Constitutional Law

ObamaCare: Unprecedented and Unconstitutional?

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As Jesse Walker noted in today's morning links, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson has rejected the Obama administration's plea to dismiss Virginia's challenge to the new health care law. As Judge Hudson held:

While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate — and tax — a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce. Neither the US Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue. No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product.

Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett, a leading legal critic of ObamaCare, calls yesterday's decision "a big step":

Since before the Senate passed its version of health insurance reform, constitutional law professors have been quoted as saying that any constitutional challenge to the individual mandate, and other aspects of the bill, are "frivolous." Indeed, some of the state attorneys general were severely criticized by local Democratic politicians and pundits for joining on to the lawsuit and thereby "wasting tax payer dollars."…

While today's ruling by Judge Hudson did not decide the case on the merits, it did make at least one official ruling of importance: the constitutional objections to the individual mandate are serious and not frivolous. This is an essential implication of today's ruling because, had they been frivolous, the motion to dismiss would have been granted. So, no matter what the outcome, today's ruling vindicates the legal judgment of the Attorneys General of 2/5 of the states that there are serious constitutional questions about this claim of government power.

For Reason's coverage of the legal challenges to ObamaCare, see here, here, and here.

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  1. The federal government can do anything. Pete Stark told me.

    http://www.breitbart.tv/congre…..s-country/

    1. Could there be more of a poster child for term limits than Stark? Just a total arrogant creep in every respect, and he doesn’t even live in the freaking district he “represents”.

      1. Yet that district keeps sending him back to Congress. Term limits are not suddenly going to make those voters better people. Remove Stark and they will select somebody just like him.

        Don’t be in a hurry to throw away good ideas like Democracy just because you’re not always happy with the outcome.

        1. Democracy isn’t always a great idea. I’d say that the 17th Amendment and the stupid plebicites to amend the Florida constitution over matters like light rail and whether to ban offshore drilling (which is already within the power of the state government), while more democratic, have made state and federal institutions worse. Democracy is not an unalloyed good, nor are term limits more or less democratic than not having them.

          1. Democracy is not an unalloyed good

            Yes it is. Now if we could only get the outcomes to go our way…all the time.

          2. I hear a lot of nostalgia of the pre-17th days, but do we really think that state legislatures are really any less stupid than the voters who elected them?

            1. The reason for the nostalgia is less that the state legislatures are any better at picking people, then that the Senators would be representing the state governments and would be less inclined to impose mandates on them.

        2. Don’t be in a hurry to throw away good ideas like Democracy just because you’re not always happy with the outcome.

          The notion that putting term limits on Congress would be “throwing away democracy” is a bunch of poppycock. Imposing it on the presidency after FDR was just fine, and it would be for Congress as well.

          1. The notion that putting term limits on Congress would be “throwing away democracy” is a bunch of poppycock. Imposing it on the presidency after FDR was just fine, and it would be for Congress as well.

            The biggest problem is convincing majorities in the houses of the legislatures of thirty-eight states to support term limits.

            A bare majority of thirteen states representing less than 10% of the American population can block term limits for Congress.

        3. “Term limits are not suddenly going to make those voters better people. Remove Stark and they will select somebody just like him.”

          I absolutely agree! Term limits got rid of Bush and the people selected somebody just like him.

          1. If Bush had been able to run for a third term and chose to do so, do you think he would have won?

            1. Obama seemed to think he was running against Bush.

            2. Not in 2008, but if he could legally run in 2012, he would have a better than 50% chance.

              The man was the most aggressive campaigner the Republicans have put up since Nixon.

              Without the post race card, Obama is vulnerable as there are even limits to the self defeating stupidity of suburban soccer moms so maybe Anywarmbody But McCain would have a good chance even without Bush’s campaign skills.

      2. That lady really schooled Stark.

    2. Breitbart! You’re like those abused spouses that keep coming back to hubby…

      1. The film is all over. You can find it on youtube. Say something substantive or shut the fuck up.

      2. Shooting the messenger before reading the message is typically considered poor manners.

    3. The federal government can do anything. Pete Stark told me.

      On this, he is correct.

      Read about the Trail of Tears and Manzanar.

  2. While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate ? and tax ? a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce.

    Wickard v. Filburn says it can…

    Perhaps this case will overturn that silly decision.

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn

      Here’s the link to the wiki entry for the case you mentioned- for those who don’t know.

      Hey, but doesn’t Obama really like the FRD regime… oops, I mean presidency?

    2. I wouldn’t count on it. Scalia is way too in love with stability. I bet he votes to uphold Obamacare and by extension Wickard.

      1. He already did – in Raich V. Gonzales

        He’s just another pro-state fuck.

        1. He does some things well. But he is an elitist and thinks that stability matters over truth. he thinks you are better off leaving an established bad law be than overturning it and making it right. And that is just fucked up.

        2. …was a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled on June 6, 2005 that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which allows the United States Congress “To regulate Commerce… among the several States,” Congress may ban home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.

          Thomas with a strong dissent.

          1. Thomas is the justice Scalia likes to pretend he is. Thomas is the better writer and the more principled jurist.

        3. And Scalia specifically mentioned Wickard in his opinion. So he’s an enemy of liberty.

          Thomas has bad moments, but his awesome dissents outshine the darkness.

          1. his awesome dissents outshine the darkness

            racist

      2. Yeah, ya know, I was sorely disappointed in Scalia in

        1. OK, I don’t know what the hell happened there. Oh actually I do – probably forgot to close an HMTL tag. Preview, dammit, preview!

          Anyhow – I was disappointed in Scalia in McDonald v. Chicago. Thomas was the only one with the balls to – if you’ll excuse the expression – call a spade a spade. He came right out and called for overruling Slaughterhouse. And he did a very good job of laying out the historical record showing that the 14th Amdt clearly was meant to apply the first 8 amendments to the states. It was refreshing to see that kind of intellectual honesty and adherence to principle from a SCOTUS justice, against tremendous political pressure.

      3. “Scalia is way too in love with stability.”

        That conflicts with, e.g., his opinion in Melendez-Diaz and concurrence in Gant.

        1. Melendez-Diaz he has the advantage of an extremely obvious textual clause. The Confrontation Clause is right there in the Constitution.

        2. Those cases didn’t destabilize things much. They didn’t cause 1000s of convictions to be overturned. They just changed things going forward. Scalia is okay with that.

          But he honestly believes that if overturning a bad law would cause a lot of upheaval because of people relying on the old law, the old law should remain.

          1. “They didn’t cause 1000s of convictions to be overturned.”

            This is incorrect. The ground shifted last June.

            Based on Melendez-Diaz, the drug cases have been — and will be — flipping for a long while. Think about all the drug possession/distribution/trafficking and gun cases over the relevant years, the vast majority of which involved ballistics and lab certs. Easily thousands right there just in Massachusetts alone.

            1. Based on Melendez-Diaz, the drug cases have been — and will be — flipping for a long while. Think about all the drug possession/distribution/trafficking and gun cases over the relevant years, the vast majority of which involved ballistics and lab certs. Easily thousands right there just in Massachusetts alone.

              Not to mention cases involving red light cameras, at least in jurisdictions where running a red light is treated as a criminal offense.

    3. Wickard v. Filburn says it can…

      No it doesn’t.

      1. Correct – growing wheat is activity, not inactivity.

  3. I can’t believe the bullshit, prevarication and disingenuousness his sycophantic supporters are perpretrating all over the place, to try to justify and somehow rationalize that Congress really does have the power to do this.

    It gives me a major headache. These are some sick people. They think it’s just GREAT that big daddy gummint is finally coming in to take care of us all – especially if it will do it by taking away money from those big ol’ meanies – the rich people and right-wingers!

    I really have to stop visiting those forums in which these idiots spout their inanities. They act like they’re some kind of constitutional scholars, when they clearly don’t know shit about con law or even the history of our country.

  4. The Supreme Court is in a supreme state of fail with respect to the Constitution.

    All that has to be shown is that your behavior “affects” interstate commerce, and it’s a green light for whatever power the Federal regime wants to exert.

    Thus, Justice Thomas correctly noted in Raich V. Gonzales that the Federal regime can regulate anything.

    So Pete Stark is simply stating the facts in the youtube above.

    1. Leela: Cool your jowls, Nixon. You may not like it that Dr. Zoidberg desecrated a flag. You might even find the image of it festering in his bowels somehow offensive. But the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Earth Constitution.

      Nixon: Aroo! Maybe so. But I know a place where the Constitution doesn’t mean squat.

      [cuts to Supreme Court]

  5. LOL, more like a big joke LOL

    http://www.remain-anonymous.at.tc

  6. I wonder if there’s ever going to be a sea change in attitudes and all these morons will finally stop rubbing statist hot sauce on their buttholes.

    Probably not.

    1. Will they stop tacofucking?

      1. They touched my country.

        1. +1
          That guy was awesome entertainment, albeit fightening in the fact that he exists.

          1. Well, frightening AND fightening.

            Evidently.

            Fucking preview. I blame threaded comments.

  7. I love how disingenuous the administration and the democrats have been about this horror show of a bill.

    Obama:”It’s not a tax, it’s a way to get people to buy health insurance.”

    Constitution: “um, that’s illegal. You can’t do that.”

    Democrats:”IT’S A TAX!!!INTERSTATE COMMERCE!!!IT’S A TAX!!!”

    Justice Thomas:”I am going to beat this law senseless if it gets to me.”

    Obama:”You know the Bush administration really messed up the economy. Also you’re a racist if you don’t believe in this bill.”

    1. I still don’t get it, how is it Obama’s fault if the Bush administration messed up this country?

      This bill is so good for you it hurts. You just cannot see it. It’s like eating vegetables and avoiding trans-fats. You are chubby crybabies..

      Your rubbing a different hot sauce in your butholes, at least the statist sauce is pure and unpolluted.

      1. “how is it Obama’s fault if the Bush administration messed up this country?”

        Obama and the Democrats had a majority in 2006. Bush is liable for screwing up himself, but the democrats are hardly blameless. And it’s been almost a year and a half since this liar got elected. How much longer is he going to whine about Bush?

        This bill is so good for you it hurts. You just cannot see it. It’s like eating vegetables and avoiding trans-fats. You are chubby crybabies..

        Fuck off statist. I’ll do what I want to my body and eat whatever the hell I want. And don’t give me that “but I have to pay for the consequences of your bad decisions” bullshit because I pay for my healthcare on my own.

        Your rubbing a different hot sauce in your butholes, at least the statist sauce is pure and unpolluted.

        The Statist sauce is pure? That’s hilarious. It’s poisoned worse than rivers in the mining towns of former soviet states. Get that shit away from me.

        1. I think your sarcasm detector needs to be recalibrated.

        2. “”How much longer is he going to whine about Bush?””

          Don’t know. Limbaugh still whines about Bill Clinton.

          1. I fuck your mother in the afterlife.

          2. Gotta one up ya here Gipper. I fucked his mother in his afterbirth. Talk about yer sloppy seconds.

      2. at least the statist sauce is pure and unpolluted.

        and comes w/ a USDA-approved-buttsauce sticker too!

        1. I think waffles is a spoof troll. Don’t quote me though. You never know for sure.

          1. He probably is, but I am so sick of Obama and the dems whining about the Republicans and Bush “ruining the economy” when they are just as much to blame as Bush it makes me want puke blood.

            1. He probably is, but I am so sick of Obama and the dems whining about the Republicans and Bush “ruining the economy” when they are just as much to blame as Bush it makes me want puke blood.

              President Obama and his handlers neglect to mention how he voted against President Bush’s deficits in the Senate.

              A President Vilsack or Dean could, at least, could have credibly claimed to have had nothing to do with deficit spending during the Bush administration.

      3. When did this whole hot sauce on the butthole thing start gaining traction?

        1. When we all started fucking tacos.

  8. If the Govt can make you buy health “insurance” then what else can they do under this principal (e.g. that they can force a private citizen to purchase a product from another private citizen or corporation).

    Just extend it to it’s logical conclusion: To save the fish wrapper traditional media, everyone must subscribe to their daily rags. To save traditional network TV, every one must subscribe to cable (and the cable companies must pass through a boat load of money to the networks). To save the UAW, sorry, I mean the Big Three US auto manufacturers, one must buy one of their products before being allowed to buy a Honda, Toyota or other non-UAW produced vehicle. To help out their trial lawyer friends, can they mandate everyone must keep an attorney on retainer.

    The list is absolutely endless if the principal applies.

    1. BWAHAHAHAAA!!

    2. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS.

    3. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

      1. I love you.

  9. Are you serious? Are you serious?

  10. Are you dog star?
    Are you dog star?

    1. Baaad pun. Siriusly.

  11. some of the state attorneys general were severely criticized by local Democratic politicians and pundits for joining on to the lawsuit and thereby “wasting tax payer dollars.”

    A stitch in time saves nine.

  12. You want to become nauseated at what passes for critical, logical, analytical thought among the progressive Obama buttlickers, read this thread.

    I gave up talking to those assholes. It made my blood pressure soar too much and gave me a headache before going to bed last night.

    1. Whoa, alt-text on the link! You’re the anti-SugarFree.

      1. I do what I can. He’s funnier than I am, though.

  13. The Virginia Republicans deserve a lot of credit, too. It really bolstered the case by having Virginia pass a law explicitly opposing its citizens being forced to buy health insurance. The Virginia Health Care Freedom Act helped ensure that Virginia had standing.

  14. Unless you also get the ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions overturned as well, “winning” this case is just going to accelerate the collapse of the private insurance industry, and quickly bring about single payer.

    It’s interesting that none of the posts by Reason writers have addressed this problem. It appears that rah-rah-rahing for our side and ignoring the consequences isn’t just a behavior of Reds and Blues.

    1. You are right, you have to get rid of the pre existing coverage requirement. And I think everyone here would agree with you. But that is still not a reason to keep a horrible, authoritarian, unconstitutional mandate.

      And people hating the mandate is a good thing. As people start to understand that the kitten hugging ending of the pre existing condition exclusion comes at the price of the mandate, they will be more likely to throw the entire thing out.

      One thing at a time. Ending a horrible authoritarian policy is not being go team rah rah.

      1. You may be being optimistic about the pre-existing conditions thing.

        A lot of people in this country believe there really is such a thing as a free lunch, as long as Congress says there is.

        1. Some no doubt do. But you have to start somewhere.

      2. Tulpa, you’re right, but I don’t think that’s gone entirely unmentioned here. Also, what John said. This would set a horrifying precedent.

        1. It’s been mentioned in the comment threads, but never in the posts by Reason writers.

      3. As people start to understand that the kitten hugging ending of the pre existing condition exclusion comes at the price of the mandate, they will be more likely to throw the entire thing out.

        How again will they realize this? People still support the MFing Drug War by huge majorities, for God’s sake, and the problems that clusterfuck causes have been obvious for decades. Don’t hold your breath.

        Ending a horrible authoritarian policy is not being go team rah rah.

        If you’re completely oblivious to the authoritarianism-increasing consequences that ending this particular policy create, then yes, it’s go team rah rah. Right now, libertarians see themselves as on the anti-Obamacare team.

        1. People still support the MFing Drug War by huge majorities, for God’s sake, and the problems that clusterfuck causes have been obvious for decades. Don’t hold your breath.

          Yes, but there are increasing numbers getting their information from other sources, and that wasn’t available decades ago. When was the last time MJ legalization was on the ballot?

          Oh, that’s right, never. We’ll see how huge a majority supports the continued prohibition after November, but the presence on the ballot is definitely a change in a positive direction.

      4. You are right, you have to get rid of the pre existing coverage requirement. And I think everyone here would agree with you. But that is still not a reason to keep a horrible, authoritarian, unconstitutional mandate.

        Why should we get rid of this requirement?

        Does not this requirement exist in auto, fire, and life insurance?

    2. “Unless you also get the ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions overturned as well, “winning” this case is just going to accelerate the collapse of the private insurance industry, and quickly bring about single payer.”

      It’s an interesting point to consider.

      And it goes back to something I’ve been thinking about for a while, especially in regards to people in the Tea Party and elsewhere calling Obama a “communist”…

      There’s no way the Chinese Communist Party would be so stupid as to implement what the Obama Administration has wrought–so isn’t referring to Obama as a “communist” an insult to communists at this point?

      Anyway, saying that a system is worse off half way stupid is no reason to advocate for total, complete stupidity. Seriously, the great thing about laws is that they can be changed to reflect reality, and if Congress ever wakes up to the fact that nailing both our feet to the floor was stupid, chances are they won’t walk around in a circle for too long before they realize it might not be such a bad idea to pull the other nail out too.

      1. The amusing thing, historically speaking, is that for the longest time, China didn’t really bother with centralized health care. It just wasn’t part of what they imagined the government as being there for, apparently. “In 1984 surveys showed that only 40 to 45 percent of the rural population was covered by an organized cooperative medical system…” – The Infallible Wikipedia
        So we’ve successfully out-communisted the communists, I guess.

      2. Anyway, saying that a system is worse off half way stupid is no reason to advocate for total, complete stupidity.

        The fact that the alternative is worse than the status quo is a pretty good reason to argue against it. I can’t even believe I have to spell this out as if it were a controversial statement.

        And you’re off in Never Never Land if you think Congress is going to vote to wake up and vote to repeal the ban on preexisting condition denial. They’ll vote to legalize crack first.

        1. It could be challanged in court.

          And/or congress could tweak it to the point of meaningless. Say by extending the waiting period before coverage of pre-existing conditions to 3 years or something.

        2. The fact that the alternative is worse than the status quo is a pretty good reason to argue against it.

          And I would argue that absolutely empowering the government to force me to pay for not doing things is far worse than your possible alternative.

      3. I’m actually okay with insulting communists.

        1. A communist was being interviewed by a reporter:
          Reporter: If you have two houses, will you give me one?
          Communist: Of course, yes!
          Reporter: If you have two cars, will you give me one?
          Communist: Of course, yes!
          Reporter:If you have two shirts, will you give me one?
          Communist: Of course, no!
          Reporter: Why no this time?
          Communist: Because I HAVE two shirts!

    3. accelerate the collapse of the private insurance industry, and quickly bring about single payer

      Fine. I can accept that. Single payer, while vastly inferior to a free market, is still superior to the craptastic regulatory mish-mash that exists today.

    4. If the insurance mandate is struck down, the insurance industry will fight to overturn the pre-existing conditions mandate.

      And the horrible mess it will make of the insurance industry isn’t going to win the Democrats any points.

      1. “If the insurance mandate is struck down, the insurance industry will fight to overturn the pre-existing conditions mandate.”

        Obviously Hazel doesn’t realize that neither the American Medical Association nor the American Hospital Association have any clout or influence with Congress, because… Well, because…

        I’m sorry, I can’t think of anything wrong with what Hazel said. In fact, it sounds a lot like common sense.

        …unlike the suggestion that more stupid is better? It’s no contest.

      2. And the horrible mess it will make of the insurance industry isn’t going to win the Democrats any points.

        They’ll blame the Republican AG’s.

    5. The pot might likely boil faster but it may tip the pot over, but if nothing is done the pot will boil. What, Tulpa, do you suggest to stop the pot from boiling?

      1. Wait for an opportunity to roll back the law without making things worse. If that opportunity never comes…oh well, there was no way to prevent it.

        But it seems even libertarians are not immune to the do-something antz in da pantz.

      2. Wait for an opportunity to roll back the law without making things worse. If that opportunity never comes…oh well, there was no way to prevent it.

        But it seems even libertarians are not immune to the do-something antz in da pantz, so I’m probably preaching to the Satanic choir here.

  15. Remove Stark and they will select somebody just like him.

    Learning Kurve!

  16. Let’s see, the Constitution recognizes three areas of law – Common Law, Equity (business) Law, and Admiralty Law. I’m not a business, and I’m not on a ship, so that leaves Common Law, under which I cannot be compelled to perform. Game over.

    1. The inane fucking progressives argue that, first of all, one of Congress’s plainly enumerated powers is to lay and collect taxes, and second, combined with the general welfare clause, they can impose that tax on whatever they think is good for the most people.

      In other words, they argue for an interpretation of the Constitution expressly rejected by those who wrote it, and expressly rejected by courts, including SCOTUS, for generations.

  17. Sure, if the mandate is thrown out, a crisis is precipitated because of the mandatory acceptance of pre-existing conditions.

    So? We’re heading to single-payer at a pretty good clip right now, even if the mandate is upheld. The only way we are going to change this scenario is if there’s a crisis. Sure, the crisis may not break our way and cause the scrapping of the whole thing, but at worst it we’ll just get to single-payer a little quicker.

    1. Single payer has never been popular. The liberals have only gotten this far by claiming that they are not doing single payer but something better. If people were faced with a crisis and the choice was single payer or throw the government out of of health care, I don’t think the liberals would like the choice people would make.

      1. That is because most people are not sick or have loved ones that are sick. Healthy people can care less of sick people.

        1. “Healthy people can care less of sick people.”

          That is why the country is filled with charity hospitals. No one cares about the sick. Yet people give billions to take care of them.

          1. “”That is why the country is filled with charity hospitals.””

            Like this?
            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02……html?_r=1

            I doubt there is any medical facility that is donation only. Even the charity hospitals need federal and state funds to survive.

            1. I doubt there is any medical facility that is donation only.

              Shriner’s hospitals don’t charge their patients. They are children’s hospitals, so they don’t take Medicare. Some of them have just started taking insurance and may start taking Medicaid.

              1. Do they recieve fed or state grants?

                1. http://www.wicu12.com/news/ind…..;type=News

                  They got simulus funds.

        2. Yes. I’m healthy. You seem to be sick. Q. fucking E.D.

        3. No, that is because many of us have had bad experiences with incompetent or corrupt public officials, or ones that just didn’t give a shit, so we don’t want them deciding what kind of health care we get.

        4. Hello Shit Facktory! I remember you!

        5. That is because most people are not sick or have loved ones that are sick. Healthy people can care less of sick people.

          So because they’re sick, they can demand others’ money or labor to care for them?

          I’m an idiot. I have a chronic condition that could probably get me excused from work on disability. Why am I working to keep my insurance, when I could just get it free? I’m sick, so it’s my right, and all you healthy mofos can just pay up.

          Thanks, Alice.

        6. Yeah, well, your head is self-admittedly like a sieve.

      2. If people were faced with a crisis and the choice was single payer or throw the government out of of health care,

        You damn well know that’s not the choice that will be presented. It will be single-payer or the old private insurance system that every pundit and analyst will say precipitated the crisis.

        It’s been a long time since “get the government out of it” has been an option on health care.

    2. I don’t think the mandate would do much to slow that down, as long as the ban on pre existing condition exclusions remains. IIRC the penalty for going bare is lower than a lot of insurance premiums would be, esp. for the young and healthy. And also is it true that there is no enforcement provision for collecting the penalty? If not then a hell of a lot of people will be gaming the system by waiting until they are sick to buy coverage.

      1. “And also is it true that there is no enforcement provision for collecting the penalty?”

        You are supposed to show the IRS that you have insurance. If you don’t, you pay a penalty for that.

        This thing is so unpopular, I really wonder if there will not be mass civil disobedience to it. And if you have that, you are just a short step away from people not paying their taxes at all.

        1. Which means one more 1099 form (the 1099-HI or some such nonsense), more admin. for everyone, and the exact opposite direction every taxing authority has moved towards in the last several years (to electronic filing from paper filing).

        2. “”This thing is so unpopular, I really wonder if there will not be mass civil disobedience to it.””

          I’m not sure it is that unpopular. The amount of time I spend trying to convince my liberal friends that even if you believe in universal care, this law is crap and you’re not getting what you think.

          They just don’t want to listen.

          1. I think it is very popular among people who don’t know what is in the law. It is very popular among people, esp. the “community organizer” and “rock the vote” types who think they are going to get a lot of “free stuff” (paid for by someone else). When people realize that they will be forced to buy insurance and that their premium will probably go up (esp. young healthy people) I wonder how popular it will be.

            1. “”It is very popular among people, esp. the “community organizer” and “rock the vote” types who think they are going to get a lot of “free stuff”””

              That’s not the people I’m talking to. It’s not about free, it’s about changing a system they think is flawed. They seem to be willfully blind to the notion that change can be more harmful than the status quo.

              But I agree, once they start feeling the effects, they will not like it.

          2. it’s like we had this health care problem, then we argued about it a whole lot, and then we just made it a lot worse.

            in college, this was how the democratic process usually worked at interfraternitycouncil meetings as well. everyone meant well, but all the frustration poured into shitty resolutions that just made everything worse. shameful.

    3. I replied to a similar point above, but I’ll repeat…

      Single payer is still better than today’s craptastic regulatory mish-mash.

  18. You libertarians/conservatives will not be happy until we get rid of the mandate that hospitals/clinics/doctors have to see injured people in EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.

    The problem is NOT the Mandate or getting rid of the Pre-Existing Condition … It is INSURANCE.

    Insurance is the problem.

    Insurance acts like a ‘Tony Soprano’ standing between the patient and the caregiver. It is complete useless and is NOTHING MORE THAN a SKIM…Just like the Mob.

    Insurance is the SOLE REASON as for why Healthcare costs have gone WACKO.

    Recently, my daughter required 5 stitches. The doctor sent me a bill for $3,900.00. I told the lady at the office to not bother sending me any more bills. I wasn’t going to pay them. I told her to send it straight to collections. She (Kathy) said that I shouldn’t have an attitude with her and she would work with me since I have a HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE plan.

    We re-negotiated and all I had to pay was $1,200. Basically, she told me that had I had a tradition insurance policy, she would have billed $3,900. THIS IS THE PROBLEM. IT IS INSURANCE.

    1. “Insurance acts like a ‘Tony Soprano’ standing between the patient and the caregiver. It is complete useless and is NOTHING MORE THAN a SKIM…Just like the Mob.”

      No. It allows me to pay a small amount now and pool my risk with other people. Insurance is perfectly rational and necessary and fills a vital function. If you can’t pool risk, no one will take any risk.

      1. No, it allows you to pay a small amount now and the insurance company will weasel out of paying for anything major.

        There’s no need to POOL the risk. You can simply make every person pay for their own medical treatment.

        1. There is every need to pool risk you fucking moron. I have no idea what my future medical costs will be. So I can’t plan for them. I could live healthy and die in a car accident and have no costs for the rest of my life or I could get some chronic disease and have millions in costs.

          I don’t know so i can’t plan. So what I do is I pool my risk of big costs with thousands of other people so we each have a fixed insurance cost we can plan around. And insurance companies pay out billions of dollars in this country. And people get care every day.

          Jesus, the stupid is out hard and early today.

          1. You must be on the west coast.

            Insurance regularly weasels out of paying. And there is a lot of evidence of this.

            1. So… If they’re violating the law in some form or fashion, why not use the state’s coercive power to compel payment? Why go to the trouble of forcing a financial product (which will be provided by the very companies you demonize) on millions who don’t want or need it?

              Oh, that’s right, it was never about that. How easily I forget.

              1. I disagree with the mandate.

            2. Yes, they weasel out of paying. Consider the fact that the patient usually isn’t the one choosing his insurance company. His employer is.

              Does the employer give a fuck if the insurance weasels out of paying for an employee who is too sick to work?

              1. Believe it or not, most of the time, the Employer IS THE INSURANCE COMPANY.

                Almost ALL of the Fortune 1,000 are self-insured.

          2. There is every need to pool risk you fucking moron.

            Exactly. Which is why it should be pooled universally, without a middleman taking a cut and finding ways to deny coverage.

            You get this, you just hate government so you can’t see the obvious best solution.

            1. Tony, I would agree with you . And, many of these people that I’m debating today on REASON remember an ALICE BOWIE that wanted universal pooling (i.e. public option). I no longer agree with this. This does NOTHING to fix the rising cost of healthcare.

              U wanna fix da problem…GET RID of INSURANCE.

              This A-hole (Obama), is fortifying insurance…something that I didn’t vote for.

              1. Alice I’m with you. I don’t find anything acceptable other than universal single-payer. The only reason we didn’t get something close to that is because the insurance industry is too influential on members of congress.

                1. Why is health insurance different than life insurance or auto insurance in terms of costs going up? Several main reasons: 1. It usually comes via the employer (due to govt. policy and tax incentives from 1930’s onward) and the individual is NOT the customer and is not allowed to know the true costs and shop around. Laser eye surgery (since it is not covered by most insurance) is the exact opposite and it behaves like other types of insurance when the costs are known and people can shop around. That is the quality is increasing and the costs are decreasing. 2. Gov’t policies such as Medicare, Medicaid, allow many doctors to charge higher rates with no loss of customers. 3. The gov’t allows the AMA (which includes MD’s and DO’s) to limit the number of medical schools and doctors which keeps their salaries artificially high.

                  A lot of busy bodies try to “help” people and support legislation to try to enact something they think would be good and it has consequences that they did not anticipate. You can’t legislate away scarcity.

                  If you want the insurance lobby out of gov’t, get gov’t out of insurance.

                  1. 2. Gov’t policies such as Medicare, Medicaid, allow many doctors to charge higher rates with no loss of customers

                    Gov’t policies have a much different effect. They typically reimburse about 50% of the private sector rate (Medicare is higher, Medicaid is lower), meaning doctors refuse to take on Gov’t patients (rightfully since they are profit-motivated individuals and not charities).

            2. I’d rather have a middleman that I can get rid of than a government I cannot.

              1. Thread winning material.

            3. Wholesale theft of property, taking a cut for some favored individuals based on political/social/racial status and then giving the rest out to others in the name of their health interests is not a best solution.

              But you love government, so that has to be the best solution.

            4. Don’t lie Tony.

              You only care about the idea that insurance companies are profit making businesses, you do not care about denying coverage as the Obama adminstration hasmade quite clear that they intend to control costs by rationing care.

          3. “”so we each have a fixed insurance cost we can plan around.””

            Yeah, I’m nitpicking. But that’s not always true. Some insurances pay a percentage. It can be difficult planning around that since you won’t know what your contribution will be.

          4. I have no idea what my future medical costs will be. So I can’t plan for them. I could live healthy and die in a car accident and have no costs for the rest of my life or I could get some chronic disease and have millions in costs.

            Oh, but it’s way more complicated than that. We’re all dying at some rate or another, and as new drugs become available you’ll be able to spend as much as you want on that problem. Should insurance pay for that? Should the government?

            On the other end you can figure on some baseline risk of SOMETHING happening and put money aside to pay for it if needed, using insurance only for stuff that far exceeds that. That doesn’t work right now because you’ll get gouged if you try to pay for stuff without insurance.

        2. Of course, for now, you still have the option of simply not signing up for insurance and paying your own medical costs. For now.

        3. “There’s no need to POOL the risk. You can simply make every person pay for their own medical treatment.”

          Man-up and die, Alice. Man-up and die.

        4. Yep. Sieve.

      2. John, the kind of “liberal” that pushes this business doesn’t believe that the insurance-as-a-bet model applies to health case.

        They don’t mean “insurance” when they say “insurance”: they mean “not having to pay”.

        The plan to accomplish this ever so worthy goal is to compel the resources for it from whomever has them.

        We’ve had posters in here (not to name in any names, MNG) arguing that it was just and proper to enslave doctors to the needs of patients. Not, you understand, that the doctors ought to feel a moral obligation to help, but that “society” could fairly feel it for them and enforce it.

        Pure, unadulterated “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” stuff here.

        1. That is true. You can see what you are saying in how they talk about giving people “insurance” as a way to cut costs. Right now we have uninsured people who don’t pay their bills. Giving them insurance and having an insurance company pay their bills doesn’t cut overall costs. It just shifts them. But that idea seems to be beyond their grasp.

    2. If people actually paid directly, themselves, for the medical treatment they receive:

      (1) they would go to the doctor a lot less. Given a modern HMO or other plan’s co-pay of $15, why not go see the doctor when you’ve got halitosis or a hangnail? Kid’s nose is runny? See the doc. You’ve got a dry patch of skin? See the doc. Hell, the insurance is paying for it.

      AND

      (2) the costs would come down. As it is, since that big ol’ insurance co is paying for it, they do all kinds of tests and prescribe all kinds of pills and creams and such that the individual never would pay for. Hand the guy a bill for a $10 aspirin or a $100 tube of antifungal ointment, and he would scream bloody murder. But because it’s all covered anyhow, who cares?

      I’m still trying to figure out when it became a “right” to have health insurance.

      1. Yeah, but when you need that emergency appendectomy that costs $12,000 you won’t be haggling over the cost. You still need insurance.

        1. Man-up, John…

        2. Even if you don’t have the insurance, you still need the emergency appendectomy.

        3. I agree, John – medical insurance is for paying for large, unexpected contingencies. Like a broken leg or infected appendix. But what it’s morphed into is “health care”. “Wellness visits,” etc. Prescription plans. They offer a “vision plan” here at work that seems good at first, until you do the math. It’s cheaper for me to just pay for my own eye dr. appointment and new glasses every two years. Same thing with the dental plan. I suppose maybe there’s someone with a particular condition for whom the math would work out, but I sure can’t understand it. It makes no sense for me and my family. So we have no vision or dental and just pay for it. Having the “coverage” actually would cost us more than we currently spend on the actual care.

          We have a high-deductible medical plan – it’s for emergencies. We don’t use it to pay for band-aids and aspirin. But they have plans that do that.

          The problem to me seems to be too many people looking for free stuff.

        4. But health insurance in this country insulates us from the cost of most of our medical care.

          Most people would agree that insurance is good to have in the case of something catastrophic (like emergency surgery).

          But health insurance being used for routine doctor’s visits is like car insurance covering oil changes–it encourages overuse.

      2. “Kid’s nose is runny”

        I’ve actually run a call for that. someone called 911 for her kid’s runny nose. she thought it was swine flu and that he was going to drop dead any second.

        best part – they way she talked to the disptacher, the call came in as “child not breathing.”

        Medic unit, engine crew and EMS supervisor dispatched and running red lights to find a toddler with a cold.

        1. You forgot to include the SWAT team.

          1. And the dead dog.

      3. Not to mention the effect that the reduced demand will have on prices. The increase in competition will do more to increase the affordability of health care than any back-patting, self-congratulating, scotch-swilling Democratic politician ever could.

    3. Health insurance is a finacial product. I buy it to protect my assests from unforseen large medical costs. It really doesn’t have much to do with my day to day health care needs.

      You have a high deductible plan and didn’t want to pay? What did you expect?

    4. You libertarians/conservatives will not be happy until we get rid of the mandate that hospitals/clinics/doctors have to see injured people in EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.

      The problem is NOT the Mandate or getting rid of the Pre-Existing Condition … It is INSURANCE.

      I don’t see how the first point is connected to the second point, although admittedly we do enjoy watching the poor die of neglect while we light our cigars with hundred dollar bills and twirl our mustaches.

      But, anyway, Obamacare doesn’t eliminate insurance–it mandates it. This is one reason insurance lobbyists didn’t help to kill this bill like they did Hillary’s bill in the ’90’s.

      And if you thought insurance sucked before, wait until the government runs it.

    5. There’s a grain of truth in Alice’s tirade. The existence of health insurance has made the normal pricing structure a complete fiction in health care. What is billed is rarely what is paid, and virtually no one price shops a provider. I’ve read sadly hilarious stories of people calling doctors’ offices asking what a particular procedure costs and exactly no one can tell them…it just never comes up. I just read another where a guy needed to get a cyst removed and was quoted prices from $700 down to $50 from a country doctor…that just doesn’t happen in a robust free market.

      The problem isn’t insurance, per se, but the fact that we now treat it, not as insurance, but as a health care pre-payment plan. That severely distorts the market, encourages over consumption and allows everyone to disregard price.

      We need a free market in health care. We don’t have anything resembling it now.

      1. AMEN BROTHER.

        THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM SAYING !!!

        People just like calling other people stupid every time someone doesn’t agree with them.

        1. Sorry if I came across like that. I think you’re spot-on, Alice.

          1. I believe Alice was referring to John’s namecalling.

            1. Yes I was

      2. The problem isn’t insurance, per se, but the fact that we now treat it, not as insurance, but as a health care pre-payment plan. That severely distorts the market, encourages over consumption and allows everyone to disregard price.

        Word. Insurance should be for emergencies only. And employer provided insurance further encourages people to treat it as an entitlement. Nobody shops around and people are appalled at the thought of actually having to consider the cost.

      3. Jeffersonian – 8/3/10 4:34pm

        Yes. Absolutely.

    6. “Insurance acts like a ‘Tony Soprano’ standing between the patient and the caregiver. It is complete useless and is NOTHING MORE THAN a SKIM…Just like the Mob.”

      Even positing the truth of everything you say, it makes no sense to put Michael Corleone in charge of superivisng and auditing Tony. Government functionaries are the biggest, baddest profiteers of them all.

  19. Okay, the revolution is here.
    What do you have, arms wise, to support the revolution?
    The time for thinking is over, NOW is the time to plan, scout, dial in targets.
    VIVA LIBERTY.

    1. Maybe you should take your meds as prescribed for a week and see if its still revolution time… I’m just saying. That way people like me can’t use that as an excuse to dismiss you.

  20. Neither the US Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue. No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product.

    That’s because nobody has ever been able to make this claim without being laughed out of the room before.

    Under this logic, Congress would be able to outlaw boycotts. If it can regulate decisions not to purchase at all, then surely it can regulate decisions to purchase from one company and not another, because this has way more of an impact on interstate commerce than simply not participating at all.

    1. Doesn’t the NLRA outlaw the use of secondary boycotts by labor?

      1. Not the NLRA as passed. As amended by Taft-Hartley, yes, it bans secondary boycotts by recognized labor unions.

        Of course, this is considering that labor unions themselves were considered illegal monopolies under common law and antitrust law until specifically legalized by the NLRA.

        1. If anyone has had to much to drink and really needs to vomit, read the case where the DC public defenders tried to do a little organizing.

    2. Under this logic they can do anything they damn well please. Just use the taxing power to tax 100% of everyone’s income and possessions.

      Then allow exemptions for desired behavior. Banning speech is unconstitutional? Not anymore! We just give you a tax credit for not engaging in speech we don’t like! 2nd amendment? Tax credit for not owning guns. Defense of marriage? Tax credit for not being gay!

      See, we aren’t trampling your rights… we’re just establishing a rational tax policy… Oh, and don’t forget to buy your GM vehicle so you can get your tax credit…

      1. I don’t think they can use taxes to unduly burden other constitutional rights (I remember some cases about taxing media outlets or something), so I guess there are limits.

        1. So naturally, this applies to the second amendment (if true).

  21. Look, I love my High Deductible plan.

    The Best part is when you call a Doctor’s office and ask them how much a consultation costs. They NEVER EVER KNOW the answer to that. That is because they bill WHATEVER !!!

    The REASON that health-care cost are so ridiculously high is because the patient is NOT PAYING. An aspirin would NEVER COST $100 if the patient had to pay. The Providers took advantage of the fact that Insurance companies weren’t going to investigage every claim.

    1. Two things:

      * The insurance company generally doesn’t pay that figure. They pay a lower figure as agreed with the doctor/hospital, or set as a fraction of the “usual and customary” rate (which I suppose is usually regulated or adjudicated by the state). Then the doctor either writes off the remainder (if they have a contract with the insurance provider) or bills you for the rest.

      * You generally have the option of paying cash on the table and filing the insurance yourself.

      Heck for a couple of years my PCP insisted on cash on the table, to keep his costs down. Nice guy: he made house calls, though he’d charge a bit more for that.

      1. They still pay WAY TOO MUCH.

        Plus, we have embraced the idea that STEALING is A-OK when it comes to Medical Providers.

        1. It’s a bit of a stretch to call it “stealing,” but I get your point. The big thing no one talks about with these small claims is the huge overhead costs associated with them. I’d be willing to bet the paperwork costs on either end of the claim are as much as the direct costs of the doctor’s time for the visit.

    2. We are in harmony, Grasshopper.

    3. “”The REASON that health-care cost are so ridiculously high is because the patient is NOT PAYING.”””

      I agree. If we had to pay our medical bills in full, providers would have to lower their rates if they wanted customers.

      But that comes with a different bag of worms.

    4. Alice, I think you’re point should be redefined as being that the problem is Insurance coupled with a minimal (or non-existent) deductible. The problem is not insurance, per se. It’s a problem that co-pays tried to solve, and they did somewhat. But co-pays are silly in that they don’t vary. Consumers need to be fully exposed to costs.

    5. Actually, the insurance says, “This is the most we will pay for procedure XYZ.” So that is how much the doctor will charge for the service. Doctors used to treat children and the elderly for a reduced rate or free. They love insurance.

  22. The power granted by the TEXT of the Tax and Commerce clause seems pretty broad. The power “to regulate” period and the power “lay and collect taxes…to provide for the common defense and general welfare.”

    1. Wrong.

      1. That’s not what the text says? Please point out to me limiting language. The Constitution is quite explicit with the limiting language in other places, but not here…

        1. “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

          Please tell me MNG where can one construe that the above means “doing whatever the fuck we want.”

          And remember, my mother tongue is NOT English; I pressume yours is.

          1. Seems to me it’s pretty clear. If commerce happens across state lines the feds have the power to regulate it. Which makes perfect sense regardless of what you think the founders thought.

            1. You can’t buy insurance across state lines.

            2. You can’t buy insurance across state lines.

            3. Have you tried to buy a health insurance policy from another state, Tony?

            4. You can’t buy insurance across state lines.

              1. Yes, but you can NOT buy insurance across state lines. So just apply this to anyone who’s ever crossed a state line or been on federal land while uninsured and it’s fair.

              2. (Fuck you server squirrels! This isn’t spam!)

                You can’t buy insurance across state lines.

                Yes, but you can NOT buy insurance across state lines, so just apply it to anyone who’s ever crossed a state line or been on federal land while uninsured and it’s A-OK with the supremes.

            5. Really, Tony? Tell us about the last health insurance policy you purchased across state lines.

            6. Tony,

              It doesn’t say regulate as in placing regulations on everything, it means “keeping it regular”, as in striking down any protectionist schemes the states may place.

              1. Oh really? So the US government has the power to do this with respect to foreign countries as well?

                1. It has the power to keep states from having their own independent foreign import tariff systems.

                  1. Hazel, I don’t think the text gets that specific in the foreign commerce clause. You aren’t trying to impose your own arbitrary interpretation on the plain words of the constitution are you?

            7. But you CAN’T buy insurance across state lines.

        2. “Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

          Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.

          “But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

          James Madison, Federalist 41

          1. Jeffersonian,

            People like MNG are the reason contracts have to have very specific clauses. They are slick.

            1. According to MNG, we could replace the entire Constitution with a 3×5 notecard upon which the word “whatever” is scrawled.

              1. “”According to MNG, we could replace the entire Constitution with a 3×5 notecard upon which the word “whatever” is scrawled.””

                I’m sure his elected officials agree.

            2. That slickness isn’t smarts on his part; its catshit dipped stupid.

            3. That slickness isn’t smarts on his part; its catshit dipped stupid.

    2. Re: MNG,

      The power granted by the TEXT of the Tax and Commerce clause seems pretty broad.

      Really? Because the text tells me in no uncertain way that the Congress has the power to keep commerce regular, not that they have the power to do whatever the fuck they want.

      1. How do you figure? It says Congress has the power “to regulate” IS commerce. See the definition below, they have the power to “govern or direct by a rule.” That would surely include a rule to buy x.

        1. “That would surely include a rule to buy x.”

          No, but it could unquestionably devise rules that govern the sale and purchase of x, which would apply to those who choose to purchase x.

        2. You fucking idiot. You’re applying a modern definition to a late 18th Century word.

          “On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823.

          1. So how does your definition of the word regulate apply to the text “regulate commerce with foreign nations”?

            1. It means free trade.

              1. And the US Congress has the power to impose free trade on foreign nations?

                1. Re Tony,

                  And the US Congress has the power to impose free trade on foreign nations?

                  No. It does not. What Commodore Perry did was immoral and illegal, but then again, Congress of back then was as callous and immoral as today’s.

                2. No, but it can allow Americans to trade with others in foreign nations.

            2. So how does your definition of the word regulate apply to the text “regulate commerce with foreign nations”?

              Preventing an unequal trade agreement between any particular state and a foreign government that would exclude any or all other states from the agreement.

    3. The way I interpret “regulate” is “to make regular”, as in “uniform”.

      I really don’t see how we got from that to forcing individuals to buy insurance. From companies that aren’t permitted to sell across state lines, at that.

    4. The Tax Clause and the Commerce Clause are two entirely different sources of federal power.

      The problem with the individual mandate is:

      (a) If it’s a tax, then (aside from the fact that President Obama lied his ass off in a prime time interview with George Stephanopoulos) it’s arguably an impermissible type of tax (not every form of taxation is constitutionally acceptable).

      (b) If it’s not a tax, then it’s arguably beyond Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause (and the Necessary and Proper Clause) to effectively force people to engage in commerce.

      1. For an interesting parallel, check out the history of the Militia Act of 1792.

  23. So to me the only questions are:

    1. Is commerce in health insurance interstate commerce? Answer seems plainly yes.
    2. Is this a tax? This seems questionable. The test is does it objectively aim to raise revenue. It seems to operate more plainly as a penalty to me…It’s purpose does not seem to fund anything…

    1. The question you should be asking:

      Is forcing commerce to occur an act of regulating it?

      1. Given the definition of regulate I’d say yup:
        Main Entry: reg?u?late
        Pronunciation: \?re-gy?-?l?t also ?r?-\
        Function: transitive verb
        Inflected Form(s): reg?u?lat?ed; reg?u?lat?ing
        Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin regulatus, past participle of regulare, from Latin regula rule
        Date: 15th century
        1 a : to govern or direct according to rule b (1) : to bring under the control of law or constituted authority

        1. MNG, fool, you did not understand the question.

          MP asked if FORCING commerce is the same as REGULATING it.

          Fool.

          1. Who’s being forced to do anything? Don’t insure yourself (i.e., putting the risk of your being injured on everyone else), don’t get a tax break. No force involved. Just a different tax structure for people who can afford insurance but don’t buy it and those who do.

            1. Except it doesn’t say that, comrade.

            2. Re: Tony,

              Who’s being forced to do anything?

              Dishonest.

              Don’t insure yourself (i.e., putting the risk of your being injured on everyone else), don’t get a tax break.

              Even if that were true, it is basically extorsion. But it is NOT true, the bill specifically mandates the purchase of insurance under penalty of being hit with a FINE.

              1. Eh that’s really all semantics. My question is what makes you think you deserve to have everyone else pay for sewing your uninsured ass back together when you get hit by a bus?

                1. Not a damn thing. So let’s repeal the federal law that makes it so and we’ll all live in a freer world.

                2. Re: Tony,

                  My question is what makes you think you deserve to have everyone else pay for sewing your uninsured ass back together when you get hit by a bus?

                  Well, what right do I HAVE to take everybody else’s money?

                  Answer: NONE! So what are we discussing?

                  If your beef is with mandatory care at the Emergency Room, that’s a whole different ball game. You just don’t compound ONE absurdity with ANOTHER absurdity.

                  1. If your beef is with mandatory care at the Emergency Room, that’s a whole different ball game. You just don’t compound ONE absurdity with ANOTHER absurdity.

                    Particularly when the first absurdity is the cause of the problem that the second, larger, absurdity is meant to correct. Tony’s statist schemes have failed, so obviously the solution is a larger, more intrusive, statist scheme.

                    1. “”Tony’s statist schemes have failed, so obviously the solution is a larger, more intrusive, statist scheme.””

                      Sounds kinda like some people’s approach to parenting.

                  2. So if I understand you both, you think it would be a freer world without mandatory care?

                    The freest possible world is one in which your ability to acquire life-saving surgery is exactly like your ability to acquire a boat?

                    1. The freest possible world is one in which your ability to acquire life-saving surgery is exactly like your ability to acquire a boat?

                      Holy shit, it looks like he’s starting to understand!

                    2. Oh I understand that for all the disingenuous semantics going on here the worst is the libertarians’ twisting of the word “freedom.” Why can’t you understand that access to some basic necessities shouldn’t be wealth dependent? Why should being poor be a crime punishable by death? Why would you possibly want to live in a world like that?

                    3. Why can’t you understand that access to some basic necessities shouldn’t be wealth dependent?

                      If they’re necessities, how are people living without them now? They’re necessary, correct? How has man survived the last few eons without health insurance?

                      Why should being poor be a crime punishable by death?

                      By this logic, existence is a crime punishible by death.

                      Your rhetoric sucks.

                    4. Why should being a health care provider be a crime punishable by slavery?

                      Every good or service is wealth dependent, it’s just in your world, that welath is stolen from those who created it and given to those who haven’t.

                      I know for you it’s scary at first to imagine a world where you live by your own abilities, and not by the largess of the state, but it really is possible.

                    5. mokie,

                      I don’t buy the idea that those who have wealth by definition created it. That’s a moral argument, and one not even based in reality (much wealth is acquired through luck alone). I have a moral premise too, I just think it’s far superior to that. I also believe in democracy, and a society in which only wealthy people could afford life-saving heart surgery isn’t one that’s tolerated for long by people who have an informed choice in the matter.

                    6. I also believe in democracy, and a society in which only wealthy people could afford life-saving heart surgery isn’t one that’s tolerated for long by people who have an informed choice in the matter.

                      You should at least understand the reason why life-saving heart surgery is so expensive.

                    7. The more you talk, the more hollow your rhetoric becomes. Wealth is not something that is just to be “acquired” or “seized” – as statists like yourselves like to infer, but it is something that is created and can also be destroyed. Usually it is created by the sweat of someones labor only to be seized by elitists who think they know better how to spend it.

                      You are also ignoring the whole issue of the people who supply the health care (i.e. goods and services) are being completely screwed in your system by not being allowed to freely negotiate for their services. If it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of training to perform open heart surgery and only a select few people are skilled enough to do it, it should be expensive. And if you try to screw with that causal relationship, you will end up with either no open heart surgery available anymore, or horribly sub-standard operations.

                      And as far as morality, there can be no higher moral standard than individual freedom.

                    8. Yes, we’re such disgingenuous assholes for employing the Enlightenment definition of “freedom” rather than the modern Progressive bullshit one.

                    9. Oh I understand that for all the disingenuous semantics going on here the worst is the libertarians’ twisting of the word “freedom.”

                      I’ve never seen a definition of freedom that mentions anything about safety, longevity, or health.

                      If you think that having those things trumps having freedom, that’s fine, but implying that they’re equivalent to freedom or even that they’re a part of it is what seems disingenuous to me.

                    10. The freest possible world is one in which your ability to acquire life-saving surgery is exactly like your ability to acquire a boat?

                      And a blade of grass thrusts upward through the vast expanse of concrete that is Tony’s mind.

                    11. My question is what makes you think you deserve to have everyone else pay for sewing your uninsured ass back together when you get hit by a bus?

                      I don’t deserve that.

                      The freest possible world is one in which your ability to acquire life-saving surgery is exactly like your ability to acquire a boat?

                      Yes.

                    12. CJ I can’t believe you guys admit to that. Really? Healthcare isn’t a commodity people buy through rational choice, it’s based almost entirely on need alone, with life and death at stake. Choice isn’t factored in much into the supply/demand equation, but cost is. And I’m called an elitist? Sorry, I think healthcare being a right is simply far superior to the darwinian ethics you’re selling. There is much more to justice and freedom than whether a millionaire gets to keep a thousand extra bucks.

                    13. Healthcare isn’t a commodity people buy through rational choice, it’s based almost entirely on need alone, with life and death at stake.

                      You mean like Lasik, where people pay tens of thousands of dollars on surgery just so they will not have to wear glasses?

                      Or cyborg implants, so quadriplegics can walk instead of just ride in a wheelchair?

                    14. This has nothing, not one damn thing, to do with whether a millionaire gets to keep an extra thousand bucks.

                      The necessary implication of “healthcare being a right” is that some other person will be forced at gunpoint to provide you with healthcare. It’s exactly as simple and as violent as that, and if you believe that such a state of affairs resembles, in any way, shape, or form, “justice and freedom,” then you are either profoundly confused or profoundly evil.

                3. You’re the one who’s demanding everyone be forced to pay for everyone else’s health care. Why do you think that a premise we don’t accept in the 1st place is an argument for getting us to accept the insurance mandate?

                  1. MJ I’m saying if we’re a society that respects medical ethics–meaning we have a modicum of decency and modernity–then you’re already paying for others’ healthcare. If you understand why health insurance works then you can appreciate the argument that government should be the insurer, not for any nefarious totalitarian reasons but because it’s proven the world over to be the most efficient and most equitable way of delivering healthcare.

                    1. …because it’s proven the world over to be the most efficient and most equitable way of delivering healthcare.

                      More lefty lies.

                      Tony doesn’t give a shit about the ‘poor’ or anybody else. He’s on a retarded quest to empower his team.

    2. How can commerce in health insurance be interstate commerce, if you can’t buy it across state lines?

      1. agreed.

      2. Are you serious?

        If the Fed Gov’t doesn’t regulate health insurance, there will be literally thousands of people crossing state lines to find a better deal- which obviously “affects” ‘interstate commerce’.

  24. Regulate meant to make regular back then. The word is not used the same way today.

    As far as general welfare, the founding fathers fucked up on that one. But I don’t think I’m out on a limb when I say they didn’t intend for your personal health to be “general welfare”.

    1. Read Federalist 41 for James Madison’s refutation of MNG’s baseless assertion.

    2. When I hear the idiot progs (but I repeat myself) make that idiotic general welfare clause argument, it makes me want to start climbing the tower with my .308.

      It is quite clear from the writings of those who were involved in creating the Constitution and their contemporaries that the “general welfare” clause does not mean what people would like it to mean today.

      The simple-minded cannot grasp the concept that the generally understood meaning of words evolve and change over time, and that your modern-day sense of the meaning a word imparts may be quite different to that of someone in the late 18th Century. As mentioned down thread, “regulate” did not, in any way, mean “impose comprehensive government control over”. And the general welfare clause did not, in any way, mean that Congress was supposed to provide FREE STUFF!! WOO HOO!! for the citizenry.

      1. You know damn well that as soon as we get General Welfare, we’ll need General Welfare Reform.

  25. “”. Is commerce in health insurance interstate commerce? Answer seems plainly yes.””

    While debated, not really the question at hand.

    Is not having health insurance interstate commerce? That’s plainly a no.

    The absence of interstate commerce is not interstate commerce.

    1. Not to mention the fact that you and I cannot even buy a health insurance policy across state borders because of federal law. So no, health insurance is NOT interstate commerce. So sayeth Congress.

      1. But does the new law change that? If so, then it will become interstate commerce.

        1. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that is the case.

          1. Even if it doesn’t. We have a bad SCOTUS ruling to deal with.

            1. Could be that Congress will keep the mandate and strike down bans on interstate insurance sales.

  26. Well, “interstate commerce” back in the day meant only buying and selling across state lines. Leaving aside whatever “regulate” might mean, any insurance company could completely avoid federal controls of all kinds merely by operating solely intra-state. Even a company that operated in multiple states could easily be organized so it was not engaged in “interstate commerce” (different policies in each state, sold through different subsidiaries). Which, actually, is exactly how health insurance operates to this day. Even big bad Blue Cross operates this way.

    But, if you really want the belt to go with your suspenders, “regulate” doesn’t mean “control”. The Commerce Clause was adopted as a reaction to the protectionist laws adopted by some states under the Articles of Confederation, and was intended to promote the free flow of trade, to standardize and “regularize” trade among the states, not to control economic activities within the various sovereign entities listed on equal footing in the Commerce Clause (foreign nations, Indian tribes, and states).

    1. I agree RC, but SCOTUS doesn’t. At least in that Pot grown in CA, intended for CA residence, and not intended for cross border sale is valid intersate commerce.

      1. Possibly the worst decision since Wickard, and that includes Roe.

        1. What about In re Anastaplo?

  27. Re: Alice’s point above, I agree with much of what you say. The problem is bigger than just private insurance: the problem is third-party payment, period. To have a functioning free market for health services, you need to get third-party payment largely out of the way, whether the source of that payment is a private health plan or CMS. Only sudden, catastrophic health events meet the definition of sound insurable risks.

    1. hurly buehrle has provided the complete description of the problem in 2 sentences.

      Third-party-payment is the problem!

      Ok, everybody is now assigned to write the above statement 100 times as punishment for thinking that a law that mandates third-party-payment can possibly solve the problem of third-party-payment.

      1. 3 sentences, dang!

    2. Agree. Which is exactly why single-payer has exactly the same problems as the insurance system. As long as a third party – someone other than the patient or doctor – is required to pay, there will no incentive to bring down costs and restrict treatment.

      The only difference is if the government is paying you can’t blame the evil “profits” of the insurance company. Ultimately, the government has to restrict spending in some way. In Canada this has happened by controlling wages of health-care professionals. And that has resulted in shortages and waiting lists (predictably).

      But, ultimately, if you can’t get treatment because you can’t pay, or you can’t get treatment because the waiting list is too long, what difference does it make? You’re still dead either way.

      1. There is a Difference between the government being the Single Payer and a Corporation being the Single Payer.

        The PEOPLE can VOTE for a budget and increases and entitlements.

        A Corporation will SCREW the PEOPLE.

        1. The democratic process is so flawed that the results will no no fairer than those produced by the market.

          Just for example, look at the issue of abortion in the latest debate. Because it wasn’t politically expedient, abortion coverage was nixed.

          Meanwhile, a government agency issued a report saying breast cancer screenings weren’t helpful for women under 30. The resulting political outcry caused them to mandate FREE mammograms for women under 30.

          There is no evidence that any other coverage issue would be handled in a saner manner. Your access to treatment would totally depend on the insane whims of the electorate, swing voters in crucial states, or whether your congressman has a committee chairmanship.

          1. At least with a private market you can always pay out of pocket. You don’t need the community to vote on whether you deserve treatment.

            1. Agreed. And in order to prevent non-connected individuals from circumventing the system, restraints to alternate treatment will ‘necessarily’ be enacted.

              People will die while the community gets around to voting.

        2. The PEOPLE can VOTE for a budget and increases and entitlements.

          And we’ll have the same problems that we have with insurance.

          Why does insurance turn people down? Because people who buy the policies want it that way. They don’t say it explicitly, but they shop around for the cheapest premiums. (It’s worse when your employer is doing it for you, naturally.)

          Everybody has an incentive to want their legitimate concerns covered, but not those wasteful treatments on other malingerers.

    3. Just to toss this out, not that I agree with it ….

      You could have single-payer catestropic coverage. I.e. the government pays for high-cost emergencies, but you’re expected to shop around and pay out of pocket for everything else.

      1. This is what I suggest to progressives that shovel me the “Medical Bankruptcy… Waaa!” argument. Its like their masters never mentioned such a possibility, so they’re dumbstruck at a different statist approach to “unfair” medical issues.

        1. Yea, but would U (a Non-progressive that doesn’t want to pay SHIT for anyone else) be willing to FUND (with PUBLIC MONEY) high-cost emergencies?

          1. No. I would want it to be supported by premiums that people would have to pay into it. But since it’s equivalent to a high-deductible plan, they would be relatively small.

            The point is that it would help reduce the cost-inflationary effects associated with third party payment. Personally, I would prefer private high-deductible insurance.

    4. Hazel, is that not what the emergency-room care mandate is?

      1. Not exactly. Emergency-room care might include bullshit that doesn’t belong there. And might not include something like lung cancer, which creeps up over time. You can’t walk into an emergency room and get chemotherapy. But you can get your kid a bandaid for his skinned knee.

  28. MNG said:

    “Is commerce in health insurance interstate commerce? Answer seems plainly yes.”

    You’re forgetting (quite conveniently) one thing. The clause says that congress has the power to “regulate commerce…..among the several states…” When you regulate whether or not I am buying health insurance you are not regulating commerce among the several states. You are regulating commerce that takes place among an individual and their insurance company. The clause lists no power to regulate internal industries of each state.

    The IS Commerce Clause is written in plain English. Read it. First, learn English. Then read it.

    “To make a thing which may be bought and sold is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling. Besides, if this were an exercise of the power of regulating commerce, it would be void, as extending as much to the internal commerce of every state, as to its external.”–Thomas Jefferson

    1. Read the Wickard v. Filburn decision. It says Congress can ban home-grown wheat because if you’re eating your home-grown wheat, you’re not buying from a farm, which may be in another state and thus interstate commerce.

      1. Good God is Wickard a horrible ruling, or what?

        Fuck me, I’ve been making my own food! In my own kitchen! From scratch!
        That means I’m not buying it from a restaurant, which might employ people.

        I’m destroying jobs by cooking my own food! That’s interstate commerce!

  29. I agree RC, but SCOTUS doesn’t.

    Yep. I know. SCOTUS is wrong, and has been since they got rolled on Wickard.

    My prediction: SCOTUS will uphold the mandate, and we will be left with nothing but another scintillating Thomas dissent to fondle.

    Further: Kagan, in violation of judicial ethics, will vote to uphold the law. Contrary to what she told the Senate, judicial ethics requires that she recuse herself from any matter on which she advised the administration, not just those cases that she represented them.

    The last nail will be driven in the pretense of Constitutional government. When funds permit, I will leave the country for warmer climes. Where, if the local power structure is no less corrupt, they will at least be cheaper to bribe.

    1. Yep. I know. SCOTUS is wrong, and has been since they got rolled on Wickard.

      Would the Supreme Court use Wickard as a basis for overturning the district court ruling in Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services?

    2. I’ll bet ANYTHING that U r WRONG Dean!!!

      The ONLY person to ask is Justice Antony Kennedy. The three on the RIGHT are WING-NUTS. Roberts is the only conservative that I think is reasonable.

      The three on the LEFT are WING-NUTS. Only Sotomayer is questionable. I don’t think she’s liberal AT ALL.

      The ONLY person that knows is ANTHONY KENNEDY!!!

      We shouldn’t even bother with this matter. Just ask Tony Kennedy.

  30. We get to see how MO feels tonight or tomorrow morning.

    Although turnout will be low because it’s hotter and more humid than two fat people fucking in between wool sheets here. Missouri, it’s like South East Asia without the little fella’s in black pajamas, the tigers, and the elephants.

    Is that racist?

    1. Fuck the heat. I just voted and I voted “yes” on C.

    2. MO is holding for yes on C at 73% with 12% in.

      1. Somewhere in South County, Jim Lembke is smiling.

        1. I’m pretty sure he knew how it would end. The only question I had was if it would break 80% yes or 60% yes.

          1. I think he knew it would pass, but I had a long talk with him a few days ago and he was still pushing hard and worried that he was having trouble getting others to campaign for it.

            1. Low turn out and Carnahan running a campaign solely on her name and not getting anything out means the large urban centers and liberal base in MO won’t turn out. I heard Boone went “No” which isn’t surprising.

  31. http://www.examiner.com/x-5738…..?#comments

    Mr. Witt is getting an earful for this little line in his article.

    In plain English language, what voters are asked is whether to allow the government to mandate people to buy health insurance (as the federal health care reform package does). It is doubtful that many voters will even know they are voting on the national mandate.

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