An overwhelming majority of the US Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Republican Attorneys General to overturn Obamacare. The 7-2 vote from the conservative Court is hopefully the last frivolous lawsuit brought on to attack people’s health insurance based on pure partisan politics. North Dakota’s Wayne Stenehjem signed North Dakota’s name to this lawsuit. It is another loss added to a growing list for Stenehjem. It was also a win for the 20,000 North Dakotans who gained access to insurance because of the law.
The law’s passage eleven years ago marked a dramatic shift in North Dakota politics. The all-Democratic-NPL delegation at the time supported Obamacare’s passage. It is likely the vote that defeated Pomeroy in the following election cycle. Rick Berg ran an entire campaign mostly focused on repealing the law and had electoral success. Now, as the Chair of the NDGOP Berg hasn’t had much to say about the law – now more popular – being upheld by an even more conservative SCOTUS.
Earl Pomeroy joined me on KFGO to talk about the SCOTUS decision shortly after it was handed down. You can listen to his comments below.
A little more history. Byron Dorgan chose not to seek reelection. Finally, John Hoeven would be able to take a leap without having to face Dorgan. Hoeven will remain in that seat until he chooses not to seek reelection.
Kent Conrad would follow in the decision to not run for reelection. Berg tried for the seat, in part, by continuing to run against Obamacare. He lost to Heidi Heitkamp. Kevin Cramer now holds that seat who has repeatedly voted to overturn the law. Cramer has admitted he doesn’t know what would happen if he had been successful at repealing the health insurance law.
Back in 2018, North Dakota’s Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined the lawsuit targeting Obamacare that originated in Texas. Stenehjem has refused to tell the public who “asked” him to join the lawsuit. We do know North Dakota’s Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread helped Stenehjem in the decision. When pressed on it by the public in 2018, these politicians panicked and held a misleading press conference about their stance on health care policy. Governor Burgum sent his Lt. Governor Brent Sanford to stand next to Kelly Armstrong and Kevin Cramer.
At the end of 2019, the SCOTUS ruled the individual mandate was unconstitutional. Additionally, they sent “back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the law can remain without it.” The delay in a final decision on the entire ACA until after the 2020 election is exactly what the Trump administration and Republican candidates had hoped for. The decision wouldn’t be used in the general election.
This is the third time the SCOTUS has rejected overturning Obamacare. Every single time more Justices have joined the majority to uphold the law even as the Court grows more conservative. Meanwhile, the law was growing more popular among the general public.
Perhaps that growing popularity is why you haven’t heard a peep about yesterday’s decision from Wayne Stenehjem or our Republican delegation. They want this whole thing to blow over like a warm summer breeze. Perhaps people will forget they supported a lawsuit that would have stripped so much from so many.
Obamacare is not perfect. Improvements are needed, but that has not been the focus of the repeal crowd. Ideally, that focus would change following this decision. It has been and continues to be the law of the land.
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