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Supreme Court Affirms Obamacare Mandate

From The San Francisco Chronicle, June 29 2012:

What a relief. President Obama’s landmark health care law stands – a win for the White House and millions of uninsured Americans. But there’s something else in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision: the justices stuck with constitutional issues and left the policy choice to Congress.

Few decisions were as heavily anticipated as this one. Would the Republican-appointed justices band together and strike down or hamstring the Affordable Care Act in ways that would deepen an angry debate? The court’s own reputation as a dispassionate oracle of legal thinking was on the line.

Chief Justice John Roberts rode to the rescue and settled the issue. He flipped from the conservative column to join four bedrock liberals on the nine-member court. He not only preserved the law but also the court’s image as objective arbiter of constitutional principles.

At the heart of the ruling was the individual mandate. The provision obliges the uninsured who can pay to purchase a policy. Pro and con arguments had centered mainly on the so-called Commerce Clause, which allows Congress to regulate interstate business. Was Obamacare in line with this concept or was it a far-fetched extension?

Roberts sidestepped this debate with a plainer interpretation. The mandate was actually a tax, and Congress surely has the power to enact all such levies. As a constitutional issue, Roberts found no problem with Congress’ action.

The announcement was at 10:07, and the GCP event was set for 10 am to 2 pm Eastern time (14 to 20 GMT). The result is Chisquare 21854.225 on 21600 df, for p = 0.111 and Z = 1.222.

Supreme Court Affirms Obamacare Mandate

It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every success might be largely driven by chance, and every null might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.