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« 27 Views of Greensboro | Main | Friendly trend in local healthcare »

Jun 27, 2015


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Andrew Brod

This was a good week in SCOTUS-land.

I won't claim to be ahead of any curves, but I did write this jumble of a column three years ago during the Amendment One debate. It starts being coherent in the last third or so, including the ending: "If protecting marriage is the goal, we know that creating jobs in the short run and reversing the long-term economic deterioration of lower and middle classes would take us a long way toward that end."


I wish the comments had survived.




Speaking of the Supreme Court, I got an $1,150 non-itemized bill for a routine blood test from the hospital, that costs $115 down the street at the lab.

So everyone has a right to marriage and subsidized health care, with printed money supposedly borrowed from our children, and the middle and bottom still end up with the bill.

Here's to freedom of choice, as long as the subsidized continue to stay so. Most of the health care stocks popped.


Your silence on how most of our community gets nickeled and dimed remains unsaid.

Ed Cone

The first 3+ years of comments -- a few thousand in all, I think -- did not make the trip when this blog changed software platforms in 2005. For a long while they were still findable elsewhere, but that seems to be no longer true. There was some good stuff in there from the early days of blogging and media reinvention, the Iraq war, and so on. Kind of a shame. One reason I keep this blog open is to preserve the 100,000+ comments that remain here.

IIRC, the comments beneath this particular column were uniformly positive and everyone was totally convinced and complimentary and nobody ever again argued gay marriage or civil rights at this site.

Ed Cone

George, to veer (briefly) off topic with you, I thought King v. Burwell was decided correctly because the Supreme Court is not a copy desk and the intent of the law was quite clear.

That said, I think ACA is working reasonably well and that the lack of viable alternatives to it speaks volumes. Is it perfect, or complete? Of course not. Is it a boon to big insurers? Yes, as was clear from the start; many of us were vocal in support of a public option for this reason. Do medical bills continue to be confusing and sometimes irrational? Yes, although I think we've begun a long journey toward greater transparency and cost competition. Is it overall being paid for by the lower and middle classes? I think Dylan Mattews said it well here: "It effected a massive downward redistribution of income. It's one of the most startlingly progressive laws this country has ever enacted." Which is why the 1% dislike it so much.


What is most pleasing to me with respect to the key decisions by the Supreme Court is that we moved toward a better knitting of the social fabric of our society by not permitting institutionalized discrimination in the matter of gay marriage and exclusion from full participation in the matter of our health care system.

Change is very difficult, it is most amusing to me to hear the ranting and raving about how crazy, delusional and simply wrong key members of SCOTUS are for deciding in the way they decided in both of these matters. Let's not forget that several years ago many of these same people decided that corporations spending money to influence political campaigns were simply corporate entities exercising their right to "free speech".

In both matters we have extended significant benefits to members of society who were previously excluded, someone has to pay for those who are now included but we were already paying for those in both matters who were previously the beneficiaries of significant benefits. More people are getting a slice of the pie - very difficult for me to hear that some groups of people don't deserve a slice of the same pie other have received for so long and whose cost has been borne by so many.

And let us say, amen.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Speaking as a Pediatrician dealing the messes in the trenches (as opposed to an ex-journalist occupying a chair in Cone's boardroom) the "King v. Burwell" decision was WRONG - on so many levels (even the Supreme majority bemoaned how deeply-flawed the TAX is). Of course, I was well-schooled, quite some time ago, on the fact that the "letter-of-the-law" (at least in terms of a Federal law or contract) means absolutely nothing.

I am working on an Indian Health Service assignment right now. With my tongue firmly in my cheek, I'm finding I have a lot in common with the American Indian in terms of how contracts with the government work . . . a true trail of tears.

As George pointed out, hospital stocks soared - for now. I can understand why someone sitting in a phat leather chair in the Cone boardroom would rejoice.

I've expressed my views, in some detail, on Facebook. I see no reason to reiterate them here. At least the TAX is now poised to fiscally collapse under its own weight and incrementally/upwardly spiraling costs (still largely hidden from the unsuspecting masses - who I don't think will be saying, "Amen!" when it's all said and done). When that happens, the blame can be laid firmly at the feet of the Democratic Party.

Of course, when it all goes to Hell in a hand-basket, all the Dems have to do is scapegoat an old battle flag and re-write their own history.

As was also expressed on Facebook, while I'm not entirely comfortable with the way the Supremes got there, the "Obergefell et al v. Hodges" decision was CORRECT in terms of individual liberty and civil rights - as long as those rights do not trample on the religious and free-speech rights of fellow Americans (I'm sure plaintiffs' lawyers everywhere are already mentally counting all the money they're going to make fighting those battles).

I also (very slowly but surely) came to that conclusion (which I still struggle with - courtesy of a Southern Baptist background) by observing the every day courage of two dear friends who love one another with a deep love that I do not think is in my stars . . . and who have lived their lives in quiet/fierce dignity for going on twenty years.

Love won long before love won.

All of that being being said, there's a LOT you failed to write down (during your "journalist" days) when it comes to local healthcare and people's rights, Edward. You were fairly selective in the rights you championed. You were just being "cool", I know.

I still have tire tracks on my scalp and forehead . . . not-to-mention deep scars from that cyber-stalking incident that have never fully healed. I hope your chair in the Cone boardroom is comfortable.

And don't dislocate your shoulder.

Ed Cone

Mary, you and I clearly share a love and respect for our friends and neighbors that makes the marriage ruling feel right to us both.

I think a lot of people have become more open to gay marriage because of such personal connections.

On King v. Burwell, the narrow (and imho correct) question was about the wording, not the merits (and lack thereof) of ACA.

That said, of course the decision is good news for hospitals/health systems. ACA helps them by reducing the number of patients who have no insurance -- thus offsetting the reduction in revenue caused by lower payments from government programs. So, sure, the fact that insurance will remain in place for a good chunk of the country is good news for hospitals that already must cope with lower reimbursements (same issue applies to NC and other states that don't expand Medicaid -- the law has reduced payments to hospitals, but the intended increase in the insured population has not happened).

Bob Grenier

"I thought King v. Burwell was decided correctly because the Supreme Court is not a copy desk and the intent of the law was quite clear."

The language of the law and the documented intent were clear that the subsidies applied only in states that established their own (not federal) exchanges.

If I recall correctly, one of the majority opinions established that clearly.

Ed Cone

Back to the topic at hand, I was touched by how meaningful the marriage decision was to our kids. A civil rights moment for their time. Beautiful to behold.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Where's my last comment Ed? Does the truth hurt a little bit too much?

Man up, Blogger King, and put it back up.

Ed Cone

Mary, I took down two comments of yours that veered far off topic and, more importantly, contained inaccuracies that I will not take time to rebut yet again. You are welcome to comment, but not to say anything you wish regardless of accuracy.

UPDATE: And, nine more deleted comments later, you are no longer welcome to comment here.

Andrew Brod


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