How would a ruling against the health care law affect President Obama’s political standing?

The U.S. Supreme Court continues to hear arguments about the Affordable Care Act. Today’s Question: How would a ruling against the health care law affect President Obama’s political standing?

  • Clark

    Hopefully a loss for obama and other far left out of touch democrats in November.

    We have a unsustainable spending problem that high taxes will not correct.

    Obamacare will make it worse by adding another entitlement for the moochers.

    Worst president in 100 years. He lied about keeping your employer health care coverage lefties. Economics will force employers to terminate coverage so your dependant on the feds. Then we can all be moochers together.

  • I have a question of my own: when will MPR stop soliciting uninformed opinions from Internet trolls? These daily questions add little value to the public debate and just give me another reason to get angry each morning when I check my news feeds.

  • Emery

    It is ironic that conservatives spent years arguing for health-care policy they now claim to be illegal.

    The Affordable Care Act was based on two decades of Republican thinking about health care. The basic structure was first proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1989, first written into a bill by Senate Republicans in 1993, and first passed into law by a Republican governor by the name of Mitt Romney in 2005.

    About 2008, Democrats decided they could live with a system based on private health insurers, federal subsidies and an individual mandate as long as it produced universal coverage. A year later, Republicans decided they couldn’t live with such a system, at least not if a Democratic president was proposing it.

  • Faedrus

    I’m still trying to figure out why mandated health insurance was a good idea when the Heritage Foundation came up with it, but a bad idea when Obama implemented it.

  • Allison

    Because the Heritage Foundation are RINOs, Faedrus. Try to keep up.

  • Camil

    On one hand if the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, those who oppose the ‘ACA’ will call the ruling a form of judicial activism.

    On the other hand. If the ACA is repealed by the next president or rejected by the Supreme Court, Democrats will probably retrench, pursuing a strategy to expand Medicare and Medicaid on the way toward a single-payer system. That approach has, for them, two advantages that will loom quite large after the experience of the Affordable Care Act: It can be passed with 51 votes in the Senate through the budget reconciliation process, and it’s indisputably constitutional.

  • Larry M.

    I really don’t think there is a definitive effect especially if only parts of it are struck down. There are many things in the bill that people like, some of them have already taken effect. If the whole bill is thrown out, that might actually work against the republicans, especially when it comes to women. Part of the Affordable Health Care Act is that being a woman can not be considered a pre-existing condition and be charged more for their health insurance than men. Combine that with the republican’s recent attack on women’s health and birth control, that the Affordable Health Care Act would provide, there may a backlash against republican sexism and bigotry.

  • Gary F

    Either way, be ready to rehash the whole passage of this bill again.

    Obama’s “transparency” or lack of it. Pelosi’s “we need to vote on this bill to find out what’s in it”. Obama telling us that the GAO says this bill was paid for, (and wasn’t).

    Be prepared to show the ugly side of passing this bill. It already cost a lot of Dem’s their job in 2010. We’ll see in 2012.

  • david

    It wouldn’t change much in my eyes. What’s the alternative? One look at clark’s post shows the alternative is misinformation, doing nothing but letting the problem grow until it “self corrects”.. well self destructs and makes rich d-bags richer while everyone else gets a little poorer. If there was ever a viable alternative presented by the other side I would take a look at it. But instead we got lies like death panels. They lost my vote a while ago and would have to do a lot for me to ever consider them again.

  • Ross

    I’m not so certain about the political aspect of this question, although I am certain that there will be many here today that quite certain.

    What I am certain of is this. By the end of the week we will have witnessed a deeply serious and probably quite revealing conversation about the Constitution and what it might mean 225 years after it was written.

  • Gary F
  • Steve the Cynic

    To answer the question, it wouldn’t change Obama’s political standing in the least, because most folks have made up their minds and go looking for reasons to justify the opinions the want to have. The right wing decided before Obama took office that his administration was going to be a disaster and began declaring his a “failed presidency” before his policies had time to have any effect at all. Conservatives abandoned support for their own health care reform idea when the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress began to reluctantly accept it as the best they could get. Meanwhile, the fact that Republicans now hate the idea seems to be a good enough reason for Democrats to back it.

    I’m secretly hoping SCOTUS strikes down the individual mandate, because half measures like the ACA are the biggest obstacle to designing a rational system, like they have in Canada.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Gary F’s citation of “age discrimination” in the UK’s health care system is an example of what I’m talking about– looking for evidence to support the opinion one wants to have. At least in Britain they have citizen control of health care and can make rational changes when they find there are problems, without having to wait for “market forces” to produce a correction.

  • reggie

    I agree with Steve the C: the President’s standing is pretty well fixed. All sides have pretty firm (intractable?) notions of what they think (or don’t) of his performance.

    Hey Gary F: re your link at 8:01: this may come as a newsflash, but all elderly people eventually die. At some point we’re going to have to push ahead with a rational discussion about how we can learn to die with dignity, and stop spending tens of thousands of dollars to keep someone alive for a few more days or weeks. I can see that point from where I am, age-wise, and I hope I have the courage to help my kids understand that at a certain point enough is enough.

    (Complete sidebar discussion, but does anyone think it ridiculous that Dick Cheney — at his age and in his health — should have been given a costly heart transplant? Talk about a lack of rational rationing. Who do you think paid for that? We all did. (Well, not the 40+ million uninsured people, but everyone else.)

  • Jim G

    I have to agree with Steve the Cynic. A ruling for or against The Affordable Care Act will not affect Obama’s political fortune. In the end, Republicans who are fighting against their own conservative market based reform will still be Obama’s enemies. Democrats who preferred a single-payer system will have the board swept clean. They will back Obama and be energized by either an up or down verdict from the Supreme Court.

    What will still remain is the fact that our healthcare system is broken. Since 2000 the population has increased by 27 million, but according to U.S. Census Bureau data the number of policy holders fell — from 179.4 million in 2000 to 169.4 million in 2009. Without reform, only the richest will be able to access superlative care and new hearts when disease or incident strikes. For the rest of us, too bad, that’s the way free markets work.

  • JasonB

    I think it would depend on how the media and his supporters or critiques would choose to spin it. It could either be seen as an earnest and noble effort to solve a decades old dilemma, or a term defining flop. Depending on which side of the political spectrum one is entrenched most have already made up their minds.

  • Clark


    Misinformation?? Ok moron, here are the facts with obamacare. It cost my company $6,700 annually to insure a typical employee. If we decide to drop coverage, we pay a $2,000 penalty to the feds.. Where I was educated, that is a benefit of $4,500 per employee. Even if we split the difference we are adding to bottom line.

    Now, what happens to all those employees no longer covered? Many more than obama estimated are qualified for medicare with federal subsidies. Estimates are the numbers could be 50% higher than estimated by democrats.

    Bad for employees and very very bad for federal debt.

    So moron, next time, present facts. Reason I still believe most democrats are uneducated morons.

  • david

    Clark if I cared what you thought I would ask you you stupid internet troll. So here goes. Prove it! You spouted “facts” now back it up. You’re company is so poorly run that they are willing to loose all their valuable employees by getting rid of their healthcare to save a few bucks? If you are this supposedly “highly educated cpa/mba” as you’ve posted in your previous posts you don’t seem like a very good one. You have absolutely NO grasp on modern economics. All you do is post at the crack of dawn every morning the same tired old anti-Obama, anti-democrat rhetoric. Now how about you either post something useful and insightful for the class or go back to your push broom or what ever it is you really do. Your post is a huge logical fallacy. By your logic your company should pay their employees minimum wage and offer no benefits if they are going to drop their insurance. That would be the biggest addition to the bottom line. Make more sense to me, or else your point is moot. So call me a moron, and keep posting and we’ll see who the moron really is.

  • Gary F

    No one still have fully explained to me why McDonalds and big labor unions and lots of companies in Nancy Pelosi’s district all got waivers from Obamacare!

    OVER 1200!

    How do you selectively exempt someone from a law after its been past?

    Clark, your company get a wavier?

  • Gary F

    “You have absolutely NO grasp on modern economics”

    That’s funny.

  • Gary F

    What next? Make them buy a Chevy Volt?

    It’s for their own good. Right?

  • You can come up with all sorts of rationals to make Obamacare constitutional but in the end it all comes back to this question: Does the federal government have the power to force every individual to purchase a product against their will? If the answer is yes then we essencially lose any limits on federal power…all you have to do is justify any law as for the greater good and it would be constitutional. Once we are paying for healthcare for everyone (through a forced mandate) we could easily justify forcing individuals to exercise or eat vegetables since those activities would have an impact on the healthcare system as a whole. Those types of laws would have to be constitutional if ACA (Obamacare) is found to be constitutional, I just hope people take a good look at this issue outside of their politcal viewpoint. Imagine a law that would force you to buy a gun against your will (which you could justify by suggesting a reduction in police and military spending with armed citizens) or pay a tax penalty. Would that be constitutional? How is that law different than the healthcare law? After all we all at some point will use police or military resources (when police arrest a criminal you get a benefit of keeping that person off the street to hurt you and the military is supposed to keep all of us safe). If you think Obamacare is constitutional then please enlighten us on the limits of the federal government or do you believe that any law that is for the greater good can force anyone to do anything?

  • Mark in Freeborn

    I don’t quite understand why it’s Obama’s health care law, when it was Congress that passed it. Yet, like anything else that happens while Obama is President….it’s easy to blame (or credit) him, depending on one’s political point of view.

  • I think if the SCOTUS strikes it down, it will help Obama’s re-election chances. It would be played that he tried to deliver healthcare reform but he’ll need another term to try again. And I think there is a good chance this would energize his base.

    In other words, this law getting struck down won’t be the victory the right thinks it will be.

  • A ruling against the healthcare law will definitely hurt Obama. The idea that the president’s signature piece of legislation and his greatest accomplishment in office so far is unconstitutional would be very harmful to his re-election campaign. Many people will have now have the idea that Obama is pushing the limits of federal government power to accomplish his agenda and they will be right since the most important bill he signed was declared unconstitutional. Can you imagine the campaign commercials? Won’t that simply encourage those on the right since they were proved right on the unconstitutionality of the healthcare law? I think the political commentator on at noon was definitely wrong on that point…when people are proved wrong do they end up yelling louder or do they shrink away from the conversation? Generally people shrink away when directly proved wrong…a small minority will yell louder but since they cannot get something like single payer passed (which would be the only major government change that would be constitutional if the mandate is unconstitutional) they won’t add up to much significance. Although Obamacare being declared constitutional could motivate the right since more people are against Obamacare than actually support it; the only way to get rid of it at that point is to basically win the next presidential election…once it goes into effect, with Obama at the helm for another 4 years and it is constitutional nothing will be able to stop it 5 or 6 years down the road.

  • Denny

    This is the same court that gave us the 8 year nightmare know as George W. Bush. They will rule on purely partisan basis. Your question should be “how will this purely partisan decision by Kennedy, Scalia & the partisan gang of 5 forever change and tarnish once again the reputation of the Nation’s highest court”. What a joke !

  • @Jefferson – how is it going to help Mitt Romney? The right is going to rush out and vote for a guy who gave the same reform to Massachusetts? There is a serious, serious enthusiasm gap on the right. No one is excited to vote for Romney. On the other hand, an overturn would rally the left to re-elect Obama because he was “thwarted” in his attempt to reform the system.

    No don’t get me wrong – I think this law is unconstitutional, but I don’t think the SCOTUS overturning it will generate excitement on the right for a candidate for whom the majority of the GOP is unenthusiastic.

  • EAL

    Actually it will not. I liken this to a statement made by Tavis Smiley, the premier Black media host. Paraphrasing Mr. Smiley’s comments. People were so enthralled with the then candidate Obama, a potential for the first Black President or the massess, especially the general media was so intiminated with being labeled racist if questions were too tough, that his supportors would not deviate from their committment. In 2012, not too much has changed.

  • Tammy

    It should increase his re-electability in that it shows how obstructionistic (after all, it was originally a Republican concept) the other party is willing to be in order to discredit Obama.

    Additionally, if the Supreme Court decides against it (a move which involves principles that no court has used since 1936) it will clearly show that it was a partisan decision.

  • Drae – [@Jefferson – how is it going to help Mitt Romney? The right is going to rush out and vote for a guy who gave the same reform to Massachusetts? There is a serious, serious enthusiasm gap on the right. No one is excited to vote for Romney. On the other hand, an overturn would rally the left to re-elect Obama because he was “thwarted” in his attempt to reform the system.

    No don’t get me wrong – I think this law is unconstitutional, but I don’t think the SCOTUS overturning it will generate excitement on the right for a candidate for whom the majority of the GOP is unenthusiastic.] *** Good point about many conservatives not being excited about Romney but the anti-Obama sentiment is quite strong. I think many conservatives will be at ease since Romney passed a similar law in Massachusetts, so they won’t have to depend on him to repeal it (the Supreme Court will do that for him). Plus it puts a great talking point about Federalism on the table, how this type of law is well within a state’s right to enact but on a federal level it is unconstitutional, which is Romney’s take on the issue. Also, think about those campaign commercials about our president and how he attempted to pass an unconstitutional mandate upon the entire US population (which would be true and could scare a large group of Americans to voting booth). Obama would have a much tougher task…he has very little chance (nearly impossible) to get a single payer healthcare law passed (even if Democrats take the house the Senate will almost certainly go to the Republicans since most of the Senate seats up for election in 2012 are Democrat held and many of those Democrat incumbents are not going back for re-election). I just think this issue will end up being a lose-lose for Obama since most Americans are against the mandate (therefore the healthcare law in general).

  • Clark


    Present facts not your left wing lies. You have said nothing in your post other than confirm you are an economic moron. Is your ultimate goal to stiffle free speech as well?

    I just heard the french fry buzzer, breaks over, back to your McDonalds job?

  • Denny said: “This is the same court that gave us the 8 year nightmare know as George W. Bush.”

    Uh, no. This is not the same SCOTUS that decided Bush v. Gore. Actually, four of the justices that decided that case have retired or passed away. GWB and Obama have each placed two new justices on the court.

    But, anyone can see from your comment that you are as partisan as those you’re trying to condemn.

  • @Jefferson – But the anti-Obama sentiment in 2008 wasn’t enough to help John McCain, another republican for whom the majority of the GOP wasn’t enthusiastic. Voting against Obama isn’t the same as voting for Romney.

    Additionally, the SCOTUS overturning the healthcare law takes a big motivation to vote for the GOP candidate away since we wouldn’t need that person to overturn the law.

    I just don’t think the SCOTUS overturning this law will lead to huge GOP victories. It might, in fact, undermine Romney’s chances, which I think are already extremely slim. He is, after all, the GOP’s answer to John Kerry. But, time will tell.

  • Steve the Cynic

    A word to the wise: When you call someone a moron, you give them the impression you are one yourself.

  • Steve the Cynic

    And as for that oft repeated factoid, “More people oppose Obamacare than are for it,” it’s only true if you include among its opponents those who don’t think it went nearly far enough.

  • Steve the Cynic – [And as for that oft repeated factoid, “More people oppose Obamacare than are for it,” it’s only true if you include among its opponents those who don’t think it went nearly far enough.] *** I’m just give you the results from a CNN poll from 2-3 days ago. It stated that 50% generally opposed the law, 43% generally favored the law and 7% were unsure…you can attack the poll all you want but lets be honest here CNN is as moderate as you can get for a news station and does a decent job with polls.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Sure, but that 50% includes folks like me who opposed the law because we wanted single payer, or at least a public option. It’s disingenuous to take that statistic and say, as the Republicans keep trying to do, that 50% (or whatever the latest poll says) agree with them about how awful Obamacare is.

  • David

    If this historic act is disembowelled by the conservative faction of the Supreme Court, it will go down in history as the straw that finally broke the back of the Grand Old Party. As an independent voter, I will never cast my vote for a fear-mongering, right-wing Republican candidate for any poltical office.

  • Virginia Martin

    Room 34: These are the voters in America. If they don’t meet with your approval or opinion, so be it. Don’t read it if you don’t like it.

  • Virginia Martin


    I guess most of us are moochers. What programs would you get rid of? Social Security? Oh, good idea, and put hundreds of thousands of older people on the streets. We can have periodic trips by wagons calling, “Bring out your dead.” Or maybe Medicare and Medicaid. That will get rid of a lot of us much faster.

    How about the million dollar subsidies our govt. gives to oil and gas industries, who are getting richer faster than ever. Or hedge fund operators who get a real deal.

    Or maybe you’d like to see your roads and bridges erode and break down–did in Minnesota, and I hold Gov, pawlenty and his lt. gov. responsible for the deaths and injuries. I guess we;re soon going to scale back the postal service so you won’t get your mail very often, or in a day or two. That’s because the republicans forced the postal service to set aside benefits for postal workers for 75 YEARS! So it’s broke.

    Or the courts–well, maybe we should defund the courts since some, at least the SC–is doing such a miserable job, unless you want to see ALEC legislation rule this country.

    Almost forgot, police and fire. If you’re rich enough you can have your own police force. We could always go back to the old custom of paying the fire department money and posting that contract number on a fence or house so the firemen would know they can put out the fire.

    Crappy reasoning from crappy sources.