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Grace Ross: How the Supreme Court Gave More Power to Corporate America

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Grace Ross, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTER™

Two Supreme Court decisions “came down” (were decided) last week that are critically important, at least for the next few years, to the future of the people of the United States.

One of them continued to make our electoral system the playground of the very wealthiest who can now spend whatever amount of money they want on whichever horse in the race they want to win. The other affects what kind of health coverage and how much it is going to cost most people in the United States to purchase.

The health coverage decision, the first of these two, came down on Thursday and the really striking thing about that decision was that all I heard people saying was “Wow this is really good for President Obama; yeah this is Obama’s decision; yep! this is what Obama wanted!“ Really? Because as the President of the United States he gets the federal employees healthcare system I believe. That’s always been one of the best healthcare insurance systems you can get in this country.

It’s a very limited form of single payer health insurance. That is, everybody in the system pays into one purchaser of healthcare. In this case, the federal government for its federal employees. So, President Obama’s health coverage was taken care of before the decision and is now after the decision. The decision did not impact the quality of his health care at all. In fact, given the amount of money a President gets in pension for the rest of their lives, he didn’t even need anything about this healthcare decision. He’d have enough money to buy any kind of healthcare he needed; didn’t matter if he had a preexisting condition or not.

So, no, I actually thought the Supreme Court was supposed to be making decisions with an eye towards the wellbeing of the people of the United States. Apparently, many people who are trying to impact the direction this country runs think it’s all about which of their guys gets a boost to win next time. Apparently, it’s not really about whether we, the people, do better with the health coverage that’s been approved or not.

In fact, there are people who were then shocked with one of the supposedly conservative judges who voted to support the health plan that was passed through Congress. It will create some very important coverage requirements that we’ve already had in Massachusetts for 20 years so it’s not going to help us. Like the fact that you have a right to have health insurance even if you have a preexisting condition. That’s really important, and there are some other really important changes.

These same folks then expressed dismay when the next day’s decision came down saying that companies, corporations and their wealthy boards, can throw their money around in even more elections than before. This was the impact of the really bad “Citizens United” decision from the Supreme Court that said what mattered in elections is how much money you have because, the more money you have, the more you can spend to an infinite amount.

On Friday, this same court struck down the state of Minnesota’s attempt to reign in election contributions like all state governments and the federal government had before “Citizens United,” but they gave another boost to their previous bad decision in “Citizens United”. Some people thought “Oh that’s odd, the court went two different directions, it’s all about that swing opinion or two.”

The problem is that the decisions were part of the same cloth. Both decisions said that our government functions at the behest of the biggest corporations. The healthcare system that was voted in that folks were hoping would be protected by Thursday’s Supreme Court decision allows a tiny percentage of very large corporations in the health insurance industry to make massive profits; while under the healthcare plan passed under Obama, these few companies that monopolize the healthcare industry have to give a little bit more health coverage than they did, they’re going to get way more money.

Many of us opposed healthcare mandates when they were instituted in Massachusetts. The last few years have confirmed our concerns that here where people who can’t afford a mandate can opt out, that putting a mandate in place doesn’t help more people get healthcare; it may increase the number of folks have insurance in name, but with the high co-pays and less & less coverage, fewer and fewer people are being able to afford actually getting healthcare through those plans.

So these two decisions, they’re part of the same cloth. The same cloth that has led watchdog organizations like Common Cause to get really scared about how some of the Supreme Court Justices get their money from the same corporate profits that they are supporting in their legal decisions. The goal of impartial Supreme Court decisions that are supposed to be made for the best of the wellbeing of the vast majority of people in our country by upholding the constitution in its best possible form have been muted into decisions like these. We have a long way to go, folks, to recover the judicial side of a government by and for the people.

These two decisions, as far as I’m concerned, they weren’t for or against whoever is the President, because they’re already covered. They’re for or against the people of the United States. And I’m afraid at the moment, these were two wins for the biggest corporate interests in our country. 


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