During my trip to Mobile two weeks ago, I spoke with reporter Brendan Kirby of Lifezette about Unraveled. He published the interview in Q&A form. Here are the highlights (or lowlights depending on your perspective):
In his first book on the Affordable Care Act, “Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare,” Josh Blackman offered an insider’s account of the legal battle that resulted in a controversial Supreme Court decision upholding the health care overhaul.
The Houston College of Law professor in September published a follow-up, “Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power,” which argues that the health system birthed by the law is unsustainable.
Blackman recently sat down with LifeZette and discussed why the law is failing so quickly, the legal battles that remain, and why he thinks the result ultimately will be more government intervention, not less. There is one major legal challenge still pending: Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell. A Supreme Court robbed of its deciding vote by the death of Antonin Scalia could not settle the issue — whether the government can force the Catholic nuns to cover contraception as part of their health insurance plan — putting the case in an open-ended limbo.
LifeZette: What is the most significant thing about Obamacare that most people don’t know?
Blackman: How quickly it’s falling apart. The people who designed it didn’t expect this to be a permanent solution. But what has been frankly stunning is that in less than three years, all the premises, all the assumptions, all the theories have collapsed. And it’s been, frankly, unbelievable how quickly the law has unraveled.
LifeZette: You say that Obamacare is like a cockroach or Keith Richards. What do you mean by that?
Blackman: It can’t be defunded [as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attempted with a partial government shutdown in 2013]. The only way to get rid of it is to repeal it in its entirety. So all these efforts to defund this, defund that — it won’t work. You actually have to repeal the bill.
LifeZette: Had President Obama not told his famous “Lie of the Year” as declared by PolitiFact in 2013, you’re convinced the law never would have passed?
Blackman: No. No. If people thought that they were going to lose their insurance, this bill could not have passed in its current form. It would be simply impossible.