So, after months, no, years of increasingly vitriolic rhetoric and weeks of a feeling of impending doom, the Supreme Court finally ruled on the Affordable Care Act. I've never been very enthusiastic about the ACA; instead of really fixing the health care problem by really breaking the health insurance money machine in favor of a public system, the Democrats adopted a pure Republican plan, apparently assuming that they would get Republican support. The Republicans, of course, being far more concerned with opposing anything Democrats try to accomplish, immediately decided that their basic concept of health care reform was horrible, un-American, and evil. But as poor as the ACA is, it is the biggest improvement in the mess we call a health care system in my lifetime.
I find that the main points of the ruling -- that the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the power to mandate that individuals purchase a product, but that the power to tax does give them the authority to impose a tax on people who don't -- to be about the best solution that could be found in this mess. I do think the individual mandate is quite a stretch of the Commerce Clause, but I do think it passes muster under the taxing authority. I would be happier about it if the politicians had just called it a tax from the beginning -- but then, I believe that we do have to have taxes, and that it is not only allowable, but fundamentally absolutely essential, for taxes to be used with intent to encourage behavior that benefits society as a whole.
I have to praise Chief Justice Roberts for a decision that I actually think is right, in spite of the expectations of the right wing. I'm concerned about the commentary that says that he did it to protect the integrity of the Court, rather than to make the right decision in this case -- if the Court does not make right decisions, it has no integrity to protect.