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Stefan Karlsson

Health reform cost is complicated, both sides ignore facts

Health reform cost is one complicated issue, according to Stefan Karlsson. But for those arguing that Obamacare decreases American freedoms, our analyst only has one word: Medicare.

By Guest blogger / June 28, 2012

With the Capitol in the background, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the Supreme Court's health care ruling on Thursday, June 28, 2012, in Washington. Some argue that one of the health reform bill's costs includes a decrease in personal freedoms. But Stefan Karlsson says if Obamacare is unconstitutional, then so is Medicare and Social Security, something that few leading Republicans would openly argue for.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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The most unexpected thing about today's ruling in the US Supreme Court about Obama care wasn't so much that it was approved with a narrow 5-4 margin, but that the swing vote was John Roberts and not Anthony Kennedy. Usually it is Kennedy that is the swing vote, while Roberts is considered to be part of the conservative bloc, together with Clarence Thomas, Antonio Scalia and Samuel Alito. But now it would seem then that the Supreme Court has four reliable liberals, three reliable conservatives and two swing voters.

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Stefan is an economist currently working in Sweden.

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As for the ruling, two things should be noted. First of all, it is clear that the mandate to buy health insurance means a reduction in the freedom of Americans. Secondly, it is however also clear that it is no more so than existing welfare state programs like Medicare and Social Security, where people are in effect through the tax system forced to buy health insurance and pension insurance for when they become older than 65. So if Obamacare is unconstitutional, then there wouldn't have been any reason not to consider Medicare and Social Security as unconstitutional, something that few leading Republicans would openly argue for.

As for the political impact, Mitt Romney is the big loser. Some argue that he is a winner because the health care insurance mandate is unpopular, but I disagree considering that he as recently as 2007 called it "ultimate conservatism" and has yet to renounce his old statements he simply has no credibility arguing against Obamacare.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on stefanmikarlsson.blogspot.com.

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