Today is the publication date for A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case, a book I coauthored with VC co-bloggers Jonathan Adler, Randy Barnett, David Bernstein, Orin Kerr, and David Kopel. The book compiles our most important VC posts on the Obamacare case and its aftermath, as well as some of our other writings on the subject. It also includes new retrospective essays on the case by each of the six coauthors. Several of us were extensively involved in developing the legal arguments against Obamacare, especially Randy Barnett.
Here is an excerpt from my concluding essay, which discusses the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision, and also the role of the VC and the blogosphere generally in influencing public and elite debate over the case. This excerpt addresses the former issue. Tommorrow, I will post an excerpt from the essay that focuses on the latter:
While the long-term effect of the ruling is difficult to predict, it is clear that opponents of the individual mandate won some important legal ground, despite the painful setback of having the mandate upheld as a “tax.” More fundamentally, the deep division on the Court suggests that the constitutional scope of federal power will continue to be a hotly contested issue….
The most immediate result of NFIB v. Sebelius is that the Affordable Care Act survived largely intact. Although the Court transformed the individual mandate into a “tax,” there will probably be no more than minor effects on the operation of the mandate in practice. The Court’s decision to strike down the mandatory expansion of Medicaid was an important victory for federalism. But many states have already accepted the expansion voluntarily and others may do so in the future. The Medicaid ruling impedes the implementation of Obamacare, but surely