I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the US Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act yesterday. I was fully expecting that the highest court in the country was turning into just another partisan wing of our government. I half wonder if Chief Justice John Roberts was partially motivated to vote the way he did in order to help the institution look better than it’s been looking as of late.
Obamacare is basically the Republican plan for healthcare reform back in the 90’s when President Clinton was trying to get healthcare reform passed. The plan uses competition (the exchanges), it employs private corporations to provide the coverage (individual mandate) and it penalizes free loaders (healthy people with no insurance). It really should be a Republican wet dream… or maybe it’s the old Republican wet dream. The new Republican wet dream seems to be the same dream as the Tea Party radicals who simply want to dismantle the government and transform our society into some sort of social Darwinism experiment. I suppose those types think that if you can’t get healthcare or pay with cash then you just deserve to die.
With the exception of the individual mandate, most of the provisions are popular with most. Anybody who’s thought it through just for a moment, understands that you can’t just tell the insurance industry to cover sick people only, without also having the healthy people paying in. Understand, that even when healthy people get sick and go to the hospital uninsured, we’re still paying in the form of tax breaks and such to the hospitals who provide that care. Did you know that total health care spending in the U.S. was 15.2% of its GDP in 2008, the highest in the world1? Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think we’re doing it right.
If anything I think the law doesn’t go far enough. I don’t like that we have to go through private companies to do this as it’s going to create a huge incentive for those companies to fleece the government of taxpayer money. I wish we could just go straight to a single payer system and be done with it.
Some people’s response is still a bit frightening to me. Armed insurrection in response to people having insurance? That’s dangerous and careless talk but the more those types talk like that the more the rest of us can see them for crazy, radicals they are.
So despite all of that and as I said at the beginning, this ruling makes me feel just a little bit hopeful that we’re going to be able to navigate all of this and be OK. I still believe in what our country is about even if Matthew Davis doesn’t. E pluribus unum