Home > Employee Benefits > Winning the battle but losing the war on Health Reform at the SJC

Winning the battle but losing the war on Health Reform at the SJC

Forget the polls, the price of a gallon of gas, or even the unemployment rate; November’s Presidential election will be decided over the next few months inside the Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of the constitutionality of ObamaCare. The results of this decision may not have the desired impact the two opposing sides are hoping for. Victory will be short-lived, as the loser mobilizes to change the course of Health Reform and history at the polls.

We all remember the jubilation of the anti-health reform voices, as Senator Scott Brown, a virtual unknown months earlier, was swept in to office from a tidal wave of an anxious minority. This group was mobilized at a national level, to change the balance of Democratic power in Washington, to change the course of health reform. Without this one issue at stake, the Massachusetts Senate race would never have received the national attention, money, and influence from no less than the President himself. Once Senator Brown was sworn in, a process was then put in to motion from the left, a process known as reconciliation, that was barely whispered as an option, until the unthinkable, a Republican taking Ted Kennedy’s seat, and vote away from the President. Desperate, the President played his only card, the nuclear option, of passing Healthcare reform with only 51 votes in the Senate vs the 60 required, through the political slight of hand, reconciliation.
Opponents of ObamaCare have been waiting for this SJC ruling. They envision a victory in June that will unring the bell, dismantle the law, and take us back to a time when Government didn’t have the authority and control over our national healthcare system. It will not happen. With the current make up of the SJC, they will never vote to dismantle the most significant piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years, over the individual mandate. If the employee mandate is found to be unconstitutional, there is no doubt it will be severed from the rest of the all-encompassing law; a clear loss to the anti Obamacare crowd.

The defeated minority will once again mobilize. The last hope against reform is the November election; the seats in the House, Senate and of course the Office of the President. We heard a lot three years ago about Obama’s mobilized base. It was a mandate, it got him elected. That enthusiasm has gone quiet. Today the Republicans are still infighting, but we all know Romney is the unenthusiastic best choice. So without a big blow from the SJC, a rallying cry from the right, Obama gets reelected. Nothing like a good loss in the SJC on Obamacare to pull them together and get out the vote.

About the Author

Christopher Nadeau is a Principal at William Gallagher Associates (WGA) and head of the Employee Benefits Group. Mr. Nadeau counsels his department to develop and redesign employee benefits programs to match the corporate philosophy, long-term needs and objectives of their clients. He is also an industry leader on Healthcare reform and the cost impact and administrative burden on employers.

617.646.0351 | CNadeau@wgains.com | Follow Chris @Chris_Nadeau

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