'Cars, After All, Are Not Like Health Care'

Over at The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn summarizes the constitutional arguments for and against ObamaCare's individual health insurance mandate. The generally fair-minded piece is marred by a puzzling  focus on Lochner v. New York, the 1905 case in which the Supreme Court overturned that state's limits on work hours. Cohn discusses the case toward the beginning of his article and returns to it at the end, speculating about whether a successful challenge to the health insurance mandate would signal a "return to the Lochner era" or "a step in that direction."

That's weird, because the basis for Lochner was the 14th Amendment, which the Court said protected freedom of contract from unjustified interference by a state, "except in the legitimate exercise of its police power." Finding that New York's law was not a legitimate exercise of its police power, the Court overturned it. By contrast, as Cohn explains, the main issue in the challenges to the health insurance mandate is whether it can be justified as an exercise of the federal government's constitutional power to "regulate commerce...among the several states."

Lochner not only did not involve the Commerce Clause but could not have, since it dealt with state regulation of intrastate economic activity, as opposed to federal regulation of interstate commerce. Likewise, the ObamaCare cases do not and could not hinge on the 14th Amendment's liberty guarantee, which applies to the states, not the federal goverment. If the Supreme Court ultimately concludes that the health insurance mandate exceeds Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, it will not make the 14th Amendment any more viable as an instrument to protect economic liberty from state and local regulations. So what the hell is Lochner doing here, aside from unjustifiably scaring progressives about the prospect of judicial activism on behalf of laissez-faire principles?

Getting back to the issues actually at stake in the ObamaCare cases, Cohn correctly identifies the activity/inactivity distinction as the most promising basis for overturning the mandate without revisiting the "substantial effects" doctrine (which holds that the Commerce Clause encompasses instrastate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce):

In this reading, all of the past rulings on the Commerce Clause, even those acknowledging its broad reach, refer to the government's authority to regulate activity. But neither the Constitution nor the judges who have interpreted it ever suggested the government had the right to regulate non-activity—which is a fair description, according to these lawsuits, of a decision not to obtain health insurance. Like many good constitutional arguments, the argument can be put a lot more simply: If the government can penalize you for not buying insurance, can it also penalize you for not buying a television or a GM car?

John Yoo, the conservative Berkeley law professor who served in the administration of George W. Bush, makes the argument this way: "The court has never upheld a federal law that punishes Americans for exercising their God-given right to do absolutely nothing. Even the furthest reaches of the Commerce Clause have extended only to affirmative actions, such as growing wheat or possessing illegal drugs. The only counterexamples that come to mind are the draft and jury duty, and those arise from other constitutional duties than Congress' power over interstate commerce."

Cohn, not surprisingly, is unpersuaded:

Everybody will, at some point, need some form of medical care. And virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings. Every one of these people is engaging in a form of activity: choosing how to pay his or her medical bills. Regulating that active choice seems firmly within the contemporary understanding of the Commerce Clause’s reach....

But still, once the government forces people to buy a private product, can't it force people to buy anything—even the proverbial GM car, as so many critics have suggested? Hardly. Cars, after all, are not like health care. Not everybody will need one.

But even those who do not buy cars need some form of transportation. By Cohn's logic (which is to say, the Obama administration's logic), the apparent inactivity of not buying a car is actually a decision to get around through other means, and such decisions, in the aggregate, have a substantial effect on the national economy. If for some reason this argument still does not apply to cars, what about food, clothing, and housing? These are all things that "everybody will, at some point, need." Hence the purchase of government-approved food, clothing, or housing presumably could be mandated in the name of regulating interstate commerce.

Still, I agree with Cohn that the activity/inactivity distinction is not completely satisfying. Here is my crazy proposal, which he no doubt would find even more terrifying than "a return to the Lochner era": Regulation of interstate commerce should be limited to regulation of interstate commerce.

More on ObamaCare and the Commerce Clause here. More on the 14th Amendment's relevance to economic liberty here.

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  • ||

    Everybody will, at some point, need some form of medical care. And virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings.

    The unspoken assumption being slipped in here like a mickey: anyone who needs medical care must be given it whether they can pay or not. Maybe we should speak that assumption and question whether you and me should be made into an ass.

  • ||

    Man up and die, people. Man up and die.

  • Barack Obama||

    "So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?

    I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here."

  • robc||

    Apparently Cohn has never heard of Christian Science (which is neither but that is beside the point).

  • robc||

    I think the 2nd sentence in your quote is blatently untrue.

    Lots and lots of people could pay for their medical care out of pocket...they never face a seriously large medical bill. Predicting who that will be in advance us hard, hence, why people buy insurance.

  • Tony||

    And if you can't afford medical care or insurance... man up and die?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    And if you can't afford medical care or insurance... man up and die?

    Yup:

    http://biggovhealth.org/stories

  • Almanian||

    You first

  • IceTrey||

    Humans have been doing that for like.. oh I don't know...100,000 years?

  • Tony||

    And heaven forbid we improve the human condition in ways that are well established... wouldn't want to offend the market gods.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 9:50PM|#
    "... wouldn't want to offend the market gods."

    Hey, full of shit, we don't have any problem with you paying your entire worth to take care of anyone you please.

  • ||

    Let me know when you figure out immortality. Because last I checked no amount of money is going to extend your life indefinitely.

  • LibertarianJRT||

    I first read that as immorality, and it still fits.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And heaven forbid we improve the human condition in ways that are well established... wouldn't want to offend the market gods.


    Free markets did not exist one hundred thousand years ago, or even ten thousand years ago.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And if you can't afford medical care or insurance... man up and die?


    Everybody will eventually die.

  • Tony||

    Which is why you don't care if you die tomorrow instead of decades from now? All the same to you, right? Wouldn't want you requiring pointless fatalism from others that you don't require of yourself.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I've got my no-resuscitate order, Tony. Where's yours?

  • Tony||

    Because I seem to recall that one of the primary fucking impetuses behind this project is the fact that lots of people were being priced out of the insurance market (for preexisting conditions and what not).

    The point being, if the private insurance industry were capable of keeping costs down and medical care availability up, we wouldn't need to have this conversation.

    But libertarians cleverly avoid the need to offer their own solutions, by pretending the problem doesn't exist, as usual.

  • Jess Asken||

    Is stupidity a preexisting condition?

  • Almanian||

    Keep bringing the stoopid, Tony. I've never seen so much all at once - I'm taking notes.

    Also - look into "massively-regulated markets" and think a little about how that might affect "the private insurance industry's" ability to keep costs down.

    And then explain to us all again how Obamacare solves any of the issues you just noted.

    GO!

  • Tony||

    Ah yes, because government exists it's always to blame. The market, like Jesus, is without fault.

  • MWG||

    Tony, 60% of all medical cost are paid for by the govt. The industry is highly regulated. Even you have to admit, that's a little more than the govt. simply 'existing'.

  • Tony||

    Yet it's still the most free-market system in the industrialized world. And also the worst! Imagine that.

  • ||

    You're like a fucking doll. Pull the string and the same eight responses come pouring out.

    Can Tony pass a Turing test?

  • Tony, translated||

    And, since free-market health care is a failure... anything else in the free-market realm is, by default, also a failure.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Because I seem to recall that one of the primary fucking impetuses behind this project is the fact that lots of people were being priced out of the insurance market (for preexisting conditions and what not).


    But only because nobody can isure you against something that already happened - hence PRE-existing.

    But libertarians cleverly avoid the need to offer their own solutions, by pretending the problem doesn't exist, as usual.


    The problem has been explained to YOU many times, ad nauseam. You simply refuse to understand. Here it goes again:

    Reasons why the American health care system stinks:

    a) Government intervention (licensing laws)
    b) Government intervention (prescription drug laws)
    c) Government intervention (Medicare/Medicaid)
    d) Government internvetion (tax laws that encourage employer-given insurace)
    e) Government intervention (insurance coverage requirements that vary from state to state)
    f) Government intervention (requiring emergency clinics and hospitals to treat anybody regardless of wherewithal.)

    Ad nauseam.

  • Rather ||

    But only because nobody can isure you against something that already happened - hence PRE-existing.

    Those fucking kids have so much nerve to be born with birth defects

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Rather,

    Those fucking kids have so much nerve to be born with birth defects.

    Parents should buy an extended warranty.

    Besides this, appeals to emotion are not arguments nor can they trump reality. Insurance does not cover already-existing events, otherwise it would not be insurance, it would be welfare.

  • Rather ||

    OM, You ignore the uncomfortable fact that kids are born with chronic health conditions and are screwed when they age out of their parent's insurance. Trump that with your Charity Fairy™ BS

  • ||

    You explain how that's my problem. You little cumstains think you're so righteous because you're willing to take money from me to give to someone with hardship. Well let me break down some reality for you: life's a bitch. We all have problems, and some are worse then others. The idea that having bad things happen to you, even bad things that no one could possibly have prevented gives you the right to steal the earnings of other people is the most disgusting, filthy, fuckheaded thing I've ever heard of.

  • Rather ||

    Britt,
    You're right, life can a bitch. If and when it gives you that karma bitch-slap, I will be the disgusting, filthy, fuckheaded thing that will have paid my taxes. Pain is very humbling; experience is a tougher bitch

  • Cecil||

    Cogent argument - well thought-out.

  • IceTrey||

    If we lived in a libertarian society not only would there be excess wealth with which to take care of such people but also medical technology would advance at a rapid pace and prevent or cure such cases.

  • Tony||

    If we lived in a libertarian society not only would there be excess wealth with which to take care of such people but also medical technology would advance at a rapid pace and prevent or cure such cases.

    Hahaha. And you should be believed because?

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 9:51PM|#
    If we lived in a libertarian society not only would there be excess wealth with which to take care of such people but also medical technology would advance at a rapid pace and prevent or cure such cases.

    Hahaha. And you should be believed because?"

    Notice what happened to starving Chinese after they sort of liberalized the economy? Asshole?

  • Tony||

    What does China have to do with the fact that you just made a completely unjustified assertion based on a fantasy world you dreamed up in your head? Nobody's saying a liberalized economy won't result in growth. That doesn't mean it's the end-all of human existence.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:07PM|#
    "What does China have to do with the fact..."

    Somehow, it was a given that facts and Tony are strangers.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    They're screwed by biology, not by insurance companies.

  • sevo||

    Rather |1.19.11 @ 7:02PM|#
    "OM, You ignore the uncomfortable fact that kids are born with chronic health conditions and are screwed when they age out of their parent's insurance."

    Cite, please.

  • ||

    They also represent a statistically small minority of the population. In general children are among the least likely to develop a chronic condition.

    So while I know you're trying to appeal to TEH CHILDRUN, it seems like it's using a butcher knife to fix a problem fitted for a scapel.

  • Rather ||

  • ||

    Which still doesn't explain why we need a one size fits all solution when a small percentage of children will develop these. So again, appealing to an emotional argument isn't really swaying me here. Most of the costs in our health care system come from end of life care, not child health care (who again, are least likely to develop a chronic condition). So don't use this as your excuse.

  • Rather||

    Justin you are arguing the cost of end-of-life care (a huge drain on medicare) and OM and I were discussing privately paid insurance vs. public insurance in the context of Tony's comment "Because I seem to recall that one of the primary fucking impetuses behind this project is the fact that lots of people were being priced out of the insurance market (for preexisting conditions and what not)."

    Medicare exists and will continue to do so independently of public healthcare if Obamacare is repealed

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Asking someone to insure you when you have a pre-existing condition is the exact equivalent of asking them to simply pay for your healthcare. Which is fine. Ask whoever you want to pay for your healthcare. They have the right to say no.

  • Tony||

    That's why it's best just to get for-profit insurance out of the picture, because when those people show up at the ER, we're gonna pay for their care anyway, and it will probably be more expensive and less fruitful than just paying for the care in the first place.

  • Rather ||

    yes-most of these Libertarians have no idea of the true cost of healthcare and think that when a hospital bill is reduced or forgiven that it disappears. Maybe their Magical Unicorn eats it ;-)

  • Tony||

    I think it's a symptom of their "snow globe" view of the world. It's why they reject external costs, for no rational reason. Every interaction is between two people and their God, then it evaporates.

  • LibertarianJRT||

    I know of no libertarians who "reject external costs". Giving external costs a different accounting is not a rejection. Please cite an example of where libertarians "reject external costs". its possible that if you tried harder you would see that the externals are discounted to a true value and not some hyperinflated socialist conflaguration.

  • Tony||

    They disbelieve in science when it requires them to acknowledge external costs. That's a big one.

  • Yonemoto||

    Of course, being a person of color, I get to pay disproportionately into a system that covers me less, on account of my genetic background, and that subsidizes treatments that may not work for me, or that may not work differently, or may have a different safety spectrum. Of course, you will never know, because as minorities (by default) the data won't be statistically signficant.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651637/

  • Yonemoto||

    http://www.suite101.com/conten.....cks-a35409

    Basically, universal health care is a subsidy for white people medicine.

  • LibertarianJRT||

    But "TeH Children"...

    Good point. No one does racism like Uncle Sam.

    Sphyallis + Tuskegee = Free medical care for blacks.

    Why do we trust the Government?

  • LibertarianJRT||

    But "TeH Children"...

    Good point. No one does racism like Uncle Sam.

    Sphyallis + Tuskegee = Free medical care for blacks.

    Why do we trust the Government?

  • Tony||

    But you're going to say government is to blame no matter the issue. You're hardly an unbiased source on this matter. I can find fault with government's relationship to healthcare all day long. And medicare/medicaid are more efficient than the private sector! Do you really think the old, the poor, and the disabled would have better access to care without them?

    But the most important reason our system has sucked for so long is because we don't have a system whose purpose is to deliver healthcare to people, we have a system that maximizes profits for the health insurance industry. Sorry to burst your dogmatic capitalist bubble, but profit motive doesn't deliver the best possible society all by itself.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    A free market isn't driven purely by a profit motive - this lie is repeated over and over again. It's driven by the desires of the actors who participate in the market: yes, people value profit. They also value other people's lives and other people's happiness. Don't assume that people have less compassion than you do just because they run a fucking business.

  • Tony||

    Don't assume that people have less compassion than you do just because they run a fucking business.

    Okay, as long as you don't assume that the kindness of strangers will ever be sufficient to deliver a the best system.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Again, you seem to think you can objectively define 'best'. Not everyone values the same things. Most of us would prefer that nobody ever had to worry about health at all, and if we all put our disposable income into research and healthcare we could get pretty close to that ideal. However, that would mean sacrificing a hell of a lot: you'd never go to the theatre, you'd never read another book. You couldn't drive a car. You couldn't afford it because all your money's in healthcare. Some people are willing to sacrifice a lot for great healthcare, some people are willing to sacrifice less. The problem is you think we all have to decide together how valuable different commodities are. In a free market, everyone gets to decide for themselves, and dispose of their property the way they see fit. The guy who pisses all his money away on booze isn't objectively more wrong than the guy who puts all his money into cancer research because it was his money to piss away. So, no, I don't assume that the kindness (or indifference, or whatever) of strangers will deliver the 'best' system, because there is no best system.

  • Tony||

    TIH, don't take this the wrong way, but I really appreciate you being interesting and not obnoxious.

    Nobody is talking about some unattainable perfection in healthcare. It's just plain fact, though, that just about every comparably wealthy country in the world has found a cheaper and more equitable system than the US has.

    And I don't think everything is as relativistic as you're making it. The reason we have policy discussions about healthcare reform and not reform to distribute more booze is because healthcare can be reasonably seen to be a basic human need. Decent countries don't let their people starve or live on the street or go without some basic safety net, not just out of compassion but because it's in everyone's best interest. All comparably wealthy countries figured out that healthcare is among these needs decades ago. The only reason we haven't is because the related industries are so profitable and hence so influential over policy.

    Not all systems are equal. Sometimes outcomes matter based on a calculation that has nothing to do with corporate profits but instead with human needs--and there's no good reason to think these two things align all that well.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Actually I wasn't talking about an unattainable perfection when I gave my example. I was talking about a hard-to-attain near-perfection. My point was, let's say you spend £100 a month on social things, art, culture, pornography - you know, entertaining yourself. And let's assume that there are some people receiving healthcare that someone would describe as 'inadequate'. How large a percentage of that income you spend on what are essentially luxuries can be taken from you, without your permission, in order to provide these people with what you call a basic human need. 50%? 90%? My argument is that there is no calculation that can tell you how much of that money you're obligated to give up: the fact that it's your money means you get to decide. The literal meaning of ownership is an exclusive right to control: you get to choose how your money is disposed of. I agree that not all systems are equal. My preferred healthcare arrangement would be one run by large, not-for-profit institutions funded by charitable donations from people who don't want to see their neighbours suffer. I think doctors and nurses should be paid quite a high wage - they have an very highly-skilled job - and selling labour and skills for a wage is a business, so the profit motive cannot be eliminated entirely. I would argue though that it is never going to be the only motive controlling people's actions in a free market environment, and in cases such as healthcare - something which is seen as a fundamental necessity for humans (although I disagree that it is) - it is also unlikely to be the overriding motive. Most people are good and kind and generous, and I think that if you leave decisions up to people, things are going to turn out okay.
    However, even if that were not the case, I would still support the free market, because I really do not think that there are any basic human needs, for the simple reason that there are no objective human ends. If you say 'A needs X', you need to explain why A needs X. To what end does he need it? The end that motivates healthcare is fairly clearly: not to die. So you would need to demonstrate that not dying is an objective human end. But that can't be done: the universe doesn't have any specific outcome in mind, and if there were a god it wouldn't get you anywhere to appeal to his authority. There are no objective ends: there are only subjective ends - the desires of individuals, and therefore when we talk of basic human needs we're really talking about near-universal human desires. When someone says 'I need healthcare to not die' they're really saying 'I want healthcare because I don't want to die.' This does not make them scroungers or parasites, but making someone else pay for it (asking them is fine, begging them is fine, telling everyone that they're selfish bastards is fine) amounts to stealing their property. And when libertarians talk about property, they are not talking about property as defined by law. We believe that all humans are born owning absolutely (and ownership is an exclusive right to control)themselves, their time and their labour. If they use that time or labour to make something they own that thing absolutely. If they then give that thing to someone else voluntarily, this second person owns it absolutely. Confiscating this property is therefore stealing someone's life: it's slavery by small degrees.
    (Note: I only speak for myself. Some people who self-identify as libertarian think it gives better utilitarian results, which is fine. I don't own the label. They would argue that corporate profits do align with human needs fairly well, because a corporation can only make a profit if it provides for human needs (or wants, or momentary whims). I'm more sceptical, mostly because I don't really know anything about economics.)

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Sorry that was so huge. I wasn't really paying attention to how long it was.

  • Tony||

    I don't understand how you get from the stark relativism of:

    So you would need to demonstrate that not dying is an objective human end.

    to the first principles contained in:

    We believe that all humans are born owning absolutely (and ownership is an exclusive right to control)themselves, their time and their labour.

    You really can't say anything is fundamental if you can't say that "not dying" is fundamental.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    You're saying that if value-judgements are subjective then there can be no objective obligations? I didn't once say that my morality was value-derived: it derives from the authority individuals have over their own lives. I don't see a contradiction there. Indeed, people wouldn't have absolute authority over their own lives if there was something objectively good for them.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    You're saying that if value-judgements are subjective then there can be no objective obligations? I didn't once say that my morality was value-derived: it derives from the authority individuals have over their own lives. I don't see a contradiction there. Indeed, people wouldn't have absolute authority over their own lives if there was something objectively good for them.


    Morality is derived from the whim of the One who created an everlasting torture chamber and can keep people there in torment forever. That One is, of course, the Lord God JEHOVAH.

  • Contrarian P||

    "Okay, as long as you don't assume that the kindness of strangers will ever be sufficient to deliver a the best system."

    And yet this is precisely what you advocate, Tony. You assume that the largesse of a federal government-run health care operation (which certainly represents more stranger kindness than the citizens of the local community acting together) will provide best for all of the needs of society. You are arguing against yourself.

    Not only has your stranger-run system not worked here (see Medicaid and the VA system), but it has also not worked in other places. You trot out your claims of how wonderful government run care is compared to your fantasy world of seniors dying in the streets, kids starving, etc. that you believe must have existed before Medicare, Medicaid, etc. passed. Those problems did not actually exist on any kind of meaningful level. Most hospitals older than 50 years old was founded by a charitable endowment given by private interests. Medicine used to be mainly a charitable enterprise. Guess what happened to foul that one up?

  • Tony||

    Contrarian, I won't say the US's government healthcare programs are models of perfection, but guess what, they are cheaper and more efficient than the private sector.

    I know you probably think that progressivism is an insidious conspiracy to enslave people, but in reality, if charity were able to manage healthcare on a universal scale, we wouldn't even need to have the conversation.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:04PM|#
    "........profits............"

    ARGH! HORRIBLE!
    Oh, and Tony's full of shit

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    But he's unbiased. Look he implied it heavily.

  • Tony, translated||

    Capitalism is evil.

  • Michael Ejercito||


    But only because nobody can isure you against something that already happened - hence PRE-existing.


    Any proof?

    How do auto, fire, and life insurance deal with pre-existing conditions?

  • Is this a Trick Question,||

    Because they don't?

  • Cecil||

    Try to buy collision insurance AFTER you've totaled your car.

  • Joe R.||

    This again is an example of trying to apply libertarian premises to a situation that is in no way libertarian. There is no libertarian plan to get insurance for all, in the same way that there is no libertarian plan for implementing a draft, or exterminating the Joos.

  • Yonemoto||

    I think there is a libertarian way to get adequate health care (for as many people as possible) and that would involve convincing people to dig into their pockets and do the charitable thing.

  • ||

    lotts of people were being priced out of the insurance market

    Yeah, that kind of thing can happen when the government interferes and prevents competition between insurance providers.

    -jcr

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Yeah, that kind of thing can happen when the government interferes and prevents competition between insurance providers.


    How so?

  • Charles 3E||

    You know, I wouldn't hugely be upset if the government actually paid medical bills for the vanishingly small number of people who are literally out of money but need emergency medical care. Almost everyone would still get medical insurance, to avoid losing all their worldly possessions, and we wouldn't have such bloated bureaucracy and constitution-kicking.

  • sevo||

    Charles 3E|1.19.11 @ 6:37PM|#
    "You know, I wouldn't hugely be upset if the government actually paid medical bills for the vanishingly small number of people who are literally out of money but need emergency medical care...."

    First, "the government" can't; it doesn't have any money, but the taxpayers can.
    And we do. Walk into any ER with a problem; they MUST treat you regardless of whether you can pay.
    Oh, and Tony's full of shit.

  • Charles 3E||

    "First, "the government" can't; it doesn't have any money, but the taxpayers can.
    And we do. Walk into any ER with a problem; they MUST treat you regardless of whether you can pay."

    How many people do you think actually have no money, and need medical care? I am guessing it is statistically insignificant. I am okay with the government (meaning us, the taxpayers) paying for their medical care. Or if some middle class fellow is dumb enough to not have insurance, after he has sold all his possessions and in impoverished, the government paying the remainder of his debt. I think this would be a tiny number of people, much smaller than the amount of money the feds spend on paying rich old people to be old or on harassing pot smokers.

    My thinking is in line with the Charles Murray idea of the government eliminating all subsidies, welfare, etc, but giving everyone a tax credit of $10,000 (although I don't agree with Murray's plan exactly). Society isn't going to accept the government letting poor people go hungry or sick, so let's make sure it does things in the most efficient and fair way possible.

  • IceTrey||

    In 2004 it cost 40.7 billion dollars.

    http://www.kff.org/uninsured/u.....ending.pdf

  • sevo||

    IceTrey|1.19.11 @ 9:54PM|#
    "In 2004 it cost 40.7 billion dollars."
    Those sorts of lies is the reason we have this mess.
    There's not one word in there that addresses whether the "uninsured" are so by need or by choice.
    Sorry, fail. Try again.

  • sevo||

    "Society isn't going to accept the government letting poor people go hungry or sick, so let's make sure it does things in the most efficient and fair way possible."

    As mentioned, we already have that, so why add further complications?

  • Tony||

    Walk into any ER with a problem; they MUST treat you regardless of whether you can pay.

    What kind of argument is that? You're right of course--and it's nothing but a reason why we should universalize healthcare, because it's more expensive to treat people in the ER than it is to give them preventative care.

    Is 40 million a "vanishingly small" number? Because that's how many people lacked insurance pre-Obamacare. Sure some could probably afford it, but many couldn't, in many cases because their health status prices them out. You're not making any sense, you just hate Obamacare, hate government, and will not accept facts that are staring you in the face as a result.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:10PM|#

    Walk into any ER with a problem; they MUST treat you regardless of whether you can pay.

    What kind of argument is that? You're right of course--and it's nothing but a reason why we should universalize healthcare, because it's more expensive to treat people in the ER than it is to give them preventative care."

    Prove it, lying asshole. I'm tired of your bullshit.

  • sevo||

    "Is 40 million a "vanishingly small" number? Because that's how many people lacked insurance pre-Obamacare."
    Prove they were 'denied' insurance, lying asshole.

    "Sure some could probably afford it, but many couldn't, in many cases because their health status prices them out."
    Prove it, lying asshole.

    "You're not making any sense, you just hate Obamacare, hate government, and will not accept facts that are staring you in the face as a result."
    You're a lying, cherry-picking asshole who couldn't accept facts if they sat on your face.

  • sevo||

    Oh, and Tony's full of shit.

  • Tony, translated||

    You're supposed to love the government, not hate it.

  • JasonL||

    Can the government constitutionally tax you to support a public retirement? Yes. Can it do the same fore healthcare? Yes. If there is a question about the constitutionality of Obamacare, shouldn't it revolve around why calling it a tax is okay but calling it a mandated purchase is not?

  • ||

    "Can the government constitutionally tax you to support a public retirement?"

    No. They are currently doing it, but that doesn't mean its constitutional, kind of like the existence of the FCC, EPA, DOEd, etc...

  • ||

    Cohn, like all ObamaCare apologists, cannot identify any limits to the state power over economic activity that they support.

    Believe it or not, it is not a given that everyone will avail themselves of the healthcare system. First, note the dodge in "everyone will need healthcare". Whether you need it or not is irrelevant; what matters is whether you go to doctors and hospitals for whatever needs you may have. And I don't know where its written that you have to go there, even if you are sick. Plenty of people use alternative medicine, for example. Plenty of people die without consuming any doctor 'n' hospital resources to speak of.

    So his premise is flawed, and this undermines his purported limit on federal power. Just as I don't have to own a car for transportation, I don't have to go to doctors 'n' hospitals for health care.

  • ||

    THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  • ObamaCare Apologist||

    Just as I don't have to own a car for transportation, I don't have to go to doctors 'n' hospitals for health care.

    But you still have to go to the Government for law.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Believe it or not, it is not a given that everyone will avail themselves of the healthcare system"

    Nor is it a given that if they do, they won't be paying for it out of pocket.

    Notice how Cohen switches gears from the product actaully being mandated for purchase which is INSURANCE to a different product - medical treatment in his rationalization.

  • Rather ||

    I don't have to go to doctors 'n' hospitals for health care.

    RC, your Chewbacca defense is amusing.

  • ||

    Can the government constitutionally tax you to support a public retirement? Yes.

    No, actually, it can't, not Constitutionally. Taxes are to be raised only for the "general welfare", a clause which does not encompass the naked transfer of assets from one group of citizens to another. The Founders were quite clear that general welfare did not encompass charity.

  • ||

    Apparently--and sadly--not clear enough.

    I saw some headline today about how everyone knows that Social Security is heading for fiscal disaster. Wasn't it supposedly treason a few years ago to suggest that?

  • robc||

    Everyone (so it seems) roughly my age and younger has been saying it for their entire adult life. As the 45 and under group are now a significant number of voters, its much less 3rd raily.

  • ||

    I agree, but that was true when Bush was president, too.

  • Team Blue||

    Yes, but... BUSHITLER!!!

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  • LongTimeLurker||

    im 53 and I was told by old timers that SS would not be there for me. They said the math did'nt work. So make that 53 and under.

  • robc||

    Im only 41, so make it 57 and under.

  • ||

    I've been calling it socialism security in retaliation to all of those politicians who insist on calling it sol security.

  • The framers||

    Government charity is okay if you use it to shaft black people and transfer the wealth to old white people.

  • George Washington ||

    Come on, I let my slaves go free after I died- I never shafted them, and kept them whipped and fed.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Regulation of interstate commerce should be limited to regulation of interstate commerce.

    Take the Constitution as it's written?? Insanity!!

    As I asked before: Were slavery and the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol interstate commerce?

  • Ray||

    And how can something be covered under the interstate commerce clause that can't be purchased inter-stately?

  • Michael||

    But still, once the government forces people to buy a private product, can't it force people to buy anything—even the proverbial GM car, as so many critics have suggested? Hardly. Cars, after all, are not like health care. Not everybody will need one.

    This is a nice juxtaposition against the "mandatory health insurance is no different from mandatory automobile insurance" line of defense for Obamacare. I wonder, which of the two total bullshit arguments will win out in the end?

  • ||

    Mandatory health insurance is completely different from mandatory auto insurance, because auto insurance is made mandatory by states, where the health insurance is being made mandatory by the federal government, well outside its constitutional limits.

  • Jeffersonian||

    That's a valid point, as is the fact that states only require third-party liability insurance to indemnify others that you may harm in the course of operating a vehicle. They don't mandate that you get collision insurance to fix up your own ride.

  • Joe R.||

    As is the fact that mandatory auto insurance is being required by the owners of the roads, whereas mandatory health insurance is being required by the owners of...it frightens me to finish this sentence.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm thinking of having a uterus installed just so I can say I have an organ that doesn't belong to the State.

  • ola||

    "Even the furthest reaches of the Commerce Clause have extended only to affirmative actions, such as growing wheat or possessing illegal drugs."

    Isn't it telling that the two "furthest reaches" examples used have nothing to do with the interstate part of the clause. How about if congress quits quibbling over affirmative actions and/or inactions, and spend more time on the interstate part and the commmerce part? Oh and the regulating (not prohibiting) part.

  • Tman||

    Someone needs to take Ye Olde Commerce Clause out back behind the barn and put us out of our misery.

    Seriously, day by day I grow to despite this Clause more than anything else written in our legislative bodies.

    DIE CC DIE!!!

  • West Texas||

    Truth is, in its intended manifestation, it serves a good purpose: keeping one state from screwing another's citizens economically.

    But the at some point the Supremes decided that it was a loophole and Congress readily ran through it.

  • Spartacus||

    I propose we even go back to the original term "among the several states" rather than the more opaque "interstate". The word among is a preposition; there cannot be an among within a singleton. Thus, the original wording makes the absurdity of rulings like Wickard even more self-evident than it should be already.

  • ola||

    Agreed Spartacus, and by the way using congress' interpretation of "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes", I guess we can expect the obamacare legislation anyday now requiring health insurance for residents of the foreign nations as well as the several states. Won't the insurance companies be happy.

  • robc||

    Agreed. Admittedly, calling it the "among the several states commerce clause" is unweildy, but may be necessary.

  • Rich||

    But not sufficient. 8-(

  • ||

    The other interesting thing is that the Constitution declares three types of parties: 1) The Feds, 2) The States, and 3) The People, and it's very clear about what powers are reserved for which. So when it refers to "among the several States", it was intended to be a check on the power of the state legislatures, NOT the people.

  • ||

    The other interesting thing is that the Constitution declares three types of parties: 1) The Feds, 2) The States, and 3) The People, and it's very clear about what powers are reserved for which. So when it refers to "among the several States", it was intended to be a check on the power of the state legislatures, NOT the people.

  • ola||

    Besides the difference that one is prohibiting something and one is requiring something, I am still waiting for a republican who wants to have obamacare killed in the courts because of the interstate commerce clause to explain the difference in congress' power in the raich case and in the obamacare case. It seems like a question for the judge to ask one of his republican (or for that matter democrat) guests when discussing the constitutionality of obamacare.

  • robc||

    "I am still waiting for a republican...raich case"

    O'Connor and Thomas not good enough for you? I dont have many good things to say about Sandy D, but here dissent in Raich was fucking brilliant.

  • robc||

    the Court’s definition of economic activity for purposes of Commerce Clause jurisprudence threatens to sweep all of productive human activity into federal regulatory reach.

    From said brilliance.

  • robc||

    On the topic of SCOTUS brilliance, I love that Thomas spent his entire dissent in Oregon railing against the Raich decision. Possibly the funniest moment in supreme court history (admittedly a low bar).

    Raich really really really pissed Thomas off.

  • ola||

    Agreed, I was referring to the current crop of republican (and tea party) congressman who are racing to the cameras to tell us how the constitution is being turned on its head by obamacare. In the course of any interview the questioner should just bring up Raich and ask the simple question referenced above. That's all.

  • robc||

    My point is, why are you specifying republicans. As far as I can tell, democrats are worse on Raich than republicans are, I didnt hear any condemn Ginsburg, Stevens and crew.

  • ||

    The conceit that "virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay" might, if accepted, justify some sort of mandate to buy Major Medical-type insurance, but as I understand Obamacare, our fearless thought leader has decreed that such coverage "isn't insurance", and the mandate is to purchase HMO coverage.

    So isn't that the equivalent of demanding that everyone buy an SUV, even though a smart car or a bike might be sufficient to their needs?

  • ||

    And virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings.

    That statement is redolent with economic and actuarial ignorance. Insurance tends not to work when “virtually everybody” takes more from it than they put in. Someone needs a small reminder that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

  • Congress||

    Someone needs a small reminder that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

    Don't be bringing that shit around our constituents, OK? They still think there is and we're not going to tell them the truth.

  • ObamaCare Apologist||

    Regulation of interstate commerce should be limited to regulation of interstate commerce.

    Exactly! EXACTLY!! Now you're getting it!

  • Old Mexican||

    Everybody will, at some point, need some form of medical care. And virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings. Every one of these people is engaging in a form of activity: choosing how to pay his or her medical bills. Regulating that active choice seems firmly within the contemporary understanding of the Commerce Clause’s reach....




    "Everybody will, at some point, need some form of food. And virtually everybody will, at some point, face food bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings. Every one of these people is engaging in a form of activity: choosing how to pay his or her food bills. Regulating that active choice seems firmly within the contemporary understanding of the Commerce Clause's reach...."

    "Everybody will, at some point, need some form of clothing. And virtually everybody will, at some point, face clothing bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings. Every one of these people is engaging in a form of activity: choosing how to pay his or her clothing bills. Regulating that active choice seems firmly within the contemporary understanding of the Commerce Clause's reach...."

    Wee! This shit is easy!

  • Barack Obama||

    OM, how about stopping over for a beer this weekend?

  • LongTimeLurker||

    Is that you Mogambo?

  • CE||

    And virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings.

    You underestimate the depth of my pockets, the extent of my savings, my present robust health, and my disinclination to turn to the medical profession for assistance.

    When I am young and healthy I expect not to need expensive medical care, and I judge that my financial health is better if I don't buy insurance. When I am older and wealthier and in less prime health, I expect to have sufficient savings.

  • ObamaCare Apologist||

    Sweet, naïve CE.

  • SSA||

    When I am older and wealthier and in less prime health, I expect to have sufficient savings.

    You dumbass, this is why we have Social Security - to keep this from happening. Poor people are much more docile and we like it that way.

  • Ben Bernanke||

    "You underestimate the depth of my pockets, the extent of my savings..."

    Hahahahahahahaahahahh!!

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    And virtually everybody will, at some point, face medical bills far in excess of their ability to pay out of pocket or with savings.

    I'm really not sure that's true. But even if it is true, I guess Cohn is just going to ignore the reasons such medical care is so expensive?

  • West Texas||

    This right here. Insurance is fucked up right now, precisely because governments regulated it into becoming that way. So what he have in Obamacare is medication for the side effects of medication.

  • Old Mexican||

    "Regulate Commerce Between The States" means commerce between the States (that is, tariffs, fees and licenses that the States impose on each other); the clause says nothing about regulating commerce between INDIVIDUALS.

  • Tony||

    I guess I come from this from a policy perspective rather than a constitutional one. National healthcare is a proven good thing (that's why everyone's doing it). If the constitution forbids it, the constitution would have to be changed. If we can squeeze healthcare into the constitution, all the better.

    I agree with Cohn that (I'm rephrasing in my own way) inaction and action are more difficult to tell apart than one might think. It's why libertarians are wrong about a thick line distinction between positive and negative rights.

  • ||

    At least you can admit you are not coming from a constitutional perspective. If you gave a shit about the constitution, you would then come at it from that perspective.

  • Almanian||

    You're bringing the stoopid HARD tonight, Tony. It is a wonderment.

    Assuming this isn't a Grade B+ troll...cause I have my suspicions.

  • ||

    It's a troll. Tony never dares bring up positive and negative rights. To even mention negative rights is to acknowledge that they might exist.

  • Tony||

    I talk about them all the time, usually to explain why I think the distinction is meaningless.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:19PM|#
    "I talk about them all the time, usually to explain why I think the distinction is meaningless."

    Pretty rare for someone to admit such ignorance, but, hey, it's Tony.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Go on. Explain it. Everyone gather 'round.

  • Tony||

    There is no such thing as negative rights. All rights are licenses to do things, not be immune from things being done to you. The latter can only be achieved when something forces other people to leave you alone, which requires yet more people doing things (i.e., government authority, e.g., police). Rights that aren't protected by positive action are not rights at all, but rather figments of your imagination.

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are generally thought of as the negative rights. But let's just take life. How do you have the right to life? Does it not at least come from protection against others killing you? What about protection from natural disasters? Okay, what about healthcare?

  • Bored||

    Protection against natural disasters...ahh i love my giant hurricane shield bubble protecting me here in Houston.

  • cynical||

    A negative right represents a direct obligation of restriction imposed on all or specific other people. A positive right represents a direct obligation of action imposed on some other people.

    "Rights" are moral statements. That is to say, it is a rule by which to judge the morality of a person's actions, not an action undertaken as a result of such judgment. If a person takes your life, they have violated your right. If you pay someone to protect your life, the protection is not the right, it is the means by which the right is enforced. Now, it is indeed true that many people, minarchists especially, confuse the right to life, liberty, and property (a negative right), with the right to have society pay people to defend and adjudicate those rights (a positive right). But that doesn't mean that positive and negative rights don't exist separately as useful moral concepts, only that people sometimes mix up which is which.

    Because positive rights are not usually universal or specific moral obligations, they are more easily used for judging collectives than individuals. But collectives are intangibles; they can be judged, but any action resulting from that judgment can only be carried out against actual people. How a collective judgment translates down to individuals in the collective is subjective. If you have a positive right to food, yet starve, are all people in society equally responsible for violating your right? Even if there was no food? Even if you had gotten lost in the woods and no one knew where you where? Even if you live halfway across the world? And if everyone isn't to blame, how to fairly point fingers?

  • Tony||

    But that doesn't mean that positive and negative rights don't exist separately as useful moral concepts

    You know what you have with a quarter and a sack full of "useful moral concepts"?

  • LongTimeLurker||

    Grade B+ that sounds like welfare. C- at best.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I guess I come from this from a policy perspective rather than a constitutional one.




    Both of which are equally irrelevant.

    National healthcare is a proven good thing (that's why everyone's doing it).




    You mean it's like sex?

    The 'everybody is doing it' canard is not even holding up anymore, as some countries (like the UK) are looking into DESOCIALIZING their systems. Talk about "maximizing", eh, Tony???

    It's why libertarians are wrong about a thick line distinction between positive and negative rights.




    "It's why..." Even though positive or negative rights have NOTHING to do with acticity or inactivity which is the reason you posit. Talk about a NON SEQUITUR!

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    '...proven good thing...' Good old science. Science can prove things like this now, right?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It's why libertarians are wrong about a thick line distinction between positive and negative rights.


    Let me give you a quick course in positive and negative rights:

    You can't have a right to something you don't OWN.

    And, if you try to make something I own yours by right, I have two friends who can talk you out of it: Smith, and Wesson.

    See? Easy stuff.

  • yonemoto||

    National healthcare is a proven good thing...

    Well, you know, if you think taking from people of color and giving to white people is a good thing.

  • ||

    I guess I come from this from a policy perspective rather than a constitutional one

    Yes, Tony. We've known for as long as you've been posting here that you couldn't care less about details like the rule of law.

    National healthcare is a proven good thing

    Bullshit.

    If we can squeeze healthcare into the constitution, all the better

    So, get busy on passing an amendment if you think you can. Right now, Obamacare is usurpation.

    -jcr

  • Tony||

    Wanna take bets on that? Let's meet back here after it's worked its way through the judiciary.

  • sevo||

    Why not just bring a gun, asshole?

  • Tony||

    Because I'm not a cretin.

  • ||

    So what Article 1 power gives Congress the ability to regulate non-commerce? Please show your work.

    Don't use the 'let's see what the courts are going to say' as a cop out. I really want to know what your Constitutional argument is. That's right you don't have one, because you just admitted as such above.

  • Tony||

    How is healthcare not commerce?

    But apart from that, I'm fairly certain the constitution was not written with the intention of establishing universal healthcare. One reason could be that modern medicine hadn't been invented yet.

    But it does call for taxing and spending that provides for the general welfare, and because I am not a medium with access to the thoughts of long-dead founders, I do not know what that specifically entails, and a very reasonable case could be made that healthcare is now understood to be constituent of general welfare. And there's no reason to believe that given the vagueness of the expression it was not meant to be flexible with time and evolving standards. Now, if you want to tie general welfare with some other congressional power, that would be regulating interstate commerce, which is at least clearly impacted by healthcare.

    But that's not even necessary, if you ask me, since the Hamiltonian "broad" interpretation of the welfare clause has prevailed in case law to date. The only requirement there really is that the spending has to be general in nature and not favor one constituency over another.

    But I will repeat my caveat that as a matter of policy I think it's good and necessary apart from what the constitution may allow. So if it's ruled unconstitutional I'd simply advocate for constitutional amendment. Not that I'd bet on that process any time soon. I have a hunch I won't have to.

  • ||

    But the question isn't that purchasing health care is commerce, it's that NOT purchasing health care is commerce, which it clearly isn't. I asked you to prove that the constutution can regulate non-commercial activity, and you proven you can't. Not buying healthcare is not commerce, and therefore outside the scope of Congressional power. So clearly the individual mandate is not constiutional, however broad the interpretation is.

    But you don't give a shit about the constitution one way or the other.

  • Tony||

    Everyone will need healthcare at some point, so not purchasing coverage is participating in commerce, that is, inevitably forcing others to pick up the cost for the treatment you'll eventually need.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Here is my crazy proposal, which he no doubt would find even more terrifying than "a return to the Lochner era": Regulation of interstate commerce should be limited to regulation of interstate commerce."

    Here's an ever crazier one: have the federal government start abiding by the 10th Amendment which confines it to enumerated powers.

    There isn't anything in the Constitution about it being any business of the federal government to force citizen A to pay for citizen B's medical treatment.

  • Tony||

    Fringe interpretations of constitutional language in order to keep more people unfree = freedom!

  • Almanian||

    You're really outdoing yourself tonight Tony. Exceptional. Really.

    *applauds*

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Fringe interpretations of constitutional language in order to keep more people unfree[...]

    I though you would be for that, as you're against "maximizing freedom."

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 5:59PM|#
    "Fringe interpretations of constitutional language in order to keep more people unfree = freedom!"

    Fringe ignoramus makes non-sequitur!

  • Joe R.||

    Which freedom is being taken away? Your freedom to take my money?

  • Tony||

    For one thing, healthcare as a universal right has an enormous freedom advantage over possessing the few dollars it would take you to pay your part in taxes for it. Second, it would be cheaper than our current system anyway, so you must think that having no healthcare and less money is more freedom than having healthcare and more money.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:15PM|#
    "For one thing, healthcare as a universal right..."

    For one thing, unicorns.....

  • ||

    It's irrelevant what the supposed advantage is. You're declaring a right over money and property of other citizens, which is by it's definition not freedom. You have no idea what the concept of liberty is, do you?

  • Tony||

    Justin dear, what do you think taxes are? It's the government taking money so it can do its job. Is the presence of armed forces an imposition on your rights, or is it a boon to them? What about stoplights and police? Would you be more free without them or less? How does a few dollars in your pocket compare, in terms of your ability to practice liberty, to being able to exist in a non-failed state?

  • ||

    And our government has a responsiblity (despite their inability to do so) to keep said taxes to pay for as little as possible to maximize liberty among the citizens. Goverment's responsibility is to protect us from invasion, as well as provide justice, so that's why you generally get no argument as to the legitimacy of the armed forces and police. In other words, the governments responsiblity is to do things that cannot be achieved individually (I can't personally raise an army). That's why we tolerate taxes to pay for those things.

    So when you throw the taxes argument out, we don't want money to be claimed to pay for things that individuals can do themselves. You can pay for your own damn health care (or come into an arrangement with your employer to do so), and leave the rest of us alone. So yes, your claim on anyone's dollars to pay for health care makes them less free, because the person with the money now has less to do whatever they wish. I'd have more respect for you if you ran a bake sale to raise money for health care costs than having someone take it at the point of a gun.

    So please don't throw out the whole "not having universal health care == anarchy" argument. No one argues that the government has taxing power. We want that power used very discreetly.

  • Tony||

    Because of the nature of medical ethics, healthcare costs can't really be confined on an individual basis. If you have no coverage (because you can't afford it or because you just chose not to), and have a medical emergency, doctors can't refuse to treat you, so the cost is absorbed by everyone else. You could say that healthcare should be fee-for-service, meaning if you can't pay you're fucked, but that's generally considered to be barbaric. You can't escape socialized costs with healthcare.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Was slavery interstate commerce, Tony?

  • Tony||

    I suppose it was. Why?

  • Pere Ubu||

    Don't need a cure
    Don't need a cure
    Don't need a cure
    Need a final solution

  • ||

    "regulation ... limited to regulation"

    The word has been perverted, over decades, from the original intent, which was to facilitate interstate commerce among the states: regulating state intervention.

    However, I doubt that anyone, including the Supremes, can abandon the perverse meaning assigned to the Commerce Clause for so many years. At minimum, the Supreme's will say that's a "political issue" that has nothing to do with original intent or clear meaning.

  • Attorney||

    If it's so gosh-darn important, then the healthers should be able to get enough support to amend the Constitution.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    I've been waiting for someone to point this little fact out.

    ... Hobbit

  • Tony||

    Only if necessary. If the courts don't rule it unconstitutional, there is no reason to humor the fringe who lost the case.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:17PM|#
    "Only if necessary. If the courts don't rule it unconstitutional, there is no reason to humor the fringe who lost the case."

    And if the court rules otherwise, there's no reason to humor stupid assholes, right?

  • Tony||

    You people aren't even trying. Behind all your stupid platitudes and untested assertions about a hypothetical anarcho-capitalist world lies one unavoidable reality: you think access to healthcare should be wealth-dependent. Not only should society reward hard work and ingenuity with wealth, it should reward merely having wealth with the ability to live a longer, healthier life. Healthcare as a right is something that increases individual freedom. You can't even distract with your pointless bullshit about how you don't have to pay taxes to support other people, because all the evidence in the world suggests that ours is the most expensive and least inclusive system. You want to pay more per capita on principle. It's almost as if that ancient right-wing obsession with keeping entitlements away from the unwashed proles is more important than you actually saving money in a better system.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    This post, more than any other, affirms my belief that Tony is a fabrication of the Reason staff to run the number of comments up.

    It's like on schedule, the Tony-bot keeps spewing the same pre-programed statements, blithely ignoring anything said in refutation, just as a good bot should.

    ... Hobbit

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    I think access to healthcare should be dependent on whatever conditions the healthcare provider puts on it. Could well turn out that they want you to pay.

  • ||

    +1

    I think healthcare providers should be compensated for their time and effort, according to whatever price schedule they set. If they want to treat someone for free, great. If not, I think they should be paid for it.

    The core of it is that I think that people should be responsible for paying their own bills. There are actual things that can help bring down the cost of health care, but socialized medicine and Obamacare are not it.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 9:58PM|#
    "...you think access to healthcare should be wealth-dependent...."

    Fail, you stupid shit. You haven't understood a word.
    Go away, asshole.

  • Tony||

    You know, when I'm having a so-so day on here, people respond to me with arguments. When I'm doing well, people respond with profanity-laced gobbledygook. Apparently my work here is done.

  • ||

    Apparently you have no idea what the fuck liberty is. Your idea of freedom is at the expense of someone else's.

  • sevo||

    Tony|1.19.11 @ 10:56PM|#
    "Apparently my work here is done."

    Yes, asshole, your "work" here is done.
    And the reason people respond with profanity is *BECAUSE* you're an asshole.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Come on, man. Don't sour the debate. Some of us enjoy it.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    And I don't mean to imply that you don't. I read that back and it seemed more confrontational than I wanted it to.

  • LibertarianJRT||

    Why would you assert libertarians or reasonoids would believe access to healthcare should be wealth dependent? It is a categorically false assertion. The complaint has nothing to do with wealth and everything to do with contribution. Wealth is a typical result of contribution, but not an absolute. If a person chooses not to contribute to society at the most basic of levels, then why would that society be concerned with that persons welfare? Clearly when a person does not show the minimum respect for society, namely not burdening others needlessly, that person does not deserve direct intervention on society's behalf. Regardless of how selfish the nonproductive member of society is, at some level charitable support will exist. Compassion is a typical human response to seeing another human in need. It is ingrained in the fabric of most of the worlds cultures to give to those in need. The important action is separating those in need from those in greed. Obamacare does not do this.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It is ingrained in the fabric of most of the worlds cultures to give to those in need. The important action is separating those in need from those in greed. Obamacare does not do this.


    At the very least, sex offenders not in state or federal custody should not be entitled to state or federal handouts.

  • Tony||

    If a person chooses not to contribute to society at the most basic of levels, then why would that society be concerned with that persons welfare?

    The moral answer is because they're people, and the crime of "not contributing to society" (whatever the fuck that means) should not be the death penalty.

    The practical answer is because you cannot escape costs. If you and your moral superiority condemn a person to lack of healthcare coverage because they don't contribute to society (whatever the fuck that means), then you have a lot of people in ERs when their problems have gotten really bad, and if you think that mandatory ER treatment is too much charity, imagine the bodies piling up in the street. I dunno, maybe it's cheaper to shovel up the dead and dump them in a hole than it is to provide a safety net. You wanna live in that kind of society?

  • ||

    : you think access to healthcare should be wealth-dependent.

    Whereas you think access to healthcare should depend on how well you suck up to the apparatchiki who decide whether saving your life is cost-effective for the taxpayers?

    We need medical care. We also need food, clothing and shelter, and I shudder to think of the dismal condition of the people who live in countries where government tried to take over responsibility for those, too.

    -jcr

  • Tony||

    Whereas you think access to healthcare should depend on how well you suck up to the apparatchiki who decide whether saving your life is cost-effective for the taxpayers?

    Oh, unlike today, where some corporate entity decides whether it can plausibly get out of saving your life, since it would harm their bottom line.

    Anyway, just like today, if you have money there will be a market of people who will take your money to save your life. All I'm talking about is a baseline of care that is provided to people because they're people, not just because they're people with money.


    We need medical care. We also need food, clothing and shelter, and I shudder to think of the dismal condition of the people who live in countries where government tried to take over responsibility for those, too.


    Government doesn't need to take over the health industry. Food stamps don't crowd out choice in food, but they do ensure that people don't starve. Government just needs to be the payer. It doesn't need to be the administrator. Yes it's a transfer of wealth. Oh well.

  • ||

    today, where some corporate entity decides whether it can plausibly get out of saving your life

    Today, that corporate entity is protected from competition by the government you love so much. Obamacare is just another case of government pretending to offer a solution to problems that it has caused.

    -jcr

  • Mammoth Shaver||

    Um...

    ...food stamps certainly do crowd out choice of food for those who receive them, at least in the places I have been.

    Expect more of the same when they start handing out 'healthcare stamps.'

    It's the unicorn vs. reality thingy getting in the way again.

  • ||

    Sadly I have come across many people like Tony that sincerly believe that freedom is about getting free things handed to them, the student riots in UK are a good example. Those student mobs honestly believed that they have a right to money from others to study, then when the government has no choice but to reduce their free money supply, they have the audacity to state that their money has been stolen from them when it was not theirs in the first place. And then they wonder why nobody would want to hire these losers and rather get Chinese people to do work.

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