As we wait for decision on Obamacare, a collection of analysis and commentary

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The U.S. Supreme Court did not issue a ruling last week in the Florida-led challenge to the 2010 federal health overhaul.

That means the court will wait until this, the final week of its annual term to deliver the landmark ruling. The earliest justices can now rule would be Monday, though they also could release the decision later in the week.

Justices heard arguments earlier this year about key parts of the law, including a requirement that most Americans buy health insurance and a planned expansion of the Medicaid program.

While we wait for a decision on Obamacare, here is a running collection of analysis and commentary.

11:08 a.m. – The wait continues for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the federal health overhaul. Justices released opinions Monday in other cases but did not say how they will decide the Florida-led challenge to President Obama’s signature health law. Justices, who are in the final week of the annual Supreme Court term, are now expected to issue a ruling on health care Thursday. Florida, joined by other states, filed a constitutional challenge in 2010 to the law known as the “Affordable Care Act.” Justices heard arguments earlier this year about whether a key part of the law, which would require most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty, violates the U.S. Constitution. Also, Florida and other states are targeting part of the law that would expand eligibility for the Medicaid program.

9:22 a.m. – Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, says that the White House “will be prepared” if the Supreme Court overturns all or part of the administration’s health care reform law, according to Politico.

9:21 a.m. – Marc Ambinder says that the White House is preparing executive orders if the law is struck down. “Their content and timing I don’t know. But they’ve got contingency plans a-plenty.”

9:19 a.m. – Sarah Kliff provides a brief review of “what they’re deciding, what’s at stake and what happens next” in the Supreme Court case on President Obama’s health care reform law.

Key question: “Remind me what, exactly, will the Supreme Court be deciding? The Supreme Court is weighing four separate constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act. The one they spent the most time debating at oral arguments was the individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance… They have to decide whether they can even rule on the substance of the case, since the provisions being challenged haven’t come into effect yet. They need to decide whether, if the individual mandate falls, it can be severed from the rest of the law, or takes down other provisions with it. And they must decide whether the law’s Medicaid expansion – which has the program cover everyone below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Line – is constitutional.”

7:24 a.m. – The Supreme Court has not leaked a decision since 1986, when a printer is suspected to have tipped off ABC. Jack Goldsmith has a smart piece in the New Republic on why early word has not gotten out about the Court has already decided on health care.

7:03 a.m. – The New York Times reports the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health care law may not come on Monday as many have assumed.

6:52 a.m. – A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds most Americans oppose President Obama’s healthcare law, 56% to 44%, even though they strongly support most of its provisions.

“A glaring exception to the popular provisions is the ‘individual mandate,’ which forces all U.S. residents to own health insurance. Sixty-one percent of Americans are against the mandate, the issue at the center of the Republicans’ contention that the law is unconstitutional, while 39% favor it.”

Said pollster Chris Jackson: “That’s really the thing that has come to define the (reform) and is the thing that could potentially allow the Supreme Court to dismantle it if they decide it’s not constitutional.”

5:09 a.m. – Washington Post: “Some prominent legal scholars say a series of tactical decisions by President Obama’s legal team may have hurt the chances of saving his landmark health-care legislation from being gutted by Supreme Court conservatives.”

“The warnings are a preview of the finger-pointing certain to ensue if the law is overturned. That could come sometime this week, when the justices are expected to decide on the constitutionality of the health-care law and its centerpiece provision mandating that all Americans purchase insurance or pay a penalty.”

Saturday – The Daily Beast says Supreme Court justices might have tipped off in a decision last week how they will rule on President Obama’s health care plan.

Saturday – the New York Times examines whether the mandate will work as planned if it is upheld.

“The case for the individual mandate rests on the belief — shared by most economists — that most people go through life seeking the best possible deal, always looking to get the most out of any given situation… Americans could pay the fine and still save money by skipping health insurance. Paul Starr, a professor of sociology at Princeton, notes that the government has little power to enforce the fines… The most it can do is withhold their tax refunds. Mr. Starr says he believes that in the end, the mandate will largely be ignored.”

“Yet the portrayal of Americans as pure profit-seeking machines relentlessly on the lookout for a bargain is not entirely accurate… Social norms can provide a much more powerful incentive than money… Advocates of health reform argue that the individual mandate will create a social norm that will hold everything together. Without it, people merely have a subsidy to induce them to buy insurance. The mandate turns buying health insurance into the rule of the land, like paying taxes… Making the mandate work requires convincing Americans that the new health care law is not a plot to destroy the nation. Americans would have to embrace universal coverage as a desirable goal for a rich industrial society.”

Friday – With many speculating that the Supreme Court will overturn the individual mandate provision of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Kaiser Family Foundation notes that while “there’s a consensus that eliminating the mandate would increase premiums and mean that far fewer of the currently uninsured would become covered,” it would probably not push the individual insurance market into a “death spiral” in which sick enrollees drive premiums up, causing healthy people to drop their insurance, leading to even higher premiums.

“First, and most importantly, the ACA includes federal tax credits to make insurance more affordable for people buying on their own in the new health insurance exchanges. This means that for many people, health insurance will be a very good deal, even if they are healthy… Second, the ACA allows significant variation in premiums due to age. Young people generally have less need for health care services, and they will pay lower than average premiums as a result. This was not true under insurance reforms in New York and (originally) in New Jersey.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.