The ACA: V for O's Victory

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At 10:00AM on Thursday morning, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare, if you prefer. King v. Burwell brought very high stakes for the Obama Administration, the Democrats, the Republicans, and the millions of Americans whose healthcare coverage is subsidized. King v. Burwell was the court case filed by conservative legal activists based on a drafting error consisting of this phrase: “an exchange established by the state.” Fortunately, SCOTUS liberally applied common sense and did the right thing. For President Obama, the V is for victory.
Courtesy of the major American political party which gave Americans Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, Obamacare is now a part of this nation’s social safety net. Every one of those was vilified by Republicans before, during, and after they became legislative achievements. Decades later, virtually all Americans – of all political leanings and socioeconomic levels – love Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Decades from now, the ACA will be loved and relied upon.
I’ll be as dignified about Thursday’s ruling as our President.
I’ve got to give the Grand Old Party an A+ for effort. They threw every conceivable obstacle at the ACA. 60 separate repeal votes in the House and the Senate. A flurry of injunctions filed by the Governors of various red states. Individual and class-action lawsuits. Two ACA-related lawsuits made it all the way to the Supreme Court, though both were upheld in favor of Obamacare. The 2012 presidential election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama was a referendum on Obamacare – and POTUS won easily. The GOP shutdown the government for 16 days in October, 2013 over Obamacare. Republicans tried to defund it. They spent untold millions of dollars demonizing it. Two years ago, conservatives were kind enough to stop saying “repeal and replace” because anyone/everyone with more than two functioning brain cells knew better. In five years, not one Republican has come forward with a credible replacement for Obamacare. Unless you consider a blank piece of paper credible.
Justice Roberts wrote, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them.” 
Thursday’s ACA ruling was a win-win-win scenario. 6.5 million American citizens who receive tax credits to help them pay for healthcare coverage for themselves and their families were victorious. The Democratic Party – which spent so much political capital in bringing the ACA to fruition – was also victorious. And believe it or not, the Republican Party was also victorious. Why, you ask? Because if SCOTUS had struck down the portion of the ACA which allowed for subsidies for those who qualify for them via their income, absolute chaos would have quickly ensued. Millions of Americans would have had their insurance ripped away from them. The Republican-led Congress would have been blamed, and rightfully so. This dysfunctional, gridlocked Congress – which cannot come together to pass anything these days – would suddenly have been tasked to come up with a fix for the very law many of its conservative members had spent years attempting to destroy. The internal fight within the GOP would have been long, brutal, and ugly between Republicans living in the real world politically and those living in a fantasy world. The dismantling of Obamacare could have been for Republicans what the 1965 Voting Rights Act was for Democrats – a generational nightmare.
President Obama will forever be the President who saved the American auto industry, brought Osama bin Laden to justice, ushered the American economy out of the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression, and lowered the percentage of uninsured Americans to its lowest level perhaps ever. His legacy is assured. Obamacare wasn’t just saved, it was also strengthened. Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s four liberals – Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer – in seeing to that. King v. Burwell was the final legitimate effort to derail Obamacare via the courts.
Many GOP leaders – including some 2016 Republican presidential candidates – vow to continue their efforts to repeal the ACA. Uh-huh. Good luck with that.
Justice Scalia wrote, “We should just start calling this law SCOTUScare.” SCOTUScare? I like it.
President Obama remarked Thursday: “After multiple challenges to this law in front of the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. As the dust has settled, there can be no doubt that this law is working. It has changed, and in some cases, saved, American lives. This is not an abstract thing anymore. This is not a set of political talking points. This is reality.” Agreed.
Next up, Medicaid expansion for all.
It’s time to move on, GOP. There’s nothing more to see here. The ACA is still the law of the land. You lost big. POTUS won big. Say it with me: V for victory.

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