NPR has a splashy report headlined "If The Health Care Overhaul Goes Down, Could Medicare Follow?" It quotes a collection of left-leaning health care analysts to the effect that the end is nigh if Obamacare is rendered unconstitutional.
For instance, George Washington University professor Sara Rosenbaum, who worked for both Clinton and Obama, says, "We could find ourselves at kind of a grand stopping point for the entire health care system."
But how could this be? Obamacare isn't even fully implemented yet. And, besides, we were told in no uncertain terms it was NOT a government takeover. And yet, NPR is now thunder-struck to discover Obamacare is key to the entire Medicare system!
[T]he law changed the payment rates for just about every type of health care professional who treats Medicare patients. Every time Medicare sets a payment rate, it needs to cite a legal authority. And for the past two years, says Rosenbaum, that legal authority has been the Affordable Care Act.
That's actually the least of it, according to another Clinton-connected health consultant:
What makes it an even bigger potential mess, says [Dan] Mendelson, is that the health law has fundamentally changed almost every aspect of the way the Medicare program now does business. And undoing that would be almost unimaginably difficult.
The piece does quote one health analyst, Gail Wilensky, who worked for Bush 41. However, her contribution seems to say that striking down Obamacare would result in the failure of everything it contains, including those elements not related to the mandate or the expansion of coverage. She doesn't suggest Medicare is on the line.
It's hard not to get cynical when Democrats start hand-wringing about the end of Medicare. They've been singing this particular tune since 1979 and have been especially insistent in the past couple years. And while the oral arguments over Obamacare have already taken place and decisions have likely been reached by the justices, Democrats are well aware that Justice Kennedy has a history of reversing himself on important 5-4 decisions between oral arguments and publication.
In short, it's possible to read this sudden eruption of liberal concern-trolling as a last minute plea to Justice Kennedy: strike down the mandate (if you must) but not the law as a whole.