The great SCOTUS tease continues

It doesn’t happen often, but every once and awhile I accidentally hit the “Off” button on my alarm rather than snooze. Today was one of those days. It also happened to be the last (scheduled) day for the release of rulings from this term of the Supreme Court. So imagine my panic at seeing 10:06 a.m. on the clock, having meant to wake at 8:30, racing to the computer to bring up SCOTUSblog. Ruling after (not so) insignificant ruling is passed down but alas, no decision in Florida v Department of Health and Human Services.

Alright, melodrama aside, the SCOTUS ruling on the Affordable Care Act will most likely come Thursday. The fireworks (or drinking) starts at 10 a.m. – I highly recommend the live blog of opinion releases from the aforementioned SCOTUSblog. Until then here are some choice links in no particular order of importance:

  • Ezra has a rundown of facts concerning the Affordable Care Act:

1. By 2022, the Congressional Budget Office estimates (pdf) the Affordable Care Act will have extended coverage to 33 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured. Here’s the graph:

  • Sabrina Tavernise reports on the stakes involved with those that have pre-existing health conditions. Most GOP politicians have professed their support for policies that give these people access to health insurance, though such support is entirely void of details:

It is people like Eric Richter and his wife, Dani — uninsured and living in the unstable space between poverty and the middle class — that the law was intended to help. They earned too much to qualify for government-sponsored health care, but worked in jobs that did not come with health benefits.

  • Johnathan Cohn reminds everyone that this case affects real people with real problems:

Do you care how the Supreme Court rules on health care reform this week? I don’t mean in the political sense. I mean in the personal sense—because the law’s fate is a very personal matter for many millions of Americans.

They’re the Americans who have diabetes and Crohn’s disease, cancer and hay fever. They’re the Americans who don’t have access to health benefits and the Americans who have access to health benefits but can’t afford to pay for them. There are a lot of these people, more perhaps than you realize—at least tens of millions and perhaps more than a hundred million, depending on how you want to define the categories. If by now you’re thinking, gee, maybe I could end up becoming one of those people, you’re right. Death and taxes aren’t the only certain things in life. Accident, illness, and injury are too. They’ve plunged the lives of plenty of Americans, even those who thought they had good insurance, into financial and physical chaos.

The Affordable Care Act won’t help all of these people. But it will help an awful lot of them. […]

  • James Fallows puts the impending decision in chilling, though level-headed, perspective:

Pick a country and describe a sequence in which:

  • First, the presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms.
  • Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology.
  • Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them.
  • Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts.
  • And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.

How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?

I would describe it as utterly deflating.


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