A big victory for health care

court decision

The Supreme Court ruling upholding President Obama's health reform law is a huge victory for the American people, and for the president.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA for short) came out of an enormous political battle two years ago. The profit-driven health industry (what a contradiction!) and its far-right political flunkies were on one side, and most of the American public was on the other side. Overwhelmingly, Americans were fed up with insurance companies' denials of coverage and their exorbitant cost. Millions were without basic access to health care.

Because of the power of the corporate right-wing, the bill that finally became law has many shortcomings, and does not solve our health care crisis. But it is an important step in that direction. It has begun to open up health care for millions of people. (See this striking infographic.) And, importantly, it has put the profit-driven health insurance industry on the defensive. That will help us move forward to a national system of affordable health care for all. And that's why the Republicans hate "Obamacare."

Predictably, House Republican leader Eric Cantor says the GOP-controlled House will again vote on repealing the entire law next week. Talk about wasting time and taxpayer money! Millions of Americans are desperate for jobs, our infrastructure is crumbling, our health, education and environment are eroding - and these shills for corporate profits are doing nothing about it! Worse, they are using their taxpayer-provided salaries (with accompanying health coverage!) to block any effort to improve Americans' well-being. Instead they are trying to undermine it, in the name of "freedom." Well, yes, freedom for Big Insurance, Big Pharma and other corporate Bigs.

Why did right-wing Chief Justice John Roberts decide to uphold the law? We suggest that he has his eye to the political winds. Occupy Wall Street's slogan of the 99% versus the 1% struck a chord with the American people and knocked the tea party off the front pages. Overtly political anti-Obama remarks by the Supreme Court's most extreme right winger, Justice Antonin Scalia, led the Washington Post, among others, to say the court's legitimacy is in question. Undoubtedly Roberts made a tactical retreat. It shows the power of the people.

It will take some time to see how the details of the court's ruling play out. That includes its limitation on requiring states to include the ACA's expanded health care access in their Medicaid programs.

As many are pointing out, what's needed immediately is to fully implement the Affordable Care Act's reforms on the ground - including making health coverage accessible and affordable to everyone. That involves a continuing fight with the for-profit health industry. It requires mobilizing a mass movement in every state.

Let's get going.

Photo: majunznk // CC 2.0

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