The Supreme Court of the United States has entered the kerfuffle that is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  , otherwise known as Obamacare. With Conservatives intensely against the federal mandate and Liberals in favor, the Supreme Court has virtually mirrored the divide, bringing into question their objectivity and authenticity as judges for justice. Essentially, the question for Americans is should our government have the power to mandate health care, should it have the power to mandate health care costs or should it stay out of the business of health care altogether. These are the choices Americans must consider. These are the choices that define low-wage earning families, middle-income families, and high-income families. Given that high-income earners comprise 1% of the U.S. population, the clear debate stands between mandated health care vs. mandated health care costs.
Justice Antonin Scalia left no one in doubt of his opinion of the Federal mandate when he recited the slippery slope argument for the government mandating the purchase of broccoli. This was brazen politicking at the judicial level; and if you still doubt this conclusion, then consider his virtual silence during the Republican-led challenges or his open discontent for having to read 2,700 pages. Effectively, Justice Scalia informed both sides of the debate that he was not taking the time to properly educate himself to the letter of the law and would rule based on a small sampling. This complete disregard for judicial approach raises the question of Mr. Scalia’s ability and willingness to discern and rule on the constitutionality of any and all laws.
The Conservative media currently stands against a federal mandate, while the Liberal media favors it. These positions are echoed by their respective audiences. But health care is an issue that transcends constitutional law. Everyone gets sick; this is a position that, universally, we agree on. In our lifetimes, we will contract an illness that will render us incapable of returning to work without proper medical attention; again, a highly probable circumstance we all agree on. Given this, it becomes conceivable that a great number of people will not have health insurance coverage and will require emergency room care that they will be incapable of paying for. So when this occurs, ultimately, the expense falls on tax payers to cover their costs; effectively transforming emergency room care into a tax payer sponsored program. This scenario has already invaded the tax system and has become an incessant expense that grows with the ever-increasing cost of health care. So the issue of instituting a federal mandate for health care coverage truly has become a question of whether the preferred method for managing the expense is to allow federal taxes to explode as the cost of health care increases or to require tax payers to contribute to a pool that provides health coverage to every American; either way, Americans are paying for the healthcare of others.
The alternative to federally mandated healthcare is the single payer, universal healthcare, system where government, or an agent acting at the behest of the government, provides insurance coverage; eliminating competition in the health insurance market by way of a monopsony. This system, by definition, is a socialist system, but does not violate constitutional law because it does not explicitly eliminate competing insurance carriers. This system manages the cost of health insurance which would absolve businesses from denying their employees medical coverage and would lower their costs altogether; an expense the private industry would gladly eliminate. As well, universal healthcare does not require tax payers to buy into the system, but does protect them in the event that insurance coverage is desired at any given moment, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Ultimately, the decision teeters on the opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Signs point towards a 5-4 vote that reflects party lines, and when all is said and done, it just may be the case. But the precedent this Supreme Court will set is a precedent that will define the role our federal government will play when the rights of the individual are challenged by the interests of corporate personhood. It is also a precedent that will define the constitutionality of law based on partied interests and not on right or wrong.