You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.

Chief Justice John Roberts saves the Affordable Care Act? I really don’t think anybody saw that one coming.  Just when the media, political pundits, and much of America had the Supreme Court pegged as charting conspicuously to the right, Justice Roberts drops a flour bomb on the Fox News fanbase and provides a legal foothold for desperately needed reforms in our medical care and delivery ecosystem. Now, can we take full advantage of this historic opportunity?

The rational thing to do at this point would be for our leaders on both sides of the aisle to accept the ruling and move forward in a constructive manner to implement the law, and expand it in ways that make sense, to provide the greatest long-term benefit for the American people. I like to believe that there are some truly brilliant minds in Washington, and that collectively we are capable of crafting some comprehensive solutions. Unfortunately, there’s not a chance in hell that’s going to happen.

The GOP has already served notice that they will continue to do everything they can to undermine, underfund, and ultimately repeal the Affordable Care Act – not because it’s fundamentally a bad approach, only because it’s Obama’s approach.  It’s irrelevant whether the law is good or bad. Republican leadership has been startlingly transparent in the fact that their primary goal – whatever it takes – is to obstruct the Obama administration at every turn and then point fingers back at him for not accomplishing anything in his first term.  If it comes from Obama, or has the potential to put a star in the Democratic column, it must be defeated, period.

The Republicans are loathe to admit that many of the defining features of the law, including the insurance mandate, were originally conceived or strongly supported by Republicans. The insurance mandate in particular is merely an extension of a fundamentally Republican ideal – to lower taxes for all by broadening the base of those who pay into the system. For them to fight so vehemently against these kinds of reforms, it is truly just politics for the sake of politics, an ugly pastime where nobody wins and everybody loses. Legitimate opportunites are being squandered for momentary partisan gain, and the costs are compounding.

The oppose-everything strategy adopted by the GOP leadership is more than counterproductive, it is patently harmful to our sustainability and prosperity as a nation. If Republicans were to put half as much effort into working with Obama as they do working against him, I have no doubt that great things could be achieved, to the benefit of everyone. Yeah, not gonna happen.

(On a side note, I had a hunch the Supreme Court ruling would come down in support of the health care law. Given the ferocity and political overtones of Justice Scalia’s rant the other day over Obama’s immigration policy, it occurred to me that part of his anger and disgust could be rooted in another case – the Affordable Care Act. He had to have known at that time what the majority decision would be, and feeling betrayed by Roberts, he was lashing out.)