I wrote yesterday about my reaction (angry) to the Hobby Lobby decision of the Supreme Court (they aren’t cool enough to warrant the SCOTUS appellation - this is no rock group, folks).
In on-going FB and elsewhere conversations, I have reason to be even more hopeful today than yesterday.
Did I Just Hear Justice Alito Say Single-Payer is Constitutional? Fact is, I think I did. It goes something like this (fact check me, please – this is too important to get it wrong):
• Privately-held corporations can get out of certain ACA requirements because they are privately-held
• nothing in this ruling can let people get out of obligations to the government based on religious beliefs because those are taxes and this ruling does not apply to taxes
• flash back to Chief Justice Roberts’ decision upholding the constitutionality of ACA, finding that it is essentially a tax
Starting to get it?
• Health-care requirements are a tax – except when they aren’t
• People have to pay taxes whether said taxes violate their religious beliefs or not – except when they don’t
In spite of the nonsensical result, and without meaning to, I am sure, it would seem to me that Justice Alito has just opened the door very wide for the constitutionality and workability of a single-payer national health plan. If his friend and colleague Chief Justice Roberts’ ruling holds true (and why would it not? He is, after all, the Chief among the justices), the Alito + Roberts formula seems to be
private + religion = opt out
public + religion = too bad, everybody follow the same rules
And before my conservative friends go all crazy on me insisting that you don’t want the government up your . . . just remember this: according to Justice Alito, somebody gets to be up there, so the only question remaining is who.
I know you don’t want it to be the government. But really, do you want it to be your boss? I’m going for the folks who have so many people to deal with they can’t even remember the view up mine – but that’s just me.
More important to me is the ‘everybody follows the same rules’ proviso. I am a woman, so I do not have constitutional protections like Hobby Lobby (and yes, I am going to be a very, very, very long time getting over that one). But even though I don’t have those constitutional safeguards, for some crazy reason, I keep thinking that I should. Call me closed-minded.
But the good news in all this is that by holding that government action is distinctly different than private action in terms of the ability to opt in or out, Justice Alito has laid some very nice groundwork for nationalized health care.
It might go something like this (hint to Congress: pay attention):
WHEREAS [Congressional bills that are a big deal often have a whole bunch of whereas clauses – they tell you why this is being done] over 50% of the population of these United States of America have no constitutional safeguards;
WHEREAS those 50% plus citizens are women;
WHEREAS women and women only thus far in our development [notice the avoidance of the language of evolution so as not to alienate certain folk who would otherwise be for the bill] are capable of bearing children and thus are the only part of the population subject to certain health issues, risks, and focus, religious and otherwise;
WHEREAS the private sector has had decades of opportunity to provide adequate and fair health care to all our citizens but has yet failed to overcome obstacles to universal and fair coverage, as witnessed by the present ability of certain privately-held concerns to opt out of certain coverages out of their religious beliefs, which adversely impacts female citizens in a way that male citizens are not and cannot be impacted;
WHEREAS, the government, being as it is constitutionally prohibited from making any laws of establishment relative to religion;
WHEREAS the decision in Hobby Lobby, et al., inadvertently establishes a religious rule in carrying out the terms and conditions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an inevitability so long as ACA coverage continues to be provided by employers:
NOW THEREFORE WITNESS: Congress does hereby hold and act to end this unintended consequence of the Hobby Lobby ruling by enacting Single-payer Universal Health Care, to be implemented forthwith, that no longer may the injustice of women’s health issues being subordinated to the health concerns of men under the guise or out of the rubric of religion.
*Recall if you read yesterday's piece, I predicted that this decision would head in directions its author and signers never envisioned. Let the madness begin.