Administration looking for ways to implement ObamaCare
Preparing for defeat at the Supreme Court over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the Obama Administration is looking at how they can implement parts of the law if only the individual mandate is struck down:
[T]he Obama administration will move ahead to implement major elements of the law if the individual coverage requirement is struck down, two senior Democrats told The Associated Press. One is a leading Democrat familiar with the administration’s thinking, the other a high-level Capitol Hill staffer. The two Democrats spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid appearing to be out of step with the administration’s public stance.
Because the law’s main coverage expansion does not begin until 2014, there would be time to try to fix serious problems that losing the individual coverage requirement may cause for the health insurance industry.
Surviving parts of the law would “absolutely” move ahead, said the congressional official. A Congress mired in partisan trench warfare would be unable to repeal or amend what’s left of the law, allowing the administration to advance. Much of the money for covering the uninsured was already provided in the law itself.
“Legislatively we can’t do a thing, and we are going to move full speed ahead (with implementation),” the official said.
Other Democrats want the entire law tossed, but not because they believe it’s unconstitutional. Speaking recently at a leftist conference, Howard Dean endorsed parts of the law, but said that he doesn’t “give a damn about the individual mandate.” However, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), chairman of the House Progressive Caucus, said that he hopes the law is overturned so that Democrats can pursue a single-payer health care system.
That was the goal of many far-left Democrats in Congress during the health care debate at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s term. The White House pushed for a so-called “public option,” but it turned out to be a political non-starter in Congress, despite Democrats having a 60-vote majority in the Senate and sizable numbers in the House. The atmosphere is even worse now given that Republicans hold the House, and will very likely keep it. There is also a good chance that they’ll take control of the Senate next year.
Some are wondering if a loss at the Supreme Court could turn out to be a political winner for Obama. Polls would indicate that this scenario is highly unlikely, but the White House may try to spin results of the case, making ObamaCare out to be the victim of a partisan divide on the nation’s High Court. That’s already happening to an extent, note Juan Williams’ op-ed at The Hill, but the Supreme Court could very well find itself at the forefront of a national election in the coming months.