Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Obama to Supreme Court: You Don't Dare Kill Obamacare

With the Supreme Court yet to rule on the challenge to Obamacare - and same sex marriage - much uncertainty and speculation continues as to what the Court will do.  Striking down the exchanges would cause millions to lose healthcare coverage and create chaos in states that have sat back and allowed the federal exchanges to do the job Republicans have refused to do.  As a column in the Washington Post notes, Barack Obama has kept the political pressure on the conservative justices on the Court some of whom likely cannot help but feel the pressure and contemplate the repercussions of an anti-Obamacare ruling.  The Neanderthals on the Court, notably Thomas and Scalia, may not care, but Roberts and Kennedy might take pause.  Here are column highlights:

President Obama uttered more than 3,600 words on the stage of Washington’s Marriott Wardman Park ballroom on Tuesday, but his message could be summed up in three: You wouldn’t dare. 

He was speaking not to the hundreds of hospital administrators assembled for the Catholic Health Association’s conference but to five men not in the room: the conservative justices of the Supreme Court, who in the next 21 days will declare whether they are invalidating the most far-reaching legislation in at least a generation because of one vague clause tucked in its 2,000 pages.

Obama’s appeal to the justices, devotees of judicial modesty all: Do they really wish to cause the massive societal upheaval that would come from killing a law that is now a routine part of American life?

“Five years in, what we are talking about is no longer just a law. It’s no longer just a theory. It isn’t even just about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare,” he said. “This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another. This is health care in America.”

Without mentioning the looming decision, Obama warned of its devastating potential. “Once you see millions of people having health care, once you see that all the bad things that were predicted didn’t happen, you’d think that it’d be time to move on,” he said. “It seems so cynical to want to take coverage away from millions of people, to take care away from the people who need it the most, to punish millions with higher costs of care and unravel what’s now been woven into the fabric of America.”

The conservative justices, like conservative critics of the law generally, are unlikely to be persuaded by Obama’s recitation of the merits of the law, which he repeated at length Tuesday. But they may well be reluctant to upend a law that now has broad acceptance in American society. 

[T]he recent improvement in the law’s standing comes even though most Americans aren’t aware that the law has cost the government less than forecast.

With such broad acceptance of (if not fondness for) the new health-care status quo, it’s difficult to imagine the Supreme Court justices taking away health coverage for 6 million or 7 million Americans, causing costs to skyrocket for millions of others, and likely plunging the entire American health-care system into chaos. That’s not just judicial activism — it would be a judicially induced cataclysm.

Such a cataclysm has no place in the catechism of Sister Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Association and a key early supporter of Obamacare who broke with the Catholic bishops to support the law. 
Again, it is ironic that it is Republicans who claim to be the party of Christian values that wants the Affordable Health Care Act killed even if that means millions would lose coverage.  In today's GOP, once one ceases to be a fetus, they simply do not give a damn.  The GOP is the antithesis of being "pro-life."

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