After watching 2.5 hours of lecture on federal income tax law after work, I just couldn’t bring myself to pound MBE sample multiple choice question practice tonight for the bar. Instead, I thought I’d jot down some of my mixed feelings of the day. (And no, I haven’t forgotten my rant about fixing law schools – that one is still coming, trust me.)
Back to the day. First, SCOTUS put out a pretty surprising holding today on health care reform. The best word I can find to describe how my friends and network feel about it is: polarizing. On one hand, I’ve got the hard working people in my tribe who need affordable, accessible healthcare shouting from the rooftops that SCOTUS did the best thing ever today for American humanity. Great.
But on the other hand, I’ve got my even harder* working entrepreneurs and business owners who are trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for insuring their employees when their rates went up 20% this year, and the gurus are saying to expect another 20% hike next year. Some are saying that it’s going to be cheaper for them to pay the $2K penalty and just let their employees figure out how to get coverage on their own. For the owners, they hate it, but they’ll probably end up doing that because they simply can’t afford to cover their employees at 20% increases each year. (*Yes, I argue they work harder in my opinion – because starting a business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. This is just my personal opinion.)
I say–we need to back up and really think hard about what it is that we value in this country. Should healthcare be a fundamental right? If so, what are the limits of that right? As I’ve said before, some countries build a right to basic health care into their constitutions (for example, China). But, if we love our freedoms in this country – shouldn’t we be at least a little disturbed that our federal (allegedly limited) government is now forcing us to contract and buy something? As Scalia says – we could be forced to buy broccoli next! I’m not sure our founding fathers and mothers would have imagined this for us…but it’s not quite the same effect of throwing health care policies into the Boston Harbor as much as tea.
Last but not least, and speaking of imagination, as I cram for the bar, I’ve been trying to read something a little lighter before I go to bed each night. Right now, I’m reading Imagine. While I used to work in neuroscience, I still dig it – as it’s in a lot of ways one of the final frontiers when it comes to medicine. We don’t yet fully understand how the brain works, and in Lehrer’s book, he looks at the creative process from a neuroscience light approach. For example, if you want to be more creative – let your mind wander, sit or work in a blue room, and go for walks in nature. Stuff you probably already know, but fun to be reminded of yet again.
In conclusion, I think Congress, SCOTUS, and even our President should think about working in a blue room. Go for walks. Really think about what they’ve done and what they’ve asked of their citizens. Is this what we really want for our country? I don’t know.
But I’m pretty certain we could imagine something better.