Here Are The Real Winners and Losers Of The Supreme Court's Healthcare Ruling

Photo: flickr/geekgolo

President Barack Obama has declared the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act a “victory for all people,” the reality is a lot more complicated.The 5-4 ruling leaves behind a trail of winners and losers in politics, media, and even on the Supreme Court itself. Going forward, the survival of Obamacare will have wide-ranging consequences for business, politics, the multibillion-dollar healthcare industry, and for the millions of Americans who will be affected by the law. 

WINNER: Barack Obama

President Obama was definitely the biggest winner of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of his first term. The President staked a lot of his political capital on healthcare reform, and would have suffered a huge political blow had the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.

As Jon Stewart pointed out last night, the President and his campaign have made no effort to tone down their elation over the ruling. The campaign is now selling tee-shirts with the slogan: 'Health Reform Still A BFD'

WINNER: U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli

Verrilli, who took a lot of flak for his oral arguments defending the Affordable Care Act, was finally vindicated by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, on the other hand, is eating crow for declaring Obamacare dead after Verrilli's arguments.

WINNER: Mitt Romney

WINNER: Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi was understandably thrilled by the court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, validating what will undoubtedly be the biggest legislative achievement of her tenure as House Speaker.

Here's an email from Pelosi's office, courtesy of Mike Allen:

'She called Vicki Kennedy. She told Mrs. Kennedy: 'Now, Teddy can rest.' Pelosi called her husband Paul. As he picked up the phone she said 'sweetie, we won!' Pelosi is wearing her lucky purple pumps today. Pelosi wore these shoes the day health care passed (March 21, 2010).'

WINNER: The Elderly

According to The Wall Street Journal, seniors may see their premiums decrease because of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits insurance companies from changing rates based on age.

WINNER: Millennials

Young people can also count themselves winners in the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which allows children to stay on their parents' insurance plan until their 26th birthday.

This is one of the most popular part of the Affordable Care Act -- 61 per cent of Americans are in favour of this provision, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

WINNER: Sick People

Under the Affordable Care Act, the chronically ill will no longer have to worry about running up a bill so high that their insurance company will not pay for it. The law eliminates annual and lifetime caps that force the sick and their families to worry about paying the difference.

In addition, the law also bans insurance companies from denying patients coverage with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or pregnancy. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 82 per cent of Americans support this provision of the law.

WINNER AND LOSER: Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts was definitely the star of the show yesterday, delivering a surprise swing vote that determined the legal fate of Obamacare.

But while Roberts' opinion ensured his legacy on the Supreme Court bench, it came at the cost of his reputation in conservative circles.

LOSERS: Justice Antonin Scalia

It's been a bad week for the Supreme Court's conservative stalwart, Justice Antonin Scalia, who was in the minority on this term's two biggest cases, on the Arizona immigration law and Obamacare.

Scalia wrote another brutal dissent on Thursday, arguing that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional:

'Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative processes of the states by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program,' he wrote.

To add insult to injury, Scalia's usual ally, Chief Justice John Roberts, sided with the liberal judges on the healthcare case, delivering the swing vote that saved Obamacare.

LOSERS: CNN and Fox News

The biggest losers yesterday were undoubtedly CNN and Fox News, which initially incorrectly reported that the Supreme Court had overturned the Affordable Care Act, and even put up breaking news banners before scrambling to correct their mistakes.

The CNN staff was reportedly livid, and nearly mutinied in the newsroom. The network's star legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin later tried to smooth things over for his colleagues, but the damage was done.

Fox News, on the other hand, has defended its coverage. Here's the statement from the network:

We gave our viewers the news as it happened. When Justice Roberts said, and we read, that the mandate was not valid under the Commerce clause, we reported it. Bill Hemmer even added, be patient as we work through this. Then when we heard and read, that the mandate could be upheld under the government's power to tax, we reported that as well -- all within two minutes.

LOSER: The Wisdom Of The Crowds

On the eve of the Supreme Court ruling, the popular prediction market InTrade set the odds of overturning the healthcare law at 75.5 per cent.

Clearly, those numbers were way off.

The reality is that no one outside of the court ever has any real idea what the Justices are going to say; so in the end, nearly everyone missed the mark.

LOSER: The Republican Party

LOSER: The Tea Party

Tea Party conservatives are freaking out over the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Obamacare, which has been the cause celébrè of the movement since it exploded on the national stage in 2009.

Although conservatives are doing their best to remain optimistic and double down on their efforts to repeal the law in Congress -- the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity just launched a $9 million campaign to activate the grassroots -- there is no doubt that this was a huge blow to the Tea Party brand.

LOSER: Rush Limbaugh

The conservative radio show host went ballistic after the ruling was handed down by the Supreme Court, calling Obama 'a dictator' and deeming the law the 'largest tax increase in history.'

'What has been upheld here is fraud, and the Internal Revenue Service has just become Barack Obama's domestic army,' Limbaugh ranted. 'That is what we face now. We were deceived. Obamacare was a lie. It was a stealth tax on all Americans, and nobody knew it until today. Not officially. Obama told George Stephanopoulos it wasn't a tax. And Stephanopoulos was trouble-making for trying to suggest otherwise.'

LOSER: Guidettes

The Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act means that the law's 10 per cent tax on tanning is here to stay.

LOSER: Business Lobbyists

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