Friday, June 29, 2012
Judgement Day for the Affordable Care Act
So, the Supreme Court of the United States has spoken and their judgment is that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. I know that many amongst my friends are now gnashing and grinding their teeth as they proclaim the sky is falling and the court has lost all credibility. I've got one word for that view: "Uff-da!"
The bishops of the United States have been advocating for some sort of universal healthcare since 1919. So, in a sense, I welcome movement in this direction. That is not to ignore the fact that there are portions of this bill, now law, which are deeply flawed. Bishop Callahan recognizes this in his latest blog entry.
But I would like to address first the idea that the sky is falling. I looked outside. It's still there! The Lord hasn't come in glory yet either. So, like many other issues in life, we learn how to live with this and continue the work of refining it so as to modify or be rid of those parts which are irredeemably odious (the HHS Mandate).
As for some people declaring the Chief Justice, John Roberts, a traitor, I can only say that we do him an injustice. We don't know his thinking, which I'm sure will come out in the months to come. But to doubt his patriotism or his faithfulness is downright cruel and lacking in justice and charity. We were plenty happy with him when the Hosanna-Tabernacle case was decided as well as the Citizen's United decision. In fact, when I heard that the Chief Justice was writing the decision I had a sneaking suspicion that the ACA would be upheld. And yet, I didn't lose hope as a result. This is because there is a precedent for chief justices siding with a majority with which they would not normally be expected to side precisely so that they could write the decision and thus formulate the grounds which will effect important precedents for battles yet to be fought. In other words, except the results of this battle in order to win the war that many may not even be aware is looming or being fought. George Will addresses this most aptly in his contribution for today. If you are truly interested in some informed analysis of this decision you may want to visit the SCOTUSBlog. There are a number of articles here which will be of great help in understanding the decision.
Does this mean that I personally and fundamentally agree with the Affordable Care Act? No. I'd like for employers, insurers, medical institutions, and individuals to all do the right thing. The government should act as a safety net for those who are truly in need. I also believe that government running just about anything is asking for inefficiency and corruption. However, employers, insurers, medical institutions, and individuals don't always act with justice or prudence. Therefore, the government HAS stepped in to force the issue. Pray God the various branches of government can now turn their collective attention to improving the obvious, and not so obvious flaws present in the law as the rule-makers at HHS continue implementing it.
God bless America!