Barack Obama — March 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

Affordable Care Act v. Roberts Court


Supreme Court to decide if being smart about health care is constitutional.

The fact is: We’re already mandated to pay for our fellow Americans’ health care. The question is: Will we be mandated to pay for our own?

This week the Affordable Care Act faces its first big challenge of the year. The Supreme Court will hear arguments about the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion and how these  both affect the constitutionality of the entire law. The court’s decisions on these matters are expected before the election, which is the second big challenge of the year.

Here’s the first thing you should know: 85% of Supreme Court watchers believe the ACA will survive this challenge.

Some think it’s clearly constitutional; others think Justice Roberts wants to maintain some credibility as his court revisits Roe V. Wade or has to decide on gay marriage. Roberts knows that the combination of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United has undermined the Court to the left in much the same way Roe did for the right.

In my cashew of a brain, I don’t see how the Affordable Care Act will be overturned. For this, you should blame Ronald Reagan. Reagan, you’ll remember, socialized medicine in the United States.

FACT IS: We already have a mandate that forces us to pay for others’ health care (in the stupidest way possible). The Affordable Care Act just mandates that we pay for ourselves, too.

So here’s Ezra Klein with a must read brief about the case. You should also follow Ann Arbor’s own Jonathan Cohn blogging for the New Republic. He’s in the Court. Expect him to keep you updated on how the arguments for and against the law are shaping up. For instance, he just linked this piece from the ACA Litigation Blog “Some things to look for tomorrow”. Good stuff.

BUT KNOW THIS: The real battle will be in November.

This election will be the real battle for affordable health care for 30 million more Americas (along with the battle for gender equity, mental health parity and the first serious insurance regulation on health insurer’s expenditures ever.)

This election cannot be close. If we don’t soundly defeat a Republican Party that exists to only to cut taxes and reduce responsibility for the richest and their corporations, we will be circling around this question of how we should provide health care for everyone for another decade.

KNOW THIS: We pay for each others’ health care—because if you can’t pay, everyone pays for you. The question is: Will we do this in an smart way or silly way that wastes money and lets people die?

The ACA’s opponents’ argument is silliness. This system is the alternative to single-payer they came up with. Now that it has been co-opted they are proving they’d do nothing to fix a private insurer system so broken that SICK KIDS WERE BEING DENIED HEALTH CARE ON A DAILY BASIS.

Not to mention the 45,000 Americans experts believe die every year for a lack of insurance.

MEANWHILE: We pay MORE than anyone in the world for this insane system where the very rich can basically get bionics and working families struggle to afford even the most basic coverage.

This is a broken health care system. And this summer we’ll find out if we have a broken Supreme Court would rather keep it that way.

[CC Image from Leader Nancy Pelosi. Wish every Democrat released images to use on Flickr. Just smart.]