By State Representative, Leon D. Young
This week, the United States Supreme Court stands on the precipice of rendering a historic landmark decision when it weighs in on President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation since taking office – the Affordable Health Care Act. The decision, regardless of the outcome, will have a definite impact on the presidential election this November.
Trying to predict, with any degree of certainty, how this court may rule is a difficult (and risky) proposition to say the least. However, it is always interesting to wager an “educated guess” as to the eventual outcome — based on the current make-up of this conservative court.
The Conservative Right has been in a political uproar over the president’s universal health care plan, which they disparagingly refer to as Obamacare. The GOP has called the plan “socialism” and Un-American. However, this characterization is utterly false and nothing more than sheer political hyperbole.
Two key elements of Obama’s health care law have conservative roots: insurance exchanges and the so-called individual mandate. The mandate requiring individuals to have insurance was first proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation, and later embraced by several Republicans (including presidential hopeful Mitt Romney) as a counter to President Bill Clinton’s proposal in the 1990s.
This begs the question: How does an initiative with conservative underpinnings and modeled after a health care law championed by Mitt Romney (the current Republican standard- bearer), when he was governor of Massachusetts, is now being demonized as Bolshevik?
Rest assured that Republicans intend to use this ongoing policy debate to their political advantage. They are currently running a heavy media campaign attacking the president’s universal health care approach. Moreover, they will excoriate him, if (and when) the High Court rules against him.
If I were a betting man, which I am, I predict that the Roberts’ Court will ultimately rule that the Affordable Health Care Act is unconstitutional. After all, this is the same court that ushered in the now infamous Citizens United decision, which has opened a Pandora’s box – and unleashed the darker side of electoral politics.