June 29, 2012

Obamacare Decision as Baseball: the Runner is Safe, so Now What?

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Benefits, Health Insurance tagged , , , at 11:22 am by Tom Jacobson

My favorite play in baseball is the second base steal. In the play, the base runner watches the pitch, and at just the right moment, he sprints toward second. The catcher snatches the pitch, springs up and rockets the ball to the second baseman who snags it and tries to tag the runner as he slides into the base. As the dust clears, all eyes are on the second base umpire who, in a split second, calls the runner safe or out. When the play is over, the players dust themselves off, and the game goes on.

Some on the field may disagree with the umpire’s call.  However, the umpire’s decision is final, and arguing can get you ejected. To stay in the game, great teams simply adjust their strategy based on the umpire’s call.

So it is with the United States Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling. Although it took much longer than a split second to render a decision after months of dramatic build-up and political rhetoric over this landmark legislation, the nation’s highest court has called the runner safe. Many side with the four dissenting justices, but the fact of the matter is that the other five have declared the law to be constitutional. Therefore, it is, for the time being, the law of the land.

As with our reaction to an umpire’s call on a second base steal, we now have two options. We can argue over whether or not the Court made a bad call, or we can dust ourselves off and adjust our strategy. Because arguing won’t change the outcome, making adjustments is the only productive option.

Sometimes making adjustments means changing the rules. So if you don’t like the rules, the best way to change them is with the ballot box in November.

For more information about this issue, please contact me at taj@alexandriamnlaw.com.

The comments posted in this blog are for general informational purposes only. They are not to be considered as legal advice, and they do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, please consult your attorney.  Also, the views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson Schultz, PA.

Copyright 2012 Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson Schultz, PA



  1. Ron K. said,

    At this point, I believe the only way to change the outcome will be at the ballot box in November. We live in strange times – Chief Justice Roberts rules it is constitutional because it’s a tax, and the Obama Administration spins that it isn’t a tax, it’s a penalty. But in the argument to the Court, their lawyer argued it was a tax. It just seems everything it said and done in a raw political context…not saying politics doesn’t play a role, but my goodness, we need some true leadership to emerge and be asserted every now and then.



    • Tom Jacobson said,

      IMHO, this is a perfect example of how our system of checks and balances is supposed to work: the legislative branch passed a law; the executive branch tried to enforce the law; the law was challenged, and the judicial branch declared the law to be (mostly) constitutional. The Supreme Court did not (and could not) say whether the law is good or bad policy; the Court only said that the law was constitutional. It will now be up to Congress to decide whether the law is good or bad policy, and it will be up to the voters to decide who should be in Congress to make that decision. More importantly, it will be up to the voters to let those in Congress know what they think the policy should be.

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