Here come the Republicans! The Supreme Court handed President Obama a win on the Affordable Care Act. They may have also handed Mitt Romney a win in November.
As Amy Howe of SCOTUSBlog typed live minutes after the opinion was handed down, "In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters."
That's great news for the president, but terrible news for his re-election campaign.
The battle over comprehensive health care for everyone in the country has been one of the most hotly debated issues of Obama's administration. He used up almost all of his political capital getting it passed, and most of his term defending it.
The law is particularly important to Latinos. Over 15 million Hispanics in the United States don't have medical insurance. That┐s almost one out of every three Hispanics living here. Almost twice as many Latinos under 65 are uninsured, compared to non-Hispanics in that age group.
And Latinos definitely care about health care. It's the number one issue for registered Hispanic voters, ahead of the economy, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday. It showed 21 percent of registered Hispanic voters ranked it first.
It makes sense. They benefit the most from ACA, according to the National Council of La Raza.
"In fact, Latinos have a lot more to gain with full implementation," Jennifer Ng┐andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project, NCLR wrote on the organization's website. "Estimates by the Urban Institute peg Latinos as the population that will see the single biggest jump in coverage, with more than 6 million Hispanic Americans across the country gaining health insurance. This is the highest increase for any racial or ethnic community and one that is desperately needed, as Latinos as a group have largely been cut off from the regular routes to coverage. And full implementation of the law is important not just because it will give more people access to health insurance, it will also make the health care experience better for those who have insurance. It's common sense. We all have something to gain when more Americans are able to participate more fully in health care."
But opponents of the law have been very effective in turning public opinion against the idea of providing affordable health insurance for everyone. As recently as Monday, 54 percent of Americans favor repeal of the law, compared to 39 percent against, according to a Rasmussen poll.
And some of the most vociferously opposed are conservatives. They support the Republicans who fought against it and, now, they support Mitt Romney.
One of them was listening at a raucous rally where Romney spoke in Virginia the day before the ruling.
"I think he gives hope to the people, and I think he really has some good ideas┐like we need to get rid of Obamacare," said Edna Chandler, the 69- year-old wife of a retired Navy physicist, told The Daily Beast. "We need to bring back jobs. He's done it before, and he┐ll know how to reduce the deficit."
Romney knew what they wanted to hear. Anticipating the Supreme Court's decision, he said:
"We're all waiting to see what the court will decide, [but] we already know it's bad policy and it's got to go," he said. "If the court upholds it -- if they say, 'Look, it passes as constitutional,' it still is bad policy, and that'll mean if I'm elected we're going to repeal it and replace it."
They cheered wildly.
Today, those same passionate supporters are going to be mad -- voting mad! They'll want to do something about it. And that means the court has just given Romney something it would otherwise take months of grassroots work to accomplish: a fervent crowd of voters ready to rush to the polls on Election Day to cast their vote for a guy who promises to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
So Obama won Thursday. So did Latinos. For now. November could be a whole different story.
Source: Terra/Carlos Harrison