What’s at stake with the Supreme Court review of ObamaCare?

Tevi Troy‘s latest Commentary article offers a good overview of the decision the U.S. Supreme Court will have to make in reference to ObamaCare. Troy identifies four possible outcomes: Justices will uphold the law, strike down the law, invalidate the individual mandate and/or the Medicaid expansion while leaving the rest of the law intact, or punt until 2015.

Of option No. 1, Troy offers the following sobering thoughts:

[A] Supreme Court win for the Obama health-care law would have a ripple effect that goes beyond the health-policy realm and touches on the question of the unprecedented reach of the federal government. The current Supreme Court is generally called a conservative one, at least by the standards of mainstream media and Washington elites. Yet if even this Supreme Court agrees that an individual mandate is constitutional, the Commerce Clause will have been fundamentally breached, and Congress will be able to act almost without limit.

It is clear, then, that a straight-up victory for the Obama health law would be a devastating blow to the prospect of creating an alternative to our inefficient and costly health-care system — one that is consumer-oriented, doctor-focused, innovation-driven, and market-based. It would also become much less likely for the courts to rein in future policy excesses in almost any sector of the economy. For the Obama administration, this is the best-case scenario, and it is a chilling one for advocates of limited government and free markets.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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