Counterparties: SCOTUS’s massive healthcare decision

June 22, 2012

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The Supreme Court is holding off issuing a ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare until next week.

The are four basic scenarios of what the Court can do and the decision has massive economic implications. The industry accounts for some 18% of US GDP; billions of dollars in federal spending and the future of hundreds of community healthcare centers are in play.

Only the justices and their staff of clerks know with any certainty where this is headed (sorry, Jeff Toobin). No matter how obsessively you check SCOTUSblog – your single best resource for all things Supreme – you won’t hear anything early. Unlike the rest of the branches of government, the Supreme Court is a leak-free machine. Until the official word comes, comfort yourself with the Vegas odds and courthouse gossip.

The decision likely hinges on Justice Kennedy: Dahlia Lithwick calls him “the original independent swing-state voter”. Or it could just as easily hinge on what the justices think of the mandated eating of broccoli, a vegetable Americans actually do like, it turns out.

And if you need to be hit over the head with the human importance of this issue, the NYT’s Annie Lowrey looks at an Oregon program that found providing health insurance to adults in poverty made them “healthier, happier and more financially stable”.

To help lead you through the twists and turns of the healthcare decision, we’ve compiled a Twitter list of the best people to follow. A huge thanks to Erin Geiger Smith and the Reuters Legal team for helping with this.

So have as relaxing a weekend as is possible when a decision affecting how we spend $2.5 trillion a year awaits your return. – Ben Walsh

On to today’s links:

Long Reads
How companies inject trillions of gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth – ProPublica
Taibbi: How banks “systematically” stole from America by rigging muni bids – Rolling Stone

EU Mess
Monti: We have a week to save the EU and prevent “progressively greater speculative attacks on individual countries” – Guardian
“Like asking your children to grade their own homework”: Euro banks may be artificially inflating their health – WSJ
Krugman: When it comes to economic inequalities, the euro zone is no worse than the US – NYT

Shovel Readyish
Brazil’s massive, “pharaonic” stimulus program is now being compared to China’s – NYT

Investors respond to Moody’s bank downgrades with emphatic “meh” – Bloomberg
Moody’s slightly reduces its overrating of banks – Dealbreaker
Moody’s ratifies interbank mistrust – Felix

Investing is more win-lose than win-win – Howard Marks

New Normal
Corporate profits hit an all-time high; wages just hit an all-time low – Business Insider
Nevada has had the highest employment in the nation for the last 27 months – WSJ
Superheroes aren’t immune to recessions – Imgur

Gawker’s amazing shredding of the NYT‘s Brant brothers profile – Gawker

Data Points
An interactive guide to rich folks’ private islands – Datablog

Economist Anna Schwartz dead at 96 – NYT



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