Friday, June 26, 2020


These people are monsters.
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.

In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the administration joined Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate.

The administration’s argument, coming in the thick of an election season — as well as a pandemic that has devastated the economy and left millions of unemployed Americans without health coverage — is sure to reignite Washington’s bitter political debate over health care.
This seems like terrible politics at this moment -- but of course the president's reelection strategy is "please the base and no one but the base." I don't think the administration was required to file any kind of brief in this case -- the Trumpers wanted to go on record in opposition to Obamacare.

You may be thinking, Surely they won't throw millions of people off their healthcare coverage just before an election -- especially now.
According to the Thursday report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 487,000 Americans took advantage of the special enrollment period on after losing their healthcare plans, likely among the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic. The numbers mark a 46 percent increase from enrollments in April and May 2019.
But remember that this case won't be decided before the election, as Reuters noted a few months ago.
The court is expected to hear arguments and decide the case in its next term, which starts in October and ends in June, meaning a ruling is not likely before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second term in office.
Recent woke-ish rulings from the Court haven't persuaded me that it's moderating. The Court's majority agrees on one thing above all: making life better and better for plutocrats, either directly or by tinkering with our voting systems in order to elect more Republicans (who also have the same prime directive). Large corporations are comfortable with immigrants and LGBT people these days; the recent non-conservative rulings don't conflict with the main reason the GOP Five are on the bench.

The Supremes decided a while back not to hear the Obamacare case on an expedited basis because the GOP majority didn't want to motivate the Democratic base with a ruling striking down Obamacare before the election, or demotivate the Republican base with a ruling upholding it.

But after the election, all bets are off. I worry that it might be an ideal time to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

I think it depends on the makeup of the Senate next year. The last time I wrote about this, it seemed likely that the Senate would either stay Republican or be barely Democratic, with Joe Manchin as the swing vote. Under those circumstances, it seemed highly unlikely that the Senate could pass Medicare for All, and that an incrementalist alternative to Obamacare wouldn't even be allowed to be as good as Obamacare, according to the Supreme Court. It seemed likely that the Court would drop this ruling as a flaming turd on the new president's doorstep, just as his term was beginning, on the assumption that healthcare coverage would get worse on his watch and he'd be blamed. Win-win for the corporatist sociopaths: They pay less in taxes for health coverage and Democrats suffer at the ballot box in 2022 and possibly 2024.

But a new Senate with a larger Democratic majority -- which now seems possible -- might give the GOP Five pause. If the new Senate eliminates the filibuster, a very progressive alternative to Obamacare might be possible. In that case, the Supremes and their corporate overlords might want to preserve the status quo, out of fear of a possible alternative.

Could a Senate with new Democrats from states like North Carolina and Montana actually pass a progressive healthcare bill? I have my doubts, but the Supremes might have more faith in Democrats' ability to make real change than I do.

If it's a Republican Senate along with President Biden and a Democratic House, I think the ACA is going down. The same is true if Trump wins reelection -- a Trump victory after the year he's had will be proof that Republicans can do whatever they want because they're electorally bulletproof (or have been made so by gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and funny business on tne part of the Barr Justice Department, Facebook, foreign saboteurs, and local Republican election supervisors).

So we need a Democratic sweep to at least save the ACA. Vote the party line in November.

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