Why Tom Corbett Decided to Enter into the Medicaid Expansion Debate

by J. Wesley Leckrone

Associate Professor of Political Science, Widener University

Governor Corbett is generally cautious in most of his initiatives. By that I mean he seems to adopt the consensus position of conservative public officials. Consequently, I think he waited so long to see if a consensus position would develop among Republican governors for dealing with Medicaid expansion. By taking this wait and see approach he could monitor how the activities of other governors played out politically before taking a stand himself. There are enough GOP governors that have broken ranks and accepted Medicaid (Christie, Brewer, Synder) that he’s not completely breaking with conservative orthodoxy by offering the new plan.

I think he’s offering the new plan for three reasons: 1) Democrats are going to say that by not accepting the Medicaid extension Corbett is costing the state jobs in the health care industry. That could resonate in a sluggish economy. 2) It helps position him to the center of Tea Party type conservatives.  By offering a plan that extends healthcare, but through private companies rather than Medicaid, Corbett can say that he’s not opposed to all government action, rather he wants smart government action based on market principles. If the plan fails he can blame it on obstructionism from the Obama Administration. 3) He needs some sort of momentum going into 2014. The appearance of a plan, in the face of opposition from his own party, gives some evidence to suburban independents that he cares about the needy, especially in light of education cuts.


President Obama, the Supreme Court & Health Care Reform

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments concerning the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here are reactions from Gregory Grossman and John Vuotto.

Obamacare in the Supreme Court

by Gregory Grossman

Widener University Political Science Major

President Obama’s “Obamacare” is finally being heard by the Supreme Court. This main issue at hand is the mandate stating that most Americans must purchase healthcare. Obamacare, as a piece of legislation, is thousands of pages. If the Supreme Court rules the mandate as unconstitutional, they then need to decide if they should save the rest or scrap the whole thing. Obama dedicated most of his first term to the legislation, and scrapping the whole thing would be a huge blow to his administration. However, taking the thousands of pages and deciphering them line by line to decide what fits and what doesn’t is not realistic at all. I believe Obamacare should be ruled constitutional. However I understand the reasons why people oppose it. Since our Constitution is “living”, we must adapt what the Founders left us to fit the present time, and taking it literally will halt our growth as a democracy.

Have Partisan Politics Entered Our Court System?

by John Vuotto

Widener University Political Science Major

Everything about President Obama’s health care law has been controversial. From the way it was passed to the actual contents of the bill, it has been the source of continued debate and ideological disagreement between liberals and conservatives. Even the name of the bill is a subject of disagreement. Depending on which Party you associate with, you may call it Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.

Last week, arguments were heard in the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the law. The main part in question is the mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance or face a penalty. The Court’s decision, which is expected in the early part of the summer, could significantly affect President Obama’s chances at reelection.

But is the Supreme Court just another step in the extremely partisan system we have grown accustomed to? The Supreme Court is supposed to be the institution where politics ends and logic and careful study take over but one can argue this is not really the case. Taking a look at all of the Supreme Court Justices, one can make a decent assumption on the outcome, with Justice Anthony Kennedy being the only wild card and consequently the deciding vote.

All of the conservative Justices are expected to vote down the law while the liberal Justices are expected to uphold it. Do the Justices have their minds’ made up before they even look at the complexities of a certain situation? While the Justices are expected to be unbiased it is difficult for them to do so. Someone once said about judges that the facts of the case are less important than the person deciding the case. Unfortunately, I believe this is a very accurate description of our court system.