Saturday, June 23, 2012

Health care armageddon on Monday

While no one really knows what the court is going to do, overturning the ACA to any degree will make this one of the biggest Supreme Court decisions of all time.  (I was going to say "Regardless of what the court decides, this will be one of the biggest decisions of all time."  But that's not really true at all, is it?  Upholding the law means commerce clause powers remain pretty much exactly as expansive as everyone thought they were until 2011 or so.)

Plenty of ink has been spilled on this already, and I don't have much to add.  You want awful horse-racey coverage?  Go read literally any halfway respectable news outlet.

On second thought, don't.  Because that horse-race coverage is a huge part of the problem here.  I've read any number of godawful articles on the subject that start out by noting that overturning the law will be a huge defeat for the Obama administration... and then basically stop there, too.

Hey, how about breaking down what overturning the law will mean for everyone else?  A negative Supreme Court decision may or may not impact Obama's political fortunes come November--and, I think, could actually energize the Democratic base in a pretty major way--but there is absolutely no doubt that it would impact the lives of millions upon millions of people.  It would disrupt state governments in a way that's hard to even describe.  It would cause complete chaos of a sort that has nothing to do with party politics.  

But to read most of the reporting about the law, this decision is primarily about whether Obama gets to notch a W or an L over health care.  It casts the two options as roughly equivalent; a zero-sum, binary choice: Ds v. Rs.  Either way someone wins, either way someone loses.  Root for the home team.  And not only does that disguise the enormity of what's probably about to happen, it also enables idiots who attack the law without addressing its actual policy merits.  This is especially problematic when you consider that one Justice Anthony Kennedy is, forever and above all else, an idiot.  

Have a nice weekend.

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