Panel Discussion on Obamacare Decision (MP3 download)
By Paul Beard, Yaron Brook, Peter LePort and Richard E. Ralston
In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court surprised most observers by upholding Obamacare’s individual mandate. Led by Chief Justice Roberts, who appeared to switch his vote at the last minute, the Court held that the mandate, while not a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, is nonetheless a tax. Congress, in other words, may not force people to engage in commerce, but it may tax their non-engagement in commerce. At the same time, the Court held that the law’s requirement that states substantially increase their Medicare coverage was an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s spending power. Both aspects of the decision came as a shock to most commentators, who, following oral arguments in the case, expected the Court to strike down the mandate and uphold the Medicare provisions. What did the Court do and why? What are the constitutional implications of the decision? Is there a silver lining, as many on the right have claimed? Members of this panel analyze the decision from the perspectives of law, philosophy, politics, and medicine. They address the decision’s implications for the November elections and the political scene going forward and they explain the impact of the decision and the Affordable Care Act for the medical profession and health insurance industry. Panelists include Dr. Yaron Brook of ARI, Dr. Peter LePort, a practicing surgeon, Richard E. Ralston of ARI and Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, and attorney Paul Beard of the Pacific Legal Foundation. Steve Simpson of the Institute for Justice moderates.
This panel was recorded at the 2012 Objectivist Summer Conference in San Diego, CA.