The four right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court would be as laughable as the Four Marx Brothers if they were not sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the analogy falters somewhat when you examine it more closely because while the Marx Brothers enjoyed skewering the Establishment in their films, the four clowns ARE the Establishment. But to press on with the analogy, they’re like the Four Marx Brothers but without a Groucho since none of them possess the requisite quick wit. You’ve got two Chicos, Alito and Scalia, and the one who remains silent—Thomas–is Harpo. In fact I can hear Scalia saying to Thomas “Hey, Pinky, why you a-no a-talk all the time?” Roberts is Zeppo, the bland brother with the slicked back hair.
But now instead of causing havoc at high society balls, they’re poised to create havoc with the much maligned (we’ll get to that part later) Affordable Care Act. And this is the high level of discourse we have on today’s U.S. Supreme Court:
Justice Scalia comparing the health care market to the supermarket:
“Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.” Can’t fully blame the Republicans for this idiocy that has brought down around the four clowns’ feet what was once a great institution; the Democrats confirmed his nomination to the Court.
If Scalia wasn’t already being absurd enough, he wasn’t done yet:
“[I]f people don’t buy cars, the price that those who do buy cars pay will have to be higher,” the Supreme Court justice said. “So you could say in order to bring the price down, you are hurting these other people by not buying a car.”
Scalia has no idea how widely he missed the point and why this is such an bad analogy. So, I’ll educate him: Everybody doesn’t need to buy a car, but everybody will at one time need health care, and all but the top 1% or 2% will not be able to pay for it out of pocket. And that is where health insurance comes in and that’s what makes Scalia incredibly stupid on this issue.
Justice Alito, not to be out-Chico-ed by Scalia, put his own “Why A Duck” absurdist spin on the hearing.
“I don’t see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care, almost everybody. Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point.”
No, EVERYONE will need health care. There’s question if everybody will be buried or cremated at some point, depending on place and manner of death. In the wealthy circles that Alito runs around in, I’m sure they have insurance for everything for every wealthy everybody that he knows. But down here in the real world, if a loved one dies, we have to pony up the money for burial or cremation as best we can for their services. We pay cash, check or charge, or even make monthly payments if we can. We have bills to pay, we have food to buy, we have rent or mortgage due, we need to put food on the table. Burial insurance? That’s a luxury we can’t afford.
Healthcare insurance is a necessity because any day you can be in a auto accident, have a pain that’s a symptom of cancer, have a child with an ear infection or high fever from strep throat. Without health insurance, it’s a six-hour wait in the ER to even have a nurse bring you into the examination room.
Why a Justice? Because Bush appointed him and the Senate Democrats helped confirm him, as they did all four Marx Brothers.
You’d think Chief Justice Roberts should display more intelligence and a clearer grasp of the issue, seeing as how he’s Chief Justice and all. Think again:
“So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services? You can just dial 911 no matter where you are?…You don’t know when you’re going to need police assistance. You can’t predict the extent to emergency response that you’ll need. But when you do, and the government provides it.”
Chief Justice Roberts, that’s the whole damn idea behind mandatory health insurance because you never know when you’re going to need it.
And as always, “Harpo” Thomas remains mute.
So, you don’t want the Government ordering you to carry health insurance if you’re not covered by an employer-provided health plan? OK, let’s say you’re badly injured in an auto accident and you stupidly declined medical coverage on your auto insurance policy because you were cheap. Or to make the scenario even better—you have no auto insurance at all.
So, there you are in the ER having been chauffeured there in the Fire Dept. limousine. Your injuries are so bad that you’re wheeled into surgery for a few hours, then transferred to ICU where you stay for a few days. You stabilize enough so that you’re transferred to regular bed for another two weeks’ stay. After you’re released, you undergo six months of physical therapy to further attempt to repair your body from the damage you suffered. After the six months you’ve gotten a few medical bills in the mail and you add up the grand total: $150,000 (which may be an estimate on the low end). You could have gotten a Master’s Degree at a state university for that much. Hell, you can buy a whole house on acreage for less than that these days.
OK, so how to pay. Do you call the hospital, the anesthesiologist, the City Fire Department, the surgeons, the physical therapist, the durable medical equipment people and all the other providers and ask “Do you take Visa?” Do you try to arrange monthly payments for the rest of your life? Do you just ignore it all and allow your creditors to issue a flock of judgments against you? Or do you file for bankruptcy and let everyone else take the hit for your bills? And you know what? Under the bankruptcy reform law in 2005, it can now cost you $2000 if you hire a bankruptcy attorney. And the Chapter 7 filing fee is $299 and $274 for Chapter 13, not including the fees for mandatory bankruptcy counseling certificates.
One reason medical costs are so high is that many patients have a habit of not paying their bills. Yeah, the price of liability/malpractice insurance is sky high, but the freeloaders on the system have been instrumental in the high cost of medicine in this country.
And this is the intent of the government mandate to carry health insurance: why should I have to pay for you because you refuse to carry medical insurance? Because the less people insured, the more it costs for those who are in premiums and in cost of care. The more people splashing around in the pool, the less it costs for everyone.
So, why do 47% of the American people oppose Obamacare? Because the Republicans excel in selling lies and fear to the American people while the Obama Administration sucks at selling the truth.
You can’t even trust what might be regarded as non-right wing media. Take the very troubled and perhaps soon to disappear Yahoo.
Yahoo is trying to have it both ways. Actually, it’s something called The Week. What is The Week and who is the staff behind it? Don’t know. The byline is merely “The Week’s Editorial Staff”. The Week staff could all work for Fox for all we know. They headlined one story: Why Is ObamaCare So Unpopular–4 Theories. The headline of a 2nd story: Why Obama Is Embracing The Term ObamaCare–4 Theories.
Why in an election year would Obama embrace a term that most people oppose? First of all, out of the four theories the story uses, 3 are right wing who oppose ObamaCare: Reason, Bloomberg Businessweek, and US News & World Report. The 4th—Slate (not exactly a progressive mag)–merely says that the Obama Admin stunk at getting the message out to offset the the unrelenting drubbing from the Repugs. In fact, if you google articles on ObamaCare, by and large you will see hits from right wing sites opposing it. No Truthout, no Huffington Post (except an article stating why most people don’t t like it), no Think Progress, no Talking Points Memo. It’s as if all progressive sites have been scrubbed from existence, as far as Google is concerned.
A New York Times/CBS poll (how corporate can you get?) says 47% oppose ObamaCare. Now, did the poll question actually include the perjorative term “ObamaCare”? The article and the poll never say. Leave it to Rachel Maddow to put it all in perspective.
And to put this in greater perspective, Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that when it’s explained to people that the mandate doesn’t apply to people covered by employer-provided health plans, 61% then favor Obamacare. In fact, the mandate would only apply to 2% of the population.
Funny how you don’t see this hardly at all reported in the media:
Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds
Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by The New York Times and CBS News.
So, perhaps the 47% of Americans who oppose Obamacare isn’t really 47% at all but something a lot lower.
After 3 years of propaganda war waged by the right wing in which Obama never engaged the enemy in kind, people are now convinced that what will help them will hurt them. But when you break down different features of ObamaCare, like pre-existing conditions a thing of the post, no maximum dollar limits for payment of services, kids can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26, then the approval level skyrockets. People don’t like the mandate, which the Obama Admin screwed up by not comparing it to the state mandates to carry liability auto insurance–which everyone accepts—over and over again. People carry auto insurance for two reasons: they don’t have to pay out of pocket for the other guy’s damage AND they want to get paid if the other guy doesn’t have insurance.
If you don’t have auto insurance, the court fines them if you’re caught. What is the difference if you’re fined by the courts for not having health insurance? The Obama Admin has been so completely inept about conveying these simple messages. The person he chose to plead the government’s case, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, appears to be very inept at pleading the government’s case. It’s as if Obama himself weren’t personally wedded to his own legislation so much. Nah, couldn’t be.
Meanwhile, the Four Marx Brothers, being the clowns they are, sit in judgment as only they can. Scalia and Alito selling their “tootsy frootsy” ice cream analogies, Thomas throwing a “Gookie” (look it up), and Roberts trying for cleverness but not making it. For a comedy team, this performance wasn’t so funny.