Mr. Roberts And the Nullification Party
Since yesterday everyone except fifty guys in a nuclear submarine parked off of Russia knows a couple of things. They know, for instance, that in the main the Affordable Health Care Act was upheld more or less intact by a divided Supreme Court, and not for the reasons everyone was looking at.
They also know that Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote, which surprised everyone except me. I'd listened to the confirmation hearings in their entirety, and I thought that the Chief Justice brought a certain modesty and midwestern sensibility to the Court that somewhere, somehow, would see the right thing to do and then go ahead with the project. I'm glad to see that for once my gut instincts about a person who I do not know were right. The man, the hour, and the occasion all cemented his place in the most important Supreme Court decision in the last fifty years or so.
Every now and again I have this habit of finding a reason for a road trip. It's a good idea for me to get in the truck, turn off the phone, turn off the radio and drive. The midwest is good for such things with its wide open vistas. On my way to Centerville, Iowa this morning to pick up a load of motorcycle parts, that's what I was doing-thinking about health care.
It seems to me there are two angles to health care: access, and cost containment/reduction.
The Dragon Lady had a run in last year with the stuff that gets everyone wearing pink everything. It required a lumpectomy, radiation, and medication and we're not really at the end of it yet because of the meds that she had to take and the side effects. After a month I got the first thing where the insurance company tells you how much they've paid so far, and it was west of 30 large. It immediately occurred to me that had we not had insurance, it would have meant bankruptcy and a shitty two bedroom apartment on the bad side of town. If she was like a lot of people without insurance she would have ended up at Broadlawns two years from now, double mastectomy time, and they probably wouldn't be able to fix it anyway.
What that brought home to me is that broad based, accessible preventive medicine can save us all a buttload of money if we get it out to people, even if they can't pay, because it's a cost fighter
As it is, we DO have a universal health care system in the US that I would characterize as The Revolver In Your Face Health Care Plan. That is, if a person presents at an emergency room and they do not have insurance, they're going to get treated anyway because it is the law, and the rest of us are going to pick up the tab. On the other hand, if they are able to access a reasonable level of early stage care we all stand to save money-a lot of it.
It's better to spend ten cents today if you can save ten bucks tomorrow-and it is a sound investment strategy. Any businessman knows that cost containment is just as important as profit making. So there's a good economic argument to be made there.
As it happens, what passes for health care in this country is unsustainable, either because of the Revolver In Your Face plan, or the Let 'Em Eat Cake plan-really not a plan but a default position dictated by ideology that the tea party types seem so enamored of.
It's like that when you're peddling absolute, stand your ground positions. When you have burned your bridges, you've got nothing to retreat to. Who remembers George Wallace's "Segregation now, segregation tomorruh, segregation forever" speech on the steps of the University? Or John C. Calhoun's pronunciations on nullification, which seems to be what the tea party is advocating?
Both confined to the dustbin of history. And rightly so.
It's been pretty quiet out there as the tea party types are busy retooling their arguments to confront the new reality. They were beaten in a fair fight by a black man when he was elected, and they just got their clocks cleaned again, this time by the Supreme Court.