So Barack Obama has won. Hasn't he? He has seen off the challenge to the one programme which could reasonably be considered a major accomplishment of his presidency. His healthcare plan is constitutional after all – after a fashion. Instead of every American being forced to buy a form of commercial product – health insurance – simply by virtue of the fact that he is a living human being residing in the United States, every American will now simply be forced to pay an additional (healthcare) tax.
There is no question at all that the previous formulation would have to have been struck down by the Supreme Court: what free society can insist that all its citizens be forced to make a government-specified private purchase? You may be required by law to have car insurance – but that's only if you have a car. There isn't any insurance – except the kind that protects other people – which the law demands that you buy. But now there is to be just another form of taxation – which, in fact, means that Obamacare much more closely resembles the British model of government-funded, centrally-run healthcare provision which Obama always said he was determined to avoid.
But more important, it resembles that catastrophically ill-fated measure introduced by the Conservatives which was the beginning of their downfall: the poll tax. A universal levy on every adult man and woman which must be paid on threat of a fine (or worse). Just wait till American taxpayers – who are generally a lot less docile about taxation than the British – get the hang of that. We had riots in the streets. I'm betting the US will match that and then some.