The Supreme Court and the Health Care Act – A Populist Response

 

 

I can’t seem to decide, do I want to move America “Forward” or do I “Believe in America”?  I’m not sure if it matters that I back President Obama or Governor Romney because what I really worry about is what they can or can’t get done.  Congress seems so divided that precious little can ever get done.  According to Gallup, Congress’ Approval Rating was at 10% in February; now it is up to 17% (April).  By comparison, BP’s approval rating during the horrible oil spill in the Gulf was 16%.   I won’t be surprised when I see“Congress, we’re kinda like cheap gas” on the bumper of the Subaru that keeps my neighborhood politically informed.

 

The system of checks and balances that we have in this country looks to the Justice System, the Supreme Court, when the other two need sorting out.  With life-time appointments, our highest justices are suppose to be the adults in the room. Are they? Before the Supreme Court, right now, is the best Health Care bill our great nation has been able to produce since the creation of Medicare. It’s not perfect, but I believe in incremental progress when the alternative is gridlock and argument while those in need suffer.

 

Free Medical Services for 5000 at LA Sports Arena (October 2011)

The need for progress in health care is startling, and marks a divide be in our county between those who have and can afford access and those who cannot.  The journal Health Affairs, recently presented us with this stark reality:

“…Access to health care and use of health services for adults ages 19–64—the primary targets of the Affordable Care Act—deteriorated between 2000 and 2010, particularly among those who were uninsured. More than half of uninsured US adults did not see a doctor in 2010, and only slightly more than a quarter of these adults were seen by a dentist.”

The central role of government is to keep us safe, which includes much more then external military or terrorist threats, but also our physical and mental health.  The Talmud teaches that a rabbi is prepared to interpret law, when he or she can prove that which is unkosher to be kosher in twenty-four different ways.  I assume the same thing of Supreme Court Justices, civil jurists of the highest ability.  Activists or strict Constitutionalists, I believe that they can find what they want in the law to say whatever they want.  Which brings the issue to a moral question – Everyone deserves medical coverage.  In one of the most affluent nations in world history, it is an embarrassment that 5000 people have to wait once a year outside a sports area to get free health care (a big “thank you” to the volonteers at CareNow LA, now called Care Harbor).

If the Supreme Court strikes-down the Health Care Act, and we have to start health care reform all over again, instead of fixing the imperfect beginnings that are already underway, I’m just going to freak out.  If the Health Act tanks, Obama won’t save us, and Romney won’t either.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that “in a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible.”  So if they mess it up, its on us, people.  We’ll have to act. If they do strike it down, this is what I want you to do:  “I want you to go to the window, open it, and shout, ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!‘”

Peter Finch as Howard Beale wins best actor due to his "Mad as Hell" speech in the 1976 film, The Network. Click here to watch the clip.

No matter how much we “believe in America”, it may take a collective crescendo of rage to move us “forward”.

Posted on May 8, 2012

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