Archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Supreme Court justices signal deep trouble for health care law

March 28, 2012

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— The fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul was cast into deeper jeopardy Tuesday as the Supreme Court’s conservative justices sharply and repeatedly questioned its core requirement that virtually every American carry insurance. The court will now take up whether any remnant of the historic law can survive if that linchpin fails.

The justices’ questions in Tuesday’s hearing carried deeply serious implications but were sometimes flavored with fanciful suggestions. If the government can force people to buy health insurance, justices wanted to know, can it require people to buy burial insurance? Cellphones? Broccoli?

The law, pushed to passage by Obama and congressional Democrats two years ago, would affect nearly all Americans and extend insurance coverage to 30 million people who now lack it. Republicans are strongly opposed, including the presidential contenders now campaigning for the chance to challenge Obama in November.

Audio for Tuesday’s court argument can be found at: http://apne.ws/Hft6z3 .

The court focused on whether the mandate for Americans to have insurance “is a step beyond what our cases allow,” in the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

But Kennedy, who is often the swing vote on cases that divide the justices along ideological lines, also said he recognized the magnitude of the nation’s health care problems and seemed to suggest they would require a comprehensive solution.

He and Chief Justice John Roberts emerged as the apparent pivotal votes in the court’s decision. The ruling is due in June in the midst of a presidential election campaign that has focused in part on the new law.

Though many of the justices asked tough questions and made strong statements, past cases have shown that those don’t necessarily translate into votes when it comes time for a decision.

Wednesday’s final arguments — the third day in the unusually long series of hearings — will focus on whether the rest of the law can remain even if the insurance mandate is struck down and, separately, on the constitutionality of another provision expanding the federal-state Medicaid program.

The insurance requirement is intended to complement two unchallenged provisions of the law that require insurers to cover people regardless of existing medical conditions and limit how much they can charge in premiums based on a person’s age or health.

The law envisions that insurers will be able to accommodate older and sicker people without facing financial ruin because the insurance requirement will provide insurance companies with more premiums from healthy people to cover the increased costs of care.

The biggest issue, to which the justices returned repeatedly during two hours of arguments in a packed courtroom, was whether the government can force people to buy insurance.

“Purchase insurance in this case, something else in the next case,” Roberts said.

“If the government can do this, what else can it not do?” Justice Antonin Scalia asked. He and Justice Samuel Alito appeared likely to join with Justice Clarence Thomas, the only justice to ask no questions, to vote to strike down the key provision of the overhaul. The four Democratic appointees seemed ready to vote to uphold it.

Kennedy at one point said that allowing the government mandate would “change the relationship” between the government and U.S. citizens.

“Do you not have a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution” for the individual mandate? asked Kennedy.

At another point, however, he also acknowledged the complexity of resolving the issue of paying for America’s health care needs.

“I think it is true that if most questions in life are matters of degree ... the young person who is uninsured is uniquely proximately very close to affecting the rates of insurance and the costs of providing medical care in a way that is not true in other industries. That’s my concern in the case,” Kennedy said.

Roberts also spoke about the uniqueness of health care, which almost everyone uses at some point.

“Everybody is in this market, so that makes it very different than the market for cars or the other hypotheticals that you came up with, and all they’re regulating is how you pay for it,” Roberts said, paraphrasing the government’s argument.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. sought to assure the court that the insurance mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama signed into law in 2009 is a key part of the law’s goal of reaching many of the more than 40 million people who don’t have health insurance through their employers, don’t qualify for government aid and cannot afford to buy coverage on their own.

Paul Clement, who is representing Florida and 25 other states in challenging the law, called the mandate “an unprecedented effort by Congress.”

Clement, a predecessor of Verrilli’s as solicitor general, said the requirement would force people, especially those who are young and healthy, to buy a product they don’t want.

Michael Carvin, representing the National Federation of Independent Business in opposing the law, also pushed hard on the notion of individual freedom. When Justice Stephen Breyer asked if the federal government could not order vaccinations “if there was some terrible epidemic sweeping the United States,” Carvin said no. Congress lacks the power to do so, he said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she found the debate over health care similar to an earlier era’s argument about the Social Security retirement system. How could Congress be able to compel younger workers to contribute to Social Security but be limited in its ability to address health care? she wondered.

“There’s something very odd about that, that the government can take over the whole thing and we all say, oh, yes, that’s fine, but if the government wants to preserve private insurers, it can’t do that,” she said.

Scalia and Roberts noted that the health care overhaul law would make people get insurance for things they may not need, such as heart transplants or pregnancy services. “You can’t say that everybody is going to participate in substance abuse services,” Roberts said.

On the other hand, Ginsburg said, “The people who don’t participate in this market are making it more expensive for those who do.”

“You could say that about buying a car,” Scalia retorted, noting that if enough people don’t buy cars the cost could go up.

But, unlike cars, almost everyone eventually will be required to use the health care system, Verrilli said in defense of the law. Without health insurance, he said, “you’re going to the market without the ability to pay for what you’re going to get.”

Members of Congress on both sides of the fight sat through Tuesday’s arguments, along with Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Republicans opposed to the law in the audience included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Also at the court were Democratic supporters including Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and Reps. John Dingell and John Conyers, both of Michigan.

Demonstrators returned Tuesday to the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court, with more than 100 supporters of the law circling and chanting, “I love Obamacare.” They carried signs reading slogans such as “A healthy America is a productive America” and “Protect the law.”

More than a dozen opponents held a news conference criticizing the bill.

Supporters, two of them wearing Statue of Liberty costumes, marched to music played over a loudspeaker. A trumpet player played “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “This Little Light of Mine,” and supporters changed the lyrics to ones supporting the health care law.

One demonstrator opposing the law wore a striped prison costume and held a sign, “Obama Care is Putting the US Tax Payer in Debtors Prison.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a former Republican presidential candidate, joined a tea party press conference of opponents of the law. Calling the law “the greatest expansion of federal power in the history of the country,” she said, “We are calling on the court today: Declare this law unconstitutional.”

Comments

Paul R Getto 3 years, 1 month ago

Should be interesting to see how they rule. If parts of the Affordable Care Act are overturned, it will put the R's in a strange situation since many features of the bill they now eschew were their ideas a few years back.

rockchalk1977 3 years, 1 month ago

Nice try Paul. The fact is no Republican voted for Obamacare. The fact is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to buy votes with the "Cornhusker Kickback, Gatorade, Louisiana Purchase" secret deals to pass the bill. The fact is Obamacare is going down in defeat and so is the Divider-In-Chief's presidency in November.

Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 1 month ago

It is true though... many parts of the bill the Rs were for (or were their idea) until this bill was put up, then they were against it.

Lateralis 3 years, 1 month ago

How can anyone in congress vote for a bill that the majority didn't read. It's 974 pages long.

"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." - Pelosi

The repubs played their dirty tricks but so did the Dems.

Greg Cooper 3 years, 1 month ago

And how can you be so against it if you've read exactly no pages of it? You and all you who are so dead set against this law are angry because Obama and the Democrats won and you did not. Admit it and quit the philosophical BS.

If the Act is gutted by the SCOTUS, so be it, but it will be on legal grounds, not the childish, wah-wah that is Republican gamesmanship today.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 1 month ago

Someday soon, Barack Obama may deeply regret his intemperate, foolish words in publicly dressing down members of the U.S. Supreme Court in his State of the Union address in January of 2010:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/01/alito-mouths-not-true-at-obama.html

If Obamacare is held unconstitutional, Obama will deserve enormous blame for tying up precious time and resources for one pet project that will have turned out to be illegal, when Americans were clamoring for those in power to accomplish meaningful relief on unemployment and job creation. And on those subjects, the Obama administration has earned itself a well-deserved "F."

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

People need to understand that this is just the tip of the ice berg. If AHA is shot down by SCOTUS it opens the door to challenge the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was also decided under the Commerce clause. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Ri... Think about that.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

I truly think this is a massive national political strategy. ALEC must be peeing themselves. First they got Citizens United and now they may have the door opened to them to challenge every decision made under the Commerce clause in the last 70 years.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

On the other hand, if this law were upheld, it would be the most massive federal power expansion in the history of America. This law should be shot down because it is clearly a violation of the constitution!

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Soooo you're all for forcing women into giving birth even if the baby has gross congenital defects and will require thousands of dollars every month for health care but you're not willing to give the mother the tools to do that. I see. Or as one friend put it, "So healthcare for all is unconstitutional big government, but religious regulations on my uterus are constitutional small government. Yeah, that makes sense."

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm all for protecting the liberty and freedom in our constitution. Strict construction of the constitution would have never produced this "false" "right" to abortion and strict construction of the constitution will not allow this socialized medicine Obamacare bill to go forward. As to the rest of you assertions I certainly would be supportive of giving private funds to help women in crisis pregancy situation. Thousands of Christian hospitals and religious organizations are already helping women in these painful situations.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

"Thousands of Christian hospitals and religious organizations are already helping women in these painful situations." Ummm no they aren't. Believe me, I know/have known any number of people in this situation. They have held bake sales and fund raisers and put jars at store cash registers and done everything they could think of to get funds for treatment. I really, really wish you could walk a mile in their shoes. But you're so blinded by your ideology I don't think you have the empathy to put yourself in their place. It's all an abstract "out there" thing to you. So much easier to cry for the theoretical "babies" that don't exist than it is to get down and dirty with the real breathing, thinking, feeling, sentient and sapient people.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

I know that you don't know what you are talking about because you do not know me or what organizations and health-care support groups I have been involved in. Personal attacks do not get to the root of these issues which have to do with public policies. The socialist policies you advocate will actually end up hurting the very people that you profess to have empathy for and to support. You need to open your own mind instead of throwing out personal attacks about things you don't know about!

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

The law is plainly unconstitutional. Also, I support your right to kill anything in your body until it comes out. Your uterus is nobodies business but your own.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

At least you admit that it is killing. Why don't you support the humanity of the unborn child and have you ever watched an abortion being performed? Have you seen the pain and agony of the dismemberment of one of God's little ones?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

If the mandate isn't overturned, the biggest power gain will be to the insurance companies, who will have gained an even more guaranteed cash cow than the one they have now.

And given that they are privately held, shouldn't you be cheering for that outcome?

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

really--I don't think you have read the "Affordable Care Act" very carefully it is a boon to insurance companies...

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

I think you are grasping--to defend the law that cannot be defended--on it's merits based upon the United States Constitution.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm not grasping in the least, kjh. You have no intelligent response so pot shot the messenger. Yeah. Right.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

Yes--I think you are grasping--for just a little twig to support this falling tree!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

It would appear that the five conservative justices will take down the mandate.

What's going to be interesting is seeing how they take the next step, a purely political one, and take down the entire thing. The insurance industry won't have it any other way, and they've no doubt passed the word along to the Republican Party that if they want to take down Obamacare as its major focus of this year's political campaigns, the whole thing must go down, not just the mandate.

But if it does go down, it'll be interesting to see what Republicans propose as a replacement. They sat on their hands as Obama dredged up one former Republican idea after another, the mandate at the top of the list, in order to come up with something that they could find politically palatable. They can't go back to any of their old ideas, so what will Republicans propose to fix a badly broken and obscenely expensive system? Can they propose to do nothing and still win elections in close races?

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

The next for the republicans is to seek repeal of the 1986 Emergency Treatment and Labor Act which gives individuals the right to emergency care regardless of their ability to pay. Assuming the mandate is reversed, unless Congress either repeals the ETLA or passes a singer payer plan, the health care cost crisis is going to continue to spiral out of control.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Wonder why the law was not written with a clause to allow this?

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

lets talk about the example posed to the republican. A hardworking guy loses his job because of a bad economy. No job, no health insurance. He's walking down Mass and suffers a brain hemorrhage and collapses on the sidewalk. No insurance. Are you suggesting we as a society simply let him die where he lays?

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

Well I guess the Boy Scouts can create a merit badge for assisting dying people on the sidewalks. Might as well bring the girl scouts along. A convulting body on the sidewalk would draw quite a crowd. Sell enough girl scout cookies, and maybe they can raise enough money to get him a doctor's appointment in two weeks. And bring in the churches. They'll pray that the poor bloke hangs on long enough to make his doctors appointment.

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

We already pay for emergency care for everyone. We don't need more government for that.

OTOH, let's pretend my wife and I both don't pay a sizable premium for insurance (medical, dental, vision, disability) and I'm walking down Mass and have a brain hemorrhage. OK, pay a bare bones ambulance service to transport me to the hospital where I can die privately in an empty room.

Now I realize most people will want a second chance at life. So we pay for emergency care. I don't have a problem with that. But because I care enough for other humans to help provide emergency care doesn't mean I want to help finance every trip you make to the doctor for migraines or your sciatica. You need to work that out for yourself.

Also, if you have a debilitating condition, you can collect SSDI, and therefore you will qualify for medicare.

We are already paying enough in taxes for the less fortunate, but there comes a day every month when I have to pay a mortgage, a light bill, a knology bill, a gas bill and a many others. I also need to buy some food. I need my money. I get up every day far earlier than I'd like just so I can rack my brain and abuse my body that money. It's mine. It isn't a community asset unless I say so.

You can call me greedy, but I will tell you this, I don't want anything bad enough to coerce someone else into paying for it.

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

I thought his signature accomplishment was earning his nobel peace prize. I'm sure he deserves it as he wasn't flying the drones that assassinated those foreigners and at least one American.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm reminded of a city proposition in San Francisco that was passed by voters some 15-20 years ago. The title of the proposition was "Affordable Housing". The purpose of the act was to rehabilitate dilapidated housing in very bad neighborhoods and then use that to house homeless individuals. The problem was that the costs to rehabilitate the housing, once the government became involved was substantially more per square foot that to renovate some of the swankiest homes in the city's best neighborhoods. So the question was, affordable for who? Not the taxpayers. Of course, the proposition itself was very long, and written by lawyers, so most voters didn't take the time to read it. But in San Francisco, a very progressive city, anything like this is going to pass easily and this was no exception. Millions were spent, a few buildings were fixed, and the homeless problem persists in equal proportion to prior to the proposition. The reason I bring this up, is that the "Affordable Care Act" is affordable for who? It will cost how much? Keeping in mind government cost projections have been wildly off in the past, it will "really" cost how much? Who will pay for it?
I'm sorry if I feel like I've seen this movie before. Simply inserting the word "affordable" doesn't make it so.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Your familiar refrain of "government always does it worse" does not jive with the real world-- Medicare delivers healthcare coverage way more cheaply and efficiently than private insurance does, and in the vast majority of wealthy countries in the world healthcare is also delivered more cheaply and efficiently, and covers everyone in the process.

And while "Affordable Care Act" is flawed in many ways, it's still an improvement over the train wreck we currently have, and Republicans have absolutely nothing to offer to replace it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

In another thread on this subject, just an hour ago, I stated that I wouldn't mind if the state of Kansas tried something along these lines, precisely because of the train wreck we now have. And while I'm not convinced it would work, I think it's worth a try. That said, add another layer of bureaucracy of bringing in the Federal government, and my concerns of the constitutionality of the mandate, I'm opposed to the mandate coming from Washington. I'll mention another story I recall. Driving down the road, listening to NPR maybe a year or two ago, a senator who's name I don't recall was talking about passage of Medicaid. It turned out that the cost projections were wildly off and that it was his opinion that if the true costs were known at the time, Medicaid would not have passed. Hence my question, what are the true costs of the "Affordable Care Act"? I really believe that the only honest answer anyone can give is, 'I don't know'.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Bureaucracy is not limited to government, and the maze of private bureaucracy of the insurance industry is as cumbersome as anything the government has to offer, and it comes with a much bigger price tag.

Are you suggesting that we do away with Medicaid? Should we forego that expense and just let people suffer and die?

And while we may not know the exact cost of "Affordable Care," one thing we know for sure-- the far more expensive option is doing nothing, which all the Republicans have to offer.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Bureaucracy in private business is not my business, it's not my dollar being wasted. And a waste it is. In government, it is my business because it is my dollar and as few as possible should be wasted. Government bureaucracy does tend to be bigger and more wasteful that bureaucracy in business. Should we do away with Medicaid? I have no idea. I'm not well versed enough to answer that question. But in general terms I will say that not every idea deserves funding. And not every "good" idea deserves funding. I do know we can't afford everything, so some things need to be unfunded, and I assume some of those would be good ideas. It's about living within your means, whether that's me with my budget or the government at all it's levels living within it's budget. And adding another level of bureaucracy to health care, should that be the direction we choose, will necessitate a cut somewhere else. Maybe education, maybe senior services, maybe the military. Given the "likely" outcome of that debate, it won't be the military, so it "will" be education, or senior services. So fighting against another level of bureaucracy is a fight for seniors, for schools.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

So as long as our entire lives are dominated by bad but private ideas, that's just OK with you.

Got it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Geez, Bozo, can you not read? I just said I would support just such a program if it were done by the state. And from that you get "our entire lives dominated by bad but private ideas".
I suspect you don't "got it" and never will, because you see what you want to see rather than what it there. Your hear what you want to hear, rather than what is really being said. You read what you want to read, rather than what is really being written.
No, Bozo, you don't Got It.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

" I just said I would support just such a program if it were done by the state. "

Why would that be any better than a federal mandate?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

First, I'm not sure it would be better. But as I said, and agreed with you, the current system is a train wreck, and I'm willing to try something else without knowing if it would be better or not. Second, adding an additional level of bureaucracy from the federal government just adds another level of spending. (as an example, I am in favor of eliminating the federal Dept. of Education and using every penny of that money on education at the state level. Note: that does not mean less government, it means less big government and more local government). Third, I believe the federal mandate is unconstitutional.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Bureaucracy in private business is not my business, it's not my dollar being wasted. And a waste it is. In government, it is my business because it is my dollar and as few as possible should be wasted."

And this is precisely the argument behind a single-payer plan-- if the public has control over the way healthcare dollars are spent, then waste and inefficiency can be more directly and effectively controlled/eliminated.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

"if the public" (government) "has control ..." Again my point, does the government have a history of effectively managing the public's financial resources or does the government have a history of waste, mismanagement and inefficiency? If you believe the government does a good job of managing the public's financial resources, you enter this debate leaning in favor. If you believe the government typically does a bad job of managing the public's financial resources, you enter this debate skeptical of government behaving any different.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"does the government have a history of effectively managing the public's financial resources or does the government have a history of waste, mismanagement and inefficiency?"

With regards to healthcare, determining this isn't just a matter of speculation. Medicare provides administration and coverage far more efficiently than private insurance.

And generally, the notion that government is less efficient than the private sector is a matter of assertion, not fact.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Should we do away with Medicaid? I have no idea."

Millions of people would lose access to medical care if Medicare is eliminated. Do you really have no idea what you think about that?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I recall working with kids in the foster care system, providers were required to take kids to a doctor, a dentist and an eye doctor within 30 days of placement. Typically, kids could be placed a couple of times a year, but 20 placements per year was not uncommon. That's 20 doctor, 20 dentist and 20 eye exams per year. There has to be something in between denying someone access to health care and rules that are designed in such a way as to drive up the health care costs for everyone. BTW - Who made the rules about having 3 appointments with each placement. Was it the parent of the children. Or was it a government bureaucracy?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Could those rules not be changed? Did you make any attempts to get them changed?

Regardless, when the rules are privately made, and serve primarily to increase private profits, the public who are subjected to them have little chance of changing them. And that's the situation with our healthcare system.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Sure, the rules can change. Just like you slashing the military budget by 80%. Good luck with either of those. Unless your name is preceded by the title of Governor, or U.S. Senator, you're going to find yourself hitting your head on a brick wall call bureaucracy.
And the money is going to your local doctor, dentist, etc. Maybe in some areas it will go to large medical practices. That's not what is happening here. the money is going to the same local doctors you and I probably go to.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

To follow your logic, resistance is futile, and since we can't have any effect on what government does, we should abolish it altogether. Is that about right?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I keep going back to the Serenity Prayer, changing things I can change, accepting things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference. I have this same conversation with Jafs., I being a pragmatist, he and you to a greater degree are ideologues. Not every battle needs to be a fight to the death.
But let me turn the question to you. You've been fighting the good fight for, how long? How's it going? The military has been cut by how much since you began the fight? Is victory within sight?

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

That's a great prayer.

If we all could follow it, it would be fantastic.

Each part is difficult to put into practice, of course, and the ability to accurately determine the difference is particularly difficult.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

The other interesting aspect of this case is how they strike down this mandate without taking down lots of other insurance mandates. I'd guess that they'll try to make it OK for individual states to have unconstitutional mandates, even though it's been a long tradition that state statutes must also follow the federal constitution. Changing that could start a whole different slippery slope.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

States and the federal government have differing scopes by design.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

But they still have to follow the federal constitution, and the arguments against a federal mandate to buy private insurance are exactly the same against any state doing it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I believe you're wrong there. The Constitution states that powers not granted to the federal government are granted to the states. Therefore, the argument goes that since the federal government wasn't grant the right to impose a mandate, that power lies with the state. The state does have the power to mandate health care.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe. But they can certainly force you to buy health insurance.
Ask Romney. I believe the Mass. law still stands.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

That's not true at all.

See jhawkins' post.

Also, if the grounds for the federal government to be able to do this are the use of the ICC, that would extend their power to an alarming and somewhat absurd point.

The ICC was intended to allow the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, not to mandate individual purchases.

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

i posted this on another article, but I would like some answers. What about the people who are going to be left out in the cold?

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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

If they strike down the whole thing, all of those people will lose their insurance coverage, and you can be sure that the insurance companies have let the Republican Party, and the conservative justices, know that they expect the whole thing to go down, not just the mandate, which was originally a Republican idea, and is there at the behest of the insurance industry.

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

I really don't care if you have health insurance or not, but don't expect me to pay for your health care. What is wrong with requiring people to pay their way by buying health insurance?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago

If the Affordable Health Care Initiative (that's referred to as "obamacare"by every pandering republican candidate) is shot down, how in Heaven's name will the republican candidates proceed?

Every one of them have made a holy, unilateral and unshakable crusade to repeal "obamacare".

They have spoken on little else.

If SCOTUS rules against this vast improvement on health care in the U.S.,l what are these myopic slugs going to do next? Not one of these republican clowns has offered any vision on anything other than their prejudice and hate towards the lawfully elected President of the United States. What will the issues be, both against their fellow republican candidates or the hated and dispised non-citizen Kenyan muslim in the White House???.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

What I find exceedingly ironic is that the health insurance mandate is the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Why do the republicans seek to deflate a ball which was initially launched from their side of the court.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

false premise--this law is not an improvement--it makes matters worse! Projections are that health care costs and the percentage of the economy that health care occupies would actually increase under Obama-care. Aside from the fact that is is clearly unconstitutional and takes away our liberty!

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

Whether or not the US federal government should provide healthcare on some level to every US citizen isn’t really the issue here. The “power” of the federal government over individual citizens is. The democratic congress could have very easily (and constitutionally) levied a sort of “tax” on Americans to accomplish the exact same thing the “mandate” to buy health insurance does, but proposing a massive new tax increase was not politically popular when the ObamaCare bill was being created. Scheming politicians that they are, they chose the mandate technique instead and are now finding an unprecedented expansion of federal government power that forces people to buy something isn’t popular (or constitutional) either. This isn’t about healthcare; this is about what the constitution says the federal government is allowed to do within the confines of its enumerated powers. Remember – our constitution was deliberately designed to strictly limit what the federal government can do. If a majority of Americans today don’t like that and would like to expand the federal government’s powers such that it is able to force individual citizens to buy things, there is a way to do that. People clamoring for ObamaCare need to be mounting a campaign to amend the constitution instead. It has been done 27 times. There is nothing stopping people from doing it a 28th.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

It wasn't so much that they didn't want levy a new tax-- the reduction in or elimination of insurance premiums would have meant a net decrease in outlays for healthcare coverage for the vast majority of Americans. But doing so would have sucked a lot of money out of the insurance industry who have tremendous resources to bribe lawmakers. And they use those resources to get the mandate instead of a tax.

gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

"The democratic congress could have very easily (and constitutionally) levied a sort of 'tax' on Americans to accomplish the exact same thing the 'mandate' to buy health insurance does, but proposing a massive new tax increase was not politically popular when the ObamaCare bill was being created"

What you describe here is the single-payer, gov't run healthcare route. You could think of it (broadly) as an expansion of medicare to everyone. This possibility was investigated, but rejected, not just because it was "politically unpopular", but because it was virtually politically impossible -- it would have practially done away with the private health insurance industry.

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

No, It wasn't rejected. They chose the "individual mandate" over the option of imposing a tax, hence what is being argued at the Supreme Court.

The sad part of this whole mess is all the things congress could have done to reduce the number of people without health insurance, reduce cost, and maintain quality - that do not cost tax payers a dime. All manner of these things were introduced as amendments and were killed along party lines for purely political reasons.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

In the Senate, Senator Baucus was in charge of this healthcare legislation, and thanks to the rather sizable contributions he got from Big Health, Big Pharma and Big Insurance, he blocked all manner of public option. This despite the fact that numerous polls indicated that a majority of the country wanted such an option.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

guess what- I suspect such and amendment would not get to first base--Thomas Jefferson would be appalled!

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, they had such great health care back in those days. I think Thomas Jefferson would be amazed at how long people live now, and how far we have come in extending the rights of the constitution to all people, not just a chosen few. I think he would also be impressed that we are able to care for our sick and disabled as well as we do. Back then they threw them in an institution, or they just died young anyway. It's a much different world than it used to be. I personally would not like to go back to the health care of Thomas Jefferson's age, thank you.

camper 3 years, 1 month ago

I can understand if the reasons if this is repealed. If this is the case, I would encourage the Democrats to start from scratch and put the "Public Option" back on the table. And I would write the bill on one page so that everyone reads it, and attach no earmarks. Get er done.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

This is another possible case of the GOP's blind hatred of Obama coming back to bite them.

If not the individual mandate, the only remaining option to ensure that everyone has access to health care and that everyone pays for health care can come in the form of a single payer system, the GOP's dreaded "socialized medicine".

Or we could continue a system of some paying for no health care but receiving care at emergency rooms. Or we could stop treating the uninsured sick and injured at emergency rooms.

Without the public option or single payer, we are left with an unfair or a immoral system.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

Check that, "individual mandate or public option).

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

What is fair or moral about requiring one person to pay for another person's healthcare? There are many things the government can do to greatly reduce th number of people without health insurance, reduce cost, and maintain quality that do not cost taxpayers a dime. None of them have been tried. The idea that we need to put our faith in the rule of unelected benevolent experts and trust them to "care" for us with more regulations governing every aspect of our lives is simple tyranny. Where the masses of common people are the worst off is exactly in these kinds of societies. History is crystal clear on this point: there is no recorded way to improve the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activates that are unleashed by a free enterprise system. We should give it a chance to make the healthcare situation better before we ever consider a disaster like ObamaCare.

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

The best options is for all doctors, patients, hospitals to get rid of health insurance all together, costs would probably drop dramatically, because insurance companies would not have to make their profit. They just wouldn't exist. Employers who pay for employee insurance should then give the money to the people. Of course, how many rich people would lose a lot of money, if they couldn't invest in insurance companies ,so insurance companies will continue. Make insurance companies illegal!!!

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

I agree tomato, although it's not government's role to make this or that private legal enterprise illegal. Before WWII, Doctors were like plumbers. They came to your house, performed a service, you paid them, and they left. Health insurance was created as an employee benefit when FDR froze wages and prices. Since additional compensation was off the table, employers had to offer something to deserving employees. It started off as a novel little perk and has turned into a monster. Sale of health insurance across state lines would create a lot of competition and drive down prices. Couple that with giving people a tax credit for a portion of healthcare costs, and a deduction for the rest would put the money in the hands of consumers (instead of the government or the insurance companies) and they would have more choices. Tort reform would help a lot. What if I was willing to sign a waiver, and the doctor didn't have to carry malpractice insurance? You can't do that now. State insurance commissions are also a seriously corrupt operation in many states. Lots of things can be done.

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually Lateralis I was being sarcastic. Insurance companies are here to stay, but what good are they if they can drop you when you get sick and cost them too much money. What good are they if you are stuck in a job you hate, because your child has a pre-existing condition, and if you change jobs she won't be covered anymore. I realize pro-life Republicans think sick people should just die, so there is more money for them, but I can't stand to see such a rich country ignore it's poor. Do you really want to be like the Middle Eastern countries who have filthy rich oil families, and everyone else is dirt poor? They do nothing to raise their countrymen up by either creating jobs or charity. Slime buckets. But I know plenty of conservatives who would love this kind of life.

appleaday 3 years, 1 month ago

We are all already paying for other people's health care. Anyone who is uninsured or underinsured who gets care in emergency rooms or hospitals has their costs passed on to all of us. Ever wonder why your insurance premiums keep going up? People who wind up chronically ill because they don't get preventive care usually wind up on Medicaid at some point. Then we all pay. And all of the folks who willfully eat bad-for-you foods, don't exercise, smoke, etc, drive up the costs of health care for all of us. Heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease all cost billions of dollars a year and you can bet the folks with these conditions aren't footing the bill out of their own pockets.

appleaday 3 years, 1 month ago

that wasn't my intention. I'm just pointing out that all of the people who think the mandate is bad because it is somehow going to make us all pay for each others' health care are already paying for others' care. Sorry about the stereotypes. I realize there are individual differences.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

The true free market solution is no health insurance, no health care. Let em die where they drop, and call the family to pick up the body. Is that your suggested solution?

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

I guess you have never been to New York.

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

LO, I am sure you will pay for your neighbor who will get the cancer treatment needed to save their life. What a crock. Who do you think would pay for it?

camper 3 years, 1 month ago

Lateralis, I would say that a free market solution is best.....but not in the case of healthcare. But since it is unlikely that we will ever go to a 100% socialized medical care system, why not let the individual decide which way to go either:

1) Buy private health insurance (including employer provided insurance) 2) Buy coverage via a "public option" 3) Pay cash (perhaps offer a cash discount for those going this route)

I personally would have more faith in a public provided coverage than buying one from a private insurance company.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Let's not forget that Justice Thomas' wife, Virginia, is a paid conservative lobbyist. Why no, there's no bribery.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually, the provisions of the AHA that have already gone into effect have actually brought health insurance costs down. Even your favorite Faux News admitted that.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

oh--I guess you believe she should stay home--and perhaps be barefoot in the kitchen? --Mrs. Thomas has every right to do what many inside the beltway couples do, that is, both of them work and are professionals! Mrs. Thomas was involved in these issues prior to Mr. Thomas even being on the Supreme Court! Another low blow from a liberal that does not know what they are talking about --just making wild accusations with no proof--to attempt to cloud the issues and cast doubt on the conservative enemy...not a good way to argue or debate...

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

And you know the ins and outs of "the beltway" social scene how? Are you Brownback or his wife? (Oh that's right, Brownback stayed in the C Street "rooming house" and didn't entertain in DC.) Slinging around terms like "the beltway" just to make yourself look smart and informed doesn't work. I doubt you have even been to DC, except possibly as a tourist. Bottom line, the wife of a Supreme Court justice working as a paid lobbyist is a blatant violation of ethics. And just soze ya know, Virginia Thomas didn't become a paid lobbyist until 2009; longggg after Thomas was on the bench. Prior to that, she had a cushy job in the Dept. of Labor under Bush II. Prior to that she worked for the Heritage Foundation (gag me).

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

You just made my point--she worked for the Heritage Foundation- a conservative think tank. Virginia Thomas was working on conservative issues before she became Virginina Thomas! As such, she has every right as a private citizen to work any position or job she desires including as a lobbyist--if you have first hand knowledge that she has violated the law then I would suggest you contact the Justice Department--otherwise your accusations are just that accusations!

Armstrong 3 years, 1 month ago

The beer goggless are falling off. In openeing remarks Kneidler ( govt atty ) stated 70% (Aprox 278 million depending on whose numbers you believe) of Americans do not need this bill followed by numerous chockes and sputters then gulps of water. The bowl is starting to swirl on this disaster of a bill, or America is waking up. Hopefully both.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 1 month ago

Did Pelosi ever figure out what was in the bill?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

So, "Lateralis", is this the nom de plume of the day? What reincarnation is this? Your, what, 13th or 14th?

Mike Ford 3 years, 1 month ago

jump the shark...peeve off women....take us back to mellon and rockefeller.... your frankenromney can't even bring your party together and santorum is a nut. name calling over and over and over piling on President Obama and claiming the whole faux intellect nonsense trying faliingly to sound like william f buckley. sure the four or five pawns of the right wing sounded negative. when does one not expect rattlesnakes to bite? they sounded just as condescending and evasive in the Wagnon V. Prairie Band Pottawatomi gas tax case when they didn't even care about the facts of the case because their minds were already made up. i need to pull a scalia and go on a hunting junket that looked like a conflict of interest. i need to pull a venetie and sherill v oneida indian nation case and ignore pertinent facts and let the us congress fix it....right mr. roberts. having family members who have insurance and depend on prograff and gleevax to live and are paying out their a*& to pay for it and knowing this bill would make the drugs more affordable go ahead and dismiss this bill and watch the unending bad press and protesting. some of you have advocated being roadblocks since January 2009. Some of you have amnesia with bush and want to vote for people who make him seem like einstein. you've dragged this country into a sea of stupid and it's time you own your actions. like patrick swazye said...it's time to not be nice....

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

you are the only one calling names right now--it does not help your argument---

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

I say get rid of the whole bill. Then when tea party people get their insurance dropped, because of preexisting condition or their kids who can't find a job with insurance get sick, then they will come whining to the government. Help me. The big bad insurance company is keeping 95% of the money I give them for profits, instead of paying for health care bills. Why don't you regulate them. I can hear the whining now.

Richard Payton 3 years, 1 month ago

Next the democrats blame the republicans for this defeat if that is what happens. Then they can push a real socialized federal insurance program medicare to more poor. One way or another the health needs will have to be addressed unless we continue to slip on life expectancy in the US. This bill is constitutional due to the penalty written into the law.

Mary Alexander 3 years, 1 month ago

Supreme Court's justices are hinting that they might strike down ACA entirely because declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional which I do not think they will do. After hearing what they stated and what was said I feel they were just asking the right questions to understand what every one was debating. We will just have to wait until June.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

This law is clearly unconsitutional and should be overturned. This type of intervention into the private sector was never supported by our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson would be appalled that this monster passed Congress and let us just pray that the entire thing will have a merciful death!

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Since when did you ever read anything TJ said? I have and, frankly, he would be appalled at how you and your ilk are trying to insert Christianity into government.and create what he hated the most; a theocracy.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

Another false accusation--no one is trying to create a "theocracy"--get real and try to stick to the issue of this law being a violation of our liberty under the constitution to not be forced to buy insurance coverage!

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