Robert Reich called it right — although he was one vote short. The day before the Supreme Court found the Affordable Care Act constitutional, he predicted that John Roberts would be the justice who would back the act. Conservatives are predictably furious. They accuse Roberts of everything from legal hanky-panky to treachery.
But Paul Krugman writes in today’s New York Times that: “This was a big day, a victory for due process, decency and the American people.” That’s because there are so many winners — not just the 30 million Americans who do not have health insurance:
In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.
It would be heartening if Americans could now move on to the question of jobs and how to create them. Rest assured, though, that yesterday’s landmark decision will be part of the election campaign. Krugman writes that:
what was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can’t afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition’s goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.
Ironically, the genesis of the Affordable Care Act came from the Heritage Foundation. And the first politican to implement the plan was a Republican governor — the man currently hoping to move into the White House — who claims that repealing the act will be his first act as president.
You get the impression that Republicans oppose the act, not because of its substance, but because of who proposed it. Perhaps that’s why they have insisted on calling it “Obamacare.”