Yesterday, a giddy President Barack Obama began his remarks on the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision by saying,
Good afternoon. Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth — no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.
Two things are striking about these opening sentences. First, it’s both amazing and amusing that, 27 months after its passage, Obama (rightly) thinks he has to tell the American people the name of his centerpiece legislation. The citizenry, of course, knows it as Obamacare. Moreover, that’s a much better name — both because it identifies the perpetrator and because calling the 2,700-page monstrosity the Affordable Care Act is only somewhat more accurate than calling it the Liberty Act.
The second — and more important — striking aspect of Obama’s first two sentences is this: He claims that the Supreme Court’s ruling “reaffirmed” the “principle that here in America…no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.” But does the former part-time-constitutional law lecturer and current president really think the Court reaffirmed any such principle?
In truth, the majority opinion said nothing that praised Obamacare as a matter of policy, and rightly so — both because Obamacare is horrendous policy and because the Court has no business weighing in on such matters. As such, anyone will search in vain in the Court’s ruling for evidence supporting the “principle” that government-provided health care should be made available to all Americans who need it.
In fact, the opinion flatly states that “the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.”
Although the Court did not remotely uphold the principle that Obama alleges, it did uphold a crucial principle that he apparently missed.