Clearly the anti-democratic, corrupt right-wing majority on the Supreme Court is again laying plans to nullify the election of a Democratic president. The court has decided to “review” the historic Obama health care reform act solely on the grounds that its “mandate” for nearly universal coverage “has no legitimate constitutional foundation,” in the words of Ron Paul.
This assertion is nonsense and has no constitutional precedent. Congress has passed a zillion laws “mandating” universal compliance with behaviors and protections that serve the national interest. The commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution unambiguously declares: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”
Everyone needs health care at some point. The costs of charity, instead of universal coverage and participation, simply shifts costs to others whose premiums go up to cover the cost of free riders. It is no different than a selfish and narcissistic person refusing to pay for a local fire house on the foolish assertion that his house won’t ever burn down, so he shouldn’t pay for putting out a fire at someone else’s home.
But look beyond the false legal arguments. They are all flim flam, a cover for blatant and truly unconstitutional interference by the Judiciary in the political process. If the “mandate” provision of the Affordable Health Care Act (AHA) is struck down, the entire effort to reform health care becomes unaffordable and the Republicans are handed a big stinking fish to foul the political waters just six months before the election. The fish is no less rotten than the infamous Citizens United decision that has empowered the rich and corporations to corrupt the political process anonymously and without financial limit.
Millions of jobless and underemployed youth who rely upon the AHA to keep them covered under their parents’ policies will be thrown off. Working people will be denied coverage for a host of pre-existing conditions for which, thanks to AHA, they are now covered. Caps and impossible co-pays on chronic illnesses barred under AHA will be eliminated, and tens of thousands left to fend for themselves, or die. Exchanges designed to bring coverage to the 25-30 percent unable to afford care in most states will be stopped in their tracks. Workers whose existing plans have been under steady attack with higher and higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles – and cherry-picked coverage – will see no bottom to this trend. People of color, women, the poor, immigrants and youth will be the chief victims.
The same Supreme Court that reversed the will of the American people in the Bush-Gore election, that stood by and allowed the state of Texas to become a charnel house of executions, that sanctions prisons and arrests of refugees, that continues to undercut the rights of women to control their own bodies, and that nullifies democracy at every turn in favor of corporate interests – now boldly removes its cloak of impartiality to become a sordid adjunct to the Republican political machine.
Shame. Shame. Shame.
To my Republican friends in the health insurance, pharmaceutical and medical professions that may be misled into thinking this will be a boon to your economic interests, I advise a word of caution. Do not cut off your nose to spite your face. The Obama Health Reform is the best deal you are going to get to enact a mixed private/public health care system. If you succeed in killing it again – now for the second time, counting the effort by the Clintons in 1994 – you may be certain the movement will in short order be resurrected again! Except next time the lesson learned will be – there is no point in engaging in compromise with the private side of the system: if you want health care, the warrants will be issued to put its enemies out of business for good – and perhaps arrest some judges too. The New York Times concludes correctly: “All of these issues are best resolved in the political system, not the courts. The Supreme Court ought to show judicial restraint, adhere to precedent and uphold the constitutionality of health care reform.”