Supreme Rewrites: ‘Mandate’ Spins From Left, Right, May Prove Lose-Lose For All Americans
A few years ago, the much maligned prune hired a PR firm and emerged with a flashy new advertising campaign and new name: the dried plum. The other day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney shined up the controversial health insurance mandate by calling it “the personal responsibility provision.”
A prune by another name? Call it what you will, but that crucial heart of the Affordable Health Care Act, now the center of debate at the Supreme Court, could put a kibosh on the whole deal. While Court watchers say it could go either way, most lean toward a conservative 5-4 toss out, The question, then, becomes, can any of the health care overhaul be salvaged? Justice Scalia signaled all would be trashed, while Justice Ginsburg asked “why must it be a wrecking ball and not a salvage job?”
Some commentators suggest only the very fringe provisions, the overstuffed pork that swelled the Act to 2,700 pages ( the size inspired Justice Scalia to invoke a sardonic reference to the 8th Amendment and the Justices facing “cruel and unusual punishment” reading the darn thing). So while provisions for black lung and Native Americans may remain main intact, pre-existing conditions and the spiraling premium pricing blitz will be back in play. In other words, the insurance companies will be back in the driver’s seat without the “mandated” influx of new customers.
Politically, some on the left think a loss will really be a win. James Carville, who was around for the Clinton health care debacle offered his curious take on CNN’s “Situation Room” on Tuesday.
“I think this will be the best thing that has ever happened to the Democratic Party. You know, what the Democrats are going to say, and it is completely justified, ‘We tried, we did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority.’”
Okay, but how exactly is that good news for the Dems?
“Then the Republican Party will own the health care system for the foreseeable future. And I really believe that. That is not spin,” Carville said.
Well, there may be some truth there, and certainly the Repubs have absolutely no alternative to what they’ve dubbed ‘ObamaCare.’ The Party of No has been all about shouting down anything that has the President’s fingerprints on it and doing their best to make Obama a one-termer ( something which, despite the economy and perhaps this defeat, is so far from good enough Sarah Palin could never see it from her back porch). And Romney, the likely GOP nominee, has his own problems as the “godfather” of Obamacare.
Still, politics aside, who will suffer? Millions of Americans, denied care do to pre-existing conditions and prohibitive costs. I know I’ve heard the leftist chants to re-energize and re-organize the Single Payer efforts, But how many years, realistically, will that take? The Affordable Health Care Act, as messy as the legislative sausage making was, holds so many vital provisions that would help so many Americans. Steps in the right direction now threatened by a perilous obstacle course.
If we continue the status quo, the skyrocketing costs will soar to levels that will surely toss many more out of the insurance market. And the burden will be passed on to those of us fortunate enough to cling to coverage.
Spin it any way you want, left, right or center, but regardless of your political affiliation, if The Supremes strike down the mandate and, with it, likely the whole shebang, it will be a lose-lose for all Americans.