Grist asks green leaders like Van Jones and Gary Hirshberg what health care means to them
Just a couple days after scoring a major environmental victory in the courts, the White House landed an even larger fish on Thursday, when a sharply divided Supreme Court upheld the individual insurance mandate at the heart of "ObamaCare."
Grist hit up leading figures in the eco community to get their thoughts on the decision, among them our friend and advisor Gary Hirshberg and Van Jones, who you'll see more of soon on The Big SHFT. Here's what they had to say:
Gary Hirshberg, cofounder and chair of Stonyfield
I am relieved and in fact a bit shocked that this Court validated the Obama administration’s contention that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. I’m relieved because America is getting sicker and this law ensures that middle-class families will get the security they deserve and protects every American from the worst insurance-company abuses. I am shocked because this Court has five members who I feel have been very activist and partisan in support of American corporate overreach and I felt sure they would side with the insurance companies in trying to undo something that clearly benefits average citizens over the health-care providers.
To be clear, “Obamacare” only starts to address the deeply broken state of Americans’ health and wellness. Whether through skyrocketing obesity, diabetes, or cancer rates, it is clear that our modern food system is making us sicker, and we need to understand that aside from the moral and ethical tragedies, these trends are both devastating to our economy and completely preventable. While what we really need is comprehensive preventative-care policy that rewards reduced sugar consumption, increased exercise, and elimination of chemicals and additives in our foods, agriculture, and environment, the Affordable Care Act at least starts to catch us up with the kinds of care and protections that any civilized nation ought to provide its citizens.
Van Jones, president and cofounder of Rebuild the Dream
When we put our minimum against our opponents’ maximum, we lose — that’s Wisconsin. When we put our maximum against their maximum, we win — that’s health care.
If anybody thinks that the Supreme Court was immune to the full-out offensive on their legitimacy, they’re not paying attention. Justice Roberts could see the Supreme Court used to be the most highly estimated institution in American life and it is now chasing Congress down the sewer pipe. This ruling was 100 percent a response to the American people’s disgust with the blatantly partisan role that the Supreme Court was taking on, making the Roberts Supreme Court synonymous with pure, crass politics. But that didn’t come out of the clear blue sky; people put up a big fight about what kind of Supreme Court this is.
It’s become very fashionable to be cynical, to say politics doesn’t matter, that it all sucks. But then look at the people who say that: When we lose in Wisconsin, they’re depressed. When we win in the Supreme Court, they’re happy. So maybe this stuff does matter a little bit after all. And since we’re going to be happy or sad as the result of the outcomes, maybe we should do a little bit more than we’ve been doing the last couple years.
Be sure to check the article at Grist.
Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (AP)