A Brand New Reality
Today is a brand new kind of day. Brush off the unknown and look into the sunlight. It’s here – your brand new reality. It’s yours for the taking, a new understanding! But, I warn you – the consequences of this new reality are yet to be fully determined…
Today, the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the Health Care Law, passed in 2010 by a (then) Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. It became known as ‘Obamacare,’ though many took offense to assigning his name to his biggest policy achievement (Go figure). Today, the Court largely kept ‘Obamacare’ in place when it rendered a very complicated legal opinion (which my mind summarizes here):
You hire your representatives, and they (in the name of ‘freedom’), charter a course for the nation. They charter this course (and fund it) through their constitutionally enumerated powers of taxation. But, to what end…?
Consider the Court’s line of reasoning:
1) Joe doesn’t have a home. Alice does. Tax Alice (and dozens more) because Joe’s homelessness hurts society.
2) Joe doesn’t have clothing. Bill does. Tax Bill (and dozens more) because Joe’s lack of clothing hurts society.
3) Joe doesn’t have food. Genevieve does. Tax Genevieve (and dozens more) because Joe’s lack of food hurts society.
No one disputes that Joe’s homelessness, absence of clothing and lack of food does, in fact, hurt society. But the real questions should be as follows:
1) Can the federal government provide for Joe’s needs better than state and local entities (including private charities)?
2) What happens when that federal money runs out?
3) How do we define real “need” as opposed to shiftless “want?”
In answering these questions, the Supreme Court essentially stated that they don’t decide questions of whether this is a good use of power by the federal government. Their job is simply to decide whether the feds CAN do it.
I’m happy to move on from this day. I’m happy to know (according to 5 Supreme Court Justices) what the Constitution affords. I appreciate from reading the Obamacare decision that some of our own conservative rhetoric may have clouded a real understanding of what the Constitution is all about.
To my liberal friends — I’ll be glad to see people purchasing health insurance policies and paying for their own uninsured medical costs (you know, ‘personal responsibility,’ and all that…). I want to find a way to actually lower costs and get more individuals on the rolls (which I can guarantee you will not happen with the Health Care Law as currently written). So… let’s get to work on fixing these paralyzing issues. For the next few months we’ll pretend to do it your way and see – I’m not afraid of fixing things; I’m just tired of electing tired, worn out incumbents who look for the expeditious paths of least resistance instead of seeking out actual, workable solutions.
And here is where I begin to sound like a worn out mother – you know the one – she who has walked away from patiently prodding her child into new and important discovery… I’m exasperated – not with the Court or even Congress. I’m fed up with the uninformed American voters and their constant, unrelenting demands. I’m tired of the ‘Me’ mentality of these ignorant citizens who end up electing politicians on some zestless, vapid promise of ‘Hope and Change,’ only to later come to the realization that they don’t actually agree with anything substantive that said politicians espouse. So let me ask you…
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
You think politics is boring, that none of this matters? Do you not understand that your children are the ones whose prosperity is at stake as their labor (which they’ve not even performed) is taxed; and then taxed; and then taxed some more…? WAKE UP!
I am sick and tired of trying to talk to you in a patient way – we have all been wandering through life like a bunch of irresponsible children who fail to look out for their own good and I’m sick and tired of pretending that it’s OK to be agnostic to politics! It’s NOT OK to vote out of ignorance and it’s NOT OK to ignore these tumultuous times. Your kids are already $15 trillion in debt, and they (and you) are about to lose e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Good News Time?
1 – It only takes a simple majority to repeal this awful law. Republicans, who promise to repeal it, already have a majority in the House, and are very near to a majority in the Senate. It will also take a Republican President to sign off on the repeal, which Governor Romney has also promised to do, if elected. This can all be accomplished on November 6th. Inform yourself. Inform your friends. And vote.
2 – The Court ruled (in a less talked about portion of its decision) that state exchanges and Medicaid funding are not intrinsically linked, and therefore, the states have the ability/right to ‘opt out‘ of a portion of ObamaCare. This particular provision of ObamaCare was concerning due to its ability to usher in the Democrats’ real goal – a single payer system (a/k/a government-run healthcare). I think Chief Justice Roberts may well have kept us from long-term harm with this portion of his decision (just in case we can‘t repeal the whole thing).
3 – Maybe we wake up.
And possibly even more as the dust settles. I’ll keep you updated.
As far as the long-term constitutional effects, I get it… But, for now, the politics of it is already hilarious, as evidenced by this great video from my friend, Ben Howe. Enjoy…