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Archive for Monday, March 26, 2012

Supreme Court health care arguments under way

March 26, 2012

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— With demonstrators chanting outside, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments Monday on the fate of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul, no less controversial two years after Democrats pushed it to passage in Congress. Twenty-six states are leading the legal challenge, while Republican presidential candidates are vowing to repeal it after throwing Obama out of office.

The law, much of which has still to take effect, would require almost all Americans to obtain health insurance and would extend coverage to more than 30 million people who now lack it. The law would be the largest expansion in the nation's social safety net in more than four decades.

The nine justices began hearing arguments a little after 10 a.m. EDT.

Outside the court building, about 100 supporters of the law walked in a circle holding signs that read, "Protect my healthcare," and chanting, "Care for you, care for me, care for every family." A half-dozen opponents shouted, "We love the Constitution!"

A four-person student band from Howard University was part of the group favoring the law, playing New Orleans-style jazz tunes.

A decision is expected by late June, in the midst of a presidential election campaign in which all of Obama's Republican challengers oppose the law and promise its repeal, if the high court doesn't strike it down first.

People hoping for a glimpse of the action have waited in line all weekend for the relatively few seats open to the public. The justices allotted the case six hours of argument time, the most since the mid-1960s.

Nurses Lauri Lineweaver and Laura Brennaman, who are completing doctoral degrees, had been waiting since noon Sunday and got tickets to see arguments. "It's an honor to be in the court," said Lineweaver, 35.

The court will release audio recordings of the arguments on the same day they take place. The first time that happened was when the court heard argument in the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election. The last occasion was the argument in the Citizens United case that wound up freeing businesses from longstanding limits on political spending.

Outside groups filed a record 136 briefs on various aspects of the court case.

The first arguments Monday concern whether the challenge is premature under a 19th century tax law because the insurance requirement doesn't kick in until 2014 and people who remain uninsured wouldn't have to pay a penalty until they file their 2014 income taxes in early 2015.

Taking this way out of the case would relieve the justices of rendering a decision in political high season, just months before the presidential election.

The biggest issue before the court is Tuesday's argument over the constitutionality of the individual insurance requirement. The states and the National Federation of Independent Business say Congress lacked authority under the Constitution for its unprecedented step of forcing Americans to buy insurance whether they want it or not.

The administration argues Congress has ample authority to do what it did. If its action was rare, it is only because Congress was dealing with a problem that has stymied Democratic and Republican administrations for many decades: How to get adequate health care to as many people as possible, and at a reasonable cost.

The justices also will take up whether the rest of the law can remain in place if the insurance mandate falls and, separately, whether Congress lacked the power to expand the Medicaid program to cover 15 million low-income people who currently earn too much to qualify.

If upheld, the law will force dramatic changes in the way insurance companies do business, including forbidding them from denying coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions and limiting how much they can charge older people.

The law envisions that insurers will be able to accommodate older and sicker people without facing financial ruin because of its most disputed element, the requirement that Americans have insurance or pay a penalty.

By 2019, about 95 percent of the country will have health insurance if the law is allowed to take full effect, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Reams of court filings attest that the changes are being counted on by people with chronic diseases, touted by women who have been denied coverage for their pregnancies, and backed by Americans over 50 but not yet old enough to qualify for Medicare, who face age-inflated insurance premiums.

Republicans are leading the fight to kill the law either by the court or through congressional repeal. They say the worst fears about what they derisively call "Obamacare" already have come to pass in the form of higher costs and regulations, claims that the law's supporters dispute.

The White House says it has little doubt the high court will uphold the law, and that even its opponents will eventually change their tune.

"One thing I'm confident of is, by the end of this decade, we're going to be very glad the Republicans termed this 'Obamacare,' because when the reality of health care is in place, it's going to be nothing like the kind of fear-mongering that was done," said David Plouffe, a senior adviser to the president, said Sunday in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

Polls have consistently shown the public is at best ambivalent about the benefits of the health care law, and that a majority of Americans believe the insurance requirement is unconstitutional.


Associated Press writers Pete Yost, Jesse Holland and Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.

Comments

Lateralis 2 years ago

The argument is over the interstate commerce clause. Does it have the authority to force people into commerce? The federal government is allowed the authority to regulate commerce but not create commerce by mandate. I have a problem with federal government being allowed the authority to force me to buy a PRODUCT.

All the health care act does is benefit the insurance and drug companies. Obama is giving money to the very people the liberals loathe. The insurance and drug companies know the federal government will beg the fed reserve to pay for the healthcare with an unlimited line of credit. In turn this will increase taxes and the cost of healthcare. The market for insurance is gone and the government will leave the tax payer out to dry in the form of taxation and inflation.

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its_just_math 2 years ago

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

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

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

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tomatogrower 2 years ago

So if this law is declared unconstitutional, will all those who were able to finally get insurance even with a pre-existing condition be dropped by the insurance company? Will my son get dropped from our insurance? I don't think his new job's insurance kicks in for another 60 days. We need to know so we can plan ahead. We aren't one of the irresponsible people who don't believe in health insurance.

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its_just_math 2 years ago

"“The government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases, and that changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in the very fundamental way.” -Justice Kennedy

Uh-oh Obama infatuated sheeple. Notice two words Kennedy used, most likely not by accident: "changes" (objective form of "change") and "fundamental".

Better stay calm, Obama worshipers.....this decision will loom over you for months, oh maybe around......who knows. Stay cool.

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Lateralis 2 years ago

Here's 15 Trillion reasons NOT to support the Affordable Healthcare Act.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

If this number keeps rising....the lack of free healthcare is the least of your worries. The people that support the act are selfish and have no concept of budget and debt. To them it's just a number. All they know is what they want and they'll do anything to get it.

Make no mistake.....the government is incapable of spending money wisely. The Government is no different than the busted drunk gambler at the Casino. Out of money and will borrow as much as he can to lose it all again.

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juma 2 years ago

Just to clarify. BGates is giving money away because he feels guilty about screwing world with crap software. SJobs does not have this guilt.

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beatrice 2 years ago

I'm glad this is going to court. We do need the court to rule on this. However, I can't help but to think that it is at least a little ironic (or is it just sad) that the people who will decide this all have health insurance paid for by the government.

Still, I look forward to the decision being made, whether for or against the Affordable Care Act.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

liberty...ever heard of the Indian trade and intercourse acts...like the one in 1790 that prohibited colonies/states from treatying directly with tribes for land cessions? Massachusetts and Maine violated it.....2/3rds of the state of maine illegally seized in the 1790's and 250,000 acres returned in 1980 land claim settlement act. Rhode Island violated with Narragansett land sale in 1880. Connecticut violated it for centuries with Pequots New York violated with seven different tribes and south carolina violated it with the catawba tribe. Congress has plenary powers over states and tribes and regulates the cession of indian lands unless states rights pawns of the gop/tea party turn precedent on it's head to appease big business and racists who've been mad ever since south carolina tried to secede in 1829. Corporations and corporate welfare good.....the good of the people and social justice....bad....a christian country that stole land, enslaved people... and preaches that greed is good. not what my united methodist pastor parent preached from the pulpit for 40 years but from the mouths of exploitative theocrats wrapped in theocratic patriotism.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

math the parts price references you made are from the 1980's when the contractors and dod under reagan acted like haliburton under bush. conservative troll...facts not needed... fox makes up facts and you believe them.

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Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Healthcare-NOW! Members Oppose Current Version of Congressional Health Bill

Over 125 Healthcare-NOW! members at our 2009 strategy conference voted to oppose the current Congressional version of health insurance reform legislation. While we recognize that many of our allies and supporters may disagree about specific aspects of the pending legislation, we believe that, taken as a whole, it is not worthy of our support. In fact, most of the so-called reforms contained in the bills have already been tried and proven to be a failure at the state level in Massachusetts.

Instead, we should act based on evidence of what works. Medicare, with its lower administrative costs and higher rates of satisfaction, remains the “gold standard” for real healthcare reform.

We anticipated the healthcare debate this year would focus on the true stakeholders: patients and those who care for them. But improved Medicare for All (single-payer) was pushed off the table, by Congress and the private health industry, preventing the American people from learning how access to quality, universal care can be financed without increasing cost to the public.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/healthcare-now-members-oppose-current-version-of-congressional-health-bill/

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

The government may pay $600 for a "left handed" hammer or pay $800 for a toilet seat. But, The Flexible Obama who, if he had a boy would look like Trayvon, will give 32,000,000 extra patients all the "affordable" Obamacare $1000 dollars can buy.

The Flexible Obama is so adorable.

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booyalab 2 years ago

If the Federal government can force us to buy health insurance, the precedent will be set so it can force us to buy anything else as dictated by the politics of the day. That is scary.

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tbaker 2 years ago

I think the thread holds the record for the most uses of the Red Herring and Straw Man fallacies for one blog topic.

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donttreadonme 2 years ago

Whatever.

I'm sure this activist court will twist the Commerce Clause as needed to satisfy their corporate/political aims. I'm betting on a 5-4 in favor of the ACA because it will line the pockets of the insurance companies and give the GOP ammunition for the fall elections.

And spare me any nonsense about an apolitical SCOTUS. Bush v. Gore blew that out of the water.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

don't answer my question because you not smart enough to....nor was mr. katsis who sounded just as sniveling speaking to justice roberts yesterday as he did when he waffled on my question in september. you have no concept of anything other than white history. i'd love for an indian law professor to laugh at you and your mythical view of american theft.....oops i mean history.

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pace 2 years ago

I hope protesters on either side remain peaceful. I also hope the police respect their right to protest.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

I know what plenary means. I'm Indian. Your government has used plenary power to steal more land than you'll ever know. Example #1 the Kiowa Comanche and Apache people had title to 2 or 3 million acres of land until the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887. These tribes refused to open their lands to sooners and your government forged their names and stole millions of acres of land west of oklahoma city. plenary power and the abrogation of treaties came about after the Lone Wolf V Hitchcock US supreme court case of 1903. Indian have been victims of your country and it's desire to sanctify theft through court rulings. John Roberts clerked for Indian hater william rehnquist and represented alaska in the venetie land claim case of 1989. mr. roberts wrongly thought that the laws concerning tribal land title in alaska applied to the lower 48 which they don't. thus he wrongly advised ruth bader ginsberg in the sherill v oneida indian nation case and sanctified the theft of hundreds of thousands of acres of illegally seized land in n.y. state taken in violation of the indian non intercourse act of 1790. love your crooks liberty....love your crooks....

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

actually liberty, answer me this question.....the KU law school dean told me I had a question for a law journal. Question,...That night Mr. Katsis made the comment that there weren't mandates in the past. He brought up the case concerning the wheat crop and the farmer that refused to comply with the wheat growing mandates handed down by the US Government in the 1940's. When he mentioned no mandates the bell went off. After the congressional passage of the trade and intercourse acts of the late 18th-early 19th century traders who dealt with indian tribes had to be licensed to enter indian country to trade with tribes.Names like Chouteau and Roubideaux come to mind in this area. No one else could enter indian country without agreement between the agent the government and the tribe. traders were mandated to be licensed by an act of the US congress through the acts mentioned above. The US government did this to keep charlatans and whiskey traders out of indian country. The plenary power of the US Congress pertains to sovereign yet dependant tribes and states as stated by Justice John Marshall in Worcester V. Georgia dealing with Cherokee sovereignty in Georgia before the redneck english criminals ran the cherokees out in spite of the supreme court ruling in their favor with the help of lead criminal andrew jackson who told john marshall you made the ruling you enforce it. in the end the traders and indian agents acted like big insurance companies and republicans with medicaid part d and ripped off the indian tribes and the us government. most of eastern kansas was stolen through traders, indian agents, and railroads and politician speculators. the licensing of the traders was a mandate to do trade with indians just like the mandate to buy healthcare is now.

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Jan Rolls 2 years ago

Clarence thomas' wife and her organization is the leading opponent of the health care law and yet he refuses to recuse himself. Stacked deck I say.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

the katsis attorney arguing before Justice Roberts today over the mandate and tax issue is a dimwit. I made him trip over himself when he couldn't answer my question about the existence of mandates before this one. If the anti bill people are counting on winning with people like katsis...you'll lose.

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

just like the clown attorney at the Dole Center who spoke against the health care law at the Constitution Day back in September some posters think they name calling and inference are tools to repeal a law. call it as many names as possible...repeat as much malarkey over and over until the uninformed believe it and make inference whenever possible. Fact.....everyone is required to have auto insurance who drives....Fact.....in article one, section eight, part three of the US Constitution, the US Congress is given plenary powers over states and indian tribes....Fact....the laws of this country apply to US citizens and the states they reside in as plenary power extends over states. What's going to happen??? is the south going to rise again through states rights??? if some people are going to a have temper tantrum over being legally required to not be selfish let them provide everything for themselves....infrastructure....roads....all of it....the articles of confederation 1781 is 2012 again.....

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its_just_math 2 years ago

No doubt the two years The Anointed One, San Fran Nan and High-Speed Rail Reid were in the wheelhouse, this country suffered more than the sum of all governments past.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

First it was "Obamacare". Then it was "Affordable care".... until it was released that it is now going to cost "twice" as much as The Obama "sold" it for. Lied in other words. So like a car salesmen's "used car" to "pre-owned' another "quick" name change. "Liberaltines" have now "tagged" The Obama's Health Welfare to .......drumroll please........

"National Health Care Initiative".......This name "message flustering" is "effective" for "Liberaltines" because that's what their genetic makeup allows. Since "Liberaltines" have had complete control for years and years. Who knows what The Obama's subterfuge plants on the courts will do. His bag gal Kagan should "recuse" but, she is a 'Liberatine". So that'll never happen.

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Jane 2 years ago

My 2 cents: Single Payer. Yes, the Federal Government, paid by all of us. Keep the insurance industry out of it.

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gr 2 years ago

"The law envisions that insurers will be able to accommodate older and sicker people without facing financial ruin because of its most disputed element, the requirement that Americans have insurance or pay a penalty."

Another case of everyone pays for the benefit of the few.

Does the penalty entitle you to insurance? Can you go to a hospital and say you paid your penalty and want to be admitted? Where does this penalty go?

What about those who buy insurance and it doesn't cover anything?

The insurance company has determined what is cost effective to stay in business. How does mandating they cover what shouldn't be covered come out? By just hoping more and more who don't need insurance will pay into the scheme? But what about those who are forced to pay and wouldn't need it otherwise? Won't they feel entitled to something? And won't that cost? See, it's everyone pay for the benefit of the few. All cannot benefit.

It's not really a ponzi scheme. In a ponzi scheme, you participate by choice. This is by force. Like social security. And how is that working out?

"By 2019, about 95 percent of the country will have health insurance if the law is allowed to take full effect, the Congressional Budget Office estimates."

Yep. At least if you are not an illegal alien, you'll have paid for insurance. But the question is, will you have health "care" (assuming you are not an illegal alien who will)? You'll have insurance, but no care. And if you complain, maybe you'll have an end-of-life "plan" implemented...

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tbaker 2 years ago

There are a lot of things congress could have done to improve access to healthcare, lower costs and maintain quality that are entirely constitutional. Allow the sale of health insurance across statelines, make the 1st dollar of heathcare spending deductable for individuals (just as it is for business) pass meaningful tort reform, reform state insurance commissions, etc, etc. All of these things were proposed amendments to Obama Care and all were defeated. None of these cost taxpayers a dime or curtail our liberty. We should try things like this before we try and force people to buy something by vastly expanding the scope of government power.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years ago

If those with out healthcare can't afford to purchase it, how in the world are they going to pay the fine for not having it?

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verity 2 years ago

It seems wrong to me to be demonstrating to the justices of the Supreme Court, either for or against any particular law. They are supposed to be neutral politically and be guided by the Constitution and precedence. That's why they are a different branch of government and supposed to be a balance to the other two.

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weiser 2 years ago

I'm just glad they passed the bill quick so they could give themselves time to read the thing! Besides, what is a few trillion more dollars?

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years ago

Stupidity and Ignorance are rempant throughout the country. Fools who believe the republican mantra who do not know one whit about the National Health Care Initiative are running their gums with misinformation and gabble about this health plan that has already benefited a great meny of the fools who are eating the republican candidate's lie that this plan is not good for the public. It would benefit a lot of the bleaating sheep to inform themselves about all the sections of the National Health Initiative (tagged by facist republicans as "obamacare") and realize just what they are going to do to themselves and others if the Supreme Court finds this law unconstitutional. Hopefully common sense and reality will pervade the court on this issue.

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handley 2 years ago

Feel free to pay for everybody's medical needs that can't afford insurance.

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toe 2 years ago

Freedom is on trial. I wonder if it will win?

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