John Roberts’ Silver Lining Play

I did not like the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare’s constitutionality when it was made. To me, it was a strain to call funding for the program a tax and I would rather have seen the whole hare-brained idea die right then and there. In retrospect, I still hate the decision, but am reminded of a quote from the Judeo-Christian tradition: God works in mysterious ways.

The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare, for short) is an abomination to anyone who still believes government can err. And err it has, in ways that even liberals are starting to admit are dangerous.

Big ideas, even if they are good ones, require wide majorities with solid convictions to work. Desegregation, emancipation, and WWII are good examples. Reasonable people may quarrel with aspects of each, but few would argue that any of the three were hammered through on a whim. Or that they were bad ideas to begin with.

Which brings us back to Obamacare, which was hammered like sausage through a pinhole. The fact that the “bill” was 2400 pages long gave some of us pause. The Democrats swinging the hammer were unfazed, thinking that…well, we’re not sure what they were thinking. Now they may be forced to think, since not even a Democrat can pretend that health care is not going down in flames. The good news is that everyone can see who started the fire.

Silver lining

First was the news that the plan will cause premiums to rise. Shocking, that. Then there was the news that the exchanges would not be ready–also incredible. Last, the IRS installed the honor system for eligibility. No worries there, huh? These are just three of the more notable “issues” with implementation. You can bet Kathleen Sebelius is keeping the lid on dozens more.

And John Roberts? Well, him we have to thank for letting a horrible idea blossom into a full flower while the nation watches. Had he ruled against its Constitutionality, we would now be wrangling over what “would” have happened and Democrats would be busy conjuring up another magic potion.

Ironically, the health care industry is responding in ways that will eventually grind the last wretched spark of life out of Obamacare. Some doctors are, for example, going off-grid. They publicize their prices and they don’t accept insurance. Radical idea, letting the market work. Like shoots of grass after a forest fire, individuals figure out ways to provide value to other people no matter what the odds. Go figure.

In some ways, this debacle is just one act in a three-ring circus. Not only do we know that Obamacare can’t work, we know that the President is willing to ignore the law by implementing what and when he pleases irrespective of what Congress intended. We know that the IRS, the outfit entrusted with enforcement, can’t see its way clear to administer tax justice. And last, we know that the government is willing to gather information on you and me for dubious and probably unconstitutional reasons.

Recently, the President called for smarter government, but more and more that seems to really mean a government that can do the wrong things more often and in a bigger way. Barack Obama simply cannot fathom the idea that government is the problem in the first place. Government has become too big for him, for anyone, to manage. And thus we have lost what is most precious about our Founders’ vision for the United States: that the power of government derives from the People. Not bureaucrats, not Presidents, not Congress, not the courts, but the People.

It is said that an addict never recovers until he/she hits bottom. So it may be with our nation and our misguided tolerance of government gone bad. An addict must be forced to confront the reality of drug abuse. He must see clearly what drugs have done to him and the ones he loves. He must look in the mirror and see himself as he really is, not what the drugs tell him he is. Then, lying in the cesspool of his own choices, he must choose to get better or die.

Unfortunately, we are like the drug addict in another way. Because of our choices, we must pay a heavy price to get clean and sober. The system has been so mutilated that it would take years for it to heal itself even if Obamacare and all other government interference in health care were to end today. We will suffer. Greatly.

There is no way to “fix” government-run health care because it cannot be fixed. It can be tinkered with, lied about, and mismanaged, but it cannot be made to do something that government simply cannot do–allot resources efficiently to a valued economic end. The heroes who step out on their own and trade directly with their patients will lay the groundwork for a revolution–if we allow it to occur.

Had John Roberts not forced the issue, the revolution might never have gotten started. Bad judicial rulings are not to be lauded or encouraged, but sometimes they have a silver lining. Let’s hope the sun is shining behind this one.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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1 Response to John Roberts’ Silver Lining Play

  1. web staff says:

    Another case is headed to the supremes (intentional small s). Roberts had one more chance to redeem himself, if the court is still allowed to meet next year..


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