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In the end, it all came down to John Roberts

Saturday 30 June 2012


From US newspaper the Houston Chronicle's blog, Texas on the Potomac:


Obamacare announcement
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. relays the
breaking news to her staff that the Supreme Court had just
upheld the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, June 28, 2012,
on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pelosi, the former speaker
of the House, was instrumental in helping to pass health
care reform in Congress and was at President Obama's
side when he signed it into law. At right, Pelosi gives
credit to Wendell Primus, a senior policy adviser.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In the end, it all came down to John Roberts

Posted by Richard Dunham on June 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Texas on the Potomac is pleased to share some of the best commentary and analysis offered by Hearst Newspapers. Today, we present a column by Llewellyn King.

In the end, as so often, it all came down to one person. In this case Chief Justice John Roberts. He sided with the liberals enough to save the basic provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

In the tumult the wailing and the sighing, the gentlest of gentle sighs, inaudible to all but those who know, comes from the permanently sick, just-alive people who suffer from the immune system disease known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in much of the world. This is a disease little understood and under-researched, which it is believed afflicts 1 million Americans.

It is a disease that has no mercy. It is almost without exception a life sentence, robbing the victim of normalcy. Its symptoms include total collapse after exertion, especially after exercise; sleep that does not refresh; periods of months or years of being bedridden with pain from bones “that feel as though they are exploding,” according one victim, Lynda Haight; and a mental fog that makes the simplest task, like paying bills, too difficult many days. Other symptoms include extreme sensitivity to light, noise and normal city and suburban noise.

To this community of the lost, this cohort of hopelessness, Obamacare is a blessing; a small blessing but one that may grow in time when a cure is found, or at least when a therapy which relieves the suffering is developed.

These are the very people — sick, voiceless and hidden in in plain view — who have been shunned by insurance companies.

Those patients who contracted the disease in childhood have never been able to get insurance. They are the quintessential preexisting condition demographic. No room at Hippocrates Inn for them, even if they can afford it. Others have been dropped when they reach lifetime limits embedded in many policies.

Sadly, most of the expenses of those living this zombie life spend money not on being cured but being tested and using off-label drugs (drugs that are used for a purpose other than that for which they have been certified) in an endless search for partial, temporary relief.

Marly Silverman, a patient activist and director of PANDORA, a coalition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome groups, said that had the Supreme Court decided otherwise, patients with chronic disease would have been forced back to uninsurable limbo.

For now, the apparent saving of Obamacare is a mercy for all the lifetime diseases. But it has a particular meaning for CFS sufferers because there is no easy diagnosis of the disease, and the patients often look quite well. It is a cruel irony that many CFS patients do not show signs of being sick, so they are accused of sloth and malingering when they are as sick as can be.

Which is where the power of one comes in.

Women tell stories about devoted husbands — maybe the most famous being author Laura Hillenbrand’s. Also there are loyal wives who take up the burden, as in the case of Courtney Miller of Nevada, who is crusading for recognition for the disease that afflicts her husband Robert. [See additional story below.]

In other cases, lovers and spouses have taken the exits, leaving the prostrate to the additional suffering of loneliness and often poverty. Some sufferers are among the homeless. There many cases of victims living in cars and getting scant recognition or help from either the Social Security Administration or doctors who take Medicaid patients.

John Roberts has become an important person in some very sad lives. For now he is the “one.”

Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle”
on PBS. His e-mail is


The above, with comments, originally appeared here.


And from CNN Politics:


Obama invokes his faith and A.G. in Nevada town hall

Reno, Nevada (CNN) – President Obama invoked his Christian faith Thursday, to explain his understanding of scientific advancements, at a town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada.

“I am a Christian and a person of faith and I believe that God gave us brains to figure things out,” Obama said when asked by a woman [Courtney Miller, wife of CFS sufferer Robert] in the audience what his health policies could do to assist her husband who is suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Obama touted a provision in the Recovery Act that funds the National Institutes of Health to deal with such ailments. “We've got to use science to make lives better for our families and our communities and this planet,” Obama said.

While he acknowledged he did not know much about her husband’s disease, Obama promised “I will do when I get back is I will have the National Institute of Health explain to me what they're currently doing and start seeing if they can do more on this particular ailment.”


Here is a YouTube video of Courtney Miller's question to President Obama and his response. The exchange occurs at 47:01 in the video (direct link to 47:01):



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