Our Supreme Court has handed down a ruling that will not only be the basis for trillions of dollars spent in the name of fairness, but will literally be life vs. death for more than a few people. In short, there is some good, and some not so good. And they did it with the thinnest of razor thin margins. Technically, it was 5-4, which is thin enough, but John Roberts, who “defected”, found it constitutional on one basis, and unconstitutional on another.
So I want to make two quick points.
First, why must we submit ourselves to the dictates of such a flawed system? In a trial by jury, the jurors must deliver a unanimous decision, or there is a mistrial. The Supreme Court is a lot like a jury, in that their decision determines guilt or innocence, and therefore the rightness of their decision is critical. No rightness, no justice. So why don’t the Supremes have to render unanimous decisions? If they were unable to render their decisions unanimously, wouldn’t they be telling congress in effect ‘The laws in question, that you have passed and that are currently on the books, are flawed. They cannot be defended clearly and without controversy or dissent on constitutional grounds. Clean it up, and if it is necessary, we will reconsider it.’
Further, the decision handed down, irrespective of the fact that it was opposed by 4 of the 9 jurors – er, judges – is final, non-negotiable, and was arrived at in closed-door negotiations that leave us guessing as to whether the process was fair and balanced, or whether it was unduly dominated by the most assertive or the loudest among the judges. Does not the fact that it was not unanimous point to the likelihood that there is significant resistance among the voters as well? If there is, even a final decision on the constitutionality of the law will not end the resistance to it. It will continue to be debated in the public square, in the press, and even (as to various aspects of it, not it’s overall constitutionality) in the courts. Why not send it back to congress and make them get it right?
Can’t we challenge the constitutionality of the court as it now stands? Should we continue to allow them to decide on such sweeping life-and-death issues on a 5-4 basis? Should appointments be for life? Should the decisions made by the individual justices not ever be subjected to review by anyone with the power to remove them or punish them for illegal or inappropriate conduct? Are they gods, that they are accountable to no one?
My second point it this:
While I applaud the ideal of providing access to affordable healthcare to everyone, this bill did nothing to address the biggest fundamental flaw in our current system – we have no reason to care what our care actually costs.
We almost never pay for healthcare directly. By so linking health care and health insurance, we have removed the consumer’s incentive to care about what care costs. When was the last time you inquired about the cost of a particular treatment protocol or a surgery or a medication? When was the last time you went shopping for health insurance? Doctors? Hospitals?
The President and the Congress did more harm than good when they passed this monstrosity. It’s biggest error is in failing to give you and me the opportunity to shop around.