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#SCOTUS Ruling: A Big Boost For Romney


Romney banner

New image from Mitt Romney campaign home page. The words make me smile.

I am a bit frustrated because I missed Obama speaking after the Supreme Court upheld his healthcare law, and doubly frustrated because I did catch Mitt.

Mitt says that to repeal Obamacare, you have to get rid of Obama. He is correct. And that’s yet another reason I’m voting for Obama.

The narrow Supreme Court decision could have easily gone the other way. If Mitt gets elected, especially if he has a Republican Congress, no doubt the healthcare law will be legislatively repealed. But, also no doubt, no healthcare reform will be possible for years after Mitt picks the next round of Supreme Court justices.

I am not a big fan of the healthcare law. Like so much in Washington, it is too long, too detailed, too prone to administrative nightmares. But, even so, it’s at least a tentative first step in recognizing that the health of the body politic is a responsibility of government—a fundamental point on which those for and against the law strongly disagree.

Obama image

Obama campaign home page image, not as quick on the healthcare draw as Romney.

Anyway, politically I think, at least in the short run, this is a win for Mitt. If the law were struck down, you would not need to get rid of Obama to get rid of it. Now, Republicans have a rallying cry.

Yet, I don’t know how long there will be that much heat on this issue. And as the events of the day cools down, despite the unpopularity of the law, I’m not sure a huge majority of citizens will really want to go back to the way things were before its passage.

Anyway, there are two points that the GOP constantly hammers on that bug me because they are so wrong. There two false arguments are:

1) Americans have the best healthcare in the world. We don’t want to mess up our great system with a healthcare reform law. Ha. America has the most expensive healthcare in the world, but access to it is capricious, awkward, and controlled by health insurance companies and care providers who scheme and deal and make “Dallas” look clean. No, we don’t have the best healthcare in the world. Sadly, in a country as rich as ours, we can’t bring ourselves to make any collective decisions that might improve a badly broken, frustrating system.

2) The healthcare law stands between you and your doctor, which prevents free, individual choice. This is a harder knot to unravel. For one thing, I agree it’s usually best to let people choose in an open marketplace. But on the other, that choice works best when people are rational and have good data to base choices on. Americans are not rational about healthcare at all (otherwise, we would not lead the world in obesity). And, if you have to choose a provider, what is your basis of choice? Usually, it’s where your insurance steers you, or where friends and family suggest you go. But the suggestions of friends and family are based on their personal experiences, and these are often misleading. A mom may steer you to the friendly doctor who prescribes antibiotics whenever little Timmy gets a cold, but Timmy’s colds are viral and his extra germ-killing pills are hurting him and helping to create super germs that are immune to anti-biotics. She would hate if a big government bureaucracy refused to give her amoxycilin for Timmy’s sniffles, but from a health point of view, both she and Timmy would be better off. We rate our health professionals on how they make us feel, which has most to do with bedside manner, and little to do with any rational measure of care. I don’t think the free market works in healthcare, as a result. In fact, it’s the free market that has created the hugely inefficient and costly American system. So, OK, yes, I want a bureaucrat to decide what kinds of pills my grandma gets. Cause what basis do I have for deciding?

Anyway, I am happy, to some extent, with the SCOTUS. It makes this a more dangerous political year, but on the other hand, the longer we have healthcare reform, the harder it will be to go back. I would have much preferred, and still prefer, a British-style or Canadian single provider system. Maybe with a parallel free-market system for those who can afford and want an alternative. But anyway, at least the Supremes are saying that Congress can reform healthcare.

And to a Democrat, they’re also saying, if you want to keep it, keep President Obama in office.

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