Thursday, March 29, 2012

Broccoli Supreme

Yesterday, Justice Scalia compared the health care mandate to a rule that would force us all to eat our broccoli. It reminded me of  the Elder President Bush carping that he didn't like broccoli and by God he wasn't going to eat it, as if his old nanny was forcing it down his throat back in 1930. G.H.W. Bush sounded silly then, and Scalia sounds silly now. I realize the Supremes don't have to answer to the actual citizens of the country, but shouldn't they take their power a little more seriously? Turning this into an episode of Veggie Tales makes the Supremes sound like first year law students mulling over hypotheticals without any real knowledge of the pain and suffering out health care system foists on the disenfranchised. Apples versus . . . Broccoli anyone?  If they are worried about their image and their legacy, they jolly well should be after this.

As one writer put it: Good Luck Treating Cerebral Palsy with Broccoli.

Charles Pierce blogged on Esquire: Tony Scalia's Retirement Has Started Early
It is plain now that Scalia simply doesn't like the Affordable Care Act on its face. It has nothing to do with "originalism," or the Commerce Clause, or anything else. He doesn't think that the people who would benefit from the law deserve to have a law that benefits them. On Tuesday, he pursued the absurd "broccoli" analogy to the point where he sounded like a micro-rated evening-drive talk-show host from a dust-clotted station in southern Oklahoma.

In a New York Times op-ed entitled Broccoli and Bad Faith Paul Krugman wrote:
Let’s start with the already famous exchange in which Justice Antonin Scalia compared the purchase of health insurance to the purchase of broccoli, with the implication that if the government can compel you to do the former, it can also compel you to do the latter. That comparison horrified health care experts all across America because health insurance is nothing like broccoli. Why? When people choose not to buy broccoli, they don’t make broccoli unavailable to those who want it. But when people don’t buy health insurance until they get sick — which is what happens in the absence of a mandate — the resulting worsening of the risk pool makes insurance more expensive, and often unaffordable, for those who remain. As a result, unregulated health insurance basically doesn’t work, and never has.

So often in this political year the whole thing seems like a Funhouse Nightmare, but it's terrible when a Supreme Court Justice sounds like a cross between Rush Limbaugh and Dana Carvey singing the Broccoli Song on SNL. Then again, maybe the fact that this nonsense is on the record and will be in the history books is some kind of justice after all.

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