Monday, September 17, 2012
John Roberts, evil genius
ROBERT E. MALCHMAN
Chief Justice John G. Roberts is an evil genius. The ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act is, on its face, a win for President Obama both because the media are saying it is and because it is the signature piece of legislation of his first term. But it may turn out to be a pyrrhic victory, as Roberts accomplished numerous, subtle victories for conservative Republicans.
First, remember that “Obamacare” and the individual mandate started out as a proposal from the conservative Heritage Foundation as a counterproposal to the Clinton administration’s health care plan. The only reasons Republicans are now opposed to it is because Obama proposed it and is getting credit for it. Before it was Obamacare, the program was known as Romneycare in Massachusetts — and if the 2008 election had gone the other way, it might be known as McCaincare today.
Meantime, the survival of the Affordable Care Act eliminates any clamor for real, progressive health care reform, whether universal Medicare or for the creation of a public insurance option. Such programs are anathema to conservatives who want most things privatized — either for ideological reasons or so that their corporate masters can further enrich themselves.
The effect of the law will be to drive millions of people to buy insurance from insurance companies in many cases with federally subsidized funds, lining the pockets of those corporations with the public’s money. Is it any surprise that health care stocks were surging in the wake of the ruling?