Affordable Care Act Wins Another Round
by Deacon Blues
Another federal judge, a Clinton appointee on the DC circuit, has weighed in on the constitutionality of the Health Care Reform law. Judge Gladys Kessler became the third federal judge to rule in favor of the individual mandate, whereas two other federal jurists, both appointed by GOP presidents have ruled against the law’s constitutionality. Judge Kessler’s ruling made the point that a choice to not buy insurance is in fact an affirmative action by an individual that has economic consequences on those that do buy insurance.
We all know that this issue will ultimately be decided by the Roberts Supreme Court, which can be expected given their rulings on Citizens United and Bush v. Gore to rule in a grossly political way, unencumbered by case law or the actual Constitution. This doesn’t mean the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is sound policy or legislation; it isn’t. The law Barack Obama signed and steered through Congress fails to control costs, relies too much on the same industries that gave us uncontrolled costs and poor coverage, and is based on a fiscally-unsustainable premise that Medicaid and cash-strapped states can carry a large load of the expansion.
I suspect at the end of this legal chain that we’ll find that the Roberts court will twist and turn to find a political reason to kill the ACA, and we’ll be back to considering what Ted Kennedy proposed years ago, which was a payroll tax-funded gradual expansion of Medicare. This country will never pass a single-payer model as long as we allow corporations to buy politicians, and the GOP has yet to fashion an explanation for how they can roll back the ACA and still protect consumers and cover the uninsured and thereby realistically reduce costs. But the tragic end result will be that it cost the Democrats control of Congress, for a policy outcome that was botched by this White House for the sake of Obama wanting to be a significant president.