“The death of America!”
“The end of the Constitution!”
Those are just a couple of the breathless and hyperbolic phrases that have been bandied about in reaction of last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known both affectionately and derisively as “Obamacare.” And, without a doubt, these and similar statements are baseless in fact.
As we celebrate the 236th anniversary of our nation’s birth, we can think of no more harmful or inappropriate form of rhetoric than these pronouncements of America’s demise. What must those abroad, both enemy and ally, think of us, that we are willing to so publicly and viciously savage each other and our nation, based on one simple disagreement over public policy?
America continues to live and breathe. Our Constitution remains a vibrant and relevant document. These are facts, and the greatest evidence for them can be found in the resolution to this dispute.
The mechanisms of the Affordable Care Act — the individual mandate and consequent penalties for failing to abide by it — are the brainchild not of socialist enemies of the United States, but of Republican policymakers. They were first applied to health insurance by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who successfully lobbied for their enactment as part of Massachusetts’ health care reform in 2006, although you would never know it, based on his current stance against the national version of his proposal.
The Affordable Care Act was created by Republicans at the state level and passed by Democrats in Congress. A Democratic president signed it. A Supreme Court dominated by conservative Republican nominees has upheld it. Having been through both major parties and all three branches of government, the resulting law is not evidence of a broken system, but of one that continues to thrive exactly as envisioned.
Obviously, not everyone is happy, and the debate will continue to rage. The issue will likely not be settled until after the outcome of November’s elections, and maybe not even then.
But this is not the “death of America.” This is not the “end of the Constitution.” This is the shining example of government that has been the United States’ gift to the world — that we may disagree on the issues, but we trust the mechanisms created by our forefathers to settle our differences, and then we move forward.
Those who remain opposed to the act still have the ballot box at their disposal, still have Congress’ power to repeal or amend the legislation. Those who decry last week’s decision as anything more than a setback to their cause are doing our country a disservice.
— The Floyd County Times