Why the Healthcare Battle is Far from Over
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare reform law is redefining the race for the White House.
The day after the ruling, conservatives say the court's decision will awaken a sleeping giant once again -- the American voter.
Some Democrats seem to feel that after the high court's ruling, health care reform is a done deal and that no changes to the law will be necessary.
But Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, one of the main architects of the law, says he's ready to work with Republicans to make changes to the legislation.
"I've often said that the Affordable Care Act is not like the Ten Commandments, chiseled in stone," he said. "It's like a starter home, suitable for improvement. So I call on Republicans to join us in making sensible refinements."
Leading Republicans see the matter differently -- they want to get rid of the law.
"I've scheduled a vote for total repeal of the 'Obamacare' bill to occur on Wednesday, July 11," GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.
The fact that Republicans, including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, are promising to repeal the law could easily fire up the president's liberal base.
And what's sure to make Obamacare a huge campaign issue is the court's ruling that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance can survive as a tax -- something that's certain to energize opponents of big government.
"The law weighs in at almost $2 trillion, $800 billion of taxes, family of four premiums up $2,200. The Affordable Care Act has not proven so affordable," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said.
Opponents are already reminding people the president himself repeatedly insisted the individual mandate involved no new taxes.
"Even though Obama said over and over and over that this was not a tax, it actually is a tax, and therefore it stands," Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, said.
Critics also blast the high court for freezing in place Obamacare mandates that will force millions of Americans to fund others' abortions and pay for abortion-inducing drugs, even if it violates their religious beliefs.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said it's as if the justices are saying "it's okay for them to violate people's freedom of religion, and say 'you cannot practice this part of your religion. We have spoken, and therefore it is law.'"
Although up to two thirds of the public opposes either Obamacare or the individual mandate, it's now clear that change won't come from the courts.
Consequently, the battle over the healthcare law now moves to the political arena. And the American people may well have the final say with their votes this November.