Appeals Court Nixes Centerpiece of Obama’s Republican ‘Health Care Reform’ Agenda




CLOSET SINGLE-PAYER ADVOCATES? If Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, the right-wing Neanderthals of the U.S. Supreme Court, vote with a majority of Justices to strike down the “individual mandate”–a centerpiece of  President Barack Obama’s Republican “health care reform” agenda–the U.S. may soon be compelled to join the rest of the civilized world and adopt a single-payer system.

As you may already be aware, on Friday, August 12th, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, struck down the “individual mandate” provision of the “Affordable Care Act” signed into law last year by Democratic president Barack Obama.

According to the 11th Circuit Court, the “individual mandate,” which forces people to purchase health insurance–a product from a private company–violates the federal constitution because it is beyond Congress’ scope to regulate such activity.

As an opponent of Obama’s “Affordable Care Act,” I have absolutely no qualms in admitting I quietly applauded the appellate court ruling trashing the “individual mandate”–the centerpiece of what in essence was a Republican initiative to begin with.

And yes, I said Republican, because anybody who bothers to carefully read it will discover key parts were modeled–almost word for word–on legislation first introduced by Republican party politicians in the early 1990s to counteract “Hillarycare.”

It is perhaps ironic that Obama–one of the most rabidly pro-Wall Street presidents in the history of this country–is labeled by right-wing Tea partiers as being a “socialist” for enacting into law what formerly was the GOP’s agenda for “health care reform.”

Equally amusing is the Obama administration’s use of right-wing rhetoric in defending the “individual mandate.” Just look at the remark that Stephanie Cutter, a Deputy Senior Advisor, recently made about this matter on the White House blog:

Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us–when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab.

Sound familiar?

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich–whom many liberals pretty much deride as a lunatic–used similar language when promoting the very same concept in an opinion piece on “health care reform” he helped pen for The Des Moines Register in June 2007:

Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance as well. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it.

Déjà vu?

None of this should be of any surprise given the “individual mandate” idea first surfaced in a policy paper entitled “Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans,” published by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank linked to the Republican party, in October 1989.

As Mother Jones magazine pointed out, other major aspects of “Obamacare,” like the concept of “health insurance exchanges,” were also inspired by the same think tank–something even the president himself acknowledged on NBC’s Today show in March 2010.

The 11th Circuit Court’s ruling undoubtedly assures the U.S. Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts (no relationship to me, incidentally), will be be called upon to determine the “constitutionality” of this matter.

Now if Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, the right-wing Neanderthals on that body, vote with a majority of Justices to strike down the “individual mandate,” the U.S. may soon be compelled to join the rest of the civilized world and adopt a single-payer system.

I’m not holding my breath, but American capitalism is fraught with so many internal contradictions I can’t rule out the possibility a handful of ideologues could make a decision that inevitably causes the dissolution of the private health insurance industry.

Hey, stranger things have happened.

I mean, who on earth, for example, would have been insane enough to predict a sleazy Republican party politician like Richard Milhous Nixon would as president enact some of the most sweeping and progressive environmental laws of the late 20th Century?

About Duane Roberts