Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What’s Fair –Rule of Law or the Human Consequences?

Kaiser Health News today features this headline –“ Only 1 in 10 Are Highly Confident the Supreme Court Can Rule Fairly. “

The report cites an Association Press poll,

“ The Associated Press-GfK poll finds only 1 person in 10 is highly confident that the justices will rely on objective interpretations of the law rather than their personal opinions. Nearly half, 48 percent, are not confident of the court's impartiality. (Alonso-Zaldivar and Swanson, 5/9).”

The public’s concern is this: because of its conservative majority, the Court may be biased, may rule against federal subsidies in 37 states, and may hang an estimated 7.5 million subsidized citizens out to dry, unable to pay for health care.

This is a valid concern. All Republican alternative bills now in the legislative mill address this by promising a transitional period of a year of hear and a half during which effected citizens would be subsidized in one way or another.

In an article published in multiple newspapers, Grace-Marie Turner, president and founder of the Galen Institute, a conservative think tank asserts:

“Supporters of the ACA are using scare tactics, saying millions of people would lose their subsidies and likely their health insurance if the court decides the IRS rule is illegal. They say Congress won't act and states either can't or won't set up their own exchanges.”

And yet, she adds,

“Congress is making plans now to pass legislation after the Supreme Court issues its decision, likely in June. The proposed legislation would create a safety net so people wouldn't lose their current coverage and also would allow them to use their subsidies to select any policy approved by a state.”

Turner says,”GOP committee members in the House and Senate‘are committed to protecting Americans harmed by the administration's actions’ and to giving states the freedom and flexibility to create better, more competitive health insurance markets offering more options and different choices.’ “

This may be, but it skirts the fundamental question; What is fair if the Court rules against ObamaCare – the Rule of Law or the human consequences?

Secondary questions are: Who should administer subsidies – federal government or state governments? Should the ruling give everyone a “fair shot,”equal outcomes, to use President Obama’s language? Does it mean government can take away the haves’ and give to have not’s? Can government determine who gets what? Should conservatives or progressives decide? What is more important – social justice or economic growth? Who is the fairest of them all?

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