Opinion: The Supreme Court battle of epic proportions!



Seth Cohen

Seth Cohen

Seth Cohen is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, has made its way to the Supreme Court in a matter of three days. The battle consisted of legal discussions on the constitutionality of the healthcare mandate. It doesn’t sound so epic when I put it into words, but, it’s on till the break of dawn!

Two years ago, President Obama signed a law called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It outlined expanding Medicaid programs in 2014 to include families earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line. The federal poverty line stands at about $14,000 a year for a single person according to the Act. As arguments dwindle down to each political party and political followers alike, you need to know the two tasks that make this battle seem reckless, dangerous and just all-out extreme.

The one and only Medicaid Expansion: The healthcare-for-the-poor program is voluntary and, of course, allows a person to make a choice; they just do it in fear of getting cut off from Washington. A similar example to this is how Reagan threatened states that refused to raise the drinking age to 21 with federal highway funds (Wisconsin and Illinois.)

Little known fact: The state of Illinois sued the state of Wisconsin to change the drinking age from 18 to 21 because many teenagers would drive to the border to drink and drive back intoxicated causing a rise in underage drinking and many deaths from driving accidents. Wisconsin eventually obliged.

Taxes: When or if the healthcare law officially goes into effect in 2014, states could be fined for not following its guidelines. Several states are arguing against these taxes as a part of the bigger picture, but according to the Anti-Injunction Act of 1867, you can’t sue based on a tax unless they’ve been forced to pay it already. I can hear the future protests already.

If the law is found outright as degrading to the country, the Court will go above and beyond and simply strike down the law. It’s unlikely that a decision would kill Obamacare, but it’s a possibility.

Arguments by U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. were considered a train wreck in the defense on the healthcare law. The Los Angeles Times said he made frequent pauses, awkward noises and took lengthy water breaks that weren’t too appealing to the nine judges.

Clearly, there’s a lot to be said and a lot that has been said for Obamacare; is it appropriate for our country to acquire such a law that can change the way we view first aid as a whole, or would it be a disaster equivalent to a country-wide nervous breakdown?

I don’t know if it’s the right call, but I know this: We’re a country that’s driven to find not only the right answer to issues, but the best answer, and the answer with the most rational point-of-view. If this law is passed and it’s able to save those who were less likely to be saved beforehand, then maybe it’s right for us. To some, it’s unconstitutional. To others, it’s the right law to have. To me, it’s something, and something is better than nothing.