As I mentioned in the announcement right before this post, there’ll be many changes coming in the next several days. I hope to make the process as seamless as possible, but I also like getting down and dirty with the code and also somehow doing things the hard way. Anyway, this is most likely the last post on The New Age of Politics version 1. You’ll still come back to the same place for my new posts, lovingly crafted at odd hours of the day for you, but things will look much different around here starting later today. In fact, you might be looking at the change in motion right now!
Who knows? Anyway, oh yes, tonight is a continuation of my new series, “The Good, the Bad, and the Presidential”, in which I highlight one of President Obama’s achievements and analyze it with the gift of hindsight! Tonight, the random achievement picker happened to come up with one that I’ve already written more than enough about. Aside from reading the title of this post, which one do you think it is?
Health Care, Oh Health Care…
“Health Care Reform Bill, preventing insurance companies from denying insurance because of a pre-existing condition”
Where to begin? By now, it should be clear that tonight’s featured achievement is President Obama’s signature one: health care reform. Well, not much has changed since its implementation, though the American people still have a love/hate relationship with it. While the main parts of the health care law do not come into effect for a few years, some notable provisions have already come into effect; notably the part allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26 and the provision establishing the pools for high-risk individuals and those with pre-existing conditions.
Most of what’s happened with health care reform since my last look at it has been on the legal and repeal fronts. Let’s start with the many court challenges to the law; the decision whether to sue over the Affordable Care Act seems to have become the test of whether the state’s Attorney General was a true Republican or not. At this point, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida are leading the suits with the highest profile, though Virginia much less so than the latter two. And this is where it gets interesting; in preliminary judgments, the Florida and Michigan cases have had opposite results. While the Florida judge has allowed, in a preliminary ruling only so far, the lawsuit to continue over questions on the legality of the individual mandate, the judge in Michigan has ruled that the mandate is perfectly legal.
Of course, both of these suits still have to play out in court; chances are the mandate will be in effect before its legality is fully determined. Oh, and if the two courts continue to take the opposite views of it, that all but guarantees that health care reform will end up in front of the Supreme Court. Nobody can know which way the Justices will decide, but a few rulings in the past decade seem to point that they will lean toward the more expansive view toward the Commerce Clause. This clause in the Constitution is the one that is at the heart of the entire legal action; the question is whether Congress overstepped the bounds of its power to regulate interstate commerce or not.
“Hypocrite, Hypocrite, Tell You What He Do…”
The fight over whether to repeal the legislation outright is only heating up since the tidal wave that was the midterm election. Despite what everyone in the triumphant House Republican Caucus and their Senate colleagues may be thinking and saying at this point, there is no mandate to repeal health care reform! Unlike what they’d have you believe, the midterm elections were not a referendum on health care; it was a referendum on jobs instead, but that’s beside the point, other than that the Republicans are missing the point!
To further hammer the point that the American people have a love/hate relationship with health care reform, let’s take a look at the results of the poll in the article: 44 percent are in favor of either amending it or the outright repeal; 51% are in favor of either keeping it as is or amending it to be even more expansive. What’s interesting, though is that of the group favoring the law, the percentage of registered voters in favor of adding to it is larger (35%) than the group in favor of it as is (16%). Crucially, in terms of the lack of a mandate for the GOP to address the health care law, the independents, who decide just about every election these days, were split 48-48 on health care? That’s a mandate? By those standards, President Obama’s win by a margin of 53-46 must have been a decree from the Almighty!
I jest, of course, but seriously, there is no electoral reason for the GOP to be fighting health care as much as they are; it just makes them feel warm and fuzzy at night. In addition, the hypocrisy of some members of the incoming class in Congress is simply astounding. For instance, incoming Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) complained during his orientation that he didn’t have his taxpayer-provided health insurance yet! Folks, I’m thinking of a word that starts with H and ends with e, rhymes with hypocrite…any ideas what it could be?
For once, the left stood up and pointed this out to everyone and is mounting a campaign to make new Republicans forgo their federal health insurance. This makes perfect sense, and I wouldn’t mind seeing anyone opposed to health care reform forgo it. After all, why buy in to a program that you want, but that you don’t want your constituents to have? I’d do it if I were in one of those new Reps.’ pairs of shoes. Wouldn’t you?