Taking a page from the HuffPo, which I’ve just pilloried for doing this same thing, this post’s title and graphic, suggests monstrous must-read imminent disaster, on a Godzilla scale, while the real story is more ho-hum prosaic. Monday, the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the validity of the Affordable Care Act, the so-called, Obama-care. This week the court will wrestle with the several legal questions: Can the court even rule on this law yet? Is the question ripe? [experts seem to think that it is] Can government force you to buy health insurance? If this mandate is struck down, does the entire law unravel? If not, which parts remain? Can Congress require the states to participate too? The importance and complexity of this case has moved the court to devote three days to arguments. Most cases get less than one.
One question that the court won’t be discussing is, will the court’s decision be based in politics? The short answer is yes, but this is an answer that like the rest of these questions, we will have to wait to hear the Supreme Court’s decision. Once the court pronounces judgement, how will this affect the presidential election? Will striking down Obama-Care, reinvigorate a troubled Republican ticket? If Romney is elected, will Obama-Care be replaced with Romney-Care? Will the Mayan calendar make all these questions moot?
Nine Jurassic jurists hold the key to all of these questions. Well not the Mayan one, and not the Romney ones either. At this point, I don’t think that even the Mayans could stave off his defeat. Pundits have the court parsed into four justices for the act and four against it. Justice Kennedy sits in-between these two factions, the sole deciding vote. In 2008, millions of Americans elected President Obama and his Democratic Senate and House majorities. They passed the Affordable Care Act. Now those millions of American votes sit in the balance, waiting for one more vote. It seems unfair, but it is the law.
What occurs this week in the Supreme Court and around it, is national politics, but it is not without personal implications. The Sunday Saint Louis Post-Dispatch led with an article about the death of Anna Brown. The article explained that Brown, a 29 year-old homeless woman, died in a Richmond-Heights jail cell, a little over an hour after being forcibly expelled from St. Mary Hospital’s emergency room. Both these locations are less than a mile from our house. She reported with leg pains and in the past had experienced swelling of the legs. St. Mary’s wasn’t the only area hospital to have failed her, just the last. The attending physician thought that she was just trying to score pain meds. An ultrasound showed no clots and the hospital discharged her, but she wouldn’t leave. She demanded treatment. The police were called. They hauled her away and she died in her cell from a blood clot in the lungs.
In other news, the dinosaur, Dick Cheney received a heart transplant. I wonder how the man without a heart is adjusting to his new organ. What are his feelings? Transplants are a life saver, a modern-day miracle, but is the system really working? I pray that you are in good health, but someday you won’t be. No one gets out alive. When your health fails and your life is held in the balance, where on the continuum will your care come from. Will you be treated royally like the former Vice-President, or kicked out onto the street, like Anna Brown? Either way, you are going to die. Life is just that fair.