Today the Supreme Court will reveal their ruling on the Patient Affordable Care Act/”Obamacare.” It is one of the most watched judicial decisions of the last few decades.
Four potential outcomes exist: (1) the entire law will be upheld; (2) the entire law will be repealed; (3) the individual mandate will be repealed; or (4) the mandate and more will be repealed. If outcomes (1) or (2) occur, my sense is a microphone will somehow magically appear before the President and leading partisans today, who will then claim either victory or the agony of America’s defeat. Whoever falls on the ‘agony of defeat side’ will also then be tempted to demonize the court. Note: we have a habit of demonizing those with whom we profoundly disagree — or at least those who seemingly stand in the way of our desired progress.
As a blogger, ‘tis time for me to be done with healthcare analysis. For 3 years, after reading the law and presenting multiple concerns, I am still no expert. Then again, many who possess passionate opinions of this law — many who even voted for it — are also not experts; they didn’t even read the bill. Friends, I don’t understand that. That practice fights against every ethical bone in my body. Legislators supported this law not knowing the specifics that were in it — not analyzing the totality of the legislation’s impact; they then voted based on party lines. A bill now estimated to cost $1.76 TRILLION over the next decade (according to the nonpartisan CBO) was supported by those who never studied the specifics of what they were voting on. Wow. Let me pause once more… wow. I care not the issue. I care not if I support the issue. To vote along party lines for a bill that expensive and never read is in my opinion, irresponsible. We live in a representative democracy. Our legislators cannot claim to represent us well without reading the bill.
This irresponsibility has been apparent from multiple, additional aspects… as articulated in the Intramuralist’s frustration voiced in February of 2010:
… I am frustrated that individual coverage is mandated. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were harshly criticized for such advocacy during their respective campaigns. [Granted, Edwards is criticized even more harshly now.]
… I am frustrated that multiple times throughout this process, individual cost-increasing “deals” have been included in order to secure 1 legislator’s vote.
… I am frustrated that discussions are only broadcast publicly when a supermajority fails to exist.
… I am frustrated that these deals, closed door meetings, and solely partisan efforts cease only with a single senatorial seat change [after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA)].
… I am frustrated with increased costs, taxes, and debt.
… I am frustrated that some believe the end justifies the means, thereby advocating misapplication of the reconciliation procedure [a budgetary tactic utilized to pass the policy when the Democrat’s impenetrable supermajority was lost].
Truth is, I believe the President was correct this week when he said, “You know, it’s fashionable right now for people to be cynical.” I would add to his perspective that a significant contributor to the cynicism is how healthcare was approached. The approach was partisan, expensive, divisive, non-transparent, full of favors, and at times, manipulated. This may be going out on a shady, little limb here, but those adjectives logically induce increased cynicism.
My final thoughts… at least for now, abiding by the high court’s decision…
With the inspirational message Pres. Obama shared in his initial presidential campaign, many of us had hope that his leadership would prompt unity. However, the manner in which he led Congress and the country through healthcare reform concerned me; it was not unifying. Was that because of an obstructionist congress — a congress with clear Democrat majorities? Or was that because of the President’s partisan approach on healthcare? Certainly not the only partisan prone to believe he knows what’s best on a specific policy measure, it concerns me that Obama spent substantial time and political capital on healthcare, when it was/is our economy that is most in need of attention.
As long said here amidst these postings, healthcare should be accessible, affordable, and portable, and the end result cannot justify an irresponsible means. For the record, the Supreme Court will not be ruling on the constitutionality of responsibility… maybe they should… considering those ethical bones.