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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Republicans Are Why We Can't Have Nice Things
I've been immersed in school work and paying only peripheral attention to public affairs and blogging this week. But I must say it strikes me as typical,all too typical, to hear the endless reiteration by judge after judge, commentator after commentator, and now Justice after Justice, that the implementation of a single-payer health care system would have posed none of the Constitutional quandaries (such as they are) that attend the current Supreme Court deliberations about the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act and all the rest. For all I know everything will pass muster in any case (my reading of the transcripts and analyses of the arguments so far don't leave me feeling as pessimistic or panic stricken as they have some progressive folks), and for all I know everything would be challenged just as hysterically if health care reform had been closer to a straightforward single-payer system or at least had provided a real public option or early Medicare buy in or what have you as so many of us had wanted, including the President. But, qualifications aside, it is hard to shake the rueful suspicion that Republicans in a pettily partisanized Supreme Court are jonesing to topple healthcare reform that is making life better for millions upon millions of otherwise exploited vulnerable American citizens, and they are doing so by attacking the elements of reform that were Republican ideas introduced for no other reason than the effort to appease Republicans – none of which we actually wanted, when what we wanted would have worked better and would have been incomparably fairer and which Republicans are affirming would pose none of the Constitutional difficulties they are now in an uproar about. Of course, none of this is to say Democrats should have ignored the Republicans or worked around them or proposed uncompromising ideal versions of the system we wanted, again precisely because Republicans existed as a monolithically pre-emptively obstructive force to anything like the sensible decency of a single-payer health system, making such an outcome never even remotely an option, in part by giving least progressive Democrats in the caucus undue power to shape the actual legislation. All in all, as in so much else, indeed as in almost everything else these days, the Republicans manage every day in every way to make everything worse for almost every American, including majorities who vote Republican.