Wait until I tell you about a guy I read about in the New York Times last week.
On December 9, The New York Times ran a story “Long Road for Lawyer Defending the Health Care Law”. The story is about Ian Gershengorn, deputy assistant attorney general, and it’s his job to defend health care reform, “don’t ask, don’t tell”, the rights of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, and embryonic stem cell research.
All of the topics are controversial and worthy of a blog but because this is a health care blog I’ll focus on the health care reform aspect.
There are nearly two dozen legal challenges to the health care overhaul and it’s Mr. Gershengorn’s job to defend the constitutionality of the health care reform law. It’s assumed that the decision will ultimately end up in the lap of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Gershengorn’s job is difficult for two reasons. 1) The health care reform law is largely unpopular and most Americans oppose it therefore Gershengorn is arguing against popular opinion. The historic turnover in the house, shifting power from Democrat to Republican, in the last election was due in large part to voter dissatisfaction in the way the health care reform legislation was passed. 2) The lawsuits that Gershengorn is arguing were filed by governors and attorneys general from 20 states. Forty percent of US states have brought suit against the federal government claiming that it is unconstiturional to require a citizen to obtain health insurance and Congress exceeded it’s authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by passing a bill that would penalize Americans for not obtaining health insurance.
To be successful we must first believe in what we are doing. I hope Mr. Gershengorn believes that the health care reform law is legal and good for the country, if not, his job sucks a lot worse than I initially thought.