June 29, 2012 9:39:19 AM
There was good news and bad news for Conservatives on Thursday.
The Bad News was that the Supreme Court ruled the Obama Administration's health care plan constitutional.
The Good News is that the plan covers Conniption Fits.
When the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Affordable Care Act, it meant the end of the legal wrangling, but just the beginning of the political turmoil that seems likely to build to a crescendo in November.
In the immediate aftermath of the Court's ruling, Conservatives vowed to make the health care plan, derisively referred to as "Obamacare," a winning issue in November's presidential election.
In Mississippi, conservative office-holders dashed off their own "statements" to the media, ranging from measured (U.S. Senator Thad Cochran), to ridiculous (Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann), to shrill (Governor Phil Bryant).
Bryant called the Court's ruling "alarming'' and said it was a "stunning expansion of federal power and an assault on the liberty of American citizens."
Hosemann asserted that the Court's ruling meant that, while health care will continue, "the difference now is the American taxpayer will bear the brunt of the cost."
Cochran, in a tone befitting his stature as senior statesman, avoided the hysteria that seemed to consume his less artful conservative comrades.
"Despite the Supreme Court's legal ruling allowing most aspects of the law to remain intact, that doesn't mean the policies set forth in the law are best for the American people or our economy,'' Cochran said.
It is likely that the rhetoric and hyperbole will only increase between now and November, which is a disservice to the American people, who deserve a measured, thoughtful, thorough examination of health care.
It is an issue that transcends politics -- or at least it should.
Conservatives bristle at the thought of a government-mandated health insurance program, calling it "socialized medicine." They draw a fuzzy distinction between this "socialized medicine'' and such things as "socialized public schools'' or "socialized public highways" or even "Social(ized) Security,'' apparently.
Liberals complain bitterly that there should be a "public option" -- a government health insurance program that would compete directly with private health care companies, under the flawed premise that Government shouldn't be just the referee, it should be the referee AND player.
The political extremists that dominate the public square shed much heat, but little light. As a result, the issue is obscured almost beyond recognition.
But the facts themselves are not difficult to grasp if honest people are willing to grasp them.
As it stands, there are currently 30 million Americans who do not have health insurance. The Affordable Health Care Act will extend health-insurance to everyone, mandating that every American purchase health insurance. Those who refuse will pay a penalty, which the Supreme Court defined as a "de facto" tax. When you hear Conservatives invoke the word "tax" when discussing the current health care plan, they are referring to those fees paid by those who decline to buy health insurance. The government will indeed, help pay for the health-insurance of those from low-income families. So Conservatives are correct in saying that the middle class (and the upper class, too) will bear that burden.
But unless we as a People are resolved that some Americans will not have access health care and we are comfortable with the grave consequences of that stance, it is a price that must be paid. In fact, it is a price we have been paying all along.
In that respect, little has changed. Delbert Hosemann is wrong; the burden has always been on the taxpayer.
It always will be.
It could not be otherwise.
Let the Conniption Fits resume.
1. Leonard Pitts: Rudy Giuliani, once heroic, now simply foolish NATIONAL COLUMNS
2. Lynn Spruill: Social responsibility LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Our View: Utility workers deserve a thank you DISPATCH EDITORIALS