The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Health Care mandate struck down

A federal judge in Virginia has struck down that portion of Obamacare which requires people to buy health insurance stating that such a requirement is unconstitutional. You can read the N.Y. Times article here.

Not surprisingly, Fox News is all over it proclaiming the decision to be the death knell for the president's sweeping health care legislation. MSNBC is less dire, but their coverage indicates that even they believe much of the legislation will be subject to Supreme Court scrutiny.

I've said for a long time that I didn't think it was constitutional to compel citizens to purchase anything, including health care. It was, in my opinion, a fundamental flaw in Obama's health care plan.

So off to the supreme court we go.


Duffer said...

State government budgets across the country are staggering under the weight of the spiraling costs of Medicaid. Citizens are denied coverage. Insurance premiums spiraling out of sight for many. Small businesses grappling with the cost of providing this benefit for their employees. All business struggling to remain competitive in the global marketplace with this increasing, added cost of goods sold.

Critics say the marketplace should determine health-care cost. Yup, that's worked great so far, hasn't it?

A horribly crafted (isn't that what "compromise" does?) health-care bill served up for the buzzards in the courts and congress to correct? Nothing but good can come from that, surely.

Somethings gotta give - and if we let the "market" determine the final cost of health care, well, . . a lot of good folks will suffer and die waiting for that to happen.

Waiting for, or expecting the market (alone) to lower the cost of health-care in this country is as much folly as expecting trickle-down economics and tax breaks for the wealthy to provide jobs for the huddled masses.

Truly, the health-care bill dubbed "Obamacare" is a catastrophe. Our Government has proven itself incapable of dealing with this issue too. They're all bought/paid for by the folks that are driving up the cost and stuffing their collective pockets.

Anyone have a rosy picture to paint of this mess? Seriously.

repete said...

Ever build a house and upon final inspection you find something stupid was left undone or done poorly? The contractors do that on purpose. Similarly, this issue just takes everyone's eyes off the rest of the bill and focuses them on that one little provision that really doesn't effect much of anything.
And the idiots at faux news think they've won some major feat, and the choir can now feel so much better about the GOP for fixing it.
The tough talking (but still apparently gutless) GOP seems to have stopped fighting the bill itself and now is focusing on the feel-goods.
Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

DDC said...

Duffer said...

"Critics say the marketplace should determine health-care cost. Yup, that's worked great so far, hasn't it?"

The government has dictated medical costs in the country for decades through regulation and Medicare/Medicaid formulas. The more control the government has taken, the faster health care costs have gone up.

We've now got a system where someone else is always paying for our health care. We pay a premium and co-pay and get whatever it is we need without seeing the final cost (or the government pays for it).

It would be much better to move back towards actual insurance that covers big expenses and pay directly for everyday health care. Only then will people pay attention to what things cost and make an attempt to contain costs.

Obamacare does exactly the opposite. It forces "better" coverage on everyone and forces common-sense ideas like Health Savings Accounts out of the market. You're right, Duffer, Obamacare is a catastrophe. Let's hope the Supreme Court strikes most of it down.

repete said...

Similarly, this issue just takes everyone's eyes off the rest of the bill and focuses them on that one little provision that really doesn't effect much of anything.

Without forcing everyone to buy insurance coverage that covers things that they don't need the entire thing unravels. As the Obama Administration said, it's the "lynch pin" that holds it all together.

Wayne Gilbert said...

This analogy may be flawed and I welcome any posts which explain why it is, but it seems to me that 70 years or so ago the government decided to force everyone to contribute a retirement system. Despite funding issues that we do have time to resolve, it also seems to me that this has worked pretty well. I really don't get the uproar about this measure, and I agree DDC and disagree with repeate about the importance of it.

Duffer said...

. . . and health-care lobbyists were there calling the shots with every step of the law and regulation writing process.

We don't want to get started talking about the fiasco that is the prescription drug business, and the relationships their lobbyists have with our elected representatives.

Most of our elected reps head to foggy bottom with modest personal capital. They sure don't leave that way.

Les said...

Duffer you have nailed the carrot root of the problem! DC bought off by the health care-less industry.

Small payoffs to bankrupt our nation.

It's workin damn fine.

DDC said...

That's exactly what happens when you get an all-powerful federal government involved in anything. The big players write the rules and game the system. It keeps competition out and entrenches the monopolies, which inevitably leads to higher prices.

The joke's on the insurance companies this time, though. They thought they were getting a good deal with the individual mandate, but it's going to bite them in the end (even if it doesn't get ultimately struck down). With all of the regulations in Obamacare, the cost of insurance will keep spiraling out of control. It will eventually get to the point that almost no one will be able to afford a policy, or the government will tell the insurers that they can't keep raising prices. Then they'll either have to quit writing policies or just go out of business.

It'll be a hell of a ride for them until then though. They'll make money hand over fist for a few years.

Then we'll have another government-induced health insurance crisis that will need to be taken care of. It all depends on who is in charge when it comes to a head as to what direction we'll go, single-payer or more of a free-market approach.

That's why we need to reduce the role of the federal government in health care. It's the only solution that will actually work. We already know what happens when you increase the federal government's role in health care.


Bill Fleming said...

Before you get too euphoric with this judge's decision, Mike, consider that his logic is actually quite flawed, as one of his fellow conservatives has duly observed.

I thus like to say his decision will be thrown out of the next court because if its "full of sh*tness" which, I know, is not very nice, but I like to say it anyway.


DDC said...


Prof. Kerr was simply saying that the Supreme Court has never ruled specifically on the "necessary and proper" clause in the way that Judge Hudson puts it as a matter of logic.

Prof. Kerr is looking at this case through the prism of case law and precedent. There simply isn't a case that is remotely like this to read from, so there is no precedent to follow.

The bottom line is that this will need to be decided at the Supreme Court level. Sooner would be better than later, so we don't potentially waste several years under laws that are thrown out. It really doesn't make a bit of difference what the lower courts rule.

I will recommend heading back over to the The Volokh Conspiracy and reading some of Prof. Kerr's colleague's responses to the post that you linked to. It's a great blog, sometimes get a little heady and overdone with lawyer-speak, but you always leave more informed.