“First, do no harm.”
It is almost comical to see the conservative pundits try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear in regards to the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. There will be few, if any, links to source material in this piece because if you give a fig you have had ample opportunity to scan the airwaves and intratubes for the wealth of material already in circulation even at this early hour. “Why, we’ve got ’em right where we want ’em, now, boys! We’ve smoked ’em out and exposed them as tax-and-spenders. Heckuva job, Roberts!” Those are the words of comfort being circulated. An indication of how pervasive the head-in-the-sand disease is can be noted in the fact that everyone from Forbes Magazine to Marco Rubio is taking the cue from Justice Robert’s insulting explanation that the Supreme Court’s ruling was not on whether the law was good or bad, but whether it was constitutional. And by implication, all of the Pollyannas are informing us Obamacare is constitutional…..because Judge Roberts said so.
They are also hyping the supposed victory for conservatism in that Justice Roberts predicated his defense of the constitutionality of Obamacare not on the Commerce Clause, but on the taxing powers of Congress. Grasping at straws, the apologists argue that it is the citizens’ duty to elect good legislators that won’t pass bad laws. Roberts, in excusing himself from obeying his oath of office, implicitly argues that whatever law Congress passes is policy, and thus Constitutional, if it involves taxation. That is not correct. Policy would be whether the Top Marginal Rate should be 28% or 35%, or whether taxes should be increased during a recession. That is policy. Taxing, or even threatening to tax, inactivity, is not policy. It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL TYRANNY.
All of the apprehension leading up to the Supreme Court’s ruling was mainly over the Individual Mandate, and probably a perfectly understandable concern. Individuals do not like to be mandated, and it is grossly un-American to do so. Yes, the entire law was horrible and yes, all of the Republican officeholders and office-seekers seized on the monicker “Obamacare” to win elections and curry favor in their establishment circles. But far, far too many, perhaps even a majority, of those types did and still do adopt the bleeding heart position that there are elements in the law that warm the cockles of the heart and thus need preserving. Why, they’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it, keeping the good parts, they say.
The good parts? Oh, Nancy, you were so right, honey! We should have passed this law years ago so we could find out what was in it. And we should have waited to take it to the Supreme Court until we did find out what’s in it, because in our haste, we trusted the US Supreme Court to do their duty. Nevertheless, we did know a lot of what was in it and one of the primary things, which many Republicans thought, and still think, would be a good thing, is the following, included in an ‘in other words’ summation of the PPACA’s provisions about to start taking hold:
Insurers prohibited from rejecting people with medical problems or charging them more.
That, of course, is the famous “pre-existing conditions” provision. Now, I am going to say this only once, so incorporate this in your brain and have it at the ready – health care is not a human right, it is not a civil right, it is not in the Bill of Rights, it is not in the Constitution. Therefore, I am not comparing apples to oranges when I say that a mandate on an “insurer” (if you need to look up ‘insurance’, do so at this time) that he accept as a risk a person with a medical condition, against his (the insurer’s )will, is no different than mandating a manufacturer produce a product regardless of the risk involved, or that a service company be bound to perform at a location or for a client that involves unacceptable risk, or that a life insurance company issue policies to dead people.
The conventional gripe is that forcing an “individual” to do something against his will violates his liberty. Thus the Individual Mandate gets all the airplay. May I remind you that corporations are people, too, and if you don’t agree, you can stop reading now. Two words: Citizens United. Yes, even the back-stabbing Justice Roberts at one time said corporations were people. Now, you may argue that mandating things in the realm of corporations throws us back into the arena of the Commerce Clause, and yes it probably would have, prior to the Roberts Precedent. What is funny is that the conservative argument up til now has been to reform health insurance by making it available across state lines, thus putting it in peril of falling under this same dastardly I.C. clause. That’s a conservative position? State regulatory commissions have been doing fine til this point and, last I checked, Blue Cross and United Health Insurance were able to do business in more than one state. Go figure. And I digress.
While one can see some argument in forcing a company to act against it’s financial interest to some degree in regards to, say, public safety, or national security, one cannot leap to the notion that a company must put itself deliberately in jeopardy by forcing it to accept specifically unqualified customers. This is in direct opposition to free market capitalism. How is it then that so many of the Republican illuminati are seemingly all on board with tearing down the basic tenets of capitalism, which is also called free enterprise?
Contract law is now moot. There can be no contracts anymore, for anything. If I cannot enter into a contract for a good or service that suits me, whether it is an automobile, a house or insurance against an appendectomy, and if the businessman cannot offer the goods and services, the products,that he wants to market and that I want to buy, whether in a health field or in a sports arena, then the game is over. If the pre-existing conditions section of the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, and the mandate to an insurance company is that it must accept unacceptable risk, there is likewise no plausible excuse for a lending institution denying a loan, or for a credit card company refusing to give unlimited credit. See, risk is not a factor anymore. There is no area of commerce, none, in which the government cannot dictate that the business assume unacceptable risk.
Now, having said all that, we thinking people know that this is not all black and white. There is so much grey it’s not funny. One grey area of course was the decision by the Administration not to implement the provisions of the CLASS ACT portion of Obamacare, which dealt with long-term care. Ironically, or, if you will, humorously, the Administration could not figure out how to implement the CLASS ACT, and so just decided it wouldn’t. Not faithfully executing the laws is nothing new to the Obama team, but this is an indication that this item, and others which were supposed to be major provisions of PPACA, were not “ends”. In fact, the Administration would have been happy even if the Individual Mandate had been overturned and the rest of the law retained, or at least large chunks of it. Getting certain types of care or certain types of coverage were not the goal.
You see, this whole exercise was always just that – a conditioning exercise. Recall that the Dear Leader himself pleaded with the Republican leaders in the famous White House meetings leading up to the bill’s passage to tell him, and to go on record, what parts of the legislation they agreed with. He needn’t have lowered himself to begging them for scraps. They had always and forever had an instinctive fear of appearing mean-spirited, so that in our example of the pre-existing conditions feature, they were amenable to implementing it as part of their stated desire to “reform health care” even if Obamacare was defeated.
And therein lies the tale. The mandate on insurers, like the individual mandate, and like the mandates on employers, and like the mandates on the States, all these and more were thrown into the 2,000+ pages of the act knowing that even if all or most of the Act never came to fruition, the Loyal Opposition would show itself to be a good sport by reaching across the aisle to implement the “good parts” in a later iteration of “health care reform”.
Forcing people, whether individual people or “corporate people’ to expend their wealth, whether on an insurance product they do not need or want, or on a reduction in their profit margins in taking on unacceptable risk, accomplishes one thing if it does no other – it redistributes their wealth, their holdings, their profits. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways this can be realized in the grand Obamacare design, whether Obamacare itself stands or falls. And it doesn’t matter whether the justification is called ‘the taxing power’ or ‘the commerce clause’ or it is a result of the “replace” part of “repeal and replace”. All Justice Roberts did was grease the skids. There will be taken from some according to their supposed ability to “afford” insurance and there will be given to some according to their supposed need, if the law is not repealed in it’s entirety. Those are the private citizens. But no matter what happens, future Congresses will re-enact parts of Obamacare and those parts will be upheld according to the Roberts Precedent. Those “good parts” will result to the detriment of business and commerce in these United States of America, and they will be replicated in other markets besides health care by that precedent. See, just as it didn’t matter that there was no “Wall of Separation” in the First Amendment, Republicans of varied stripes bought into the notion with their words and deeds, and so the imaginary “Right to Healthcare” will bear heavy on their conscience as they seek to “do the right thing” (Have you heard that phrase recently?)
Barack Obama did not write 2,700 pages of the abomination called the PPACA anymore than Nancy Pelosi did. It was a team effort and although the final product didn’t make one iota of sense, either fiscally or toward the stated goal of “health care for all”, it was the result of inspiration and guidance and input from God-only-knows what Rogue’s Gallery of sources. But let there be no mistake – there is a prize, a pot of gold at the end of this magical mystery Obamatour. And it is not capitalism.
“Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.”