I decided to wait before I reacted, at least online.
I wanted to watch what unfolded. The temperature of the election skyrocketed immediately. Both sides started devising strategies for the coming months. Healthcare workers are trying to figure out what is going on. The President’s legacy is secure…for now at least. But his challenger is promising to undo all that he’s done. 68% of people seem to want to undo what the President has done.
But I’m not sure it’s going to ever get done.
And if it is, it’s got a huge…massive hill to climb.
And even if all the people get elected to make it happen, it still might not happen.
Traitor or Genius?
First of all, there sure are a lot of people who think Justice Roberts is a traitor. Maybe he’s craftier than that though.
We all know what the talking points would be if the law was shot down. “Five white guys took away your health care.”
Instead, the Chief Justice did the conservative opposition a huge favor. If he struck down the law, it would take away a huge reason to elect conservatives this November, including a lukewarm Mitt Romney. Now, he’s made it the singular issue to elect conservatives, and get the law demolished democratically.
Three Things That Never Die
Of course, to uphold the law, it had to be called a “tax.” That’s ironic, since the PR campaign before, during, and since has denied that it’s a tax.
So, how often does our government repeal taxes?
Almost never. Taxes may get trimmed or reduced, but they almost never go away. They are like roaches and twinkies. They could survive a nuclear holocaust. If you survive armageddon, you can be sure you’ll still get a tax bill.
I know that’s painting with a broad brush. But you’d have to have the investigation skills of an IRS auditor to find many significant taxes that have actually been repealed.
The government can never do without your money, once it’s gotten used to spending it. The odds, as history shows, are stacked hugely in favor of keeping the status quo, no matter how unpalatable it is.
No Such Thing as “Infinite”
Complicating things is the dogged belief that most of us have that healthcare is an unlimited resource. We think everything is a bottomless pit. Most of us have never lived through food rations. The concept of finite supply does not compute. I will buy as much of anything as I want!
At the heart of this law is the belief that America has unlimited healthcare resources, that we have infinite hospital beds, medicine and doctors, and we just have to make this infinite supply available to all the people who can’t get it.. It’s not true. There are dozens of medicine shortages all the time, for example. When demand on a limited resource goes up, either the price increases, or rationing has to happen.
Would You Eat This?
For everything that people hate about the law, the problem is there’s two parts just about everyone loves.
Everyone loves the part about letting kids stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and everyone loves the part about insurance not being able to deny you for pre-existing conditions. 85% of people like those two parts.
It’s like someone gives you a delicious, piping hot chocolate chip cookie, but they tell you that one of the chocolate chips is actually dog feces.
Those two popular parts of the law make this feel like an “ethical” issue, and everyone wants to be on the right side of ethics (or at least appear to be). Especially politicians. They’ll talk a big game before the election, but there aren’t going to be many people who have the balls to actually set about reversing this thing. Most politicians would rather eat the chocolate-chip-dog-turd cookie.
At Least They Tried
I’ve seen people on Facebook defend the law as “the first meaningful attempt to reform a system that allows us to be 28th in healthcare…”
What? The people who say this are trying to tell you that it doesn’t matter how things turn out, at least they tried. They had good intentions. The road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions…and tax dollars.
But, good intentions will win the day. As long as you can convince people your intentions are pure (even if your results suck), people will forgive you. We’ve been forgiving bad policies for decades because of “good intentions.” But if they think you have evil intentions, there’s no miracle you can perform that will change their minds. And the President has a lot of people who believe he has good intentions.
What do you think? Will the “fix” ever get fixed? Is the election in November now about this single issue?