The Health Care Ruling: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH — 12/13/2010

Dec 13, 2010 3:24pm

TAPPER: It appears that one of the main reasons why the judge ruled this way — ruled that Congress exceeded its constitutional power — is because, for what I can only imagine were political reasons, the word "tax," in terms of the penalty for those who don't have insurance who can afford it, was replaced by the word "penalty."  And he said because the legislators –

GIBBS:  Let me — let me — I have been getting ready for this; I have not had a chance to read that. And I know our folks in here are taking a look at it, as well as at the Department of Justice.  I don't have a direct response to the judge's — some of the individual reasoning in the judge's decision just because I have not had an opportunity to look at it.

TAPPER: Well, I mean, this is how it is.  I'm just reading his own –

GIBBS:  No, no, no.  I'm not — I'm not doubting that what you're reading — I'm just saying, I — we have not — I have not had a chance to read it and I have not had a chance to talk to a counsel here about how they take it.

TAPPER: All right.  Well, the question would be, was it — in retrospect, is it a mistake to change the terminology from –

GIBBS:  Jake –

TAPPER: I understand you're not ready to answer it right now.  Maybe you can get back to me.

GIBBS:  I would — I'd need some time to have somebody take a look at it.

TAPPER: Okay.  But can you get back to me on that point, though?   

GIBBS:  I'll see whether they can, yes.                                      

(LATER)

TAPPER: Can I — can I just get another crack at a question?                  

(Laughter.)                                                                                                              

GIBBS:  You can try.                                                                                     

TAPPER:  Okay.                                                                                                           

GIBBS:  (Laughs.)                                                                                      

TAPPER: Do you — does the Congress –                                

GIBBS:  You're sort of like the district court.  One court ruled that — go ahead, sorry.

TAPPER: The Congress that's about — the House that is about to take office in January is much more predisposed to oppose the health care law.  Do you worry at all that this ruling politically will help provide momentum for either starvation of the health care law through lack of funding or stronger action against the health care law? Do you think this politically will be ammunition?                

GIBBS:  I don't, because I think the position that is held by those that seek to repeal the law, I think has been their position both when courts ruled against their position and when courts rule in a way that upholds their larger position. So I don't think that impacts it.  I think it is important to understand, though, when you roll — when you roll these provisions back or you repeal these provisions, that the impact of that is — as I said, it's — if you are somebody that cannot get health care because of a pre-existing condition, the guarantee that when this is fully implemented in 2014, that you'll be able to do that, that's wiped away in a ruling like this.  And I think that's important for everyone to understand.                                                          

-Jake Tapper

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