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      This week the Supreme Court started its landmark 3 days of hearings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, in order to determine the constitutionality of the individual mandate included in the bill. Many have argued that the constitutionality of the law hinges on whether or not the commerce clause allows Congress sufficient authority to mandate that people must purchase health insurance, others would say that the mandate is protected under necessary and proper.  Protesters line the steps of the court house on both sides of the issue while inside the court the same ideological battle rages while testimony is given. Most Americans seem to have an opinion on the issue of whether or not the bill should stay, and whether or not it is constitutional, but I feel that my opinion differs somewhat from the normal view: who cares?
    Let me clarify: I don't think the constitutionality of this bill is important within the scope of the discussion. I don't think that this is the appropriate time for partisan politics and legal semantics, and make no mistake, that's exactly what this is. Claiming that the bill is unconstitutional is an incredibly easy way to frame the debate beneficially to opponents of the ACA, nothing more. The question we should be asking ourselves now is whether or not we are willing to sacrifice the potential health and well being of 30 million Americans because of some misplaced, self inflicted duty to uphold a 225 year old document written by men who could not possible conceive nor comprehend the moral and ethical dilemmas of the 21st century. To be clear, I do understand the importance and value of a strong constitution, and a founding document helps build a cohesive political identity which is important for any representative democracy, but at what point does that cross the line into absurdity? Should I really have to make an  argument to demonstrate the dangers of moral absolutes? I, and I hope there are other Americans like me, don't feel that what is constitutional is always necessarily right, nor is it always just. The document's drafters new this when they wrote it, hence the vague language and provisions offering differing interpretations. My point is, enough is enough.
    Constitutionality is not always the benchmark of morality. The constitution is not the moral arbiter of the entire nation, nor should we ever view it that way. While it provides an adequate framework to guide our proceedings, in this instance, it is leading us astray, and being used by partisan forces in ways that were never intended for it. What we as a people need to do is take responsibility for an unfair system we have created, in which those who cannot afford health insurance become second class citizens to those who can afford it. How is it acceptable that being forced the purchase health insurance sparks a national outrage, yet the people who die every day from a lack of insurance and adequate care go unnoticed? It's time to do whats right, in spite of the buzz words like socialism, and death panels, in spite of partisan games in a congress with one of the lowest approval ratings of all time, and in spite of those who have insurance, but feel no compassion to help their fellow man.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In a NYTimes piece on the 29th, (10+ / 0-)

    Paul Krugman pointed out that conservatives DO support the forced purchase of accounts to replace Social Security.

    Yes, SCOTUS is playing partisan games.

    Oh, and I would add that we already have death panels. They're run for profit by insurance companies.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 02:03:02 AM PDT

  •  what about Bush v Gore? = UNconstitutional (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, the rightwing Supremes CAN make "unique" rulings.

    Republicans have the 1% vote locked up.

    by MartyM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:14:26 AM PDT

  •  Okay. (3+ / 0-)

    Someone else may not care about the constitutionality of your rights to life and liberty.

    Ready for that?

  •  While the Constitution may not be the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, VClib, cynndara, Yastreblyansky

    benchmark of morality, it is the benchmark of legality in this country.

    I do agree with your sentiments about the moral issue regarding healthcare, but as you note, morality and constitutionality are two different things.

    In this case, my concern is that there are at least 2 Supreme Court justices who will decide based not on the Constitution, but on their own personal ideology (in other words, on their own sense of morality -warped though it might be in my opinion.) It is interesting that these are the same two who would claim that they have the most strict interpretation of the Constitution though they are the ones least likely to see the spirit of the Constitution and instead rely on the letter of the law and their ability to channel the intent of men who have been dead two centuries.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:48:13 AM PDT

  •  you just need to repeal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Angie in WA State

    Article VI, Clause 2 (Supremacy Clause)

    This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

  •  This is a hopeless muddle ... (4+ / 0-)

    You say you "do understand the importance and value of a strong constitution, and a founding document helps build a cohesive political identity which is important for any representative democracy," but when the issue at hand is really important to you, you are ready to dispense with the only means we have of holding ourselves to the principles that define our cohesive political identity.

    Why wouldn't the same reasoning apply just as legitimately to those who think all abortion is murder, or that the Führerprinzip is the only truly workable system of government?

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:36:35 AM PDT

  •  They may have been clueless, or were they? (0+ / 0-)

    I absolutely agree with you on the fact that millions of Americans are clueless on how the striking down of this act will literally kill us.  You know, the Congress of that time  passed this "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen" and that was in 1798.  These  leaders of America at that time, not only were able to conceive the moral dilemma with healthcare, but were  pretty damn astute about it, enough so that they even had a mandate for them to pay for it.  It seems to me that the only ones ignorant right now are the ones that are against this Patient Protection and the ones who allowed it to be called Obama Care in the first place.  I wish the Democrats would develope a set of balls and a voice that comes with them to have defended this.    

  •  the problem: it's all about "perception" (0+ / 0-)

    ...the problem with this argument is that having the Supreme Court declaring this unconstitutional ON ANY GROUNDS would give a massive propaganda boost to Republicans and Obama-haters...they would tell everyone that they were right all along, Obama was wrong, that this is proof that President Obama had some kind of hidden agenda that's "anti-American," etc., etc., etc. And the real result would be that there would probably be enough "low-information" voters who would buy off on that, thinking that, well if the Supreme Court thinks President Obama and Democrats in Congress were too extreme in their health care bill...well, it must be true.

    That could further fuel Republicans' ongoing disinformation campaign about the Affordable Care Act. They've already convinced a plurality of people that there's something wrong with the act (even though all of the various provisions, when separated out, actually have pluralities of support).

    In politics, perception is everything. And this would be yet another major setback by clouding people's perceptions about what the ACA does and doesn't do.

    •  Yes. Absolutely. Without Question. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The question we should be asking ourselves now is whether or not we are willing to sacrifice the potential health and well being of 30 million Americans because of some misplaced, self inflicted duty to uphold a 225 year old document written by men who could not possible conceive nor comprehend the moral and ethical dilemmas of the 21st century.
    •  oops (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sorry about that. That was supposed to be a general comment, not a reply.

      Next time, coffee first.

  •  There is no question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State

    that we need to solve a healthcare crisis in this country.  What's debatable is whether this is the appropriate way to do it.

    The majority of people who don't have health insurance are against the individual mandate because they CAN'T AFFORD IT.  And despite claims that the bill is going to bring prices down, there's been no sign of that being the case.  Look, we all know what monopolies do when they have a captive market.  They RAISE prices.  That's why prices are already through the roof.

    What we fail to acknowledge in this debate is how much the medical profession itself is a STATE-PROTECTED MONOPOLY that can basically charge at will because we have no other legal and effective options.  Like a medieval guild it has feathered its nest by codifying standards of performance that far exceed the actual needs or desires of consumers, and charging accordingly for a Rolls-Royce when most patients only need or can afford a Honda.  Unlike a medieval guild, it faces no significant regulation or oversight from local or regional government, and bears no communal responsibility for what malpractice is (rarely) discovered.  Thus the medical community, like its cousins the corporations, is able to unilaterally set its terms of service, price at will, and bears little or no liability for failure to perform as advertised.

    It's time to change the debate over medical costs in this country, and we won't do that by cobbling together a set of minimal reforms in the rusty and leaking old sieve we already have.  Our system isn't just a LITTLE broke.  It's unsalvageable, and the heroic attempt to reform a bad system rather resembles some of the extreme and ill-advised attempts our medical system makes to prolong the agony of the terminally ill on life-support.

  •  Tipped and rec'd because (0+ / 0-)

    what you're worrying about is really important. But it's not the constitution that is to blame so much as it is the legal formalists who treat it as a magical fetish that can be used to attain private ends. (They don't say government can't make me purchase a product when they want to replace Social Security with IRA's for everybody.) Meanwhile, I think the Court will find Obamacare (I've started calling it that, with pride) is constitutional, but even if they don't remember that the status quo is a crisis for the capitalists as well—doctors and drug companies and hospitals especially—and something with the good featres of Obamacare is going to have to be done regardless.

    What did you do in the class war, Daddy?

    by Yastreblyansky on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:36:58 AM PDT

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