will mobilize the conservative base to go to the ballot box in much the same way that scenario 1 would. With much of the same outcomes in the end, Republicans gaining control in all three areas, White House, Senate, and House. Again the possibility of repeal from legislation is possible but with Supreme Court ruling in favor, possible that some parts of legislation might prevail. This scenario would be preferable but comes with much risk.
Allow the Supreme Court to hear the case and make a ruling against the law. This would give the liberal base something to rally around and drive them to the ballot box. The Democrats could encourage their base to help them correct the law to make it constitutional and even though Obama would lose his core piece of legislation, if enough gains could be made in the house, they would re-introduce or introduce legislation to bring parts of the current law back into play. It would also permit them to rally the troops to try for single-payer type system since the “evil corporate insurance carriers) were behind the demise of health care reform. To me, this is really the outcome that the administration is hoping for. They know that certain parts of PPACA are flawed and could be improved and since implementation has already started, it may be easier to have legislation pass that keeps the good parts of reform and discards the bad parts. The ballot box is the end game for any politician and the most effective way to keep and regain power is to find something your base will rally around.
Again, I am not trying to sound cynical but facts are facts and if first and foremost it is my desire to be re-elected, it might make sense to send the case to the Supreme Court, hope that it is found unconstitutional and drive my base to keep me in office for another four years. OK, I am trying to sound cynical. I would be interesting in your thoughts, whether you agree, disagree, or just think I am crazy.