In the last week of June, almost as if awaiting a providential column of smoke from the Vatican, journalists and the partisan faithful surrounded the Supreme Court in anticipation of its ruling on the White House’s Affordable Care Act. ‘Obamacare’—what the plan that would extend healthcare to tens of millions of Americans has been dubbed— remains a lightning rod for conservatives who portray it as a “socialist” expansion of big government. The narrow 5-4 vote that saw the Supreme Court uphold the constitutionality of the law was swung by the conservative Justice John Roberts, who argued that the law’s mandate requiring the purchase of insurance could be interpreted simply as a tax. The ruling riled conservatives and galvanized fundraising for the campaign to unseat President Obama. But Gov. Mitt Romney, whose own Massachusetts health care plan inspired that of the White House, proved unable to translate that Republican rage into electoral success.
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