On Thursday, the Supreme Court will determine the fate of Obamacare, President Obama's signature piece of health care reform legislation, and how the SCOTUS will come down is anyone's guess. The Justices have been tight-lipped about their decision, leaving pundits to speculate for months with not much certainty about whether Obamacare will stand the test of the law.
Tom Goldstein, editor of SCOTUSBlog, one of the leading legal blogs in the country, predicted on Wednesday that the individual mandate would be upheld. That estimation is based on his intuitive reading of the justices, not on anything firm. He writes, "But in the end, based on the entire mix of information I have, I think the mandate will not be struck down tomorrow. (I don’t have any inside information, nor does anyone else.) My prediction includes the possibility that there will not be a single majority opinion for the theory on which the mandate is upheld, and even the thin possibility that the Court will not have a majority to find the mandate constitutional. My level of confidence isn’t overwhelming, but it’s good enough to give a concrete prediction."
The prediction market on Intrade evidently does not agree. As of Thursday morning, the world's leading prediction market is reporting there is a 73.6% chance that Obamacare will be struck down, ruled unconstitutional.
Intrade is certainly not by any means definitive, but the free-market betting site has been strikingly accurate over the course of the 2012 election, particularly on GOP primaries.
We'll have to wait and see. One thing that seems clear is that Obamacare will be Chief Justice John Roberts' decision to make. He will most likely be writing the opinion in the case. There are four questions before the Court, three of which revolve around the “minimum coverage” provision, popularly known as the “individual mandate.” The big question of course is whether the mandate – which would require virtually all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty – is constitutional: Can Congress, using its power under the Constitution to regulate commerce between the states, make people buy health insurance?
On Thursday, the court will render its opinion, announcing one of three potential outcomes: 1) Obamacare is unconstitutional, 2) The individual mandate is unconstitutional, or 3) Obamacare is constitutional.
Watch it unfold live on PolicyMic. We'll be live blogging the results of the case starting at 9:00 a.m. here.