Must-Read: The extremely sharp Jonathan Chait sends me to one of today's must-reads...
Back when John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court did not nullify RomneyCare--excuse me, ObamaCare--from the bench but did lawlessly and without precedent give states the option to nullify the Medicaid expansion part of ObamaCare, I thought that this was a meaningless sop thrown to the right.
My smarter wife Ann Marie Marciarille disagreed. I thought that every governor and state legislator who could add would do the math and note the expanding Medicaid would allow them to do lots of things at the state level--open hospitals and clinics, engage in initiatives, take money that would otherwise have been used to provide uncompensated care and use it for other programs and to fund tax cuts. It was certainly true that I could not find a Republican governor or state legislature who would, in private, say that they welcomed Roberts's nullification-option decision: they all would rather have been forced to expand Medicaid so that they could have spent the money and inveighed against unconstitutional big government tyranny. And so I expected that they would find some way to get it done: find some way to minimize the ideological hit and still get Medicaid expanded so that they could spend the money to expand programs to make their citizens healthier and lower taxes.
I was wrong.
Rather than being a symbolic victory for the right but a substantive nothingburger, John Roberts's lawless creation of the Medicaid expansion-nullification option, when interacted with the poisonous identity politics of Republicans, looks from any kind of technocratic policy perspective that values lower mortality and morbidity like a truly damnable deed--as we see now, as the icejam of cruel policy begins to break:
Noam N. Levey: In Louisiana, Rush to Sign Up for ObamaCare Highlights a 'Long Overdue' Demand for Health Insurance:
Patients burst into tears at this city’s glistening new charity hospital when they learned they could get Medicaid health insurance...