Will Supreme Court Put Party Politics Above Law in Health-Care Ruling?


Though a ruling won’t likely come till June, a majority of Americans think the Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be based on political partisan views, rather than the law itself, according to a recent poll.

Last month, the Supreme Court held three days of hearings on the act, which was passed by Congress in 2010. The main event of the hearings was on if the law can stand on its own without the controversial individual mandate aspect of it, which would require all Americans to purchase health-care coverage or face a penalty fee, which some argue amounts to a new tax.

The survey also found that only one-fourth of Americans want the High Court to uphold the law, while 38% said they would like to see it thrown out. In addition 29% said they would like the court to strike down the individual mandate portion of the bill, but approve the rest of the law. In general, 39% of Americans support and overhaul of the health-care system.

Conservative Republicans think the court will decide based on politics rather than the law, at a rate of 58%  to 33%. Liberal Democrats said by an “equally wide margin” that the court will put politics first. More than half of political independents said the court will base its decision on partisan beliefs, according to the survey.

Small business owner Kirsten Bischoff, founding partner of HATCHEDit.com, said despite what the poll says, she believes the Supreme Court decision will be made on the basis of the law, not politics.

“Its part of being an American,” Bischoff said. “I have to believe that.”

Bischoff said for small business owners, having the ability to offer competitive benefits is the only way to secure top talent. Her company has no additional employees aside from its two partners, and Bischoff insures herself out-of-pocket.

“I don’t think this law would positively or negatively impact me,” she said. “We hope to hire employees later this year. I feel we do need something in this country to support people without health insurance.”

Jennifer Cochran, co-founder of Branches PSP, said she believes the Supreme Court is extremely susceptible to partisan rulings, more so than it had been in the past.

“Both sides are responsible for taking advantage of what we see as a weakness in the system,” Cochran said. “I don’t blame either side for taking advantage of that soft spot in our system, but the more polarized we become the worse we will end up.”

While she feels this will be the likely scenario, Cochran said she is hopeful the justices will put the law itself before politics.

“I hope they don’t buckle on this—it will set such a dangerous precedent, especially in the business community right now,” she said. “No one should be forced to buy anything.”