A year ago today, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, ruling that the individual mandate provision of Obamacare was constitutional. The news sent a shockwave through the political world, and for many on the right, that shockwave was apocalyptic. The end of freedom, and perhaps the entire nation, was near, many warned. With that day a year in the rearview, here are a few predictions and statements that have fallen short.
Congress hasn't repealed Obamacare.
The immediate reaction from many conservatives was to encourage Republicans in Congress to press even harder for a legislative repeal of the law. Having already attempted unsuccessfully to repeal the law on 31 different occasions at the time, what were a few more? Over the past year, they've tried at least five more times. It hasn't worked.
Republicans were not moved to victory.
Some Republicans responded by announcing that the only way to right the supposed injustice of the judicial branch doing what the judicial branch is designed to do was to ensure that Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama last November. American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas determined that the Supreme Court's ruling would be "our most significant rallying cry for a November victory." The momentum didn't last. While Republicans fared well in House races -- thanks in large part to redistricting efforts spurred by their successful victories in state elections years prior -- Obama won decisively, ensuring that Romney would not have the opportunity to dismantle his health care law.
Liberty hasn't vanished from America.
Some were quick to respond to the court's decision with eulogies mourning the end of a great nation. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) tweeted, “This is a dark day for the American people, the Constitution, and the rule of law. This is a dark day for American liberty.” Ben Shapiro of Breitbart took a similar tone with a tweet declaring that “This is the greatest destruction of individual liberty since Dred Scott. This is the end of America as we know it. No exaggeration.” Since then, the liberty police have not been deployed to round up all the freedom and lock it in cages. In fact, considering other developments that have come to light in recent months, our health care freedoms are looking pretty good right about now.
A second Civil War hasn't been started.
For Matt Davis, former spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, armed rebellion seemed like a good option:
If government can mandate that I pay for something I don’t want, then what is beyond its power? If the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday paves the way for unprecedented intrusion into personal decisions, then has the Republic all but ceased to exist? If so, then is armed rebellion today justified?
Luckily for the rest of the nation, the concept of making people purchase health insurance has apparently not proven a good-enough reason to take up arms against their government.
The Supreme Court still gets to decide if things are constitutional.
Perhaps to chagrin of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Here's how he reacted to the court's ruling:
Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right.
While he can argue about right and wrong, the Supreme Court does get to rule on the constitutionality of laws. This power remains within the court's purview even when its decisions upset us.
Obamacare isn't "failing to curb health care costs."
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) lamented the survival of Obamacare last year, saying that it was "both failing to curb health care costs and forcing up to 35 million Americans to lose their employer-provided health insurance."
Putting aside the rampant skepticism about Obamacare causing employers to drop their employees' health insurance, recent reports have shown the overhaul actually succeeding in slowing the growth of health care costs.
Annie Lowrey breaks down the findings of a CBO report from earlier this year:
In figures released last week, the Congressional Budget Office said it had erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. The budget office now projects that spending on those two programs in 2020 will be about $200 billion, or 15 percent, less than it projected three years ago. New data also show overall health care spending growth continuing at the lowest rate in decades for a fourth consecutive year.
"Socialist cancer" is neither socialist nor cancerous.
Before torpedoing his career with statements about "legitimate rape" and reproductive magic, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was hating on the Obamacare ruling.
"Today America is threatened with a stage three cancer of socialism, and Obamacare is exhibit 1," Akin said in his response to the court's decision. The problem with Akin's diagnosis is that this "socialist cancer" has been absolutely terrible at redistributing wealth, which is supposed to be one of its primary symptoms. In fact, according to a recent study, the top 1 percent of households by income captured 121 percent of all income gains between 2009 and 2011. Perhaps we shouldn't expect too much medical accuracy from a man who claimed that women had the power to terminate pregnancies at will.
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio).
Schmidt has since moved on from Congress, but her shrill and short-lived celebration over what she mistakenly thought was Obamacare being ruled unconstitutional will survive, much like the law itself, as a tax. On your ears.
Jason Linkins contributed to this piece.