The media is wildly touting the big victory for Obama and the public with the Supreme Court decision in favor of mandated health insurance. But why did John Roberts provide the swing vote in FAVOR of Obama’s position?

John Stauber, founder of the straight-talking outfit PR Watch, who is always on the lookout for disinformation and corporate manipulation, thinks he knows the answer. A friend of WhoWhatWhy, he sent over a short item he published yesterday at Counterpunch:

It was a brilliant move by far Right (but oh so likable) Chief Justice Roberts to side with the Dem-appointed Justices and uphold ObamaCare.  After all, this is a massive victory for corporate power, forcing citizens to buy an expensive insurance product that won’t serve our needs very well but will profit industry, in lieu of receiving real health care.

Obamacare and its corporate mandate were born on the Right (as in Heritage Foundation) as a way to destroy the political prospects of any single payer system that would cover all Americans with a tax-funded system of guaranteed medical care.  This is the way all other industrial societies protect the right to health care, by taking it out of the hands of the giant insurance industry.  The right to health care is like the right to not be enslaved – there are no half measures, and the insurance industry is the slave master.

Roberts may have brilliantly scored a “4-fer” victory:

1.)  He now has an interesting historic legacy.

2.) He and his Dem-appointed colleagues have given huge new powers to corporations, and further reduced the rights of citizens.

3.) Any real reform — call it single payer, or medicare for all — is doomed in bipartisan fashion.  The “pragmatists” who are for Obamacare are duped if they think it is going to be expanded to single payer.  From this point on, it will only be picked over and further reinvented to empower the insurance and drug industries.

4.) Roberts siding with Dems has probably bounced Obama right out of office.  The public overwhelmingly hates Obamacare, and this pours gas on the electoral fire.

What do you think? Readers, please weigh in.

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0 responses to “ObamaCare: Was Roberts Doing Us a Favor? Please Weigh In.”

  1. Editorsteve says:

    Stauber is blowing smoke. I support universal single-payer, but see better prospects of phasing into it than waiting another 40 years for it to pass full-blown. As a purchaser of insurance in the Massachusetts system upon which Obama Care was modeled, I can attest to the value of the program. Insurance in Massachusetts is not cheap, but as a percent of residents’ income it is cheaper than insurance in Texas, where 25% of the population is uninsured. As for calling it a tax increase, nonsense. WE HAVE ALWAYS PAID FOR THE UNINSURED by a surcharge on the insured. Obamacare is more fair and more efficient. 

  2. JerryPolicoff says:

    Obama care does truly suck, but I think this is going to backfire on the special interests for two reasons.  First, the public will learn how little this bill will do.  Basically it forces people to use money they can ill afford to spend to buy catastrophic insurance from for-profit insurance companies that will go out of their way to screw them if they get sick.  Secondly, this is going to cost a whole lot more and insure a whole lot fewer people than has been predicted which will contribute to the unsustainability of our curent  health care system.  I think the cat is out of the bag.  You can’t keep going backwards, and you can’t go forward unless you radically reduce the coat of healthcare in this country.  If we continue on this path the cost of healthcare will literally bankrupt the country.  They are kicking the can down the road, but you can only kick it for so long.

    • james warren says:

      Interesting that a huge government system can be seemingly dismissed with a single word [suck”] without being honest and accountable for the good it has clearly done. I guess I am just surprised to still hear that coming from posters like you.

  3. says:

    There is no healthcare here.  It is a new tax to pay interest on the federal debt.  Help America Vote Act?

  4. MJ says:

    “The right to health care is like the right to not be enslaved”  WTF?

    There is no right to another persons labor, services, or goods.  That is the definition of slavery.

  5. Dan Allen says:

    Even though the healthcare law is horrible, possibly worse than no new law, Roberts did the right thing:  he called the law how he sees it, instead of the usual practice of rationalizing a politically-oriented view into an opinion.  I hope we can all keep clear, we rely on the judiciary to interpret and apply the laws how they are written, not steer them in.  Even if the laws destroy the country, in most cases, the Supreme Court needs to rule on the cases independently of the wisdom of the laws.  The Legislative branch has the power to run the country into the ground.  The Judicial branch is supposed to only make sure they follow certain rules as they do it, relying on the wisdom of the separation of powers and the electoral process to right the bad laws.  The Judicial branch is not supposed participate in the process of deciding which laws are wise. 

    One of the big problems with the Judicial branch is that in practice, it is highly politically oriented.  We can thank Chief Justice Roberts for sticking with his legal analysis, keeping aside what might have been expected to have been his preference regarding this law.  That is the great service he provided to our country in his courageous vote on this case.

    Meanwhile, back to the healthcare law.  This law is extremely horrible and must be fixed, through the legislative process.  That is not Roberts’s fault.  That is the fault of the Congress and President Obama, with a supporting poor showing by the public, for failing to force our elected officials to do a better job on organizing public health care.

  6. Shell Lavender says:

    Quoting from the Travolta movie, “Broken Arrow”, I think it’s a “Rope a Dope”.
    The only real winners are big pharma and the insurance industry.
    Also I think Roberts changed his mind because the threat of congress passing a single payer health care bill in the event that Obamacare was thrown out, and the public declaring the Supreme Court  null and void and demanding it be abolished as it stands now, with lifetime Presidential appointments.

  7. Ces4665 says:

    Why is not having insurance a right when we all pay for emergency health care in our premiums.  time will tell but it is better than what we hve now

  8. I agree with John Stauber.

  9. jimmmmmy says:

    Roberts is in bed with big insurance as is Obama , the rest of this nonsense is the dog and pony show required to cover their tracks. Whether it will damage Obama or Romney more is probably moot. Roberts will certainly get a big cheque from someone. All sides had their spinners out in full force today and yesterday. So until the first homeless people are arrested for not having paid their Obama care tax , everyone will claim victory.

    • Dan Allen says:


      That is an extremely serious allegation regarding Chief Justice Roberts, that he is open to receiving outside funding for his work.

      I am as cynical as anyone about government officials, including most of the Supreme Court Justices.  I also do not like a lot of the decisions I see Roberts supporting, where it looks to me like he could just as logically go another direction I would prefer.  However, I am unaware of financial improprieties or any other inappropriate influence peddling with Chief Justice Roberts.

      I have seen influence peddling on the Supreme Court I find outrageous, especially Justice Scalia’s participation on a case where his hunting partner, Dick Cheney, was a named party.  I do not like the company Clarence Thomas keeps.  That might apply to Chief Justice Roberts, if I knew more about the events he attends, but my perception is he is scrupulous about maintaining proper appearances and real neutrality, so far as it is humanly possible. 

      So far as I know, there is no dirt on Chief Justice Roberts.  If I am just plain naive or uninformed about this, I will accept my humble pie and be grateful to learn what I should know about our Chief Justice.

    • jimmmmmy says:

      IT’s not an allegation. The US supreme court is appointed not gained by merit or election despite some pretence otherwise . Their corruption is legendary and bribe taking in some form is business as usual in Foggy Bottom I don’t do other people research much any more it’s usually a fools errand , people immediately try to kill the messenger, as it were . I’m sure that if you are really committed to knowing  about Roberts ,run an in depth bio. and a time line of his activities since appointed . you may get a surprize.

    • Dan Allen says:

       Thank you for the honest answer back.

    • says:

      I don’t trust him.  Sharing my gut feelings which I have come to trust more and more as I get older.

  10. Dan Garden says:

     There are plausible claims that Roberts changed his mind. Well, people do. But some may imagine that (gasp!) “politics”, which since the 911 business seems to include direct violence and threats, might have been part of his calculus. If I believed that I’d be shocked, shocked, I tell you! Only a nut would think that a fine gentleman of Roberts’ character would respond to threats, isn’t that so? It’s unthinkably that the SCOTUS might be as corrupt as their lordships used to assure us that the commie hoards were…

    • Dan Allen says:

       My lawyer told me the rumor is Roberts changed his vote, to protect the court’s credibility.  The risk he was mitigating is that the court would be seen as dominated by a right wing group of 5 wielding power disproportionate to their numbers, in the form on an unending string of big time 5-4 rulings going to the right, such as Citizens United.

      I am shocked by this rumor, and I am not sure what to make of it.  It is easy to imagine Roberts might care more about the court’s mark on the country being a good mark than sticking to a narrow and obviously debatable bias he usually votes.  That is a big responsibility to balance.  One of the things I like about John Roberts is I think he is a great choice for bearing that extremely complicated and momentous responsibility.

      I believed John Roberts, and still do, when he told President Bush that he could thank him for the honor of selecting him as Chief Justice, but he never could return the favor.  I believe John Roberts is true to his principles.  If he changed his vote, he had a very big reason to do so, and it was not due to bribes or anything inappropriate.

      If I am proven wrong, so be it, but ,for now, I think John Roberts is one of the actual lights we have in government, for whom we should give thanks and show utmost respect.

  11. krinks says:

    I have a different take. People will pay and pay for treatment they wait a long time to get if ever. Those that for 40 years made pro-abortion politicians feel safe try to get ahead by murdering the innocent deserve to have to pay for treatments they will die waiting for. It is their turn now and there is no one to speak up for them. Those that might have never made it out of the womb alive.

  12. Dallalicious says:

    Have people not figured out that Obama is just another puppet for Big Business? 

  13. M B says:

    Mr. Stauber is courageously preaching to the choir. So what? His piece largely consists of four well-hedged, unevidenced, unreasoned speculations about Chief Justice Roberts’ motives. I’d have to already be drunk on the anti-SCOTUS Kool-Aid to find anything interesting here.

    For instance, why not cite even one reputable poll that supports the claim in #4 that the public overwhelmingly hates Obamacare? Is there one? Or is the real premise that Chief Justice Roberts believes that this is so? Evidence that he does? 

  14. Baleneologist says:

    I know corporate america wants to end providing health insurance coverage to their employees. Many have already taken measures to reduce their plans to little more than catastrophic coverage with high deductables. Its a tough situation for the employed who don’t make much over $40K for their entire family. Corporate execs don’t care.  They make enough to pay for whatever they need done.  Is Obamacare a win for corporations.  That I don’t know.  Maybe it is.  You make an interesting point I haven’t considered. 

  15. Henry Baum says:

    Everything except #4.

  16. Pilotibus says:

    Wrong. The public loves Obamacare, and it will be improved upon as time goes by, to their further benefit – not to the benefit of the insurance companies.

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