The Supreme Court has just ruled, striking down what many believe is the most integral part of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, the individual mandate.
At least, that is the telling according to some. Others are trumpeting that ObamaCare has passed the Constitutional litmus test and Obama has been vindicated.
So what is the truth?
In this day and age of instant and immediate 24/7/365 news feeds, it may take a while to sort out what has actually been decided, much less what it means to individual Americans. If nothing else, how each news outlet reports this will be clear and concise proof of that source’s bias.
Those who are proclaiming a 5-4 vote allowing much of the act to stand, and referring to wording that says the Individual Mandate, the most controversial piece of the legislation is not in essence unconstitutional will be showing their Obama colors.
Those who are stating the Supreme Court has defeated the act, citing some of the verbiage of the decision that says requiring individuals to buy health insurance is unconstitutional and therefore proof that Obama will be a one term President are claiming their impending victory in November.
How can it be that both sides can look at the same thing, yet report it so completely in their favor, using direct quotes from the still unreleased full decision as support of their position?
Quite simply, this is the definition of spin.
The truth is simply that the court has ruled that the idea of a mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, but that the mandate can stay as it is under Congress’ power to collect taxes.
What this all means, politically and to each of us personally has yet to be understood, primarily because the full decision, with a synopsis, has yet to be published. As I’m writing this, the court is still in session and the decision is still to be read. There will be a decision of the whole court, then each justice will lay out his or her brief, or reasonings for their vote on the decision. Then and only then will we know the full scope, meaning and effect of the ruling, as well as which side can truly claim victory.
The true losers in all this, regardless what the decision says, are we the people. Not because specific portions of The Patient Rights and Affordable Health Care Act will either be upheld or struck down. Simply because to get the truth of it all, to understand it all, we will not be able to trust the media.
Then again, depending on that news sources’ headlines over the next hours and days will tell us, based on our own biases, which ones to read, listen to and believe. As long as no one is deluded into thinking that the source that supports their already firmly held beliefs is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
As of this writing, the site is not yet updated with this decision, but this is the home page for the Supreme Court - http://www.supremecourt.gov/
The synopsis of each of the rulings is surprisingly readable and straightforward; the full decision and individual justice’s comments are both full of references to other cases as well as legalese, but is still very understandable to the average person.
At the end of the day, this case, this decision and all the attendant hype, points, counter-points and pontificating by every side is actually doing we the people a favor. This is a life lesson that we all need to remember. Get the facts and decide for yourself.