Thursday, June 28, 2012

That's the Big Deal

Just over an hour ago, it was announced that the Supreme Court upheld "Obamacare" and the individual mandate.  I clapped and smiled as the news broke.  On the news broadcasts, the reporters are discussing what this means politically: how does this help Obama's reelection chances?  How does this galvanize Republicans?  How vigorously can Romney attack, given that his health care system in Massachusetts was the model for the ACA?

All this is important... Elections matter.  But Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo puts it well:

[T]he politics of the decision pales before its substance, a fact that I suspect will get little attention today. This decision will have a massive effect on the lives of literally millions of people. Mitt Romney may have joked yesterday that the White House was “not sleeping real well” last night. But a lot of people tonight and in the future will sleep a lot better for this result. Young people, people with pre-existing conditions and mainly people who through the chaos of the health care market simply find themselves with no coverage. 
That’s the big deal. 
What also matters is: we may learn that President Obama sacrificed his presidency to push through this piece of legislation — the Dems already lost Congress over it. But presidencies are for doing important things not just for getting elected to second terms in office. And I strongly suspect that even if Mitt Romney wins and gets a Republican Congress, they still won’t be able to get rid of this law. 
That counts. That matters. 
This is an imperfect law. But what’s most important is that it provides a structure under which the country can make a start not only on universal coverage — as an ethical imperative — but on doing away with the waste and inefficiencies created by the chronic market failure of the US health insurance system. Again, that matters. And I suspect that there’s no going back.

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