Constitutional Law

Mandatory Nonsense

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On Wednesday, a federal judge in Michigan heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging the new health care law's "individual mandate"—the requirement that all Americans purchase private health insurance or face a financial penalty. Arguing against the law, attorney Robert Muise reportedly told the judge that "the Constitution limits Congress to what it can impose on individuals. We are here because the Congress violated the U.S. Constitution by forcing individuals to engage in a commercial activity."

At the Michigan Independent, Ed Brayton notes the following in response:

As the DOJ attorney representing the government told the court, such a requirement is not unusual at all. States, including Michigan, routinely require the purchase of auto insurance in order to own a car.

This sounds a lot like the case that Richard Cordray and Tom Miller, attorneys general for Ohio and Iowa, respectively, made back in April: If state governments can mandate the purchase of car insurance, then the federal government ought to be able to mandate the purchase of health insurance. There are a number of serious problems with this argument.

First, there's a big difference between mandating that an individual purchase auto insurance in order to drive a car and requiring an individual to purchase health insurance simply because he or she is alive.

Second, auto-insurance mandates are made by state governments and only apply within state borders. The question for the federal law, as I've argued before, is how the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, allows Congress to prohibit the decision to not purchase health insurance—something that involves no commercial transaction of any kind, and certainly not a commercial transaction that crosses state lines.

In the end, supporters of the mandate may well win in the courts. But until then, for anyone who wants to debate the provision's legality, seriously grappling with what limits, if any, the Constitution places on congressional power to regulate personal, non-commercial decisions ought to be, well, mandatory.

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  1. Here’s my question: if Congress can mandate that you must buy health insurance, what can’t they mandate that you buy? Because there’s nothing about health insurance that involves interstate commerce, and it could be argued that buying American corn is interstate commerce, so why couldn’t they just mandate that we must buy American corn (or a minimum amount)? And you could replace corn in this example with just about anything.

    1. You may have touched on something major. They can make they “strongest” case in favor of health insurance, because it’s just “so important”. Later, other items can be mandated, in descending order of importance, very much in the same way the lawsuits against tobacco companies set a nightmarish precent.

      1. But that’s sort of what I’m saying; if they tried to mandate that we all have to buy corn, it would be laughed at by everyone. But when it’s health insurance, suddenly it’s not laughable. But in technical terms, I’d say the corn has a stronger case. Which means this entire thing is based on emotion (surprise, surprise) and is therefore a guaranteed massive clusterfuck.

        1. I’m thinking the next mandate will be life insurance — for the … you know who.

          1. No. They’ll mandate that we all buy slaves as a way to bring down black unemployment.

            1. I call dibs on Obama.

        2. This is the Stephens doctrine. It is constitutional if it is “really, really important”. Fortunately our new supreme court nominee is a devotee of this philosophy, as is the President. That’ll help ensure that important legislation gets the proper deference from the courts.

    2. We evil libertarians were just discussing this at our meeting. (unfortunately, we all forgot to bring our monocles.)

      The solution (by which I mean how do we screw the poor again)? Buy corn futures.

      1. Of course you were at a meeting of fat guys, fatass.

        1. Who do you think took the picture, smart guy? I’m a ripped, 4’11”, 307 lbs of love machine.

          1. ripped rippling

              1. How unsurprising that you would read Garfield.

                1. Dude, you read the Friday “Funnies.” Don’t even be talking.

            1. I’d rather be ripped than rippled. Though I did get ripped on Ripple once.

        2. Eating babies makes us that way. It’s a cultural thing.

      2. The martini glasses are a nice touch.

      3. I swear, if I grow fat and balding I will join that club.

    3. Furthermore, why can’t they outlaw abortion? Or mandate the sterilization of poor people?*

      *Standard libertarian disclaimers apply

    4. The same question applies when the WH tries to re-spin this as a tax issue. Because then it’s a tax on non-participation in economic activity.

      No matter how they spin in, successful implementation of this mandate turns Enumerated Powers from mildly humorous to a complete joke.

      1. Well, yeah, because if this stands, it sets a precedent that the government can force you to purchase things, which if you think about it, is pretty fucked up. Why not force people to buy American cars to shore up GM? Why not force people to buy a new TV every year to “stimulate the economy”? Just think of the insane shit those evil clowns in DC could come up with.

        1. Can we replace “health insurance” with “Russian mail-order brides?” Because, I’m cool with that.

        2. Can we replace “health insurance” with “R u s s i a n mail-order brides?” Because, I’m cool with that.

          (Fuck you spam filter)

          1. Polygamy is still illegal, so too bad for you–she no make trouble for your moose and squirrel.

              1. Nothing says you have to marry them when they get here. I suppose you could just get them addicted to heroin and keep them for your personal harem like in that movie Taken.

                1. It saddens me to hear that you actually saw that crap movie. I hope you torrented it, at least.

    5. I think you just discovered the way to save GM and Chrysler. Don’t tell Congress, though.

      1. Sweet handle.

    6. As Congress also has authority to regulate foreign trade, but their reasoning they could require Americans to buy Japanese cars, Australian beef or French wine.

      You morons who think requiring people to purchase health insurance is within the scope of Congressional power may want to think this through.

      1. —“by their reasoning”—

  2. Liberal view of the commerce clause:

    If a butterfly takes a shit on the east coast, the commerce clause kicks in to ensure butterflies shit equally in every other part of the nation.

    Not to be confused with The Butterfly Effect, which did have a negative economic impact by way of being a horribly bad Ashton Kutcher flick.

    1. Hm.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Butterfly_Effect#Reception

      Seems to have posted a profit. With the 1:10 multiplier effect in effect at the time, that means it was really worth half billion in net stimulus!

    2. Hey man, don’t knock one of our own kind:

      “Kutcher is a self described fiscal conservative and social liberal.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashton_kutcher

    3. Is there another kind of Ashton Kutcher flick?

    4. Does adding horribly bad to an Ashton Kutcher flick actually differentiate it with any of his other movies?

  3. Link to Ron Paul’s repeal efforts here.

    1. You know that invokes the trolls right?

  4. Stop struggling. You know you want it.

  5. Apart from the laughability of the auto insurance comparison, will one be allowed to self-insure for health care like some (most? all?) states allow for auto insurance?

  6. First, there’s a big difference between mandating that an individual purchase auto insurance in order to drive a car and requiring an individual to purchase health insurance simply because he or she is alive.

    Furthermore It’s one thing to require people to buy liability insurance if they are engaging in something that is potentially harmful to others and requiring people to buy insurance to protect themselves.

    As far as I know, state requirements to buy auto insurance, where they exist – not all states have them, are only for liability insurance. No state that I’m aware of requires motorists to buy collision insurance.

    Disclaimer: I’m aware of libertarian arguments against state mandated auto liability insurance and am sympathetic to them. However there is a certain consistency to arguing that states may impose this additional regulation on an activity that they are already regulating heavily.

  7. I believe the drivers license also only applies to public roads. If you are driving around your property on your own road, you don’t need a license.

    1. one gold eagle (need to hedge against inflation) says that this will become illegal in at least one state in the next 20 years.

    2. Re: anomdebus,

      I can confirm this. At the plant I used to work for, we had several maintenance trucks and vehicles that were NOT registered, nor were required to be. We did not require the drivers (the mechanics and electricians) to HAVE a driver’s license – they already had theirs since they drive to work.

      The authoritarian left always falls back to this “auto insurance” requirement to justify this mandate, but the requirement by the states are of a totally different sort.

      1. Hear Hear

      2. My guess is that their hoping they’ll get a judge addled or sympathetic enough to buy their bogus argument, since it’s all they have to run on.

      3. I have had (and still have) vehicles that were never registered and had no insurance since they were not driven on the public roads.

    3. “Minnesota Supreme Court Rules DUI Possible in Inoperable Vehicle
      Minnesota Supreme Court upholds drunk driving conviction on a man asleep behind the wheel of an undriven, possibly inoperable vehicle.”

      http://thenewspaper.com/news/30/3030.asp

      1. Re: Tim,

        Minnesota Supreme Court Rules DUI Possible in Inoperable Vehicle.

        It clearly changes the whole meaning of Driving Under the Influence, doesn’t it?

        Now, just being behind the wheel of a parked car can be construed as driving it!

        Thank you, Minnesota Supreme Court!

        (I meant f__k you… But I have to be polite in front of the children)

        1. Apparently people are getting convicted for DUI under all sorts of unusual circumstances. On lawn mowers, in driveways, I’m afraid to keep looking.

          1. Did you see the story about the guy convicted for DUI when he rode drunk in his motorized La-Z-Boy recliner? It had headlights and cup holders and everything. The postscript is that the po-pos seized it under “asset forfeiture” and sold it for $1500 on Ebay.

            1. Didn’t Reason.TV do a thing about a guy getting a DUI for walking his bike on his own property?

              I think it was Ohio, not sure if it was reason or just a youtube vid.

              1. That is pretty fucked up. But I believe in most states you can be convicted of DUI even on your own property.

                1. I live in CA and in the mid-70’s, DUI was a vehicle code offense and not applicable on private property. I am sure of this as I saw a woman killed by a drunk diver in a super market parking lot (unfortunately, her husband and two small children also witnessed it).

                  When the Police arrived, they said they could not arrest/charge him with DUI as it was private property. They ended up charging him with something else, I don’t remember what.

                  It could well have changed by now.

                  1. Reckless endangerment and/or negligent homicide would apply.

    4. I believe the drivers license also only applies to public roads. If you are driving around your property on your own road, you don’t need a license.

      How funny. You actually think the left considers your body to be your property?

  8. First, there’s a big difference between mandating that an individual purchase auto insurance in order to drive a car and requiring an individual to purchase health insurance simply because he or she is alive.

    It goes even further than this: You are required to buy auto insurance if you pretend to drive the car in state managed roads and streets. If you drive your truck around your ranch, you are NOT required to carry insurance.

    Instead, this mandate requires a person to buy health insurance whether that person uses state or federal services or NOT. It pretty much makes every person in the US a serf of the FedGov.

    1. “” If you drive your truck around your ranch, you are NOT required to carry insurance.””

      In many states you are required to have insurance to get tags for the vehicle. Some places, not necessarily states, usually cities or counties, do not allow unlicensed vehicles to sit on your property. It’s a code enforcement thing.

  9. I had a touching moment in the car this morning with my 10-year old son.

    He told me that “The new Camaro is an awesome car, but I’d never buy it because GM is owned by the government.”

    Damn it, he listened!

    1. That brings a little tear of joy to my eye.

    2. Bless his cold heart.

      Do you have a mini monocle and top hat for him yet?

  10. WTF?

    My comment pointing out the difference between requiring liability insurance to protect others and requiring insurance to protect yourself was filtered out a spam.

    To the best of my knowledge, no state requires that you buy collision insurance.

    1. Exactly this. When comparing different kinds of insurance, health insurance is basically the same as collision insurance on autos. AFAIK, no state requires you to carry collision insurance on your own vehicle to drive on the public roadway.

    2. Exactly. You are forced to pay third party insurance to protect others, not yourself.
      But seatbelts are enforced (everywhere?) to protect you from yourself. I always wear a seatbelt due to common sense, but I resent the enforcement for both dignity and the slippery slope argument (if the state can legislate seatbelts to protect you from yourself, where does it end?)

  11. He told me that “The new Camaro is an awesome car, but I’d never buy it because GM is owned by the government.”

    Damn it, he listened!

    That sort of antisocial indoctrination will get you a call from the principal.

    1. I’m counting on it.

      I’m actually encouraged that both of my kids are showing libertarian tendencies, despite the missus’ efforts to bleed their little hearts. I just keep it on the down-low and nothing too overt. Lots of little comments here and there.

      1. And, I’m sure, you’re encouraging them to ask why.

  12. As the DOJ attorney representing the government told the court, such a requirement is not unusual at all. States, including Michigan, routinely require the purchase of auto insurance in order to own a car.

    This would be a bald-faced lie.

    Most states require proof of insurace TO DRIVE ON THE FUCKING PUBLIC STREETS.

    Anyone can buy a car and drive it around his or her own property without a drivers license, without registering the vehicle (no plates), and without buying insurance.

    1. Your body is our property. Your mind too.

      1. all your thoughts belong to us.

    2. “A Hydeville man was acquitted Thursday of charges he drove drunk on a riding lawnmower ? although one state official maintains the DUI law applies to such vehicles.”

      http://www.rutlandherald.com/a…..002/NEWS01

    3. Auto collectors have cars without plates or insurance. If you want to drive them in public roads, they have temporary plates. Even if I know that, and I have no interest in cars.
      Ignorance or lies, who cares?

    4. Absolutely correct. Michigan only *REQUIRES* PLPD for operating a vehicle on public roads. One can own as many vehicles as desired without registration/insurance and operate them on private property, or let them sit to rot if you choose.

      One nasty little bit of crap here is that we’re a “no-fault” state. Some idiot smashes into my car, *MY* insurance is responsible for damages to my vehicle – should I choose to carry collision, and I am still responsible for the deductible (unless I pay more for a broad-form policy). My only recourse is $500 or the amount of my deductible, whichever is lower, against the insurance company of the fool who destroyed my car, even if it’s totaled and I owe more than that to a lien holder, not one thin dime if he has no insurance, either way leaving me to pay for his mistake. If I own the vehicle free and clear and have only PLPD, I eat my loss, no matter the value of the vehicle.

  13. You know, this country would be better off (and healthier) if every American were required to own and wear a sturdy pair of galoshes.

    And any attempt to smear my good intentions and heartfelt concern for the wellbeing of my fellow man by pointing out the fact that I (purely coincidentally) happen to be the majority owner of a large manufacturer of galoshes will be dealt with aggressively, by way of the libel laws.

  14. I’ve been thinking about Epi’s hypo for a while. It’s a good one.

    Maybe the answer is that what the federal government can make you buy or not is something the Constitution leaves up to the political process and is not a constitutional issue. After all, according to the logic of Suderman’s post state governments could make you buy whatever, and I doubt folks here are cool with that. The question is does the IC commerce clause grant that kind of power to the feds? In that realm I can’t help but notice that the language of the grant of power in the IC clause can reasonably read as very broad (it simply grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce…period, no qualifiers or limitations mentioned).

    1. The framers debated this and clearly established that the meaning of IC is to keep commerce regular, that is: free flowing. It was supposed to be a free trade mandate upon the Congress.

      1. What could be more free flowing promoting than requiring the purchase of a product in the interstate market?

        1. The exact opposite of what you said.

          1. Because you are stopping on the word “free” and not getting to the idea that it qualifies “flowing.” Certainly mandating everyone to buy something gets trade in that thing flowing.

            1. “free flowing” would imply that you have the freedom to stop flowing

              Go back to grade school

              1. “”free flowing” would imply that you have the freedom to stop flowing”

                You’re importing your definition of “free” into this phrase.

                1. If I’m restricted from acting in a certain way, I am no longer free.

                  If you want to redefine “free” to mean something else, go ahead.

                  I have yet to see you present an argument that actually has value. Go play semantics and redefine words with people on the same intellectual tier as yourself – no where to go but up from there.

                2. You’re importing your definition of “free” into this phrase.

                  MNG, what you said.

        2. Free love means you have to have sex with me.

    2. Yet it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the nonimporting, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government, in which alone, however, the remedial power could be lodged.

      1. MNG, the word regulate did not, at the time of the founding, did not embrace, include or mean “mandate the purchase of a particular product” or “prohibit.”

        1. I can’t imagine a concept of regulate that did not include an ability to prohibit…

          1. The founding fathers probably never imagined we would be twisting their words to make them what we want them to be. Doesn?t mean they were right.
            I?m a great admirer of the constitution because I agree with it,
            not because it is sacred. If I disagreed with it, I would try to change it and not pervert it.

          2. Try this one: “to put in good order”.

    3. The question is does the IC commerce clause grant that kind of power to the feds? In that realm I can’t help but notice that the language of the grant of power in the IC clause can reasonably read as very broad (it simply grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce…period, no qualifiers or limitations mentioned).

      I can’t help but notice that this interpretation leaves absolutely no restrictions on federal power. Want to outlaw abortion and contraception, Mr. SoCon? No problem. After all, preventing the birth of a future child would have a very serious affect on interstate commerce.

      1. What expands the power is the idea that it can touch things that “taken in the aggregate substantially effect IC commerce.” But without that the power explicitly granted “to regulate…IC” would be eviscerated, so another reading is problemattic.

        I think the Rehnquist Court got it right: it has to be economic activity itself reached, not non-economic activity that might substantially effect blah blah blah.

        1. Since I am prohibited by law from buying health insurance across state lines, whether I buy it or not has zero effect in interstate commerce.

    4. The intended purpose of the Commerce Clause is create a free trade zone among the states, nothing more. This is obvious from reading the contemporary accounts.

      1. I’m not sure how Obamacare violates the idea of a free trade zone among the states.

        1. Way to miss the point. The Commerce Clause was intended to prevent states from charging tariffs and placing other trade restrictions on one another. What does any of that have to do with Obamacare? As you said, nothing. So the Commerce Clause gives no justification for the bill.

          1. It grants Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states. Health care involves interstate commerce. Nuff said.

            1. MNG, it’s pretty clear what the Founders meant from their own writings (see the Madison quote above for example). Mandating people to buy health insurance is certainly something they never intended to fall under the purview of the Commerce Clause. Their mistake was not to account for the epic levels of willful intellectual dishonesty people will go through to gain control over others and spell this out explicitly.

              1. Maybe it’s just me, but the clause is not confusing at all. It is written in plain English.

                Congress has the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

                Among the several states. Among means between. Congress has the power to regulate commerce between 2 or more states for the reasons that TCOT stated. That’s it!

                These days “among” has been replaced by “within.” That completely changes the meaning of the clause. I’ve always said that if you’re going to purposely misconstrue one part of the IC clause you should pervert the whole thing. If you think that congress has the power to regulate personal transactions within a state, I’ll make the claim that they can also regulate industries within foreign nations. Hey, it’s in the clause!

            2. “””It grants Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states. Health care involves interstate commerce. Nuff said.””

              So does chewing gum. Should the government mandate or limit the number of packs you can buy in a year, or ban certain flavors?

              If George Bush outlawed cars and mandated bicycles for everyone, would you have agreed that the commerce clause allowed him to do so? Using your current arguement, the answer would be yes.

            3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

              It is prohibited by law to buy health insurance across state lines. We are not talking about health care, we are talking aboput health care INSURANCE.

        2. You are really hard of thinking, aren’t you?

          1. Sigh.

            Main Entry: free?flow?ing
            Pronunciation: \-?fl?-i?\
            Function: adjective
            Date: 1875
            : characterized by easy freedom in movement, progression, or style

    5. I’ve been thinking about Epi’s hypo for a while.

      Don’t hurt yourself.

      I think it’s contradictory that the Fed. Gov. regulated the health insurance industry so that there could be no competition across state lines, and now their justification for the mandate is that health insurance falls under interstate commerce.

      How does a service that can’t be sold across state lines still qualify as interstate commerce?

      1. I’m no fan of the state lines restriction.

        1. Fantastic!

          But that doesn’t mean that the popular justification for mandating the purchase of health insurance isn’t bullshit.

          You can’t have you cake and eat it to. You can’t restrict the health insurance market from competing across state lines AND claim that you have the right regulate the industry because if falls under interstate commerce. By not allowing a market to compete across state lines, you’re negating your ability to further regulate the market because it doesn’t cross state lines anymore.

          1. I’m not sure it’s not an interstate market. The companies planly exist and provide services in many states. I think the restriction means that you have to go through an agent of the company in your state.

            1. What determines a market is who is competing with who. If the goods and service aren’t competing with each other, then they don’t constitute a market.

      2. “”I think it’s contradictory that the Fed. Gov. regulated the health insurance industry so that there could be no competition across state lines,””

        I’m pretty sure that was achieved by lobbyist hired by the insurance industry.

    6. Regulating and dictating are not the same thing. Regulating means “if you want to engage in commerce, here are the rules”, not “buy this thing or else”.

    7. Holeeee Crap. Reading the commerce clause as “we can do whatever we want to do” is not reasonable. It is the exact opposite of reasonable. It makes no sense at all.

      No matter how many slimy lawyer tricks you pull out, a prerequisite for something being “interstate commerce” is that it be (a) “interstate” and (b) “commerce”. Further restrictions may apply, but those two are absolutes. To argue other wise makes you like some ridiculous cardboard Ayn Rand villian saying “A is not A”. To argue otherwise isn’t really even to argue, its just pissin on me and telling me its raining, while pointing at the sky and telling me its green.

      If I’m sitting in my house, doing nothing, except not having insurance, I’m not engaging in interstate commerce. Let me walk you thru the reasoning here: The entirety of my house is in one state so, it is not interstate. So it can’t be interstate commerce. But wait, there is a bonus! It is also not commerce, because it is actually nothing. And nothing can’t be something(by definition of nothing), and commerce is a something, therefore doing nothing can’t be commerce. See? So in addition to not being interstate, it is also not commerce, so it can’t be “interstate commerce”. Got it? If you send a SWAT team to kick my door down and take some money from me because I didn’t buy any insurance, then you aren’t governing me due to any power to regulate interstate commerce. You are just using the SWAT team to steal my money.

  15. Health care (transformation) is one of the best issues this current administration has done thus far. With this change individuals will have the opportunity to seek professional and quality health care services. Who would want to return to the days of the horse and buggy, b/w tv sets, manual typewriters, pac man, you get the point? That’s about how old the health care system was in the USA. Each day the news is filled with social tragedies in which lives are taken at the hands of known acquaintences and/or family members. Our society is stricken with the institutions of white collar crime permeating throughout this great nation and greed which tends to strike at the very fabric of our country. If you are looking for affordable health insurance check out http://bit.ly/chE6zp . I hope everyone will soon recognize and use the resources made by this transformation to seek professional medical attention as the need arises rather than turning to illegal and criminal activities to resolve their issues.

  16. Just for the record, it’s unconscionable that rich people use the state to force poor people to buy car insurance they don’t need–regardless of whether they have any assets to protect.

    If you drive an $80,000 Mercedes around town and you can’t afford to insure your own property against damage, then that’s a risk you’re taking on yourself. Why should ever poor person driving down the road have to insure themselves against your $80,000 car?

    Driving is an inherently risky behavior, but insuring myself against uninsured drivers is still the cheapest add on on my itemized bill. …and it’s absurd to expect everyone else to insure your car for you.

    Insure your own damn car!

    1. P.S. I owe you nothing.

    2. The wronged party should have to insure themselves against the damage? WTF?

      1. Who insures your house? You or the potential arsonist?

        1. Arson is not an accident.

          But that’s neither here nor there i think, the question is is it right that the potentially wronged party should have to pay for the carelessness of others, or should the latter have to be able to do that?

          1. So, you don’t want to have insurance in case of arson. OK, how about the careless smoker or the malfunctioning electrical appliance? Who insures your house then? You, RJ Reynolds or Samsung?

            You might have a claim to recover damages, but that’s not insurance.

            Ken makes a very good point. Why does anyone have a duty to insure someone else? That doesn’t preclude responsibility for damages, and it may make financial sense to have liability insurance, but why should I be required insure you?

            1. To ensure that if they do harm someone they can be held responible.

              1. Civil litigation already does that, no?

                1. Not if the person can’t pay the judgment.

                  That’s what insurance is for, to ensure any potential judgment can be paid.

                  I would think lovers of personal responsibility would approve.

                  1. I would think lovers of personal responsibility would approve.

                    A statement that shows that you have learned nary a thing through all of your years posting here.

                    Most of the government actions that libertarians abhor are attempts to legislate personal responsibility.

                    1. Really? Libertarians don’t think courts should legislate personal responsibility by holding contractors responsible for the provisions in their contracts, etc? Interesting.

                    2. First of all, courts should adjudicate legal disputes between individuals when a conflict arises, not legislate personal responsibility. If theft or fraud arises the government’s authority is a function of protecting the property rights of the victim not to teach the thief some personal responsibility.

                      Also, your nitpicking, arguing with specters style of debate may impress the coeds, but it doesn’t fucking cut it with me. I am pissed that I took time out of my lunch to reply to your inanity.

                    3. Ya sometimes MNG seems like a reasonable human being. But I think he is now on my Chony/Max don’t-feed-the-trolls list.

              2. So, who insures your house? It’s a simple enough quesiton.

                1. It’s a simple question yes. Unfortunately I don’t think it is relevant.

                  Answered it is the homeowner.

                  1. Of course you don’t think it’s relevant. It undermines your entire argument.

            2. You aren’t ‘insuring someone else’. You’re insuring that, should you cause an accident, the cost of repairing what you’ve damaged doesn’t bankrupt you.

              And, Ken, ‘accident’ isn’t a car-to-car specific term. If you’re sitting in your house, minding your own business and some idiot plows into your house, hits you and breaks your leg, his insurance pays for both house and leg.

              1. You’re responsible for your own property.

                My house and my corpus are too important to depend on other people to insure for me, so I insure my own property.

                It’s my property. I take care of it.

                I have no responsibility to insure your house for you. I have no responsibility to insure your corpus for you.

                The insurance mandates were put in place at the urging of insurance companies to line their pockets at the expense of people who wouldn’t and, rationally, shouldn’t insure their assets–since they don’t have any.

                The world is full of a multitude of things that other people could do that would harm you or your property.

                …and it’s up to you to buy insurance for your property if that’s what you want to do.

                Society owes you nothing. …we certainly don’t owe you insurance.

                Think about it. What’s better? A system where everyone insures their own property, or a system where everyone has to insure themselves against the possibility of harming you?

                By the way, if you don’t buy insurance against an uninsured driver, and your car gets totaled, go call up the bank that lent you the money on the car and tell them you don’t have to pay the loan back because the guy that hit you was uninsured. See what they say.

                I bet they say it’s you’re responsible for the car you bought. …and you know what? They’re right.

                People have become brainwashed. Insure your own property. Don’t use the government to try to force me and everyone else in the world to insure it for you.

                1. By the way?

                  This all applies to health insurance too.

                  Insure yourself. Leave me out of it.

                  I owe you nothing.

                  1. Running with the healthcare analogy, Obama’s solution to poor people being forced to buy insurance in case they hit an $80,000 car?

                    Make rich people have to pay a steep fine for buying a car that costs over $15,000…

                    That’s what the fine on “Cadillac” health care plans is all about.

                    Notice the reference to luxury automobiles? You should. It’s all the same. It’s all about forcing people to buy insurance they want or don’t need.

                    1. It’s all about forcing people to buy insurance they [don’t] want or don’t need.

                      Corrected.

        2. “””Who insures your house? You or the potential arsonist?””

          Are you required to insure your home once you have paid for it in full? I know it’s required to do so if you have a morgage.

          1. I know of no law requiring you to insure anything before Obamacare.

            What lienholders require to protect themselves is a different matter and will be spelled out in your contract with them.

            And any lenders who’s loan is secured by any item of your property will require you to insure it against all hazards upt to a value of your obligation to them. Some will even require you to have a life insurance policy in the amount of the balance of your loan, although I think some states don’t allow that.

            Lenders are interested in keeping themselves whole. They couldn’t give two shits about your well being.

            1. “I know of no law requiring you to insure anything before Obamacare.”

              Theoretically, I suppose people could live without cars.

              I hope we can see the forest through the trees, and the point is, just as you say, if you let your insurance lapse on something you still owe on, there isn’t a bank in the world that’ll let you off the hook for the loan just because whoever destroyed it didn’t have any insurance.

              It’s always been that way. Insurance is what people buy to protect their assets, it’s not properly something the government forces us to buy for each other’s assets.

              And anytime the government makes everyone buy policies to protect everyone else’s assets, it’s just a way to line the pockets of insurance companies.

              Oh, but I think someone probably should point out one last tree–if anybody thinks they don’t need to buy uninsured motorist coverage because there’s a law against driving without liability insurance, I’ve got some water-front Mortgage Backed Securities in Florida I’d like to sell you.

              1. Sorry, Ken, I meant insurance on protect your own property or person. There are many laws requiring you to show proof of financial responsibility.

                And uninsured motorist coverage is only for medical costs (or at least it is in Florida). If no third party can pay for the damage to your car (assuming you’re not at fault) your collision policy has to kick in. If you don’t have one, tough luck.

                I’m sympathetic to your objections to mandatory liability insurance but I fear it’s another of those issues where I’m outvoted no matter what.

  17. Here’s a question I don’t ever hear a good answer too. If some type of universal health care is justified by the commerce clause- or the general welfare clause- why was there no such program from the outset of the country?

    I mean, if this is something allowed within the constitution, why did no states of the fed govt offer it before?

    Also, a much better argument for precedent was the fact that militiamen were all required to buy their own guns, and that all men were subject to being militiamen.

    1. According to that logic no government program that existed before the ratification is constitutional. Certainly they didn’t reorganize the entire federal system so that it could only do what it could before that.

      1. I don’t think that conclusion follows the logic at all.

        The statement is simply this- if some sort of government run/subsidized healthcare system was permitted under the commerce or general welfare clauses, then why haven’t they already existed?

        The same could be said about social security, etc.

        1. At what date would you draw the line for programs, that after that date we can conclude that the constitution must have not included them as permissible?

          1. Date is not an issue. It is if the basis for such programs are allowed.

            1. Then the text should govern that.

              1. But we have numbnut know-nothing illiterates like you arguing health care is interstate commerce. Obviously you either can’t read or can’t understand the text, so how the hell do you think the text will govern? You might as well throw darts at a dictionary to get your understanding of the document. You couldn’t do much worse than the comprehension you currently display.

    2. Except the black men.

  18. Apparently people are getting convicted for DUI under all sorts of unusual circumstances. On lawn mowers, in driveways, I’m afraid to keep looking.

    Don’t forget horses and bicycles.

    1. “Man Gets DWI on Steamroller”

      http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp…..teamroller

      1. awesome

  19. why was there no such program from the outset of the country?

    The Pilgrims lacked imagination.

  20. Why does everyone keep saying states mandate car insurance to own a car? While I can’t speak to the details of other states, Texas only requires insurance to drive on public roads. If you drive on private land or have a chauffered vehicle, no insurance required.

    1. New Hampshire doesn’t require auto insurance unless you have already done something wrong.

  21. First, there’s a big difference between mandating that an individual purchase auto insurance in order to drive a car and requiring an individual to purchase health insurance simply because he or she is alive.

    This is just another case of the Democrats showing favoritism to a reliable voting bloc — the dead.

    1. “”This is just another case of the Democrats showing favoritism to a reliable voting bloc — the dead.””

      What a great way to fuck up the truth.

      The reliable voting bloc in question is older folks on limited incomes.

      In a funny way, maybe the government is doing us a favor in that it is planning to have us all on limited incomes when we are old. 😉

  22. I posted it in the morning links, but it’s too good and on-topic to get stuck in that threaded comments morass: according to this exhaustive paper by law professors Steven J Willis and Nakku Chung, justifying Healthcare Reform’s penalties under the taxing power is un-Constitutional. Here’s the abstract (link):

    “Willis and Chung demonstrate how I.R.C. ? 5000A ? the HEALTH CARE ACT penalty ? is an unapportioned Capitation Tax, violative of U.S. CONSTITUTION ARTICLE I, Section 9. As they demonstrate, the “penalty” is ? at least on its face – a tax. To be a Constitutional tax, it must be an Excise Tax, an Income Tax, or a proportional Capitation Tax. Through the process of elimination, they demonstrate the penalty is none of these.

    Others convincingly demonstrate the “penalty” is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. They argue the “penalty” is indeed a penalty and not a tax. Willis and Chung pick up where that argument leaves off: if that argument fails and the Court finds this is a tax, it is an unconstitutional unapportioned Direct Tax.

    Despite being labeled an Excise Tax by Congress, the penalty is unlike any existing Excise Tax because it applies to the failure to act by an individual. Existing failure-to-act Excise Taxes differ because they apply to entities which have chosen to partake in particular activities. The provision thus fails the historic requirements of an Excise Tax, namely that it apply to an activity, transaction, or the use of property. The tax also fails the traditional “pass-on” nature of Excise Taxes. If the Court were to approve it as a uniform Excise Tax, the Direct Tax apportionment requirement would be eviscerated.

    The penalty similarly fails the 16th AMENDMENT definition of an Income Tax. Not only does it appear not to tax income, it fails to operate as an Income Tax, and it fails the 16th AMENDMENT realization requirement long accepted by the Supreme Court. Willis and Chung dismiss – as unrealistic academic dogma – arguments for ignoring the realization requirement. They acknowledge, but refute, academic arguments criticizing the Pollock and Macomber decisions, as well as arguments for ignoring the CONSTITUTION’s Direct Tax apportionment requirement.”

    Love to see MNG or one of our other liberal trolls measure up their BS against this solid argument, which includes case law.

  23. The argument that the individual mandate is permissible because it’s just like state-level requirements that drivers carry automobile liability insurance is so breathtakingly stupid that any attorney who actually makes it in open court ought to be summarily disbarred, and then horsewhipped.

    Con Law 101: The states have a reserved police power. The fedgov doesn’t. The fact that the states can do something is therefore completely irrelevant to whether the fedgov can do it.

  24. The constitution is not a libertarian document. It doesn’t necessarily fulfill all my requirements for a good society either, so it shouldn’t bother you. It’s not a sacred text.

    Universal healthcare is an unambiguously good thing. If the constitution doesn’t permit it, the constitution is flawed.

    1. Universal healthcare is an unambiguously good thing.

      No. It is not a good thing, for a multitude of reasons that have been explained to you at length. That you persist in believing so indicates you have an irrational attachment to the idea.

      If the constitution doesn’t permit it, the constitution is flawed.

      In which case, there are long standing procedures which permit the amendment of the document. I suggest you and other of your ilk avail yourself of those procedures instead of ignoring the Constitution when it suits your ends.

      1. So wealth-based healthcare is preferable? Paying double what all other countries pay for non-universal care is better? Why? For freedom?

        If it’s ruled unconstitutional then I would endorse a constitutional amendment, sure, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

        1. For freedom?

          Yes. Next question?

          1. Your definition of freedom sucks.

            1. QQ more, noob.

            2. Actually, as I think about this, I want to understand why you think my definition of freedom sucks, Tony.

              1. Because (if you’re like most libertarians) it only involves freedom from government. What about freedom from disease and early death?

                1. You are as free to evade disease and early death as you like. You are not free to force me to work for you so that you may evade them.

                  1. I just don’t think the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for the crime of being poor. Healthcare is considered a right in most of the civilized world. Expanding rights = more freedom. What is NOT recognized as a right anywhere is keeping every cent you get your grubby hands on.

                    1. The universe is killing people, not me, Tony. My failure to render you aid does not, in any way, cause your death. Ever, under any circumstances.

                      What most of the “civilized world” consider rights is irrelevant to this discussion. Most of the civilized world doesn’t recognize rights Americans consider to be fundamental. Either explain why it’s a right or STFU.

                    2. What do you mean explain why it’s a right? It’s a right if it’s recognized as such.

                    3. You can say that there’s a right to healthcare until you’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day it’s nothing but a rationalization for stealing from some people to pay for the healthcare of other people.

                      You can create a political entitlement to other people’s money, but you can never create a moral right to steal.

                    4. You’re right, stealing is by definition morally wrong. But taxes aren’t stealing.

                    5. Appropriating someone’s wealth against their will = theft.

                      The fact that we’re allowed to cast a meaningless ballot in a meaningless popularity contest doesn’t change the moral calculus.

                    6. BC,

                      It is not against your will. Dismiss the concept of democracy all you want, but nobody is forcing you to live here. You were born into an advanced society that was already established and that needs to be maintained. What gives you the right to enjoy it for free?

                    7. Google the term “officious intermeddler”, Tony: somebody who confers unsolicited benefits on another is deemed to have done so gratuitously, and is not entitled to remuneration.

    2. Universal healthcare is an unambiguously good thing.

      What a load of horseshit.

      1. Why? What’s better about a world in which you can’t get healthcare if you’re poor compared to one in which you can? More yachts?

        1. Because unless you’ve somehow repealed the laws of scarcity, a world in which poor people get free or subsidized healthcare is a world in which other people are forced to pay for it.

          Enslaving people is bad. Doing bad things to achieve arguably good things is the definition of ambiguous.

          1. I don’t agree that taxation is bad or equivalent to slavery. You get to vote, you are not being taxed without representation. That’s the best deal you’re ever going to get.

            Healthcare obviously isn’t so scarce that just about every advanced country in the world hasn’t figured out how to deliver it at high quality universally.

            1. Healthcare obviously isn’t so scarce that just about every advanced country in the world hasn’t figured out how to deliver it at high quality universally.

              Bullshit. Complete, unmitigated, unsubstantiated bullshit. No country on the planet has figured out how to deliver high quality health care, in which every patient receives the best possible treatment, universally. Not one. Now you’re just making shit up to support your point.

              1. Did I say best possible treatment? I’ll even concede that you can get the best care money can buy in the US. But I’m just too moral of a person to say there shouldn’t be a baseline of care available to everyone regardless of ability to pay. It’s definitely doable. The only reason we didn’t join the rest of the world for so long was because it wasn’t in the best interest of certain related industries to change the status quo.

            2. The franchise is a necessary but not sufficient condition for meaningful political representation. Never in my life have my individual interests been represented in anything except the most trivial sense. Even assuming for the sake of argument that the current arrangement is the best deal I’m ever going to get, “shut up and pay your taxes, because at least you have the chance to cast a ballot in a meaningless popularity contest between two equally-statist shitbags” is still a lousy deal.

              Taxation of income is slavery, pure and simple. Whether or not you disagree is entirely irrelevant. You may as well disagree with water being wet.

        2. Which world is that, Tony? Because in this world, poor people get health care. Do they get the very best health care available? No. Will they get the very best health care available under any plan proposed by the current administration? No. So why change it? Because it’s unfair to make people pay for the things they want?

          Health care is scarcity, dumbass. Markets provably allocate scarce resources more efficiently than governments. Inefficiency, in this case, means more people with less health care. That’s what you advocate: more people receiving less care than the alternative. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

          1. The only reason the poor get healthcare is because there is a single-payer government-run system for providing it to them. Without it we’d live in a society where your access to care is dependent on the amount of money you have. Illness doesn’t discriminate based on wealth so I don’t see why healthcare should.

            1. Tony, you’re not even making sense anymore. Why do you bother coming here and having this discussion? You don’t make a rational argument for your position. You’re reduced to spouting inane nonsense like “Illness doesn’t discriminate based on wealth so I don’t see why healthcare should.” You really like universal health care. We get that.

              But you seem resolutely determined to ignore or dismiss any possibility that the results are gonna suck. We don’t live in the world where your idealized magical version is going to pass. The version that got passed was written, in part, by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and every other special interest that stood to gain (or lose) anything from more comprehensive health care regulations. When it comes time to write the regs to fix the disasters this version caused, those people are going to be writing version 2.0. Why do you think that’s going to benefit the average guy going to see the doctor? Why doesn’t making a system designed to increase the power of the individual make sense to you?

              1. T,

                But we do live in a world where various universal healthcare schemes have proven to be more cost-effective than market-based alternatives.

                A “system designed to increase the power of individuals” is exactly what I want. People have a lot more freedom when they don’t have to worry about going bankrupt from healthcare expenses.

                I’m not defending the corporate compromise we got here, I only hope it leads to something better. God knows you guys don’t have any good ideas, in fact you would empower corporations to have more of a say in matters.

                1. Cost-effectiveness is not the only relevant metric. Countries with universal healthcare schemes are uniformly less free than the United States.

            2. The only reason the poor get healthcare is because there is a single-payer government-run system for providing it to them.

              Because there is no such thing as charity, apparently.

              1. It will never be enough BC. If it were, there would never have been a need for government subsidized healthcare.

                1. You have to love the self-reinforcing nature of the secular religion that is modern liberalism. The fact that we have coercive government welfare programs is itself evidence that non-coercive private charity is insufficient — notwithstanding the fact that without all those coercive government welfare programs, we’d all have a lot more wealth with which to be generous toward our fellow man.

    3. “”Universal healthcare is an unambiguously good thing. “”

      For arguements sakes, say I agree. But why should I be required to buy health insurance. Why can’t I just pay cash for my visit?

      1. What happens if something horrible befalls you that you simply can’t afford to have treated? Let you die?

        My preferred system is not one in which people are required to buy private insurance plans, btw.

        1. “”What happens if something horrible befalls you that you simply can’t afford to have treated? Let you die?””

          Maybe, maybe not. But I’m not sure why everyone else must be responsible for my bill if it’s too large. I have a hard time arguing against the idea that altruists should back up their philosphy with their own money, and not force it on the tax payer.

        2. See, I don’t believe in a right to life. I believe in the responsibility to survive. I also believe in reaping what you sow. If you don’t want to buy health insurance, you get to reap the consequences. If you don’t want to die because something horrible may befall you, then buy your own insurance or else your not that serious about treatment.

          1. And I’m not that serious about spelling you’re.

        3. What happens if something horrible befalls you that you simply can’t afford to have treated? Let you die?

          If I could sign a contract saying I agree to that in exchange for not having to buy health insurance, I would. That’s the whole problem: no choice.

          Personally, I haven’t held a full-time job for even a full year of my life and I make $13 an hour, but I still have more than $20,000 in the bank. I don’t spend money on frivolous things like an HDTV, stereo system, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, cable TV, DVD movies, restaurants, new cars, or travel vacations. No student debt because my college cost under $10,000 total for all four years. With the funds I continue building every month, I’m not very worried about dying from something I can’t afford to have treated.

          The private charity system doesn’t need to cover everyone who currently doesn’t have money, it just needs to cover poor people who didn’t dig their own holes. Currently “poor” people who were once middle-class or even rich, ran up wild consumer debts with huge houses and expensive cars, and are now suffering the consequences after bankruptcy… well, that’s their problem.

  25. If the constitution doesn’t permit it, the constitution is flawed.

    Now, if there was only some way to change the constitution to fix this flaw . . . .

  26. Bottom line, some people make BS Constitutional stretches to support their claim because they like it. I really doubt they would make the same BS Constitutional streteches to support something they don’t like.

  27. The question for the federal law, as I’ve argued before, is how the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, allows Congress to prohibit the decision to not purchase health insurance

    Healthcare costs know no borders.

    Try harder, Suderman, we want to actually win this debate.

  28. !. You don’t need insurance to BUY a car

    2. You do need insurance to REGISTER a car.

  29. There are two questions at issue here. The rest of you have covered both sides of the question of whether Congress’s power to “regulate interstate commerce” is broad enough to cover the mandate, so I’ll skip over that one.

    That leaves the more direct question of “why is it OK to require auto insurance but not health insurance?” The rationale for requiring auto insurance (which actually means only liability coverage — I don’t think any state requires you to be insured against harm other drivers may do to you) is that without it, a driver might inflict damage on other people that he’ll never pay for because he is “judgment proof” (too poor to be worth suing).

    To make the same claim about health insurance (“if you don’t get it, you may impose costs on others”) is to hold the individual responsible for the fact that he may someday receive tax-funded benefits. (I ignore the possibility that a principled person might refuse those benefits because even if you are that principled, you may very well be hauled into a hospital while unconscious and treated.)

    Placing blame this way amounts to a very basic misunderstanding of the concept of responsibility. If government is giving out tax funds to people it ought not be giving them to, that is the politicians’ fault and no one else’s.

    (Aside: The movement in favor of enforcing immigration laws more strongly relies on that same misplacement of blame.)

    If you’re paying too much in taxes to support the welfare state, campaign to reduce or abolish the welfare state. Don’t accept it as a “done deal” and then blame the beneficiaries. Most of them had nothing to do with enacting welfare laws. (Contrast with civil servants, who do lobby heavily and successfully for more of our money.)

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