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Opinion

Opinion

Health care case has Democrats reeling

April 7, 2012

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“I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

— Barack Obama, on the constitutional challenge to his health care law, April 2

“Unprecedented”? Judicial review has been the centerpiece of the American constitutional system since Marbury v. Madison in 1803. “Strong majority”? The House has 435 members. In March 2010, Democrats held a 75-seat majority. Obamacare passed by seven votes.

In his next-day walk back, the president implied that he was merely talking about the normal “restraint and deference” the courts owe the legislative branch. This concern would be touching if it weren’t coming from the leader of a party so deeply devoted to the ultimate judicial usurpation  — Roe v. Wade, which struck down the abortion laws of 46 states — that fealty to it is the party’s litmus test for service on the Supreme Court.

With Obamacare remaking one-sixth of the economy, it would be unusual for the Supreme Court to overturn legislation so broad and sweeping. On the other hand, it is far more unusual to pass such a fundamentally transformative law on such a narrow, partisan basis.

Obamacare passed the Congress without a single vote from the opposition party — in contradistinction to Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid, similarly grand legislation, all of which enjoyed substantial bipartisan support. In the Senate, moreover, Obamacare squeaked by through a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation that was never intended for anything so sweeping. The fundamental deviation from custom and practice is not the legal challenge to Obamacare but the very manner of its enactment.

The president’s pre-emptive attack on the court was in direct reaction to Obamacare’s three days of oral argument. It was a shock. After years of contemptuously dismissing the very idea of a legal challenge, Democrats suddenly realized there actually is a serious constitutional argument to be made against Obamacare — and they are losing it.

Here were highly sophisticated conservative thinkers — lawyers and justices — making the case for limited government, and liberals weren’t even prepared for the obvious constitutional question: If Congress can force the individual into a private contract by authority of the Commerce Clause, what can it not force the individual to do? Without a limiting principle, the central premise of our constitutional system — a government of enumerated powers — evaporates. What then is the limiting principle?

Liberals were quick to blame the administration’s bumbling solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, for blowing the answer. But Clarence Darrow couldn’t have given it. There is none.

Justice Stephen Breyer tried to rescue the hapless Verrilli by suggesting that by virtue of being born, one enters into the “market for health care.” To which plaintiffs’ lawyer Michael Carvin devastatingly replied: If birth means entering the market, the Congress is omnipotent, authorized by the Commerce Clause to regulate “every human activity from cradle to grave.”  

QED.

Having lost the argument, what to do? Bully. The New York Times loftily warned the Supreme Court that it would forfeit its legitimacy if it ruled against Obamacare because with the “five Republican-appointed justices supporting the challenge led by 26 Republican governors, the court will mark itself as driven by politics.”

Really? The administration’s case for the constitutionality of Obamacare was so thoroughly demolished in oral argument that one liberal observer called it “a train wreck.” It is perfectly natural, therefore, that a majority of the court should side with the argument that had so clearly prevailed on its merits. That’s not partisanship. That’s logic. Partisanship is four Democrat-appointed justices giving lockstep support to a law passed by a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president — after the case for its constitutionality had been reduced to rubble.

Democrats are reeling. Obama was so taken aback, he hasn’t even drawn up contingency plans should his cherished reform be struck down. Liberals still cannot grasp what’s happened — the mild revival of constitutionalism in a country they’ve grown so used to ordering about regardless. When asked about Obamacare’s constitutionality, Nancy Pelosi famously replied: “Are you serious?” She was genuinely puzzled.

As was Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill. As Michael Barone notes, when Hare was similarly challenged at a 2010 town hall, he replied: “I don’t worry about the Constitution.” Hare is now retired, having been shortly thereafter defeated for re-election by the more constitutionally attuned owner of an East Moline pizza shop.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 8 months ago

One would think that a Harvard educated, constitional lawyer would understand the concepts of judicial review, separation of powers, and checks and balances. Is there a reason that Obama's scholastic records are closed?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I agree.

I'm a bit shocked that he would speak that way, of "deference" to the legislature.

John Hamm 2 years, 8 months ago

You know I'm really getting sick and tired of people calling me "bigoted!" When I do or say something bigoted have at it but until then you owe a large number of Kansans an apology!

John Hamm 2 years, 8 months ago

I guess I read your comment wrong. Please accept apology.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

Obamacare is patently unconstitutional. Its brilliant drafters, including the Constitutional Law Professor-in-Chief himself, failed to observe that it contained no severability clause, which was discovered after it was passed because no one in charge had read the legislation before it was passed. Under those circumstances, Obamacare should be stricken in its entirety as unconstitutional.

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 8 months ago

           Affordable Care Act Repeal Would Have Immediate Consequences

Increased coverage of preventive services Many health insurance plans are now subject to new rules that require them to cover recommended preventive services without charging a co-payment. As a result, consumers pay nothing for services like routine screenings, vaccines, counseling, flu shots and well-baby and well-child visits from birth to age 21.

Birth control coverage One aspect of the preventive care coverage -- and among the most discussed provisions of the new health care law -- is the requirement that health insurance plans cover contraceptive services. After a widely publicized effort by religious leaders and Republican lawmakers to repeal this measure, the Obama administration announced a compromise that shifts the cost of contraceptive coverage from employers to insurance companies.

Restrictions on lifetime and annual limits The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from placing lifetime limits on most benefits that consumers receive and sets a minimum for annual dollar limits. By 2014 annual dollar limits are slated to be phased out entirely.

Coverage for children with pre-existing conditions Under the new law, insurance companies cannot deny coverage or limit benefits to children under age 19 because of a pre-existing condition or disability. Starting in 2014, people of all ages with pre-existing conditions will be protected.

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Adults who have been refused insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions and who have remained uninsured for at least six months are eligible for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. The program covers primary and specialty care, prescription drugs and hospital visits without requesting higher premiums for pre-existing conditions.

No health plan barriers for ob-gyn services Health plans cannot require women to get a referral from a primary care doctor before seeking ob-gyn services.

Access to out-of-network emergency room services The Affordable Care Act prohibits a health plan from charging higher co-payments for emergency room visits in hospitals outside of the plan's network. Patients are also exempt from needing a plan's approval before seeking out-of-network emergency care.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/affordable-care-act-repeal_n_1400009.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 8 months ago

            Affordable Care Act Repeal Would Have Immediate Consequences

Programs that help people file appeals and request external reviews.

Consumer Assistance Program The Affordable Care Act improves the services that some states provide to help people with insurance problems. Grants have allowed states to strengthen and grow programs that assist consumers with enrolling in a health insurance plan and with filing complaints and appeals.

More value for the insurance dollar A provision of the law called the 80/20 rule requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical care. If they don't, they must provide consumers with refunds starting this summer.

No insurance cancellations for honest mistakes Insurance companies are not allowed to rescind coverage when patients make honest mistakes on their insurance applications. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could retroactively cancel patients' policies because of unintentional paperwork errors with little medical bearing.

Expanded Medicare coverage The law gives elderly adults who face the Medicare coverage gap a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D. Seniors will receive additional prescription drug savings until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.

Indian Health Care Improvement Act reauthorized The law reinstates the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which provides resources to curb the health care disparities faced by American Indians. Originally passed in 1976, the act was last reauthorized in 1992 and many of its provisions expired in 2000.

Tanning salon tax The Affordable Care Act imposes a 10 percent tax on tanning beds, and these proceeds help underwrite other provisions of the law.

Expanded coverage for young adults on their parents’ plans The law requires insurance plans that offer coverage of dependents to allow children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. Adult children can be covered on their parents' plans even if they are married, eligible for work or student insurance, living away from home or financially independent.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/affordable-care-act-repeal_n_1400009.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

The difference is twofold: One, the state and federal governments have differing scopes by design.

That means that it may be perfectly constitutional for a state to mandate auto insurance but not so for the federal government to do it.

And, two, auto insurance is tied to purchase and use of an automobile, so if you don't want to buy it, you can simply not buy and use a car.

The same is not true of the ACA's mandate to buy health insurance.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Could you please explain how it can be constitutional for the state government to force me to buy health insurance, but not the federal government? Can the state government force me to buy broccoli?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I've explained it numerous times, but you don't seem to want to understand it.

Our system is designed to be one in which the federal government's powers are limited and enumerated, with any of those not specifically given to it reverting to the states or the people.

You can find this in the 10th amendment, which reads "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,...are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

That means that state governments may very well have the right to mandate an individual purchase of health insurance, while the federal government lacks that right.

Now, there is another question at play, that of the rights of individuals, and whether a state's mandate violates some individual rights. I don't know whether there have been court cases about the Massachusetts mandate - if so, they'd be interesting.

But, the fundamental distinction is that the federal government is limited by design, and that states may have wider latitude.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

But the US constitution does allow the government to regulate interstate commerce. Healthcare accounts for 1/6 of the US economy, and does so in a very "interstate" way. It also allows the government to promote public welfare, and there is little that affects public welfare like access to healthcare.

Meaning that the only real grounds for declaring it unconstitutional is that it violates individual rights, and states are just as subject to such a ruling as the federal government is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

"Meaning that the only real grounds for declaring it unconstitutional"

"It" being the mandate.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, but mandating an individual purchase is so far from regulating interstate commerce that it's not funny - given this idea, the federal government could justify any number of absurd mandates for individuals to buy things - IPod's for example.

And, the general welfare clause applies to taxing and government programs - if that were what we were discussing, I'd agree there is justification, which is why a Medicare expansion might be better.

So I disagree - the grounds are that it's an unjustified expansion of federal power.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Those are both examples of taxing and government programs, which are justified by Article 1, section 8 of the constitution.

Don't you see a distinction there, between those sorts of programs and requiring people to buy things from private companies?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Of course it's regulation-- and in the eyes of its most vocal rightwing opponents, a rather dramatic "taking over" of the healthcare system by the government.

It's ironic that relying on private companies to run the insurance aspect is seen as unacceptable among the far right, but in striking down the mandate, they'll hold up the option of Medicare for All as something that wouldn't be unconstitutional.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. The only reason to strike this down constitutionally is that it violates individual rights. But this court can't really use that argument because the effects would be so wide-ranging in ways that don't serve corporate power-- and let's face it, that's the only master that Republicans have, including the majority on this court.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

You're obviously trying not to understand the crucial point here - you're too intelligent to misunderstand it by mistake.

If you believe as you say, then the federal government does indeed have the right to make you buy broccoli, using the ICC as grounds. After all, we spend a lot of money on food, and there's plenty of interstate commerce involved there as well.

The ICC was intended, as I understand it, to regulate commerce between states, by setting some rules for it, like that NC can/can't impose a 20% surcharge on goods from SC, and the like.

Forcing a citizen to buy a product is far from that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

As I've stated many times, I really don't like the mandate, for reasons I've already stated.

I still say the commerce clause has little to do with anything. Fact is, the commerce clause is like much else in the constitution-- It's rather vague, and was written at a time that could not envisage, and made no attempt to do so, how this country and the world would change in the ensuing centuries. Trying to concoct a judicial Ouija board to divine the original intent of the framers of the constitution, and how it might apply to delivery of modern healthcare is a pointless exercise.

And this court, which supposedly supports private enterprise, overruling the mandate because it's not a tax, even though they are ideologically opposed to any such tax, will be the height intellectual dishonesty. They're class warriors for the plutocracy, and that is likely the only lens through which whatever ruling they come up with can be seen.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

If we don't try to understand the intention of the founders, and apply the basic principles we were founded on to our society today, then what should we use instead?

People of varying stripes have very different ideas about how they'd like to structure our society - how would you choose between those alternatives?

For example, right wing Christians would like to turn our society into a theocracy - the general argument against that is that the constitution provides for a separation of church and state. If we do away with the intentions of our founders, why not make this country into a theocracy?

If the commerce clause has little to do with anything, then the government shouldn't use it as a justification for this program. And, if they're not using that, what will they use?

I guess you're ok with the federal government mandating any number of individual purchases, including food, electronics, etc. then.

I'm not.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Like I said, I don't like the mandate, so I don't like using the commerce clause as a justification for it.

But I don't like the Supreme Court using it as a bludgeon against the mandate, either, when their real goal is to kill healthcare reform of any kind because they think it's a good political issue in an election year.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

So what's the justification for the mandate?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

"I guess you're ok with the federal government mandating any number of individual purchases, including food, electronics, etc. then."

No, I'm not OK with that. But I'm not OK because it's an infringement on individual liberty-- that has nothing to do with the commerce clause.

BTW, picking out individual items of food or electronics and equating that with the mandate to buy insurance is just silly. We have soup kitchens, school lunches and food pantries for those without access to food, and you can easily survive without the latest electronic gadgets, and go to the library if you need access to a computer. It's not perfect, but it's much better access to those things than currently exists for those without insurance have to medical care, largely because of the extremely high cost of medical care-- highest costs in the world, by far.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

If it's ok for the government to mandate purchasing health insurance, why isn't it ok for them to mandate other purchases?

We also have county health departments, charitable organizations that provide health care, emergency rooms that are mandated to provide emergency care, etc.

If the ICC is the justification for the individual mandate, according to the "we spend a lot on it, and interstate commerce is involved", then that would apply to other purchases like the ones I mentioned.

If not, what's the justification for it?

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 8 months ago

The gop teapublican health care plan?

If you get sick hurry up and die.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

Let us suppose something. Suppose this health care plan was the best plan ever. Suppose it would reduce costs while at the the same time providing a much higher standard of care. Suppose everything good you could possibly imagine and attach it to this health care bill. With the one exception that it is unconstitutional. Now what?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Great question.

It seems that this is what many supporters of the law are saying - it's a great law, I don't really care whether or not it's constitutional.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm with jafs -- good question. However, I don't believe supporters don't care about its constitutionality. I believe many supporters are like me -- waiting to learn the court's ruling. If struck down, then I hope the government gets right back to work to get people covered by insurance who don't have coverage now.

If not Obama's plan, I hear Romney has a plan.

Oh ... wait.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

And, how would you do that exactly?

I've spoken with a number of supporters and asked how it can be constitutional, and how the ICC can reasonably be held to extend as far as mandating individual purchases. None of them have a good answer, and they seem to dislike the question.

Lists like the above post that list a number of positive features of the act without discussing the constitutional question also give me that impression.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm not a judge, so I honestly can't say for sure. I do know, however, that I must pay taxes. Taxes are clearly an example of the government telling me what to do with my money. Does it matter if I give them the money to buy what they want me to have for "my own good" then if they tell me to pay for it directly? This notion of the government not telling me what to do with my money except in the case of buying insurance is laughable. They do so all the time.

Of course, the purchase of insurance is a bit different, but in the end, it is just another tax. From what I can tell, taxes are constitutional. That is how it can be legal ... maybe.

Again, I am glad it is going to the Supreme Court. Let them settle it.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Taxes are constitutional, as are government programs for the "general welfare", based on Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution.

Show me another example of the federal government mandating an individual purchase from a private company.

That's not a tax, by the way.

And, I repeat my comments to bozo - If this is acceptable, then the federal government can in fact mandate any number of individual purchases, including food, electronics, etc. Is that really ok with you?

When the SC decides it, I'm almost certain it will be a 5-4 decision, with a large minority dissenting. Decisions like that show that there are clearly differing opinions, even among well educated and intelligent judges.

Fossick 2 years, 8 months ago

"With the one exception that it is unconstitutional."

Let us suppose something. Suppose this one religion was the best ever. Suppose it would promote cultural harmony while at the the same time providing a much higher personal morality. Suppose it would inspire artists to reach heights unknown, and suppose it could eliminate poverty, hatred, and even trichinosis. Syuppose it was even "true" in a cosmic sense. Suppose everything good you could possibly imagine.... is that enough to overcome the fact that making it law is unconstitutional?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

The obvious answer to my earlier question, (if it's unconstitutional, now what?), then it's unconstitutional and you can't have it, do it, whatever. Or you can change the Constitution. Those are the only answers. Still, I hope we get some kind of affordable health care and I hope Liberty275 gets his bass boat.

Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

Even if it gives me a free Ranger Bass Boat, a ZR1 Vette to pull it to the lake and a college girl to "fish" with, rule it unconstitutional.

booyalab 2 years, 8 months ago

Let's suppose that any of us actually read the bill.....

(seriously, if anyone read the whole thing...I will instantly consider them the authority on the subject for the entire thread)

cartla 2 years, 8 months ago

Simple

Congress has already don it... Medicare.

You pay for it through a tax. That would be constitutional. However the Democrats knew they could not get the votes for a tax plan.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

Never Mind the Mandate We Still Need Medicare for All

The Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in June.

Regardless of the Supreme Court's decision, we will still be left with an inadequate healthcare reform law.

Send an email to Congress and the President now saying: with or without the mandate, we still need Medicare for all.

We must act now. With the ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA, healthcare reform is once again on the minds of Congress, the President, and the general public.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

So you won't be using it when you become eligible?

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

Healthcare Reform Report Card

Let's Compare: Single-Payer (HR 676 and S 703) Expanded Medicare for All Vs. Proposed Healthcare “Private insurance with Public Option” http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/spreport.pdf

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources Physicians for a National Health Program

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

Medical insurance cannot get any better than this:

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 to include:

  • Wellness
  • prescription drugs
  • hospital
  • surgical
  • outpatient services
  • primary and preventive care
  • emergency services
  • dental
  • mental health
  • home health
  • physical therapy
  • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse)
  • vision care
  • hearing services including hearing aids
  • chiropractic
  • durable
  • medical equipment
  • palliative care
  • long term care

No deductibles No Co-pays

Allow IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL to be available now to all taxpaying consumers and let them make the choice. The mechanism is in place as we speak.

Health care in and of itself will remain a private industry.

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for All leaves choice of doctors,clinics,hospital and services across the board to the consumer.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Yep, Obama made a mistake by dredging up the Republican idea of mandating the purchase of health insurance, which Republicans have now decided makes a better weapon in an election year.

Too bad he didn't just expand Medicare to cover everyone-- something that the Republican Supreme Court couldn't use as an election-year bludgeon.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Why didn't they just expand Medicare, if that would have been simpler and constitutionally uncontroversial?

And, I think it's not quite fair to blame the SC for the administration's mistakes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

He didn't expand Medicare because of the money (and the power that goes with it) of Big Health, Big Insurance and Big Pharma, all of whom make obscene profits, thanks to the most expensive healthcare system on the planet.

I don't personally like the mandate, and would have preferred some form of Medicare for All, which would have truly fixed what's broken. But the SC will overrule the mandate on political, not constitutional, grounds. The majority on this court gave up any claim to higher moral ground in 2000, and have sunk ever lower ever since.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Then that's his own fault, and he should be held accountable for it, don't you think?

The problem of money influencing politics is a huge one.

Whether or not you like it, there's no constitutional justification for it - supporters have failed to make their case for that.

I don't remember all of the details, but wasn't the 2000 decision simply a ruling that Florida couldn't indefinitely recount the votes?

As such, it was a very narrow constitutional judgment.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Obama should be held to account for choosing the mandate over public option/Medicare for All.

But I've yet to hear a cogent constitutional argument against the mandate other than bald assertion. So, it's a political decision, and those decisions are made in legislatures, not courts.

The SC ruling in Florida was intended to prevent ANY recounts, not indefinite recounts. There was still plenty of time for a full recount of Florida ballots, and that's why the SC ruled as they did.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

What's the justification for the mandate?

So far, the argument has been that the ICC, originally intended to allow the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, can extend to mandating individual purchases of health insurance.

That seems to be such a vastly different thing than it was intended for that it can't possibly be right.

As a country founded on a limited federal government, with wide scope for states and the people, it falls to the advocates to present a justification for such a large expansion of federal power - what would that be?

See my next post - according to a quick search, there wasn't time at all to meet their own established deadlines - that was one of the procedural issues.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, I looked it up.

The case in 2000 is a bit more complicated than your portrayal, and hinges on a number of procedural issues, as well as constitutional ones.

My main disappointment with it is that the court didn't recommend establishing state (or nation) wide consistent methods of vote counting, since they concluded that different counties using different methods is a violation of the equal protection clause.

The Florida SC decision to order a manual recount was a 4--3 decision, so a large minority at that level didn't agree with it.

And, there had already been a machine recount done.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

The Florida case is not complicated at all. The count that had Bush winning was extremely flawed, and the most thorough subsequent investigations have shown that it was almost certainly wrong.

There was plenty of time for a full recount of the entire state, and there was nothing preventing this from happening but the SC, who did so for purely political reasons-- AKA, a judicial coup.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Not according to my research.

There had already been a machine recount, and there wasn't enough time to complete a full manual recount.

In fact, there had been manual recounts of a few different counties already, most of which weren't done in time to count under Florida guidelines.

As I said, there were numerous procedural issues, as well as the constitutional one of differing methods of manual vote counting.

I care about the integrity of our voting systems, and given the court's opinion that different methods of vote counting are an equal protection issue, it seems to me that they should have mandated nationwide consistent standards to ensure no violation of that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

But there was time for a full recount. The notion that there wasn't was carefully manufactured propaganda.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

"There had already been a machine recount, and there wasn't enough time to complete a full manual recount."

So your position is that an arbitrary date in which the election should be declared over should trump and disenfranchise the will of the american voter?

wow

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Nope.

I'm just researching the decision and trying to understand it, without the obvious bias here.

According to that, that was one of the reasons they didn't allow the recount.

By the way, if there's no such structure, then what stops people from continuing recounting the ballots over and over again, with no end in sight?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

woodscolt - why do you characterize the date as "arbitrary"? It was written in law by the state legislature and signed by the governor.
Unless you know their reasoning, then you don't know at all if it were arbitrary.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

The date could have been extended and by not doing so, the date was allowed to disenfranchise the american voter. Easy for me to see what is more important. The republican supreme court decided that this deadline was more important than the will of the American voters. You see a pretty consistent movement by the Kobachs of the right continuing this effort today for the same reasons. A vote is only a good vote if it is for them. Anyone else is free game to try to manipulate.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

The Supreme Court did not decide the date was more important than the will of the American voters. They decided to follow the law. It is not the job of the Supreme Court to decide if laws are good or bad. Or that some laws can be followed while it's O.K. to ignore other laws. They did exactly what they were supposed to do given the system we have. The Florida legislature could have changed the law, changed the date. That elected body chose not to. If you have a beef, it's with them. I find it curious that you would imply that some votes are more important than other votes. Gore asked for, in fact sued in court for, recounts in only certain heavily Democratic counties. He did not ask for recounts in Republican counties. He fought in court to have military votes disallowed when they arrived from overseas past the mandated time (with no suggestion that they had done anything wrong, just that the mail services in those far flung outposts was slow). A machine count was done and Bush got more votes. In close elections, it was mandated that another machine count be performed and Bush won that as well. No one has ever suggested that the machines did not perform in the manner in which they were designed to perform. But some believe a better method would be to ignore the law, hold hanging chads, pregnant chads, dimpled chads, up to the light in an attempt to divine the intent of the voter. That's your better system?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, it's their job to decide if laws are constitutional or not.

But, I generally agree.

Although if the machine recounts showed one total, then it changed, and then manual recounts were different, that points to a rather large problem with the accuracy of vote counts, which is a bit discouraging.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

jinsf, your post is so flawed that there is no real point in even trying to respond. Bush argued both sides of the arguments depending on whether it was typically a republican precinct or a democratic precinct. Gore arguments were consistent all the way through. Bush disenfranchised military votes as well as accusing Gore of doing such, which he didn't.

"He fought in court to have military votes disallowed when they arrived from overseas"

This comment is complete BS manufactured by the Bush machine. Bush had his team send out letters to people who were in the military to verify their voter registration and when the letters were not answered, moved to eliminated their vote. They were where ever the military sent them to be so they couldn't respond to something sent to their home. You confuse that with Gore. A time honored tactic used by Rove. Blame the other guy for what your doing before they blame you for what your doing. To cover this up Bush then tried to manipulate the federal attorneys who were willing to pursue Bush's crime in the courts. You might (probably not) remember this scandal.

When the supreme court stopped the vote count there was enough time to complete the recount. When the supreme court then announced there decision that the correct thing to do was to recount the vote, they followed that with, of course, since there is now not enough time to complete recount we give Bush the presidency.

Lastly, your comment....No one has ever suggested that the machines did not perform in the manner in which they were designed to perform." There was systemic failure inherent to all the voting machines and this was widely known. Where did you come up with your BS.

This unspeakable behavior by the court plus the more recent case "citizen united" gave Obama every reason to call the court out on the current health care case before them.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

"subsequent investigations have shown that it was almost certainly wrong" That's not true. Using the Freedom of Information Act, several news organizations filed suit a few months after the election. They requested all the ballots. They were given all the ballots. They counted them and reported that Bush received more votes than Gore.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

To the contrary, the consortium of leading news organizations that did as exhausting a recount as possible, including votes that had been wrongfully invalidated, showed that Gore won, albeit very narrowly.

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1095

Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

"Why didn't they just expand Medicare"

Because you pay 40 years for medicare before you can get it and if you are lucky, you can use it for 10 years, while continuing to pay premiums.

rtwngr 2 years, 8 months ago

You really are a Bozo on this one. The republicans looked at this back in the 90's and thought it might be a good social issue to get behind. After further research it was decided that it was far to overreaching by the government and also "unconstitutional" so they dropped it. Get your facts together before you blow off hot gas in these blogs.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

"Get your facts together before you blow off hot gas in these blogs.".....wingr

I hope you were being sarcastic because otherwise your embarrassing yourself in these blogs while providing a little humor for the rest of us.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

If "journalists" are going to insist on calling the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare," then can we start calling its opposition "Republicansdon'tcare"? That is their official platform, is it not? Under the Republicansdon'tcare plan, those without insurance get to stay without insurance. Those driven into bankruptcy by high medical costs are just proof that the free market works. Your child is out of high school but not in a job that provides insurance and you want them covered under your plan? -- don't ask Mitt, because the Republicansdon'tcare about you. They only care about themselves.

Remember, this November: Obama Cares, Republicans Don't.

This message paid for by the WeCareForAmericaPAC.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe when you realize that "increasing government control" is coming from the elephants and not the donkeys.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

HR-676, dead like fried chicken except in the copy/paste universe of a certain prolific poster on this award-winning website.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

Republicans care so much they have to sign their bills in secret so they don't get mobbed. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/scott-walker-wisconsin-equal-pay-law_n_1407329.html?ref=tw "We will remember in November."

Windemere 2 years, 8 months ago

It's not persausive to simply repeat over and over again that healthcare is expensive and getting more so and that Republicans should be condemned because they "don't care." Just about every aspect of Obamacare involves shifting the expense from one person or group to another. The deep pockets are the tax payers -- middle class taxpayers. Many ways to address the problem exist but haven't been tried (at least not in the last 60 years) such as: reduce regulations that make the insurance market less open & free, tax credits to help people pay for insurance, enact policies that encourage insurance to NOT be tied to employment. My understanding is that the reason that it's tied to employment dates back to wage controls of WWII, which led to employers trying thinking up ways to compensate employees other than wages. So they began to tie insurance coverage with employment as a way to get around the interference of government. Market forces can and should help control health care costs. But they can't work if government continues to force top-down "solutions" as a way to redistribute income and benefits. It's a way to pander to the electorate, that's for sure.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

People seek medical care because they are sick. When you're sick, you're not in a mode to shop around. That's why purely market-based healthcare (which is to a very large extent what we already have) can not work.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, there are different kinds of medical care, some acute and others not.

When people go to a doctor for an annual checkup with blood work, they have the latitude to seek the best doctor they can find, and it's not an acute situation.

I certainly hope that most people are making good informed decisions about doctors, and finding the ones that best meet their needs.

Health care isn't completely elastic, but it's not completely inelastic either - it fits with housing, food, clothing, etc. somewhere in between, as far as I can tell.

Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

Hogwash. I chose my doctor. He beat out all the others because he's sharp as a tack and will take the time to explain the underlying illness and not just hand me a prescription.

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

I have to agree with you on this one. I know, those insurance corporations (you know, your heroes) who donate millions to the government to make sure we don't have competition so they can make even more money. But the pools that this law would create would have taken the state's control over who could sell insurance in the state away from them. Brownback likes it the way it is. He probably has a lot invested in the only companies who are allowed to "compete" in Kansas.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

It would also negate any of the "abortion rider" bills that ALEC rubber stamped in half of the states. What's the point when the pools are all held in common?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

"Health care case has Democrats reeling." Only in your little pea brained mind, Krautie. Wishful thinking much? I really want to know why Clarence Thomas hasn't recused himself from this.

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

"I really want to know why Clarence Thomas hasn't recused himself from this."

Yes.

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

The Democrats are going to be reeling with victory, Let's say the court throws out the whole act- all those people who couldn't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions, all those parents who will have to drop their children who can't get a job in today's market with insurance, all those insurance companies trying to keep most of the money for profits instead of medical care. Hmmm. I think there will be a lot of people ready to vote against those Tea Party liars, who said the law would bring on death panels and federal sales taxes on home sales.

bad_dog 2 years, 8 months ago

You may very well see a revival of a push for a single payer system when the individual mandate is found unconstitutional.

Armstrong 2 years, 8 months ago

When this debacle of a bill is found unconstitutional maybe the hopey changey crowd will start to wake up to the rest of this bogus bill of goods they have been sold.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey, there hasn't been an HR-676 post on this thread for hours. Somebody is slacking.

camper 2 years, 8 months ago

I can understand if the bill is ruled unconstitutional.

If this is the case, President Obama should put another bill on the table (as others note above) to create a public option or expand Medicare to all. I personally would have preferred a public option. I really believe that President Obama wanted a public option, but as the process dragged on painfully and was politicized to the nth degree, he compromised. Even though I did not agree with the compromise, I strongly believe that President Obama is trying to do his best for us.

camper 2 years, 8 months ago

Exactly. An insurance provided by the US Government that is optional. I think enough people would opt in thus creating an insurance pool large enough to provide many affordable health insurance.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, if it's optional (which I generally like), then it's not a tax, so where's the justification for the program constitutionally?

And, from what I've read, Medicare recipients pay only about 1/3 of their overall health care costs, so that sort of program isn't sustainable.

How would this sort of program avoid that pitfall?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Why?

That's exactly how private insurance works, right? A group of people buy insurance, pay into a pool, and are provided benefits. It's voluntary.

Not only does it pay for itself, but the insurance company makes a profit.

That means the idea is feasible - why couldn't the government structure a program just like it?

I'm not sure it's constitutional, though.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

So what is the Republicansdon'tcare plan anyway?

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

Easy. It also lowers the unemployment rate. If you get sick and don't have insurance, just die. I think a poster on this forum has said as much. He said that's what he would do if he got sick and didn't have insurance or the money to pay for treatment. I don't believe for a minute that they would, but they seem to think others should.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

At least you're honest. But don't we need to do something so that we don't have to be bothered by stepping over all the dead bodies in the streets? Could we have a government-sponsored Corpse Burial Corp, or should that be done by private enterprise?

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

If I recall correctly, when this bill was being written, a majority of Americans wanted the public option.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Yep, and if explained in neutral, honest language, most Americans would still want that public margin, and it's a rather sizable majority, at that.

But the insurance companies, who demanded the mandate, and at whose behest the public option was excluded, know full well that they can't make their obscene profits through denial of coverage if they have to compete with a "Medicare for All" system whose primary purpose is to provide as comprehensive coverage as possible for the lowest cost. So it was kicked out of consideration early on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

"would still want that public margin,"

should be "public option."

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