It’s going to be a busy week for the courts and the PPACA. Today, a Virginia federal judge will rule on whether the law is unconstitutional. Later in the week, another federal judge will hear arguments on a similar care in Florida.
The press will likely have a field day. There will be pundits and pontificating and lots of breathless exclamation. But I bet at the end of the week, nothing will have changed.
No matter what happens, there’s no way this won’t be appealed to the Supreme Court. So the questions won’t be answered today. If the judges rule the mandate is unconstituitonal, that still won’t be the final word.
Even if they do rule it unconstitutional, it’s unlikely they will place an injunction on the law. The mandate doesn’t kick in until 2014, so there’s no reason to rush. Especially since the decision will be appealed.
Even if the mandate is ultimately found unconstitutional, that doesn’t mean the whole law will be thrown out. See this post.
But let’s say it is. Let’s say in 2014, that the law is about to go away. There is no reason that we won’t see a repeat of the last few months, but in reverse. Every Republican who spun the expiration of the President Bush’s tax breaks as “raising taxes” will have to face Democrats who will spin the loss of PPACA as “they’re taking your health insurance away”. Imagine the commercials: your subsidies are being taken away; your donut hole rebates are being taken away; your doctors will be paid less; your copays will go up; your kids are going to be kicked off your plan; you will be denied insurance if you get sick; you will now face lifetime limits; your insurance costs are going up because you got sick; your Medicaid is being taken away…
And so on. It will be very hard to take all that away and remain popular. The American people might not like how the sausage is made, but they do love their pork.
So my advice to you is to pay as little attention as possible to this week’s rulings, no matter which way they go. I doubt many will listen to me.