Remember last January when the tea-toting, Ayn-Rand-quoting, neo-Reaganite freshman congressmen stormed Capitol Hill to the rallying cry, "Repeal and replace health care reform!"
Well, things haven't exactly gone their way.
While the frothing freshmen were basking in their own star turn on the Capitol steps ("Look! There's Marco Rubio!") and engaging in a schoolyard budget scuffle that threatened to flick off their own office lights, the rest of America has been getting comfortable with the Affordable Care Act.
States -- let me amend that to read responsible states -- have been quietly laying the foundations for their own health exchanges as mandated by the historic health care reform, a move that will extend affordable health insurance to 30 million Americans for the first time in their lives.
As for those states that have dispatched legions of lawyers to oppose health care reform, a funny thing happened this week: the Supreme Court blew them off.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had requested that his state be allowed to bypass the normal federal appeals process and take its challenge directly to the justices. His petition claims that the ACA has "roiled America" and left everyone "mired in uncertainty." The centerpiece of the dissent maintains that the ACA's individual mandate, which requires all Americans to obtain health insurance, is unconstitutional.
The court very rarely agrees to allow a plaintiff to cut to the front of the line, and they weren't about to make an exception in Mr. Cuccinelli's case. No fast track for you, the court ruled. Take a seat in the hall and we'll call you. Like maybe in 2012.
I reckon we'll all have to remain roiled and mired just a little bit longer.
On a related note, in late February, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of Washington, D.C., tossed out a challenge by the American Center for Law and Justice, a Christian legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson that claimed that the individual mandate violates the religious freedom of those who rely on God to heal them. The Center's five plaintiffs, all of whom can afford health insurance, either pay out of pocket for holistic care or entrust their wellness to a higher power.
Did I mention that the repeal bill that passed the House never got beyond butt-of-joke status in the Senate?
In my humble, unroiled opinion, health care reform is here, it's growing and benefitting more and more Americans with each passing day, and the Supreme Court is unlikely to undo the good it's already doing.
I'm further convinced that the health insurance industry has already accepted if not embraced the individual mandate and are moving on to adapt to or massage other elements of reform that actually reduce their margins.
Dare I say there are dissenting views?
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