Monday, 10 May 2021

Tabacchi: Kavanaugh could help improve ACA

The fear, anger and outrage felt by activists on the left was on full display during the raucous Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members acknowledged and affirmed the activists’ voices.

Democrats expressed numerous doubts and concerns and concluded that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is not merely a threat mind you, but a direct and fundamental threat to equal justice for all Americans.

Then an allegation from the nominee’s distant past surfaced. An opportunity to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination and tarnish his otherwise exemplary life and exceptional career: kill two birds with one stone. Suddenly, I can see the upside to my unremarkable and modest life.

What of those grave dangers to me and you if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed? Many are extravagant exaggerations right from the Democratic Party’s playbook.

Their biased opinions of how Judge Kavanaugh may or may not rule on matters before the court conjure up memories of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy excoriating conservative Judge Robert Bork on the Senate floor during Bork’s confirmation battle in 1987.

It might be politically expedient and popular with some for the Dems to invoke fear in those following the hearings. However, in my opinion, their fears are not commensurate with the situation.

In response to their dire predictions for the Affordable Care Act if Kavanaugh is confirmed, I believe we can all agree that the ACA is not without its flaws or detractors.

Let me begin at ground zero: its enactment. This law passed without a single Republican vote. Furthermore, recent polling data by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 50 percent view the law favorably, 40 percent unfavorably and 10 percent have no opinion.

Furthermore, I take exception to predictions that Judge Kavanaugh’s presence on the court will, over time, result in invalidation of the ACA.

At its worst, this might be seen as a calculated smarmy attempt to capitalize on the fears and frustrations shared by most Americans with our health care system. And the ACA is part and parcel to our broken health care delivery apparatus.

I believe this highly qualified nominee could potentially pave the way for more sorely needed incremental improvements to the system.

For example, I support efforts in Arkansas to phase in work requirements or other eligibility requirements for those able-bodied childless young adults receiving Medicaid. Arkansans who are working, volunteering, going to school or looking for a job at least 80 hours a month meet the threshold.

My understanding is Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in 2011 in Seven-Sky v. Holder was based on technical, jurisdictional grounds. At the time, conservatives decried his failure to declare outright the ACA unconstitutional.

He has also focused attention on the legal idea of “severability” while opining on ACA issues during meetings with senators prior to the hearings. This doctrine says that even if one part of the law is found invalid, the rest could still stand.

Judge Kavanaugh’s critics have said he would not faithfully apply our nation’s laws nor guarantee equal justice under the law for all Americans. I disagree.

Mike Tabacchi lives in Middletown, Calif.

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