The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the mandate to purchase health insurance as a tax.
“As an exercise of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause,” writes the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso, “the individual mandate does not hold water. But under Congress’s taxing power, it is a legitimate provision.”
My quick analysis. Pyrrhic victory for Obama. He’ll have a few good days. Vote holding Eric Holder in contempt won’t get much media coverage. But, decision could prove to be political headache for the president. The court may have found the law constitutional, but it remains unpopular. Mitt Romney will be able to use this against him: the only way to repeal this law is to replace Obama.
So, if Obama celebrates the decision, he’ll be acknowledging that he broke this campaign promise:
Ann Althouse is more sanguine than are most conservatives, having “said repeatedly that Obama would be worse off if Obamacare were upheld, but what I’m really seeing is how bad it is for him with the mandate declared a tax.”
UP-UPDATE: From Ira Stoll, linked by Glenn above:
By calling the mandate a tax, the court made an official ruling that President Obama had violated his 2008 campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year. And the ruling also keeps ObamaCare alive as a political issue. A ruling that struck down the law might have energized Obama supporters. This ruling may make the law’s opponents even more determined to elect a Republican president and Congress so that they can repeal the law or, failing that, defund it.
UP–UP-UPDATE: “The Supreme Court,” quips Jim Geraghty, “just gave Mitt Romney a very, very useful line: ‘As President, I will repeal President Obama’s health care tax.’”
FROM THE COMMENTS: boatseller forecasts that “in about 4 weeks, liberal bloggers are going to start chattering about a conspiracy between Justice Roberts and the Romney campaign to uphold the law in order to hurt the President.” Heh.