Inside the building, robed justices were hearing arguments about the constitutionality of the health-care law’s “individual mandate.” Originally a conservative concept, it would impose a modest fine on those who won’t buy insurance, even with the help of subsidies, instead of allowing them to continue passing the cost of their “liberty” on to those of us who are insured.
And outside the court, conservatives unexpectedly enlivened the day by talking like liberals. In the fieriest conservative speech of the morning — outside the court, anyway — 32-year-old Keli Carender, a math teacher turned full-time tea party employee from Seattle, even inveighed against patriarchy.
“I’m the breadwinner in my family, my mother was the breadwinner in our family, and I don’t need anyone to take care of me!’’ she told cheering fellow conservatives. Which is not a message I ever recall reading in the Schlafly Report. “Real women buy their own birth control,’’ she said in conclusion, as her cohorts chanted, “Obamacare is doom,” and held aloft the likeness of the late provocateur Andrew Breitbart.
Speaker after anti-Obamacare speaker ridiculed Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker who pushed through the historic health-care bill. “I don’t want Nancy Pelosi to force me to buy insurance to find out what’s in it,’’ said Hadley Heath of the Independent Women’s Forum, paraphrasing Pelosi’s now-famous line. But two years later, it’s the bill’s chief critics who still don’t know what’s in it. Or if they do, they’re not letting on.
One of their major knocks on the bill Tuesday was that it would ration diagnostic tests and treatment for women with breast cancer. “If you want to protect women’s health, knock down this law,’’ said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), citing a constituent who he said had told him that the United Kingdom’s nationalized health-care system was responsible for her mother’s death of breast cancer.
As has been pointed out thousands of times, “Obamacare” mostly regulates private insurance companies and nationalizes nothing, though it does expand Medicaid. But when I had breast cancer 10 and again nine years ago, the “bureaucrats” employed by my private insurance company definitely did ration my care — and made me pay out of pocket for $26,000 of it, not that that figure is forever burned in my brain or anything.