Bush: the gift that keeps on giving

W's appointee delivers lump of coal to working families, strikes down health reform's individual mandate

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Health reform’s individual mandate provision – the requirement that all taxpayers purchase health insurance beginning in 2014 – has been struck down by a federal judge appointed by none other than President George W. Bush.

What is it with America’s continuing suffering inflicted by the former President? The deficit is about to go into hyperdrive with the ill-advised extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. If Bush were a doctor, he should have been sued for malpractice for those original unprecendented tax cuts, the first such during wartime by any President.

“Don’t make any sacrifices now,” Bush told a post 9/11 America that was more than willing and able to make some sacrifices. “I’ll just put it on the credit card.”

Now U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson of Virginia is seeking to scuttle the health reform bill by ruling the government does not have the power to require individuals to purchase health insurance. Two other federal judges have  already upheld the constitutionality of the provision, so Hudson’s ruling is a departure – it puts him in the category of “activist judges” – a category Republicans routinely demagogue.

Requiring all people to purchase insurance – and requiring insurance companies to take all applicants – is the most logical way to make health insurance available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible cost. It spreads the risk across the entire population, doing what insurance is intended to do.

If reform is derailed, hundreds of thousands of American families will continue to file bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. Even more Americans will delay treatment for serious medical conditions, or go without treatment altogether, because of a lack of health coverage.

The very rich and the very poor are most likely to continue to get service. Those who will suffer include the working middle class.

That’s why we consider Bush to be “the gift that keeps on giving.” We all remember the high judicial quality of his court picks. Those continue to feel like lumps of coal in working America’s stockings.