Supreme Court: Obamacare Actually A Kind Of Cheese
Washington, DC (AP) – In a move surprising to both supporters and opponents of President Obama’s landmark universal health care law, the Supreme Court ruled this morning that the far-reaching piece of legislation, affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, is actually a variety of cheese similar to cheddar.
Democratic supporters and Republican opponents have waged a public conflict over the constitutionality, feasibility, and costs of the health care package, with Congressional Republicans threatening to withhold funding for the program. The Court ruling at once forces the administration to reconsider the application of the law and deprives Republicans of ammunition in the fight against it.
In a split decision, the Court decided 5-4 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as the package is formally known, is not a piece of legislation at all, but a semi-hard cheese with the pungency of of young Gouda and a texture evocative of Pecorino.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts praised the PPACA’s strong flavor and creaminess, noting how unusual it is for a cheese made from cow’s milk to achieve the particular balance of flavor and texture normally associated with sheep cheeses such as Pecorino.
“We find the PPACA a sumptuous feast of the senses,” Roberts wrote. “The unmistakable aroma of a fine Pecorino gives way to the not-quite al dente feel of a sensuous, creamy Gruyère.”
In a spirited dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia vigorously denounced that characterization, asserting that in fact Obamacare bears only a passing resemblance to cheese. Scalia minced no words in putting forth the argument that if anything, the PPACA calls to mind and palate a delicate veal carpaccio.
“Far be it from this judge to weigh in on matters of taste, but since the majority has already done so, let it be known that the majority would not know a mozzarella from a matza,” wrote Scalia, referring to a type of crispy, unleavened bread eaten by Jews on Passover. “In fact Obamacare would be best served with a nice Rosé, or better yet, an apéritif of some sort, but you won’t hear such things from the stodgy confines of the rest of the bench.”
In practice, the ruling leaves the PPACA out of the realm of direct influence from Congress, as regulation of cheeses and other dairy products falls under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture. While calling into question the medical application of the health care package, the Supreme Court has nevertheless granted the President effective carte blanche to apply it as the agency that answers to him sees fit.
“We certainly see this as a victory,” said White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew. “A victory to be savored, perhaps on a rye cracker with nigella or caraway seeds.” Lew himself noted that he could not necessarily partake of the cheese, as he follows Jewish dietary law; the vast majority of cheeses available in the United States are not kosher, as they use rennet, an enzyme from animal sources that is considered a meat substance under Jewish law, and may not be mixed with dairy.
Congressional Republicans were quick to voice their disappointment. “Not what I expected at all, to tell you the truth,” conceded Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “We had been near certain the Court would see things our way, considering the Chief Justice’s own conservative tastes.” McConnell said he had yet to decide whether he would purchase any of the PPACA.
“My tastes run more toward Brie and Camembert,” he confessed, referring to softer cheeses.