Friday, June 29, 2012
Obamacare: Surreal in so many ways by Peter Moulson
The moment so many had been waiting for, the Supreme Court’s decision on what has become known as Obamacare started with a crash as Fox and CNN got it wrong by broadcasting that the Supremes had struck down the Individual Mandate from the ACA (Obamacare). It soon became clear that these Bastions of the Truth had got it wrong, and the Supreme Court had in fact upheld Obamacare.
As the initial shock wore off and strategy meetings were held, a group of excited, surprised, even astonished activists and politicians met for a 2:00pm press conference in front of the Federal Court building in downtown Albuquerque, almost oblivious to the near-100 degree heat.
Chris Cervini, director of Know Your Care New Mexico introduced Senators Dede Feldman and Jerry Ortiz y Pino, and physician Dr. Dan Derksen to the waiting TV media. The well-messaged points were that today’s ruling was an outstanding success for healthcare in our country and it is now time to pressure the Martinez administration to take advantage of the millions of dollars being made available to us to assist with Medicaid in New Mexico.
Senator Feldman called on the governor and the legislature “to stop horsing around and implement this law of the land.” Expanding Medicaid and developing a strong healthcare insurance exchange are essential she said, and then millions of dollars in Federal aid will be made available to New Mexico. “Hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans will benefit.”
Dr. Derksen highlighted the fact that in New Mexico with a population of little over 2,000,000 -- 340,000 are without health insurance.
The excitement was palpable. Yet so was the underlying confusion. What did this mean? Why did they vote this way when we were so convinced they were going to shred the Affordable Healthcare Act in its entirety? And where exactly do we go from here?
Racing out of the heat in search of shelter, a large group from the press conference landed at Marble Brewery to celebrate. Chris Cervini brought the house to order by raising his glass in a toast to Justice Roberts, “certainly for the first and last time.”
You can bet your boots the Republicans will continue to challenge the ACA, but right now, let’s enjoy the moment.
I'm sure we will rue the day that Roberts switched sides at the last moment on this one. I am sure he has set a judicial trap that we will regret, but for now, I know there are many people who will benefit from this in the immediate days ahead.
While the Rs are happy to go forth with "we will overturn Obamacare," and we can expect they will not be able to do it, we should also know how long and hard will be our struggles to overturn Citizens United.
Roberts has set the table. Have a feast, if you dare.
Posted by: bg | Jun 29, 2012 10:45:59 AM
BG --- I don't see the "judicial trap.".
But your suspicion reminds me of the point I heard a couple of weeks ago at a presentation by We Are People Here. The discussion focused on the growing inequality in our country. Lots of facts and figures .... and pretty grim. The commentator - Craig Barnes - noted that the greater the inequality, the greater the distrust.
I don't blame you for not trusting Chief Justice Roberts, especially given some of his earlier 5-4 rulings, but I think he was more concerned about protecting the credibility and integrity of the Supreme Court than anything else.
However, I'm really scratching my head over Kennedy's decision to join the Jokesters in the minority.
Posted by: Lora Lucero | Jun 29, 2012 12:28:37 PM
BG --- This law professor shares some concerns about the opinion.
I've also heard that environmental law professors are looking at the potential impact of this decision on Clean Air Act enforcement and other federal laws.
Posted by: Lora Lucero | Jun 29, 2012 12:48:37 PM