Obamacare upheld: 4 political consequences
Now that the Supreme Court has found the law Constitutional, both party's bases will likely be re-energized.
By Wendy Simmons
The Supreme Court surprised many Americans Thursday by upholding President Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare." While the political fallout will be felt for the next five months, at least four things are immediately clear:
1) The Tea Party rises again
During the primaries, there was much GOP hand-wringing over whether Mitt Romney was acceptably conservative to the base. Primary voters that strongly identified with the Tea Party were particularly unhappy with Romney’s candidacy.
Thursday's decision ensures that the voters who chased after the non-Romneys from January through March are lukewarm no more. If the court had struck down the controversial law, the GOP would not have been able to run on the notion that it alone could deliver us from the tyranny of "socialized medicine."
Now that the law is deemed Constitutional, Republicans can rightly claim that electing them in November is the final hope for stopping Obama’s health care reform. The law will be fully implemented in 2014, after which most people agree it would be almost impossible to turn back. Romney himself summed up : "If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we have to get rid of President Obama."
2) Fundraising just got even easier for Romney
As if he needed any more money, Mitt Romney will be able to channel the anger over this ruling into campaign dollars. He already was beginning to out-raise Obama before Thursday's events, but expect the money to start flowing even more easily.
In fact, according to Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, he has already raised $2 million in the wake of Thursday's decision.
3) Re-energized Democratic base
While the very conservative wing of the GOP will fire up in response to this ruling, the Democratic base also might feel newly empowered.
During this election season, Democrats have trailed Republicans in expressing enthusiasm for their candidate. Just a few months ago, only 45% of Democrats said they were excited about voting for their candidate, compared with 53% of Republicans. There are a lot of reasons for the malaise, including the obviously weak economy and inflated expectations these voters had for Obama in 2008.
However, the very fact that the signature legislative achievement of Obama was in danger of being completely reversed, must have weighed on the minds of Democratic voters. Obamacare’s victory at the Supreme Court provides a shot in the arm to the Democratic base.
4) A newly potent tax narrative for Republicans
The most important part of the ruling was the support Chief Justice John Roberts gave to the idea of an individual mandate. If the court had ruled that this core aspect of the legislation was unconstitutional, it would have been impossible for the entire bill to be implemented as designed.
Although conservatives are furious with Roberts for not throwing the whole law out, he did manage to throw them a bone in re-defining the "penalty" part of the individual mandate as a "tax." While this might appear to be an insignificant semantic detail, the political narrative is clear. Now, Republicans can rightly claim that the Democrats are raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for Obamacare.
The president himself has been desperately trying to avoid calling the penalty a "tax." The Roberts decision clarified that Congress indeed has the right to tax its citizens. Imposing a new tax on the uninsured does not amount to coercion. Republicans will be able to hold up this new "tax" as potentially unlimited. For a party that holds "no new taxes" as its gold standard, this re-definition of the word "penalty" makes Obamacare all the more detestable to Republicans.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
More from InvestorPlace
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
[BRIEFING.COM] With 90 minutes of the session in the rear-view mirror, the major averages have erased the bulk of their losses. In fact, the Nasdaq has retraced its entire opening decline and now trades with a modest gain of 0.1%.
Even though the Nasdaq sports a modest gain, the technology sector trades in-line with the S&P 500, which hovers just below its flat line. Only one other cyclical group-energy-hovers in the red while consumer discretionary, financials, industrials, and ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|