Sunday, June 24, 2012
Is it the End of Obama Care?
As early as tomorrow the most conservative court since the 1930s will rule on the constitutionality of the “individual mandate" provision of the Affordable Care Act or to declare the whole Act unconstitutional. I think we can all agree that it will have an enormous economic and political impact.
I cannot sugarcoat the devastating blow it will be to the liberal agenda if ACT gets struck down. It will fall more on them than it will on the Democratic Party. That's unfortunate because liberals only make up 40% of the party and they didn't get the benefit of the pubic option or the single payer, In fact the latter two options did not have a representative at the table. The Blue Dog Democrats (conservative Democrats) did not support the Affordable Care Act and consequently lost their reelection bid; leaving the liberals the only group to blame. Why is this important? It gets down to the basics; the liberal’s reason for expanding heath care is their desire for equality and social justice. The best sign I saw during the Tea Party protest to health care, read “Spread my Work ethic..Not my wealth." Although the “individual mandate" was originally a conservative idea because it's at the core of " individual responsibility" of their beliefs but their civil libertarian side hates the government telling the citizen that they have to purchase anything. I saw a AP poll where 77% wants Congress to redo the legislation and 19% want doesn't want Congress to do a thing. It’s like any huge piece of legislation; it takes a bipartisan effort for it to be successful but the desire is not the same for both parties.
If any part of the Affordable Health care Act gets struck down, the Mitt Romney team will say that the reason for the high employment is that the president spent too much time on health care but that's not true. The Democrats passed the stimulus thinking that it would bring down unemployment but did not anticipate that governors would use that money to balance their budgets, lay off public employees, and that they did not want to start projects which couldn’t be completed without federal funds. The administration over sold the "shovel ready projects." I think the biggest mistake the administration made was thinking that the Republicans would work with them. President Obama was against the mandate during the campaign but was persuaded because he was told that the republicans would support it. The other mistake was not using the "public option" as a bargaining chip and making the deal with Big Pharma instead of having the option to buy drugs in bulk as the VA does. I have to give it to the GOP they won the message war by calling it "government run government health care" and it never was. The political rhetoric will drown out the fact that 30 million people will lose their health insurance if any part is struck down.
Several pundits still say that the legislation is too complicated and the four years it would take for the whole law to be in force was way too long. The reason for the four years was to not go the same path as Romney care. It takes at least four years to get the funding and the clinical and delivery system in place. The administration sent $5 billion to divide between all 50 states to set up temporary risk pools. This was done 90 days after the law was passed. Massachusetts made the mistake of immediately sending out 550,000 insurance cards but did not have the primary care capacity in place; consequently the ERS were always full defeating the cost savings of Romney care since ER care is a lot more expensive.
If the Supreme Court decision is another 5-4, some will see it as upholding the constitution while others will see as partisan politics. President Obama could use the decision to galvanize his base saying " we 've got work to do because the GOP will not take up the mantle." Mitt Romney does not have that option because 5 of the justices are conservative if the unlikely happens.
What do you think; am I partly right,way off base or somewhere in the middle?