post by Bill Gardner
In a few days, the US Supreme Court will release its decision concerning Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services and the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I am so not a lawyer, therefore I have no prediction about the decision and I can't tell you what legal principles are at stake. However it comes out, one group of partisans will crow, while the other will proclaim the end of the Republic and rend their clothes.
But whatever the Court decides, it will remain the case that 17% of US children and adolescents are obese, 19% have untreated dental caries, 9.4% have asthma and 150,000 children have diabetes. In the coming year, about 6 million children will be reported for child neglect or abuse, more than 10,000 children under 15 will be diagnosed with cancer, and 7 in every 100,000 adolescents will commit suicide. Despite a very different health care financing system, the situation of Canada children is not much better. I can list many other pediatric disorders and problems, or I could begin detailing those of adults, but you get the point.
It is this mass of human suffering that should be in the scales when we survey the state of health care. It is a continental mass: we do not appreciate its scale because it does not move. Yet suffering is what truly matters. Whatever the Court decides, our work will remain undone.