I was particularly pleased to see that at the center of the Court's decision is something I've written about -- that though the one passage in question was slightly ambiguous, there were several other passages in the law that showed clearly its intent. And that was at the heart of the majority opinion.
This decision is notable for a couple reasons. The first is that the decision didn't squeak through, 5-4, but rather passed by a more substantive margin of 6-3, and the majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. Not that the margin had to be "more substantive" or that the Chief Justice had to write the majority opinion. But it's just a further indication of how much firmer the ground under the ACA is becoming.
Which leads to the second notable point: this is the second challenge to the Affordable Care Act and both have passed approval by the Supreme Court. So, although there will always be people complaining about the law -- and most any law -- the complaints hold far less weight for those claiming that the ACA is supposedly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court, which determines whether something is constitutional or not, has now said, "Yes, it is" -- and said so twice.
No doubt there will be those insisting that "The fight isn't over" and the GOP will still talk about repealing the law. But of course, talk is cheap, and often empty. The longer the Affordable Care Act is in operation, the more the public is shown to appreciate it and its benefits -- and the more it's shown how much money the ACA is actually, in very real numbers, saving.
Until the day comes when Republicans show they have an alternative to the Affordable Care Act -- and an alternative that is better -- these empty words are just not going to fly. Consider how we saw the groundswell of anger on the possibility that 8 million people might lose their coverage. Imagine now if EVERYONE thought the entire country would be long their coverage. I'm sure the "fight" isn't over -- just as I'm sure those fighting will be shooting themselves in their collective feet.
Long ago, I wrote about how the biggest mistake Republicans made was calling the Affordable Care Act not by its actual name, but instead "Obamacare." For a party that since the day of his inauguration met to try to diminish everything that President Obama would do, what they ended up doing here was firmly tying his name to what will likely be seen as his Administration's greatest accomplishment. And they not only gave it that name, but the name itself, "Obama" and "Care" forever clarify that very fact -- that Obama cares.
By the way, Republicans did have one victory from all this. If the section of the law had been overturned, intense focus would have been put on the GOP to come up with a way to address the hole it would have created. And as history has shown, they don't have an answer for that. So, voter outrage would likely have risen in 2016 against the Republican Party. As a result, though Republican politicians might be speaking publicly about their "disappointment," the reality is that they are also, in some regards, probably breathing a sigh of relief.
This is not the place for, once again..., defending the ACA and all its benefits, and contradicting complaints about costs. I've done that repeatedly on these pages, and further, and mostly, it's not my place to defend something that is the law of the land and has twice been upheld by the Supreme Court. The bottomline is that the Affordable Care Act remains the law.
I have no doubt, too, that the ACA will change, as all laws do over time. And having said that, my guess is that the biggest changes over time will not be cut backs, but rather ts expansion.