by Jeremy Leaming
The right-wing challengers of the Affordable Care Act have spent more than a year honing the broccoli argument – if the federal government can require people to buy health care insurance then our fragile liberty will crumble because the monstrous federal government will order us all to buy broccoli, gym memberships and, well, who knows what else.
Last week’s oral argument in HHS v. Florida revealed that the broccoli argument is seemingly being taken seriously by more than just libertarian law professors, such as Georgetown’s Randy Barnett. Justice Antonin Scalia aped right-wing talking points when he pelted Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s defense of the ACA’s minimum coverage provision, which will require some people to carry a minimum amount of health care insurance starting in 2014, with the, ‘oh hell-broccoli-is-next,’ argument.
But former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm (pictured) hopes the Supreme Court’s conservative justices can get up-to-speed on how the health insurance market works, and consider how invalidating the landmark law will impact the lives of tens of millions of Americans who do not have the luxuries the high court justices enjoy.
Granholm’s hope, however, may likely be too much of a stretch, especially for a conservative majority that found a way to run roughshod over longstanding precedent in Citizens United v. FEC, giving corporations unfettered ability to influence campaigns.
Granholm, a speaker at the 2009 ACS National Convention, writing for Politico focuses on her hairdresser, Carmelita, who explained to Granholm that she already participates in the health care insurance market, albeit in a manner that leaves her wishing she could afford health care insurance.
Carmelita’s employers do not provide health care insurance, and she can’t afford to purchase coverage. “It’s just too expensive,” she said. “No way I can afford it.”
But if she could afford it, she would gladly purchase it, because she’s still “paying off a $3,000 health care bill from last year when I had walking pneumonia and finally went to see the doctor. They ordered an X-ray of my chest, and my life hasn’t been the same since, trying to pay that medical bill. Of course, I’d have health insurance if I could afford it! Anybody would.”