I am not a fan of Obamacare. I think the law that finally emerged from Congress is badly flawed. I see it as one more piece of sleight-of-hand that enriches the wealthy and penalizes the poor. But it does have some good provisions. And that’s probably why Republicans hate it so.
I was especially turned off by the law’s mandate that every American must buy health insurance. I wondered out loud if it could be constitutionally admissible for the government to force citizens to purchase a product from a non-government source. Sandra pointed out that states require motorists to buy insurance, but I countered that the motorists were paying for the privilege of using the state’s roads while health care customers would be paying for being alive.
So, she wanted to know, what’s the difference between paying higher taxes in order to have free health care – as they do in countries like Canada?
It’s different because the government has a constitutional right to collect taxes, I argued.
The debate went nowhere. We ended up, as the saying goes, “of the same opinion still.”
Now, a Virginia judge named Henry Hudson (photo above, right) has ruled that I am right, that the mandate is unconstitutional.
Still, I wish the ruling wasn’t so suspect.
Hudson is a piece of work, and it’s not comforting to have him on my side. A George H. W. Bush appointee, he is the guy who decided to arrest Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, a decision that led to possibly the greatest disaster in the history of federal law enforcement. The tragic fiasco led to a grand jury investigation (Hudson was called to testify) and misconduct charges against 12 federal agents.
According to a Congressional report, “based on his desire to avoid creating discoverable documents that might be used by the defense in the Weaver/Harris trial and his understanding that the FBI would conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident, Hudson decided to conduct no formal internal review of … activities connected with the Weaver case and the Ruby Ridge incident.”
Then there’s the suggestion that he might have a conflict of interest in the Obamacare case. He is part-owner of a GOP consulting firm called “Campaign Solutions, Inc.” And in the last election Campaign Solutions helped Republicans like John Boehner, Michele Bachmann and John McCain turn public opinion against the health care law.
There’s also the character of the man who filed the complaint against the health care law – Virginia’s attorney general Ken Cuccinelli (photo above left). I sure don’t want to be on the same side as that guy! According to an article in Salon today:
Cuccinelli has called homosexuality “intrinsically wrong,” sought to alter the 14th Amendment in order to strip the children of undocumented immigrants of their citizenship, questioned the science of citizenship, and dabbled in birtherism.
Furthermore, Cuccinelli paid Campaign Solutions $9,000 in the last election. So, in effect, Judge Hudson was deciding a case in which one of the litigants was a client of the company he owns.
Bearing these facts in mind, I am not about to remind Sandra that I told her so. This despicable duo is hardly a reliable guide to right and wrong.
But they might wind up doing some good for the country, after all.
If the Supreme Court strikes down the health care law – which is possible given the court’s conservative makeup – the ensuing confusion could lead to real reform. With spiraling costs and no compromise solution in sight, the government might be left with just one reasonable answer: a public option.
America might yet see a sensible solution to its health care problems – expanding Medicare so that people of all ages can join.