Gloating Is Unseemly, But I Don't Care
(Photograph by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press / June 27, 2012 and published by the Los Angeles Times.)
This picture (which I copped from Hecate) says it all. The Supreme Court finally issued its decision on "Obamacare" and upheld it with very little limitation. It was another 5-4 decision (no surprise there), but the swing vote was that of Chief Justice Roberts (big surprise there).
Democrats are openly rejoicing and Republicans are whining and carrying on as if their party charter had been revoked. I have to admit that the part of me which is petty and vindictive is a whole lot larger than I thought: I am thoroughly enjoying the discomfort of the GOP. And I am really happy that the Chief Justice slapped Antonin Scalia's face on the issue. But in a while, I'll settle down and realize that in the long run, this really isn't such a big victory.
At best, the ACA is a first step, and a timid one. Yes, there are some parts that right now are very helpful to Americans: insurers must cover pre-existing conditions; parents can keep their children their health care plan until age 26; the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D will gradually be removed; Medicaid is being expanded; insurers cannot charge women more than men for coverage. And that's just a few of the benefits that came to mind. There are many more.
But insurers are still free to charge whatever they will with very little in the way of actual regulation of premiums, which means there will still be too many Americans without access to health care. And insurers will continue to have the upper hand in determining what treatments are reasonably necessary, again, without much actual regulation, which means treatment will be at least delayed and even denied.
The GOP has already claimed this issue as the main one for the 2012 election. Romney has already promised to repeal it. House Speaker Boehner has promised the same. The press tells us that the Tea Partiers are now energized and plan to turn out in force.
In other words, the battle has been joined. I suggest that we give ourselves a few more hours of cheering and then settle down a bit. There's still a lot of work ahead of us.
Me, I'm going to use those hours trying to figure out what those blotches on Boehner's suit are.