First, let’s start with the funny. Below are TPM’s hilarious mash-up of CNN and Fox News’ credibility-defying erroneous reporting of the health care decision AND The Daily Show’s take. As John Stewart put it after Wolf Blitzer began trying to correct CNN’s mistake by claiming “widely different” accounts of the decision, “Yes, widely different. There's what you've been saying, and then there's what happened.”
Then there was the “I’m moving to Canada” movement by folks unhappy with the decision, which actually started as a joke. But it did produce some pretty funny responses (“Saying you’re moving to Canada cause you’re upset about Obamacare is like saying you’re moving to Hogwarts cause you’re upset about magic.”) Yet it seemed believable, no doubt because it was so reminiscent of that legendary Tea Party placard, “Government, keep your hands off my Medicare!”
Now for the not-so-funny. Check out Huff Post’s blazing headline, HORROR IN THE COURT: Conservative Justices Offer Frightening Dissent. Too shrill? Maybe. But had these four justices gotten their way, the entire law- even portions already in effect – would have been invalidated, and the Court’s right-wing politization would have been fully realized (following Bush vs. Gore and Citizen United). John Roberts may have essentially saved the democracy - not a minor point. Not to mention the fact that this would be horrible for any one of us trying to get health coverage with pre-existing conditions, or for women (who now get free checkup), young adults who can stay on their parent’s plans until age 26, or the sick who can’t be dropped or denied continuing coverage. See more here.
The Court’s endorsement of a very restricted federal role under the Commerce and Spending clauses of the constitution is of concern to many people. For example, see Kevin Russell’s entry on SCOTUSblog: “I think it is very likely that one of its major impacts will be to revive claims that several significant civil rights statutes, enacted under Congress’s Spending Power, are unconstitutional.” One very favorable consequence, however, is that the decision keeps firmly in place the federalism arguments against use of the Commerce clause to justify federal “tort reform” bills, like the anti-patient H.R. 5. So there’s that.
And there’s also the litany of other profit-making institutions that will benefit from the law once it’s fully in effect, so free-market types better not complain. Hospitals and drug companies will benefit from new patients who have decent health care coverage who will no longer get their primary care through expensive, often unreimbursed ER emergencies. Health insurers will certainly benefit from the boatloads of new policyholders despite some of the law’s restrictions.
So to all the cranky health care opponents in Congress who are vowing to take action to repeal the law (thinking the nation supports them) – beware. As Frank Rich put it:
That the law was largely upheld allows Obama the miraculous opportunity to get right what he screwed up before and after the bill was passed: a fresh chance to explain to voters exactly what this bill is and what is good about it. …
After Obama endorsed same-sex marriage, it started to rise in the polls, a direct reflection of what the presidential imprimatur meant to some who had been on the fence. The same will be true of the Court’s endorsement of the Affordable Care Act. It’s still a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to some voters — particularly, I suspect, to independents and to those who don’t follow politics all that closely (e.g., independents). At the very least, undecided voters will give the law another close look, which is why it’s so important that Obama seize the moment to make it absolutely clear to all what Americans will gain from it.
It’s already happening.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10|
|CNN & Fox News Report Supreme Court Decision|