Supremes uphold Affordable Care Act: forget the Champagne

I quick look over available analysis would lead a fair-minded observer to conclude that the Supreme Court stayed with the legal constitutional issues in deciding on key elements of the Affordable Care Act. I tend to go that way,  and it is something of a surprise. You can scroll back and scan my earlier comment about the ax falling on this signature piece of legislation.

A reversal might have been a better political result for the President. The enormous economic and social dislocation coupled with skyrocketing health care costs would have ultimately pushed us into the Canadian-style single-payer system. As things stand now, we will be fighting over health care reform year-by-year with the same kind of petty partisanship that surrounds annual consideration of the budget for Amtrak.

There is an underlying question as to whether health care is a fundamental human right. The Bill of Rights leaves plenty of room for a robust understanding of human rights, so the exclusion of health care from the text is not a fatal flaw. The word “privacy” is not used either (Note: one can oppose abortion and simultaneously respect the Constitutionally recognized right to privacy). There is a very troubling underlying question in the health care argument. Is everybody entitled to every procedure? Don’t tell me that we might end up rationing health care. Medical services are very much rationed in the present system.

I want to suggest that health care costs contribute so much to the increases in the cost of living, and is such a large part of the economy, that government is never going to be neutral – no matter what it does. If that is true, government should tend to assist as many individuals as possible. As it stands today, the American system of delivering health care is the laughing stock of mankind. Of course, we are smart enough to fix  this with lowered voices, reasonable suggestions, and a patriotic instinct that looks to the future more than the next election, but that would never happen.

On the local scene, Arkansas Business has some excellent coverage. Paul Cunningham, senior vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, told  expressed disappointment that the court struck down the Medicaid expansion portion of the law.

“Obviously, if you don’t expand Medicaid then it limits accessibility insurance for a lot of low-income adults who still won’t be able to afford it even going through the exchange. That means there still will be a significant number of uninsured people showing up in hospital emergency rooms, so in that regard it’s a bit of a disappointment.”

Max at Arkansas Times also has outstanding political coverage.

Now, let’s stand back and take a look at this seething, nasty, red-hot political boil. The decision is by no means decisive. A 5-4 ruling is a closely divided court and the decision will be up for review after Mitt Romney is elected in November and appoints another conservative justice. Complain about political activism all you want, it is the way we do things, so get used to it.

This decision assures that the Arkansas legislative races will be a stumbling, terrifying, heart-pounding, breathless forced march into a darkened swamp, inhabited by fearsome Kenyan-bred  super-anaconda serpents who live for nothing else but to dine sumptuously on the lifeless remains of right thinking Christian men, women, and there succulent children. What lies ahead for Arkansas politicians living anywhere near the middle ground of the political spectrum? “There be monsters!”

Photo-shopped Obama, white knuckles clinched in economic despair, white hands clasped in prayer for deliverance from the odious threats of “Obamacare,” and “socialist, socialist, socialist;” that’s what you can expect. Oh, and I left out the lies. We must not forget the deliberate falsifications. (Sorry, half-truths count as “lies” too.)

The Presidential campaign will be an insult to any intelligent adult, so let me spare you the putrid description of the stench and horror and get right to the good stuff. Mitt Romney will denounce the very kind of program he supported in Massachusetts, and promise to repeal this soul stealing and satanic tribute to Uncle Joe Stalin. The problem is that Romney knows good and well that the Affordable Care Act will not be repealed because, for all of its faults, the darned thing has put us on the inevitable course of attempting to do the right thing for middle America.

Until America repents of its greed and stinking prideful partisanship, we must endure the natural consequence of this divided, and non-functional, government. Good Lord deliver us.


About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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