Racial Impact of the Decision of Our Undemocratic Supreme Court

Imara Jones at Colorlines raises the issue of a negative impact of this week’s Supreme Court’s degree on the health and the health insurance options for people of color. As a result of this week’s Supreme Court narrow 5-4 decision:

the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s longterm effectiveness is in doubt, and the racial and economic inequalities at the very heart of the health care system stand to be reinforced. Medicaid—funded jointly by the federal government and the states—is the nation’s health care plan for the working poor . .. . Enlargement of Medicaid is the single most important provision of the Affordable Care Act for people of color. It’s the way that almost all non-whites covered by the law would receive insurance. If implemented as written, the law expected to cover 32 million Americans, accounting for 80 percent of those currently uninsured.

The law as written would force states to expand their Medicaid programs, to include the working poor, or else loose federal funds for all Medicaid. However the Supreme Court knocked down that provision. Some states will likely still seek these funds, but other states, especially with lots of working poor of color, likely will not:

And that’s a problem, particularly in the Southern, GOP-led states where huge numbers of working poor blacks and Latinos live. The majority of states, due to the recession, want to cover less not more people. . . . As former Republican governor, now Senator Lamar Alexander told The New York Times, “If I were governor of Tennessee, I would not expand Medicaid.” Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana echoed the point.

Saving the mandate got much of the media coverage, as many will be helped by what was saved, but

for millions more, the Supreme Court’s ruling will only exacerbate inequities at the core of our national health care crisis, and force the battle over the law back to the states. . . . Medicaid remains a bitterly fought over program today. The ruling yesterday will make it more so.

And the costs are of course very high in human terms, and in dollars as well:

The Center for American Progress estimates that this racial gap in health care coverage costs the country $415 billion a year in lost productivity.

And then there is the underlying question of why “we the people” allow such an undemocratic institution as our Supreme Court to even have this power over our health and health care? This decision by a few unelected folks over US health care is yet more evidence that we are not a democracy, but indeed a kind of plutocracy– that is, a pseudo-democracy that is actually ruled by an elite of the well-off and powerful, an elite that is also still mostly white and very disproportionately white male.


  1. Seattle in Texas

    And then there is the underlying question of why “we the people” allow such an undemocratic institution as our Supreme Court to even have this power over our health and health care?–EXACTLY

    On the republican politicians that seek to minimize the healthcare coverage for the masses, who also generally hold a very strong “pro-life/anti-abortion” position often based on religious convictions and authority, is that they do not realize, or they do, don’t know which, that they inconsistent and hypocritical in their political and religious orientations and beliefs. Anybody who would seek to minimize and/or ultimately withhold/prevent any human being, regardless of color, ethnicity, age, etc., from the most basic of human rights (food, healthcare, shelter, clothing) is ultimately pro-death and sadistic. I’m not going into the “pro-life/pro-choice” debate here because that’s a whole different issue and I have problems with the extremes of both sides. But on the side of the pro-lifers, it would be nice if they could be consistent with their convictions and beliefs and fervently battle for the health and well-being for all humans after they are born into the world and throughout their lives rather than just up to the point while the fetuses are residing in their mother’s wombs. As related to the main post above, if they were genuine in their beliefs and convictions, they would fervently battle for the health care bill to be extended as far and wide as possible to ensure all people, regardless of race, color, creed, nationality, citizenship, etc., have access to healthcare and of course, preventative healthcare. This nation is so backwards…you would think they would find it “unconstitutional” for states to legally withhold or deny healthcare benefits from anybody…I’m talking beyond the emergency room too.

    The recent Supreme Court decisions lately, specifically with relation to Arizona and the healthcare bill, seem to reflect those you would see in Nazi Germany in many respects, particularly with relation to privileging white higher SES people/society in general leading to better quality most generally speaking and ultimately dehumanizing others be, it by color or SES, by legally denying the same protections and rights, etc. I realize the legal system has never been truly just, or the healthcare system, etc., but significant strides were made during the Civil Rights. Such policies consequently lead to further segregation and social inequality polarizing groups through racial and economic stratification, moving this nation rapidly backwards from the Civil Rights successes. I think the only way possible significant radical change can come about is from the bottom up…philosophies of folks as, Dr. King, Myles Horton, etc. 🙂

  2. Seattle in Texas

    & and course important music that stands the test of time is always good, even with contemporary social issues…~♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ …hold him in your arms yeah you can feel his disease, come together… ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬~ Take care y’all

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