The Supreme Court's rather inventive 5-4 decision upholding most of Obamacare will have many long-term consequences.
Chief Justice Roberts controlled the wording of the majority opinion by stunningly voting with the liberal majority. Apparently worried more about the appearance of being a leader than upholding Constitutional principles, as evidenced by his switching sides during the period of political threatening by the president, the Chief Justice did manage to — hopefully — undermine the future abuse of the interstate commerce clause to justify the federal takeover of everything.
However, and this is one huge “however,” while blasting the federal takeover through the commerce clause, he certified the federal takeover of one of largest segments of the economy and substituted a new way for Congress to raise taxes without calling it a tax.
Conservatives have long known that regulations are a “back door tax.” But in law, and of course the courts are about “law,” words have precise meanings. Regulations and taxes are not the same thing. Certainly the constitutional jurisdictional powers are substantially different.
If Congress has the taxing power to regulate those not even involved in the commerce but could be in the future, this new congressional power is even more extensive than the commerce clause (if that is possible).
Let's try this out on some local issues. If you have well water, can you be forced to pay for Aqua Indiana upgrades because you “might” use it? Should the Amish have to pay for burying power lines? (Tomorrow each Amishman could go English and become Mennonite.) It disconnects “user fee” taxes from the “users.”
Upon this fig leaf, the entire American population will be force-fed national health care. We are about to turn health care into a regulated system like the utility companies, before we nationalize it into a single payer system (inevitable under the rigged set-up, though a potentially delayed fuse unless changes accelerate the takeover).
Private utility companies do a decent job providing energy service and minimalist repairs guided by utility regulators that review pricing (which means de facto profit margin and expense decisions, which then limits return on investment which limits funds to invest). For example, in Fort Wayne right now, the hot idea is to have AEP bury power lines. My guess is that it has probably occurred to them before. But who is going to pay for it?
Health care exchanges will have private sector companies, fueled in the short term with new mandated customers, struggling not only under current mandated reforms but new ones every time Congress thinks of one. Meanwhile, the government already has begun implementing price alternative policies for the “uninsured” that are far below market costs.
If you think that won't result in more companies dropping health insurance, then — well — move to Canada.
I actually read and debated the health care bill since the Ed & Labor Committee wrote the base bill, and passed it first. Let me assure you: It is worse than you think.