Thursday, June 28, 2012

Justice Roberts Shows Independence

In a surprising Supreme Court decision regarding President Obama's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John Roberts played the role of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and ruled with the slim majority (5 to 4), which upholds the health care provisions that the Democrats passed a couple years ago. It did not take long for conservatives to call Roberts a traitor. They were hoping that the Supreme Court would overturn that legislation, thereby negating Obama's main accomplishment.

I was relieved by the decision. I'm not a fan of the Supreme Court after their unConstitutional ruling regarding Bush v. Gore in 2000, which took away the right of the state (of Florida) in the controversial election that installed the disastrously incompetent Bush as president. Also, the Citizens United decision was another bad decision which allows corporations to spend the millions upon millions upon millions to influence the elections in this country (why do corporations hate paying a living wage to employees or to hire more people, but see no problem using their hoards of cash to influence the election?).

Chief Justice Roberts' decision is interesting, because he was one of President Bush's Supreme Court selections. Obama, then a Senator, voted against the nomination. Back during the confirmation hearings, I actually was okay with John Roberts and if I had been a Senator, I would have voted to confirm him (but not Alito or the most ridiculous nominee of all: Harriet Miers, Bush's personal lawyer who is quoted as saying "Bush is the most brilliant man I have ever met!"). Roberts appeared to me to be a reasonable, moderate conservative who is not an ideologue. He proved it with his vote in favor of upholding the new health care law, rather than ruling it un-Constitutional just because conservative ideologues hate the president and object to every thing the president tries to do to progress our country.

A part of me wondered if Roberts was influenced by an I.O.U. to the president. After all, in the most significant aspect of his job (administering the oath of office to the incoming president on Inauguration Day), he flubbed the oath to the point where Obama had to re-do the oath later in the day, just in case some ideologue tried to impeach him over it. How do you get the oath wrong? Yeah, he definitely owed Obama big time after marring his otherwise perfect day.

While the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, I am in favour of a complete universal health care model that allows for a public option, because if offered one, I'd definitely take it. Government health care might not be perfect, but when I was in the military, I never had to deal with a bill and it worked well for me. The key is affordability and this year, I finally got myself on the Veteran's plan, though I still have a health insurance through my company, which is expensive and four times more than what I had paid in my previous job.

I don't understand why teabaggers and other rabid ideologues on the right are so against universal health care. It is a FACT that people who use the Emergency Room and / or 9-1-1 for their health care needs actually put the burden on the rest of us taxpayers. Why should they get a free ride and use a system geared for emergencies to take care of their non-emergency health care needs? Why not set up a system where all working Americans have a tax taken out of their paychecks that go straight into a universal health insurance policy? That way, people won't abuse the Emergency Room and 9-1-1 for non-emergencies.

Also, health care should be non-profit. I've seen some statistics floating around on memes on Facebook. The CEOs of all the major health insurance companies make well over several million dollars a year. Why? A government-run health care system would pay far more reasonable salary for those that manage and work within the system. Don't the health insurance companies (HMOs) CEOs realize that the millions they make each year is made on the health of insurers? In order to pay their salaries, HMOs deny patients the care they might need or to deny people with "pre-existing conditions". When Sarah Palin accused Obama of wanting to set up government "death panels", did she not think that this is what HMOs do all the time when they deny claims and benefits to people, in order to save money so that they can get their big salaries? That is truly sick and twisted. Why does a health insurance company CEO need a several million dollar salary for anyway? What level of intelligence or experience do they have over the rest of us that justifies such a salary? Especially when the money came from someplace (all those insurers paying into the system). How many people died because they were denied health care from HMOs, while the money saved found its way into the bank accounts of the HMO CEO?

I will never understand the mentality of a person who hates government so much that they would not want to have affordable health care for themselves. Its another example of a people so ignorant that they are able to be tricked into voting against their own economic self interest. They reveal their ignorance every day when they protest this Affordable Care Act as a violation of their freedoms. When I majored in International Politics in college, one of the motives I learned about for why a social safety net was considered important in societies that favour a socialist-democratic system is the belief that if citizens did not have to worry about hungry, shelter, and sickness, they could be empowered to pursue their goals and dreams, which would improve society for the better. A nation full of poor, sick, and hungry people does not bode well for the long-term security of a country, so the relative minimal cost of preventive care is far less expensive in the long run than dealing with all the problems that occur with health crises and poverty. Why can't conservative ideologues understand that?!?

So, thank you, Chief Justice Roberts for making the right call on this law. It puts you in the running for my annual "Nonconformist of the Year." Don't let the rabid conservatives scare you into making decisions that are more political than neutral. Look at the progress of history and side with the trend. You don't want future Americans to look upon your legacy as reactionary, ideological, and unsupported (indefensible). We should always strive towards "a more perfect union." The Affordable Care Act is a huge step in the right direction.

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