The fact that U.S. Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the body’s liberals in allowing Congress to enact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) demonstrates that attempting to predict what the Supremes will do is a fool’s errand (“Getting rid of Obamacare,” Web, Thursday).
The mystery is why the once-conservative Justice Roberts would facilitate what is certain to be the largest social-spending program in history and the first time the federal government has required that individuals purchase a particular product. Was it for the sake of comity that Justice Roberts jumped to the other side, or did a justice who has been insulated from political pressure for the duration of his service somehow succumb to it?
I acknowledge that the American health care system is a mess, and there are many reasons for that. The fee-for-service model encourages expensive, unnecessary tests and operations, and there is little incentive for individuals to seek the care of a health provider before becoming seriously ill. It is wrong that individuals have the ability to use hospital emergency rooms for routine care, sticking their neighbors with the bill, and it is wrong that individuals with pre-existing conditions are often disqualified from securing coverage. These problems could have been dealt with efficiently, but they were not. Omnibus legislation was passed, but few, if any, members of Congress read or understood it.
We might be most drug-dependentpeople in the world, consuming the vast majority of the world’s pharmaceutical products, many of which carry dangerous side effects, including death. These drugs are regularly mis- and overused, causing drug-overdose fatalities.
Independent analyses conclude that the health care law will trigger trillions of dollars of deficit spending - at a time when the national debt of almost $16 trillion is swallowing the nation. The federal government is like the teenager who drives at 100 mph, believing himself to be invincible until he goes over a cliff and into a ravine.
Obamacare will be the legacy for which Justice Roberts will be remembered prominently. Who could have anticipated such a thing, given that he told the Senate Judiciary Committee of his belief in the Constitution and that he sees the role of a judge as similar to that of an umpire, to call balls and strikes? The chief justice’s baseball analogy then was apt; he has now struck out for the nation.
OREN M. SPIEGLER
Upper Saint Clair, Pa.