Like a lot of us, I was sure the Supreme Court would make a favorable ruling on the Affordable Health Care case and render the whole thing unconstitutional. Sadly, that didn’t happen. I never actually read the act so I’m not sure why I thought it would be overturned. I guess that NOT reading thing is a failing we all suffer from.
With regard to the Court’s ruling, the two sides can argue about the motivation of Justice Roberts and the merits of the health care statute till the cows come home but the fact remains until the thing is repealed it is the law of the land.
In the legislative arena we see majority parties jam through bad laws every day; whether it’s a state legislature or the US Congress, the majority rules. I don’t remember which pundit said it but I have to agree that the laws passed by a majority don’t make them fair or just or right but they are legal. The recourse is to amend or repeal them.
And, whining seldom changes a thing. For all the years that the Democrats ran roughshod over the state of Wisconsin the Republicans had to take it. That was just the way it was.
Then, the tide turned and the remaining Democrats had to taste a little of their own medicine.
Needless to say payback’s a bitch. Interestingly though when they were getting their lunch handed to them, instead of gracefully taking it, they bolted the legislature to prevent the Republican majority from voting on legislation they disagreed with. A very childish response revealing something about their character but again, whining doesn’t change a thing but it can make you look really stupid.
In all my years in government I have been a champion of process. Reliable, predictable process is what makes the system work.
In the case of the Obamacare Affordable Healthcare Law the Democrats held a super-majority in both houses of the Congress so they didn’t have to follow the normal process prescribed by their “rules” because they were able to “suspend the rules” when it suited their needs. The two thousand six hundred page law was drafted outside of the normal process and the substance was never debated in any committees so when the whole thing was engrossed for approval very few people knew what actually was in it.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was crowing at the microphone prior to the House vote, “We have to approve the bill before we can find out what’s in the bill.” And all the Democrats were actually onboard with her? What’s with that?
Maybe they did know what was in it and knew of the firestorm that would follow if it were exposed in public. So they consciously demonstrated a willingness to subvert the process and deceive the country with their supposed ignorance rather than taking the heat of the normal public process. Those House members who supported that action should have been vilified publicly at the least and thrown out of office at the first opportunity.
From a process standpoint that should be a fatal flaw. Not so much a Constitutional flaw but clear sign of bad faith government.
So here we are, the court has let stand one of the worst laws ever passed by the Congress. In the Majority Opinion, Chief Justice Roberts tries to clarify that the Court’s job is not to invalidate bad legislation because it’s bad, but to determine the Constitutionality of the legislation. In a very carefully worded opinion the Court ruled that most of the law would survive.
It would have been so simple for the court to overturn the law and send it back to the Congress for a “do over” but it didn’t happen. And in spite of the fact that I would have preferred that outcome the “process guy” in me knew the only real resolution for bad law is to amend it or repeal it in the same venue as it was created.
If we rally the troops to elect Republicans this fall, what exactly will our healthcare bill look like? In the past two years the Republican majority in the House has held a bunch of hearings and voted on more than one healthcare bill that died in the Senate. So do they have one they are willing to fall on their sword for?
Republicans need to articulate what Healthcare Reform looks like for them since the Democrats have their deal on the table. Complaining about bad legislation is not a substitution for a better alternative.
We need to elect enough members to both the House of Representatives and the Senate to send a bill the new President that will accomplish what we wanted the court to do.
I hope we’re up to the task.