Last week’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was the full package. There were policy implications to be decided for the wonks, political implications to be analyzed for the consultants, and, of course, presidential election drama for the pundits to react to.
In whichever part of the political process that you enjoy the most, something big was happening. However, now that it’s come and gone, the decision is over, but the emotions remain. There’s no need to comment on the various dramas of the day.
CNN’s failed reporting in the first 10 minutes was only a symptom, not the actual problem. And Justice Robert’s alleged switch doesn’t make him a secret liberal or the new swing vote. Two points make a line, and until he speaks for himself, we can’t extrapolate anything other than it was a surprise.
Instead, now that everyone else is done being a Constitutional scholar, the people who actually are can start the tedious, yet necessary, work of deciphering exactly what the decision means for American law. This is a process that takes more than a morning, despite what network news might have you think, and is essential to having a factual debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act. All that can be said for certain is that the Supreme Court’s decision has thrust healthcare back into the 2012 presidential election and, honestly, even that nugget is something that was reasonably predicted beforehand.
At this point in time, there are only two things that I would personally want to be saying about this decision. One, Governor Deal has to realize that now is the time for Georgia to start creating the healthcare exchange required underneath this law. He cannot run out the clock until a November election and hope that Romney is able to win.
Republicans will need to take the presidency and Senate in order to have a hope of repealing the entirely of the Affordable Care Act, but those are long odds. If Governor Deal doesn’t act now, it’s only going to be to the detriment of the Georgia GOP, as they will find our state’s healthcare exchange being run by the federal government.
The second thing is that America has spent two years locked in this intractable battle over healthcare reform. The struggle has become a symbol of things much larger than itself. The tactics and strategies used for the past two years, on both sides, have been partisan and nasty. However, it’s done now. All three branches have had their say on the law, and it’s survived each time.
In the future, there will be many chances for both parties to modify, change, and refine how healthcare will work in this country. This is America; it’s what we do. We always like to be better. But as a nation, we need to move on from the poison itself in order to see more clearly in the future.