What Now?

DrRich | November 14th, 2012 - 2:43 pm

In June, when the Supreme Court found that Obamacare is constitutional because the individual mandate is not really a mandate after all but a tax, I suggested that Chief Justice Roberts had come up with this unique formulation precisely because (being a conservative) he did not think that such a momentous social issue should be decided by a small panel of experts. Essentially, he was saying, let the voters decide.

The voters have decided. Obamacare is the law of the land, and is neither going to be declared unconstitutional, nor repealed.

In my view, of course, we had very little chance of getting rid of Obamacare no matter who was elected. Repealing the legislation would have required not only the concerted effort of a President Romney who had favored a similar plan in Massachusetts, but also a large majority in the both House and Senate – large enough majorities to overcome the substantial number of Republican legislators who would have been cowed by: a) the absolute onslaught of TV and newspaper stories about specific sympathetic and deserving individuals whose healthcare (and very lives) would be placed into jeopardy by Obamacare’s repeal; and b) the public machinations of the health insurance executives, who would have viewed the repeal of Obamacare as removing their final lifeline, and who would have gone to great lengths to stop such a repeal (by, for instance, demonstrating to an increasingly frightened public just how unremittingly evil they would become without the constraints imposed upon them by Obamacare).

So if Mr. Romney had won, in my view the most likely outcome would have been a more-or-less half-hearted effort at repealing Obamacare – an effort which would peter out ignominiously, but only after the Republicans had burned through whatever public goodwill they might have started out with.  And what we we would have been left with is: Obamacare, with perhaps some of its more egregious provisions blunted a bit.  And then, in a few years, when the public began to really understand the personal price they’re paying under Obamacare, Mr. Obama (who would be running again in 2016) would be able to blame these now-obvious problems on those stupid Republicans, who had come along and bollixed up a perfectly good system.

If this sounds pessimistic, I suppose that it is. But the book I expended so much blood, sweat and tears writing earlier this year was never really intended as a plea to repeal Obamacare (an eventuality which, as I say, I have always found to be unlikely), but rather, was meant to let readers know what we should all expect under Obamcare, and what we should do – collectively and as individuals – to try to cope with it.

And now that we can see that Obamacare really is here to stay, and we are no longer distracted by long-shot efforts at getting rid of it, perhaps we can all move on to taking those necessary steps.

The details are in the final few chapters of my book. But the fundamental issue we now need to address – the line in the sand I hope we will finally draw – is whether individual Americans are to retain the right, under the law, to expend their own resources for their own well-being. This is not something we can take for granted. If we are to retain this right we will have to fight for it. It will be a hard fight, a dirty fight, and some of us will not survive it.

If we can maintain this last line of defense, then eventually (in a decade or two, perhaps) we can force Obamacare to evolve into a system that is not so bad, one that is certainly less destructive to the Great American Experiment than it now promises to be.

For those readers who still insist that our Progressive leaders will never try to limit individual prerogatives in such a way, I ask you to re-read Chapter 7 – and to pay close attention to what you see unfolding before your eyes.
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