Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How the Republicans put Winning over Principle on Health Care

In today's Washington Post, Ezra Klein puts together a fascinating history of how the Republicons organized a massive, coherent, and completely dishonest campaign against the Affordable Care Act. This has made it conceivable that the Supreme Court may rule against the individual mandate, something few thought possible when the act was passed.

As Klein explains, the individual mandate was invented by Republicans and was for twenty years the main Republican plan on health care, and was actually enacted and implemented in Massachusetts.

Once passed by the Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama, the Republicans completely reversed 20 years of advocacy. What is important to understand is that this had nothing to do with what was good policy to help people with health care. Instead, it was a ruthless and vicious effort to regain power, at the expense of the health of the nation.

Stupid and dishonest, but emotional arguments like 'death panels' suddenly arose, and they suddenly discovered that their own policy was a vicious attack on the constitution and what was a primarily private system—and the reason they had advocated it for 20 years—suddenly became a 'government takeover' of health care.

Incidentally, the famous 'broccoli' argument is stupid, and why Obama's advocate didn't answer it forcefully is beyond me. The argument was, if we can compel people to buy health insurance, then we can require them to buy broccoli, which would be obviously terrible and tyrannical. The problem with the argument is that there is no requirement to buy health insurance, there is a financial penalty if you don't. Under the commerce clause, could the government pass a law with a financial penalty if you didn't buy broccoli? Yes. Would it be stupid? Yes. Would it be unconstitutional? No. Somehow all the 'strict interpreters' like Scalia suddenly forget that they are supposed to be judging not what is wise, but what is in the constitution.

Again, zero intellectual integrity on the part of Republicons, including some on the Supreme Court. How many, we'll find out on Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment