Archive for Monday, March 26, 2012

Supreme Court health care arguments under way

March 26, 2012


— 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.


toe 6 years, 1 month ago

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

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

Whose freedom? Freedom always requires a balancing of competing interests. I think it is hilarious that the GOP opposes the affordable care act but also opposes primary seat belt laws and mandatory helmets for motorcyclists. By hilarious, I mean tragic. Uninsured people engaging in risky behavior will result in the general public footing the bill at the emergency room...of course that applies in other contexts as well...

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

The pedestrian death rate didn't go up due to seat belt laws. You don't get to make up facts when you don't have any.

I'd appreciate you cite one study published by the transportation research board, the institute of traffic engineers or other credible group that supports your ridiculous assertion before you claim to be an intellectual and suggest that anyone else is not. Otherwise, you are just a bladder full of hot air.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years ago

Great. You are relying on research that is 40 years old and was done before many cars even had seat belts? You have balls. I'll give you that.

I didn't call you a liar. I suggested you were like George castanza on seinfeld...if you believe it, it's not a lie.

I just think you believe your own nonsense and sell it as if it was is not!

JayhawkFan1985 6 years ago

I would also go so far as to say that the studies done by the American enterprise institute are not immune from the political biases of it's patrons.

Could you cite some modern research from a nonpartisan group like I suggested with ITE and TRB? I'll wager not.

booyalab 6 years, 1 month ago

Never mind the argument for or against them, but you seem to be suggesting that there should be seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws on a federal level. That type of thinking is what people object to.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure the people affected by Brown Vs Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act felt the same way when those laws were challenged and came up for review. They were both decided under the Commerce Clause, y'know.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, you are half right and I am half right. Brown v. Board of Ed. was decided under the 14th Amendment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was decided under the Commerce Clause.

handley 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 1 month 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.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

+1 But don't bet on it. The foaming at the mouth over what used to be Republican ideas won't be slowed by a rational discussion.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 1 month ago

"Stupidity and Ignorance are rempant throughout the country."


Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 1 month ago

I just called Dr. Campbell, my college English professor and it should have been "rampant". Thanks Proff, now please give me back my A+????

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Quit bashing the oil companies already.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

So does Sam Brownback have to give back all of those farm subsidies his family has drawn all of these years?

notorious_agenda 6 years, 1 month ago

Bill gates put the majority of his money in a foundation to help with issues like AIDS. He has benefited the world more money than all of us posting here will ever make.

notorious_agenda 6 years, 1 month ago

Meanwhile, steve jobs and apple donated literally 0 dollars by the way.

dontsheep 6 years, 1 month ago

What's your opinion about his reason for setting up the foundation and funding vaccines?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 1 month ago

Libertry, do you enjoy paying for all the dead beats who show up at the emergercy room and receive treatment but pay absolutely nnothing?????

Do you enjoy being billed for these deadbeats????

You must, from your rather uninformed comments.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

L1, will you support government intervention when your house is on fire? If so, under what other circumstances?

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

L1, with more than 20% GDP going to health care, the house IS on fire...

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

Are you a volunteer fire fighter or are you expecting your neighbors to do that?

Government isn't driving up health care. In fact Medicare has resulted in lower health care expenses. Private insurance companies are a big part of the problem. Doctors expecting huge paychecks are big part of the problem. Drug manufacturers charging more in the US for drugs than they do internationally when tax dollars subsidize the r&d is a big part of the problem.

Where in the laws of physics does it say that government is always the problem? In fact, in many instance government is more efficient than the private sector. I know that doesn't fit your ideology, but that doesn't make it untrue. As for me, I think highly of both private industry and government but for different reasons.

verity 6 years, 1 month 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.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 1 month 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?

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

That's the Republican solution. Along with showers.

tbaker 6 years, 1 month 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.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Thank you for quoting the entire quote accurately.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

You mean like allowing banking across state lines improved service?

Obama should have told Sebelius to change the eligibility rules for Medicare to all Citizens and Permanent Residents. Done. Implementation would be a matter for the HHS bureaucracy, which would be greatly simplified, as would medical center billing departments.

gr 6 years, 1 month 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...

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

+1, but they didn't have the guts to do it.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

That bs is reported on fox news a lot. Repetition doesn't make it true.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

Are you quoting rush limbaugh? Or do you make this crap up yourself?

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

I-J-M: Another great argument by assertion. You are getting better.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 1 month ago

This whole health care thing has nothing whatsoever to do with any sort of health care. It is the rallying cry of every sniviling republican presidential candidates who have all to a man (ams woman) screeched loudly "If elected, I will immediately repeal "obamacare". Which none of them would have the piower to do. Nothing about defense policy, tax reform, jobleddness, home forclosure, etcc. Just " get the black dude out of the White House" If you vote for any of these facists, you are only cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month 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 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.....

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

L1, it is no longer possible for anyone to survive on an island they create for themselves. You need highways to deliver the stuff you buy at stores. You need power transmitted over power lines protected from theft by government regulation so you can publish your libertarian fantasy online, etc...

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

Most highways in KS do not carry enough traffic to have enough revenue generating potential to make tolling possible.

Clearly private firms can generate and distribute power. Without law enforcement, people would steal that electricity as they do in many third world nations.

I hope you are wealthy enough to be able to afford private security. Most people aren't. Law enforcement is a responsibility of government that must be supported by taxes.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month 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'll lose.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 1 month 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.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month 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.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month 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 your crooks....

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month 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.

tbaker 6 years, 1 month ago

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

booyalab 6 years, 1 month 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.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

If this mandate is passed, it's been jokingly suggested that the government could mandate we eat broccoli. Well let me say this loud and clear, we need to be eating more broccoli. And less twinkies. And if we did, there would be a 20% increase in medical bills every year and all this talk about Omamacare wouldn't be necessary. Broccoli for all.
And spinach. And no red meat. And exercise. And no drugs, alcohol or tobacco. And fidelity. And ...

notaubermime 6 years, 1 month ago

Like how most states require one to buy car insurance?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

Quite frankly, if the state of Kansas were to pass something along the lines of an affordable care act, I would support it. I think it's a reasonable attempt to fix a problem that is getting out of hand. Whether or not it will work, time will tell. But it's worth a try. That said, the Constitution leaves powers such as these to the states. It's not the place of the Federal government to make this mandate.

booyalab 6 years ago

No, not at all actually. But if you don't know about the contention surrounding the Interstate Commerce clause then you're probably new to this debate.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month 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.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Ya got any more current material? 2009 was a while ago. Things have changed since then.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month 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.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

liberty...ever heard of the Indian trade and intercourse 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.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month 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.

juma 6 years, 1 month 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.

notaubermime 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, Jobs was a real great guy. Got pancreatic cancer, declined life-prolonging treatment until it was too late, used his money to buy his way into a liver transplant despite the fact that he had terminal pancreatic cancer so that he could live a couple more years. Somebody else could have used that liver and it would have added a lot more than 2-3 years on their life.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month 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.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Anyone have any answers to my questions? Has anyone thought of these consequences?

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Commenting has been disabled for this item.