I figure that since everyone and their dog is weighing in on today’s Supreme Court upholding most of Obamacare, I might as well too. As a summary for those who either haven’t been reading my previous ramblings or don’t recall, as much as I support the concept of a national health care policy, this legislation left me pretty cold.
While I might be center-left in general, when it comes to health care I swing all the way left. I support a single payer system. My health care plan would be to simply expand Medicare to cover everyone of any age, and raise taxes to cover it. Since people wouldn’t need to buy insurance anymore, so people could then use that money to pay the tax. The net result would be pretty even as far as personal expenses go, but everyone would covered, and the government could keep health care costs affordable. Rich people could still of course buy private insurance if they wanted to in order to cover more. Obamacare, to me, is mostly a health insurance industry handout. It covers more people, which is great, but really its just keeping the current system in place, which doesn’t lower costs, or improve care, at all. Nevertheless, because it does cover more uninsured people than before, as milquetoast as I found it to be I also felt it certainly was better than nothing.
So I’m glad that it was judged constitutional. Not because I think this is a great bill, but because I know that in the current political climate, there’s no way that a decent single payer health care policy could be adopted. In an environment in which Obama’s hyper capitalist, overly expensive, free-market program is labeled “socialist” by it’s opponents, there’s no way a real social health policy has a chance.
Another surprise is that it was Chief Justice Roberts, who until now has been a consistent and reliable conservative, was the deciding vote. Clearly, he felt strongly enough that the Congress had the right to apply a mandate as a tax that his principles trumped his politics. Which is nice.
The expansion of Medicare part was struck down; basically, states will be allowed to opt out of it and still get their regular Medicare funding. This means that depending how many states opt out of it, the number of uninsured people covered by Obamacare will drop. Hopefully not dramatically though. And again, some uninsured people covered is better than none, even if it goes down a bit.
My real hope is that Obamacare will stand more or less intact for a few years, until people can get comfortable with it and see that it doesn’t bankrupt America or turn us into Soviet-era Russia. After that, I hope that it will be reformed and expanded to one day be a real, single-payer public health system. If you truly believe that the role of the government is to set public policy, then public health should be top of the list, in my opinion, and that includes a robust system of national health care that covers everyone. Not an insurance handout.
But for today, this is nice.