Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is the Obamacare Fight Over? - 15 health care wonks weigh in.

The Supreme Court today upheld a key provision in the Affordable Care Act, ruling 6 to 3 in King v. Burwell to maintain federal subsidies for state exchanges. Politico Magazine asked leading thinkers in health care policy for their take on the future of the ACA and American health care. Is Obamacare here to stay? What will happen to the exchanges? And most important: Is the legal and political fight over?
Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation and former dean of Stanford Law School

That this case was even in the Supreme Court is an embarrassment for the Court—and a sign of how ideological and politicized the federal bench has become. That we had to wait with bated breath to see whether a majority of the Justices would uphold this ridiculous challenge is an even bigger embarrassment and worse sign. At no other time in U.S. history would a challenge this frivolous to a law of this significance have been close, even for Justices whose politics were opposed to those of the President and Congress that enacted the law.

6-3 is better than 5-4, and it’s certainly better than a result the other way. But something is deeply wrong when the nation has to sit on pins and needles to see whether a couple of lawyers will give their blessing to our most important laws. Cases like this underscore the deeply problematic nature of the role the Supreme Court has come to play in American society.

In celebrating that the Justices reached what was (to any fair minded person) an obvious result, we legitimize the idea that it is okay for them to play this role and so empower them to take over more and more of the space properly reserved for self government and democratic politics. The people who founded this nation did not fight and die to replace a monarchy with an oligarchy.

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