Category Archives: Supreme Court

Waiting With Obama

It’s not like The Affordable Care Act was my ideal plan for health care. I wanted health care to be separated from employment. I wanted National Health Care (Medicare for everyone). I realized that in a national system we might have to wait longer for elective care and we might lose some access to services. Yet we seem to be losing access to some services anyway. There is a campaign to convince us that too many tests can have negative outcomes in the form of unnecessary biopsies or procedures, besides being expensive and sometimes exposing us to harmful rays or chemicals. We are told we should have fewer mammograms, fewer colonoscopies, fewer ultrasounds, fewer pap smears, fewer CT scans, fewer PSA’s. C’est la vie. We can’t have less expensive health insurance without losing a few services (although someone recently pointed out that even with fewer services costs are still rising). However, private insurers have no motivation without government regulation to insure people with pre-existing conditions or to insure people who can’t afford health insurance.
Anyway, National insurance was not what we got, except, in a way we did get most of what I wanted. We didn’t get to separate health insurance from employment but we did get insurance for those with pre-existing conditions and for the uninsured and young people got to stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26. Obama also found a way to leave plenty of room for private insurers which I felt was a real mistake, but which one would think would be seen as a plus by private insurers.
So now Obama and I are waiting with butterflies in our stomachs to see what the Supreme Court will say about The Affordable Care Act. Of course, Obama doesn’t know me and my butterflies can’t comfort him, but maybe it will help him to know there are some of us out here in America who are with him on this.
I would guess there is no such thing as a perfect health care plan for America (or any large nation), still, we will both survive, Obama and I, regardless of what the court has to say, but the repercussions will probably be much greater for Obama in the short run, and much greater for the rest of us in the long run.

Suspense

What will the Supreme Court decide about The Affordable Health Care Act? This is the week that the court will deliberate, hear evidence, etc about this issue which has been at the center of debates for the past two years. Will they decide that there are no really serious constitutional problems with the health care mandate or will they declare it unconstitutional?
The mandate is only part of the Health Care Act but it is a very key part. Making sure people who were using expensive emergency room treatment because they had no health care provider will be covered by health insurance so their care will not be as huge a burden for taxpayers, was the raison d’etre for the entire plan. Will there be enough value left in the plan without the mandate?
How much does the Conservative agenda inform the Supreme Court? Here is the breakdown

Conservative        John Roberts              G. W. Bush Appt.           Chief Justice
Conservative        Antonin Scalia             Ronald Reagan
Cons/Swing          Anthony Kennedy        Ronald Reagan
Conservative        Clarence Thomas         George HW Bush  
Liberal                   Ruth Bader Ginsburg   Bill Clinton
Liberal                   Stephen Breyer             Bill Clinton
Conservative        Samuel Alito                  George W. Bush
Liberal                    Sonia Sotomayor           Barack Obama
Liberal                   Elena Kagan                    Barack Obama    

There are 6 male justices and 3 female justices; there are 6 Roman Catholics justices and 3 Jewish justices. In light of these demographics it will be interesting to see the results. The Court is not dominated by Conservatives in the way it is dominated by Roman Catholics but as “court followers” try to decide which way each justice will decide there are certain justices who seem to be unpredictable and none are perfectly predictable. Justice Kagan has recused herself from most decisions since she was confirmed because her questioners were worried that she had dealt with some of these cases outside of the Supreme Court or some such conflict-of-interest concern. It sounds like we will remain in suspense until the opinions are handed down in June.
I have butterflies in my stomach; how crazy is that? Whatever decision is made life will go on. Will the Obama presidency go on? I don’t know and it does mean a lot to me to reelect Obama so he can save us from the extreme revisions the GOP wishes to impose on America. I don’t think most of us will fare at all well if the Supreme Court decides against the mandate and therefore against Obama and the dominoes start to fall like those well-planned displays, until America belongs to the wealthy and the rest of us are left to shift for ourselves in the muck at the bottom of the empty pond.