We don’t believe this kind of judicial activism will be upheld and we are confident that the Affordable Care Act will ultimately be declared constitutional by the courts. – Stephanie Cutler, White House blog
I guess I have to start this morning by saying I’ve been up since the wee hours glued to Al Jazeera English, tweeting, with my attention glued on the Egyptians and little else. Seeing history unfold is spellbinding.
But as you no doubt know by now, there was another assault on the Affordability Care Act, aka “Obamacare” for you right-wingers, yesterday. That Judge Roger Vinson, a Reagan appointee, used candidate Obama’s words against him is just one of the ironies of the ruling, which is ultimately political, as these types make ideology of judge rise up. The notion of an apolitical ruling almost a fantasy in America today.
“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday. – Washington Times
There is a lot of disagreement on whether the individual mandate is constitutional or not, which is out of the hands of Pres. Obama and the defenders of ACA. I was against it because I knew what fresh hell it would bring in the midst of the muddle the Democrats constructed. But one thing is clear, the public option wouldn’t have landed the Obama administration or the Democrats in this mess. Saying “I told you so” about the ridiculous end health care took, which was to exclude the public option in favor of a mandate in a monopolized system, doesn’t change the reality that the U.S. needs universal health care or the fact that once again the path to getting there was uglier than it had to be.
From the judge’s ruling regarding the individual mandate and there being no way to remove it:
The absence of a severability clause is further significant because the individual mandate was controversial all during the progress of the legislation and Congress was undoubtedly well aware that legal challenges were coming. Indeed, as noted earlier, even before the Act became law, several states had passed statutes declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional and purporting to exempt their residents from it; and Congress’ own attorneys in the [Congressional Research Service] had basically advised that the challenges might well have legal merit as it was ‘unclear’ if the individual mandate had ‘solid constitutional foundation.’”
This is what happens when you don’t fight for policy prescriptions that actually work, but instead choose a conservative path that is fraught with half-measures. Caving because of what conventional wisdom thinks the people and the system can take on is not leadership. You simply arm your adversary with the ammunition they need to fire back at you, which has been proven now, perhaps destroying the righteous purpose of helping people where it’s most needed.
The Republican fight against ACA is policy death by a thousand negative PR cuts. The ruling yesterday was a deep gash, no matter how the White House or anyone else rationalizes it. Who knows what the Supreme Court will do?
As policy goes, it’s never a good idea to put your plans through the courts. That it landed there is due to bad construction of the law by Democrats and Pres. Obama. It should never have come to this, but because of lack of courage and appalling leadership from Pres. Obama it did.