Politics

Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Posted to Politics on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:15:30 AM EST (promoted from Diaries by port1080). RSS.

Back and forth from liberals and conservatives on the oral arguments phase of the Supreme Court hearings. Also, economists in support of Respondents amicus brief.

The Government Economists...persist in labeling the healthcare industry "unique," because of its high rates of participation, high costs, federal mandates, and the purported uncertainty surrounding the need for care. This emphasis on the "uniqueness" or the distinctiveness of the market is plainly designed (1) to compensate for the absence of any true limiting principles in their legal argument and (2) to convince the Court that upholding the federal authority to compel market participation here would not do away with the traditional limits on the sweep of Congress‟s powers in other areas.

But the healthcare market is "unique" only in the sense that each snowflake is unique.  The economic features relied upon by the Government are not unique to health care, but are characteristic of many markets and cannot--whether taken together or separately--provide defensible limits to Congress‟s power under the Commerce Clause.  Indeed, frequently, the cost-related externalities cited by the Government are not even intrinsic to the healthcare market, but rather reflect distortions caused by federal law.  Accordingly, these features can serve neither as a justification for expanded federal regulation nor as a genuine limiting principle for the assertion of federal authority represented by the individual mandate.

The Government‟s claim that the voluntarily uninsured, by staying out of the market, impose
$43 billion in uncompensated costs has no basis in fact.  While the Government repeatedly invokes this figure, it nowhere identifies the specific costs actually imposed by the individuals compelled by the mandate to purchase health insurance.  Yet the Government actually collects such information through the authoritative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey ("MEPS").  Those data show that this class‟s healthcare costs are well below average, and the total amount of uncompensated costs fairly attributable to the targeted population are no more than around $12.8 billion, or  one-half of one percent of the Nation‟s $2.4 trillion in annual healthcare costs...In other words, the individual mandate cannot reasonably be justified on the ground that it remedies the costs imposed on the system by the voluntarily uninsured.

...the asserted cost-shifting rationale offered by the Government is pretextual and that the real purpose of
the mandate is to force younger and healthier individuals to subsidize the higher costs of health insurance that will be caused by the Act itself.

[..]

That the individual mandate has little, if anything, to do with uncompensated care only underscores that the real purpose of the mandate is what the Government here labels its "second" function--namely, maintaining "the viability of the Act‟s guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions."  The ACA prevents health insurers from making the basic actuarial decisions that they make in every other insurance market.  Insurers may no longer withhold health insurance from those with preexisting conditions or price insurance premiums to match applicants‟ known actuarial risks.  By requiring health insurers to cover the sick and to set premiums based on average costs, these federal requirements would dramatically increase healthcare premiums for all insured Americans, unless Congress at the same time forces the young and healthy with relatively little need for comprehensive health insurance to enter the market on terms that are economically disadvantageous.

...what is clear as a constitutional matter is that Congress is exercising federal power not to regulate
"how health care consumption is financed," but to compel the voluntarily uninsured to purchase insurance at disadvantageous prices, as a quid pro quo to existing health insurance market participants in exchange for the deleterious effect of new federal requirements.

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1

Millions

Ephraim Gadsby.

Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:56:11 PM EST

5.00 (insightful)

Official Obamacare website reminds us why government needs to take over health care: "The Affordable Care Act created the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) program to make health insurance available to Americans denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition.  Coverage for people living with such conditions as diabetes, asthma, cancer, and HIV/AIDS has often been priced out of the reach of most Americans who buy their own insurance, and this has resulted in a lack of coverage for millions."

Total number enrolled in the program as of December 31, 2011: 48,879.

2

Obamacare on the ropes

T Slothrop.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:44:13 AM EST

5.00 (slothful)

I'm a bit surprised that this topic hasn't garnered more attention given the major trip to the woodshed the conservative Justices dragged the Solicitor off to yesterday. Looks more and more like a 5-4 defeat for the mandate, and given the way the severability clauses were written, perhaps even a 5-4 strikedown of the entire law.

[I'm not that guy.]

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^ 2

Re: Obamacare on the ropes

ThePlague.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 02:46:02 PM EST

5.00 (compelling)

One can hope, but I wouldn't bet on it.  Over a century of experience indicates that when push comes to shove, one branch of the federal government will not significantly curtail the power of another branch of the federal government, especially when it comes down to power over the individual.  Basically, the federal government will now not only have the right to tax, which was never in question despite the absurdly asymmetric and disproportionate way it assesses taxes on individuals, but now it has the right to direct your purchases.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

6

^ 2

Re: Obamacare on the ropes

thefadd.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:59:37 PM EST

none

I gotta say, my liberals friends seem pretty resigned to major parts of the law going down in flames. Like The Plague below I don't think we'll see a full repeal but as would seem obvious to any reasonable person, the mandate is just so obviously a legal bridge too far. The mainstream media is really showing it's liberal (I'd argue corporatist) side, though, coming out pretty damn hard for the law. I think Diane Sawyer pointed out this evening that a doctor's visit with insurance is "just $25" while the same visit without is "$300." Nice sales job.

I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!

8

^ 2

Re: Obamacare on the ropes

port1080.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:32:36 PM EST

none

I don't think there's much to discuss at this point because right now it's hard to tell.  Watching the Court is like watching the Kremlin - whatever happens in public is for public consumption, but it's not necessarily all that meaningful in terms of the product you actually get at the end.  There have been many cases before the court where oral arguments seemed to go this poorly or worse, and in the end the justices ended up going against the common wisdom that had developed from people watching the oral arguments.  It's a political decision on the part of Roberts and Kennedy, really - do they want to fight this fight or not?  They could even think it's a bad law, and decide nonetheless that this is a battle the court can't afford to fight.  If the mandate wasn't so unpopular, I think that would be exactly what you see happen.  With the situation as confused as it is, I don't know.  I'm not sure the Justices want to be blamed for kids aged 21-26 suddenly losing their insurance coverage because the ACA was completely struck down, but who knows?  It could come down to something as erratic as whether Kennedy's been constipated lately and in a bad mood.

Allons-y!

27

^ 8

Re: Obamacare on the ropes

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:59:19 AM EST

5.00 (astute, astute)

We have a word for "kids" aged 21-26: Adults!

When I was 26, I had been working a professional career for 5 years and moved across the country on my own to further it.  I was not, in any sense, a "kid".  

Have we really infantilized the population that much?

36

^ 27

Re: Obamacare on the ropes

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:28:34 AM EST

none

Have you looked at the unemployment rate for people 21 to 25 lately?   Recent college graduates can barely get crap jobs, and the only people worse off than them are recent high school graduates with no plans to go to college.  To the extent that hiring is picking back up, most places can have their pick of people that have a college degree AND experience.  The people who graduated from 2007 to 2011 are the ones really screwed - they probably had to take a job that wasn't all that great, and now anyone hiring is going to just skip over them and either hire a new grad right out of college, or someone with relevant work experience.  But yeah, just keep telling yourself that everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and that luck and chance have nothing to do with success.

Allons-y!

44

^ 36

Re: Obamacare on the ropes

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:53:23 AM EST

5.00 (astute)

Recent college graduates can barely get crap jobs

An Italian studies major?  Somebody who wants to work in publishing or writing?  They probably should have just skipped that whole college thing - they'd be in pretty much the same position with less debt and a smaller ego.  Sorry, my sympathy is about this big: .

Somehow, some people are willing to risk their lives and traipse across the desert because they can get jobs in this country without a high school diploma, a visa, or the ability to speak English, but these precious snowflakes are unemployed?  Boo-freaking-hoo.

Once you turn 18, the only person legally responsible for you is you.  Its hard, cold world out there and some people just suck at life.  Tough tits for them.

3

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

rickb928.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 02:45:02 PM EST

5.00 (reasonable)

The only real pleasure I take in this debate is not that the plaintiffs are giving the Soliciter General a good old-fashioned beatdown, nor that it is becoming even more likely that the Court must strick down the law, at least major parts of it.

It's not even Justices bending logic like noodles to accomodate their personal opinions.

And it's not even Justice Kagan asking why 'a big gift' from the federal government could be considered coercive'.  (For your reference, Justice Kagan, you will get different answers depending on whether you ask a taxpayer or a recipient.)

I take pleasure only in seeing that the arguments are based precisely on the questions I had immediately when I first understood the bill.  As in "how can the government DO THAT?"

And the answer continues to be "actually they should NOT".

I pray at least some Justices will see it that way.  Preferably at least five.

5

^ 3

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

gerrymander.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:20:48 PM EST

5.00 (astute, observant)

I find it hilarious to see the same opinion/commentary sites that spent the last three years throwing a hissy fit every time someone called the ACA "Obamacare", now calling it "Obamacare".

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^ 5

My head hurts.

pO157.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 08:03:24 PM EST

none

Also, the tax that was originally not designed to be a tax is now back to no longer being a tax. Or some damn thing.

America! I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.

11

^ 9

Re: My head hurts.

HidingFromGoro.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:23:24 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

It's a pretty odd definition of "tax" since if it worked properly (as if it was possible for it to work properly) then it wouldn't raise any revenue.  If it worked properly then nobody would be subjected to it and no money would be collected.

But then again, we're in bizarro-world where Barack "extrajudicial assassination" Obama is considered the "progressive" so....

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

13

^ 11

Re: My head hurts.

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:10:05 AM EST

5.00 (interesting)

It's more like a fine for failure to engage in specific economic activity.  It was written so stupidly, pure hubris during a time of one party rule, and the exact same thing could have been accomplished via a tax/tax deduction mechanism instead of a "Thou shalt" imposition without condition.  It's the corporatist liberal equivalent of the pubs trying to get a law passed that one must stand for the National Anthem or face a monetary penalty.   It attempts to codify arbitrary behavior that many may agree with (i.e. buy HC insurance in the former case, respect the anthem in the latter), so it's little more that making social mores into law.  No different than the fundies in that respect, and the inevitable consequence of the 51% imposing their worldview on the 49%.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

43

^ 9

Re: My head hurts.

joshv.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:31:49 AM EST

none

It is the functional equivalent of a tax combined with a tax credit for having health insurance.  Which is how this should have been structured in the first place.  Of course it wouldn't have passed if funded in that manner.

50

^ 43

Re: My head hurts.

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:51:03 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Economically, it may be equivalent, but philosophically, it's worlds apart.  In the tax/tax credit instance, it's the usual federal cajoling to direct personal consumption.  In the second, it's against the law not to comply.  

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

10

^ 5

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

HidingFromGoro.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:20:53 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

I think they hated the term because "HeritageFoundationCare" fucked up the auto-correct on their smartphones.

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

7

Bush v. Gore II

port1080.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:26:07 PM EST

none

I think it's 50/50 whether we see 6-3 to uphold or 5-4 to strike down.  Roberts and Kennedy seem to be the swing votes and I'm guessing they'll go as a package, because Roberts will want to be on the winning side so he can write the opinion (or assign it to his preferred justice).  The question is whether or not the Court wants another Bush v. Gore - a blatantly political opinion that will have to be hemmed around with a million caveats, because it's clearly in violation of precedent and if not very carefully written would bring down three quarters of the federal government with it (which I don't think even Thomas is ready for just yet).  Anyway, fuck all to the notion that the Supreme Court is a bunch of neutral arbiters of the law - anyone that believes that, I have a bridge to sell you.

Semi-aside - does any other country have a Supreme Court as powerful as the US Supreme Court, I wonder?  In law some seem to be as powerful, but in practice in those countries the executive is usually much more powerful than the executive is in the US, making it easier to engage in things like constitutional amendments that do an end-around on the court system.  Our almost-impossible to amend constitution gives our Supreme Court a lot more power than in most countries, I think.  Not sure if that's good or bad.

Allons-y!

61

^ 7

Re: Bush v. Gore II

thefadd.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:18:41 PM EST

none

For your semi-aside I think it's one of the hallmark strength's of America. Blatant politicism aside, the Court does to stick to rather predictable precedents 99% of the time and to that end does an excellent job as the rudder. The checks and balances of America are rather unique still to this day because never before or since have so many anti-government people really gotten together to put together a government. Most of the democratic nation building taken on by America has been done by progressives who are far more cool with federal overreach.

There's just no comparing this to Bush V. Gore.

I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!

12

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

HidingFromGoro.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:25:46 PM EST

none

Striking down the mandate would probably be the best thing at this point- at least then we'd be able to admit that for-profit health insurance only works as a comprehensive public health program when literally everybody is forced to buy it.

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

14

^ 12

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:28:54 AM EST

none

Only if it isn't prevented from using actuarial tables to determine costs.  You know, rational pricing based on risk assessment, like any other insurance.  That of course means politically unpopular consequences, such as higher premiums for women of child-bearing age compared to their same-age male counterparts, or higher premiums for homosexuals due to increased risk of HIV relative to the heterosexual population, or higher premiums for those with demonstrated illnesses.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

15

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:06:52 AM EST

none

[doesn't work as] a comprehensive public health program

...Only if it isn't prevented from using actuarial tables to determine costs

Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, is it?  It's not much of a public health program if people who have health problems are told "sorry, sucks to be you."  Other than universal coverage, there is no way to get everyone to have a decent level of care without a credible threat of non-coverage.  Even a pre-funded HSA plan combined with high deductible insurance doesn't work if people know that they can just go to the emergency room when they've burned through their HSA, and the hospital is forced to treat them.  I don't think that there is ever an acceptable way to tell someone who is dying, but could be easily saved with medical treatment, that they won't be treated because they can't afford to pay.  You, apparently, think that's just fine (and if you don't, you haven't fully explore the logic of what you're arguing for).  

Allons-y!

16

^ 15

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:45:16 AM EST

none

I guess we could quibble over the definition of "comprehensive".  Prior to BoCare, participation in HI of some kind was well over 80%.  The highest number I've see quoted was 50 million, which makes it just shy of 85%.  The remainder either didn't want HI or couldn't afford it.  In other words, they would only get it if it was cheaper, which is in essence another way of deciding not to get it via cost/benefit analysis.  Even if you say no one in the country chooses not to get HI due to their own cost/benefit analysis, that's still a vast majority.

Of course, the crux of this whole debate is rooted in definitions anyway.   By calling it a health care "system" or "program", it already presupposes that it should be managed.  So, the Feds usurp this power to manage an industry instead of their defined role as regulators.

Of course, this is in keeping with the current administration's willingness to manage in whole or in part other industries, such as the automotive.  The conflict in interest rarely gets mentioned, but the regulating authority also being a market participant, by outright owning a player in the market (GM or MediCare, for instance) is the very definition of an unlevel playing field.  Pointing out the inability of the private players to compete under such conditions, or at least not do as well, is rather disingenuous in claiming it's a failure on their part.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

17

^ 16

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:50:06 AM EST

none

You're changing the subject.  Do you or do you not find it acceptable to tell people who can't afford or haven't chosen to buy insurance (or who have insurance, but have burned through their coverage limits) that they can't be treated and must be left to die, even if they have an easily treatable condition?

Allons-y!

18

^ 17

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:11:28 AM EST

5.00 (astute)

Does the federal government have laws that require hospitals to provide treatment?  I'm under the impression that such laws are at the state level, in which case the ramifications of such laws are best handled at the state level.  If it's at the federal level, then compensation from the federal government for implementation of such a mandate should be made directly, rather than through some touchy-feely fuzzy math justification for the assault on personal liberty that is the personal mandate.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

19

^ 18

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:16:52 AM EST

5.00 (incoherent, succinct)

Why are you dodging the question? It's a yes or no answer.

20

^ 19

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:23:48 AM EST

5.00 (astute)

The question is bullshit framing; his argument takes the form of, "Do you find [insert a morally unacceptable condition here] acceptable? If not, you must conclude that the federal government has the constitutional authority to rectify the situation by any means necessary."

That is an utter refusal to argue this in a intellectually honest way.

21

^ 20

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:29:09 AM EST

none

The other option is yes, which seems to imply two things: 1) free riders are okay and we might as well just going with the status quo in which people get medical service without paying for it via the ER, or 2) leave payments for people who can't afford healthcare up to charity organizations, which is nothing short of "leave it up to chance".

28

^ 21

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:59:44 AM EST

none

How does BoCare solve the free rider problem?  Under this scheme, everyone is legally obligated to purchase insurance or suffer a monetary penalty.  The funds from such objectors are then used to subsidize those who want to buy insurance at discount rates and completely removed from most actuarial considerations, the only exceptions according to NPR are smokers and old people.  In other words, politically unpopular minorities.

So, BoCare does not solve the free-rider problem, it magnifies it while obfuscating it.  It does this via claiming not only commerce that by definition does not cross state lines affects interstate commerce but that the federal government has the power to compel individuals to make purchases in the marketplace.

That's why this law is such a breath-taking power grab by the federals, unprecedented as far as I can tell.  I have searched for a few years, and asked the question to many people, but I have never received an example of any other product that the federal government can unconditionally require an individual to purchase.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

29

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:07:30 AM EST

5.00 (astute)

I don't think you can solve the free rider problem. Or let me put it another way: the only solution to the free rider problem is denying treatment/care. Since it seems like nobody likes that option, the next best thing would be to try to limit the cost of free riders. I'm not sure one way or another if the ACA does that (My gut feeling is that is doesn't) so the only other thing left is Universal Healthcare / Single Payer. I assume that's why other democratic, western countries ultimately had to make that choice.

34

^ 29

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:12:55 AM EST

none

While a bad idea, the federales implementing such a system is at least has precedent in Medicare.  Furthermore, it would be paid for via direct taxation, which the feds do have a (very abused) right to do.  So, the solution is to throw out the ACA and pass such a law.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

55

^ 29

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:47:48 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

There isn't a free rider problem.

22

^ 20

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:33:07 AM EST

none

And anything there's nothing intellectually dishonest (really, you're making this charge? lol) about the framing of the question because it hits home to core philosophical issue here: should people who can't afford healthcare either 1) get it via subsidization and/or freely (in a non-chance form) OR 2) they don't. Creating a magical option of a middle way via charity isn't solving the problem, it's still a position of option 2 because essentially charities are gifts and the assumption can't be made they will be always around to provide that gift.

23

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:43:50 AM EST

5.00 (succinct)

The argument is intellectually vacuous because the question is whether or not the federal government has the constitutional authority to do certain things. Unless you are arguing (as, frankly, some people are) that there should be no limits on the federal government's power as long as it is pursuing a morally desirable policy.

25

^ 23

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:49:59 AM EST

none

Unless you are arguing (as, frankly, some people are) that there should be no limits on the federal government's power as long as it is pursuing a <strike>morally desirable</strike> policy passed through democratic deliberation and that could be overturned through democratic deliberation if Republicans had the votes to do so, which they don't

FTFY

Allons-y!

30

^ 23

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:09:09 AM EST

5.00 (false)

I won't lie I am also concerned with such federal power, but that road was paved a long time ago.

47

^ 30

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:35:20 PM EST

5.00 (true)

Clearly not or this would not be at the Supreme Court.

24

^ 20

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:48:28 AM EST

5.00 (hilarious)

The question is bullshit framing; his argument takes the form of, "Do you find [insert a morally unacceptable condition here] acceptable? If not, you must conclude that the federal government has the constitutional authority to rectify the situation by any means necessary."

The ACA is the only currently viable solution to rectify the situation at the national level.  Take away the ACA and we're looking at another 15 or 20 years before the issue can be addressed again.  I don't masturbate over the constitution - it's a document that's a means to an end, not religious scripture.  If it's preventing needed reforms then it's a problem, not a solution.  The courts gave the feds an out in the early 20th century by expanding the commerce clause, the current court seems interested in rolling that out back.  If you want our government to be even more  of an non-functional paralyzed mess, then I guess that's cool, go for it.  I'd start heavily investing overseas, though.

Allons-y!

48

^ 24

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:40:03 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

The ACA is the only currently viable solution to rectify the situation at the national level
Others here have already pointed out that if the ACA used a tax credit scheme rather than the penalty for the individual mandate that it would probably not violate the Constitution.

If you want our government to be even more  of an non-functional paralyzed mess...
What a whiny, absurd false dichotomy.

49

^ 48

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:09:45 PM EST

none

Others here have already pointed out that if the ACA used a tax credit scheme rather than the penalty for the individual mandate that it would probably not violate the Constitution.

A tax credit scheme isn't currently a viable option - do you think that Congress as it's currently constituted (or even if Democrats make gains in 2012) would be able to pass such a bill?  The ACA is what we have - if it goes down, there won't be the political will to try to extend universal coverage for at least another decade, probably longer.

What a whiny, absurd false dichotomy.

Yeah, you're probably right, the conservative justices will just figure out a way to write the opinion so that it's a one-off, like they did with Bush v. Gore.  They know they can't roll the clock back too far without really fucking things up for the business community, and we can't have that.

Allons-y!

79

^ 49

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:56:24 PM EST

none

A tax credit scheme isn't currently a viable option
Here's a viable option: strike down ACA in is totality as unconstitutional.

...the conservative justices will just figure out a way [blah, blah, blah...]
No, the whiny, absurd false dichotomy was that we must either have the ACA declared constitutional or the federal government will be a non-functional paralyzed mess. Somehow we've gotten this far, without Obamacare, with no problems.

83

^ 79

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:51:26 PM EST

none

Here's a viable option: strike down ACA in is totality as unconstitutional.

Yes, god forbid that we have anything that's not directly in the constitution, like freedom of religion or free speech at the state level...

Allons-y!

89

^ 83

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:37:58 AM EST

none

So you agree that doing without the ACA is a viable option?

91

^ 89

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:45:25 AM EST

none

So you agree that doing without the ACA is a viable option?

Viable, but not the best option.  Some amount of people will die who otherwise would not have, due to treatable conditions that they put off getting treated because they can't afford it.  Some larger percentage will end up suffering but not dying.  Some even larger percentage will be driven into bankruptcy by medical bills they can't pay.  All of us will pay higher premiums to cover the cost that hospitals bear treating uninsured patients.  As long as the court sticks with a very narrow ruling, though, sure it's "viable".  I never said otherwise.

Allons-y!

96

^ 91

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:36:12 AM EST

5.00 (funny)

All of us will pay higher premiums to cover the cost that hospitals bear treating uninsured patients
Obviously not, since with less demand prices will stay low.

99

^ 96

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:58:39 AM EST

none

Obviously not, since with less demand prices will stay low.

Prices are currently "low"?  rflmao

Allons-y!

104

^ 99

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:30:50 AM EST

none

Prices are lower than they will be if Obamacare goes into effect as planned.

53

^ 24

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:32:17 PM EST

none

The constitution is suppose to be the framework for how the government operates, a check on it's power over the people under its rule.  Since the mechanism of implementing this republic is via democratically elected representatives, such limitations have the effect of limiting the power of the majority over the minority.

I don't find politically difficult a very good justification for violating the constitution.

But don't worry, I'm guessing the SCOTUS decision will be delayed until 2014, when the mandate and fine are implemented.  If they can defer a decision, they usually do.  Furthermore, it'll be ultimately found constitutional.  I'm looking forward to that decision, and the logic behind it; it should be even more amusing and Alice-in-Wonderland than Wickard v. Filburn.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

59

^ 53

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:13:31 PM EST

none

I don't find politically difficult a very good justification for violating the constitution.

So you'd roll back all the rights that have been incorporated by the Courts over the years?  The Founders certainly didn't think the Bill of Rights applied to the states, that's all been due to creative interpretation by the SCOTUS over the years.

Allons-y!

80

^ 59

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:02:17 PM EST

none

The Founders certainly didn't think the Bill of Rights applied to the states...
It didn't, until the Constitution was amended to make it apply.

85

^ 80

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:57:21 PM EST

none

Funny how it took 50+ years for people to realize that the 14th Amendment incorporated the Bill of Rights in that way.  Seems to me that maybe the courts were engaging in some creative interpretation there?  Or do you have any reason to think that the people writing the 14th Amendment actually intended for it to incorporate the entire Bill of Rights?

Allons-y!

90

^ 85

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:39:18 AM EST

none

...do you have any reason to think that the people writing the 14th Amendment actually intended for it to incorporate the entire Bill of Rights?
Obviously. Unless you don't consider the Constitution to be part of the law.

92

^ 90

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:46:12 AM EST

none

Obviously. Unless you don't consider the Constitution to be part of the law.

If it's so obvious, why did it take the Supreme Court over fifty years to figure it out?

Allons-y!

97

^ 92

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:36:44 AM EST

none

Obviously it did not take that long to figure out, so I have no idea what you're talking about.

100

^ 97

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:04:53 AM EST

5.00 (astute, astute)

Obviously it did not take that long to figure out, so I have no idea what you're talking about.

Well, let me inform you:  "Prior to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and the development of the incorporation doctrine, the Supreme Court in 1833 held in Barron v. Baltimore that the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal, but not any state governments. Even years after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment the Supreme Court in United States v. Cruikshank, still held that the First and Second Amendment did not apply to state governments. However, beginning in the 1920s, a series of United States Supreme Court decisions interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment to "incorporate" most portions of the Bill of Rights, making these portions, for the first time, enforceable against the state governments."

So in summary - 14th Amendment ratified in 1868, Bill of Rights not fully incorporated (most importantly, the 1st Amendment) until 1925 in Gitlow v. New York.  The process of incorporation didn't even begin until 1897 in Gitlow v. New York, so even charitably it took 30 years for the court to decide that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment should lead to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.   Hardly "obvious".

Allons-y!

106

^ 100

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:38:17 AM EST

none

See Strauder v. West Virginia. It took 12 years, but not because the idea was not plainly the intent of the amendment.

Anyway, you were utterly and demonstrably wrong, as you now should admit.

110

^ 106

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:47:18 AM EST

5.00 (succinct)

Strauder v. West Virginia has nothing to do with the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.  You are the one that's plainly wrong.  

Allons-y!

58

^ 24

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Jackkeefe.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:06:17 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

If Diogenes were around today, he would spend his life looking for a liberal whose interpretation  of what is or isn't constitutional didn't match up exactly with his own policy preferences. I don't even know why they bother teaching con-law anymore.  A couple more Democratic appointments to the Court and we can get rid of law school altogether.   You can learn all you need to know to solve any disputeby applying the Barack Obama school of jurisprudence in about 5 minutes.   An individual always beats a business.  A minority always beats a white person and a black triumphs over every other minority.  A poor person  wins over someone more well off and race triumphs over everything. Thus a rich black gets preferential admission to state schools over poor whites.  

Of course, liberals get all strict constructiony when the opposition champions a policy they oppose.  

guess that's cool, go for it. I'd start heavily investing overseas, though

That's the sort of fear mongering I've come to expect  a good liberal  to parrot.  Without Obamacare the country will fall apart and the uninsured will be  left to bleed on the hospital doorsteps. That's about the best argument that anyone on the left seems capable of mustering in favor of its constitutionality.  I guess it makes sense people who voted for a guy who claimed with a straight face who claimed that his nomination meant the sick would be cared for for the first time in  American history would actually believe such silliness. .  

60

^ 58

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:15:07 PM EST

none

That's the sort of fear mongering I've come to expect  a good liberal  to parrot.  Without Obamacare the country will fall apart and the uninsured will be  left to bleed on the hospital doorsteps. That's about the best argument that anyone on the left seems capable of mustering in favor of its constitutionality.  I guess it makes sense people who voted for a guy who claimed with a straight face who claimed that his nomination meant the sick would be cared for for the first time in  American history would actually believe such silliness. .  

I wasn't talking about Obamacare - we could live without that.  I was talking about rolling back the commerce clause interpretation to the 1870s.  Getting rid of most of the federal government, basically.   That seems to be the direction the Tea Partiers want the Court to go in, and the Court sounds like they're taking them up on it.

Allons-y!

63

^ 60

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Jackkeefe.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:27:59 PM EST

5.00 (true)

I was talking about rolling back the commerce clause interpretation to the

How does not giving the commerce clause a new and functionally boundless interpretation constitute rolling it back?  Obamacare can be struck down without altering the current powers of the federal government one iota.

64

^ 63

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:42:38 PM EST

none

How does not giving the commerce clause a new and functionally boundless interpretation constitute rolling it back?  Obamacare can be struck down without altering the current powers of the federal government one iota.

The ACA doesn't rely on any new interpretation of the commerce clause.  99% of constitutional lawyers thought it was perfectly within bounds under the old regime.  I expect that the courts will, like I said, pull a Bush v. Gore and strike down the law, but do it in such a way that they basically say "this decision applies to the ACA only and otherwise sets no precedent" - because otherwise it's just a mess.  Honestly, how do you uphold the government position in Raich v. Gonzalez, and then strike down the ACA?  Either the government can use commerce to regulate any sort of commerce at all, or it can't.  If the Court strikes down the ACA, it does so for political reasons, not legal ones.  Not that there's anything wrong with that - the Court has been blatantly political from day one, it is what it is (and if the Justices do ultimately uphold the law, that would be blatantly political too, for that matter - this issue has become too charged for it to be anything otherwise).

Allons-y!

65

^ 64

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Jackkeefe.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:50:41 PM EST

none

In Raich and everyother commerce clause case you could always avoid government impositions by not participating in the regulated activity in the first place. The individual mandate forces a citizen to participate in the insurance market.  

67

^ 65

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:54:21 PM EST

none

The choice not to participate is still a choice.  If the government decided to regulate everything that wasn't a necessity for life, would that be okay because people can live on unregulated bread and water?  We're parsing hairs here, which is what lawyers do, of course, but it's all bullshit.  

Allons-y!

71

^ 67

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:15:06 PM EST

5.00

If the government decided to regulate everything that wasn't a necessity for life, would that be okay because people can live on unregulated bread and water?

The (federal) government can regulate anything, including bread and water, as long as it involves inter-state trade.  What it can't do, prior to ACA, is force you to partake of a particular trade.  That is not "parsing hairs".  That is a huge leap.

For all the scoffing about it, the food comparison is apt.  Everybody is going to eat at some point in their life, so why can't the government require that you pay into a food bank to cover those costs?

74

^ 71

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:43:32 PM EST

none

The (federal) government can regulate anything, including bread and water, as long as it involves inter-state trade.

Or, by Raich standards, as long as it even impacts interstate trade, which any sort of commerce at all would (at least by the Raich standard).

 What it can't do, prior to ACA, is force you to partake of a particular trade.  That is not "parsing hairs".  That is a huge leap.

So regulating food and water to a degree that it priced it so high that people were literally starving to death would be OK, but forcing people to buy something isn't?  Do you see why I find constitutional arguments to be pointless and absurd?  The constitution is a means to an end, it's not an end to itself.

Allons-y!

82

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:07:09 PM EST

none

Just as we don't need the First Amendment to protect popular speech, we don't need the Constitution to prevent government actions that would be politically impossible.

84

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:56:36 PM EST

none

we don't need the Constitution to prevent government actions that would be politically impossible.

Exactly, which is why the slippery slope arguments about the ACA are garbage.  Passing the ACA isn't going to automatically lead to the government forcing us to all eat broccoli all the time, or whatever Scalia is afraid of.

Allons-y!

94

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:53:35 AM EST

none

Passing the ACA isn't going to automatically lead to the government forcing us to all eat broccoli all the time, or whatever Scalia is afraid of.

I'm not concerned about the government forcing me to eat broccoli.  I'm concerned about the government forcing me to purchase it.  Or perhaps, through a system of tax incentives, the government fostering an industry that purchases food on its customers behalf and then deciding that, because everybody eats, everybody must buy a plan from that industry (because they want to be able to require the industry to cover everybody regardless of their eating habits and the industry can't remain profitable doing that unless the finicky eaters are also forced to participate).

95

^ 94

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:10:25 AM EST

none

Or perhaps, through a system of tax incentives, the government fostering an industry that purchases food on its customers behalf and then deciding that, because everybody eats, everybody must buy a plan from that industry (because they want to be able to require the industry to cover everybody regardless of their eating habits and the industry can't remain profitable doing that unless the finicky eaters are also forced to participate).

That's absurd.  Why do you think a law like that would be much more politically feasible than a law pricing food so high people couldn't afford to eat?   Healthcare reform - in the abstract - was a pretty popular thing back in 2007-2008, and it still was almost impossible to pass the ACA into law, even though it was one of the most conservative of the options that were on the table at the time.  There is no realistic pathway through which a law forcing people to buy certain types of food every passes.  On the flip side, it's somewhat more possible that we'll see a tax on certain types of food (like sugary softdrinks), and such a tax would be perfectly 100% legal (even without the 16th amendment) and just as bad as the direct regulation that you're freaking out about.  If congress is going to do something stupid, they'll do something stupid, but, again, slippery slope fallacy is no good reason to overturn this law.  The government can already do any number of absurd things, and it doesn't.  Making up other absurd things that it might do is pretty much irrelevant, unless you have a really good reason to think that whatever you're making up actually has a chance of being implemented in law.

Allons-y!

101

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:07:53 AM EST

none

That's absurd.  Why do you think a law like that would be much more politically feasible than a law pricing food so high people couldn't afford to eat?

Because people like subsidies that benefit them?  If there was a company that was going to provide me with $300 of food per month and it only cost me $200 per month for the plan (with my employer kicking in another $125, tax free, per month), I'd be a fool not to take the deal assuming I consumed that much food.  I'd be a fool not to take a $150 pay cut for the deal since I'd still be ahead after taxes.  I win, the company wins, my employer wins, government loses.

Fast forward to when the company has used its market position to negotiate cheaper prices from food providers.  They also refuse coverage to heavy eaters.  Food providers, in return, raise prices for the uncovered.  Since everybody needs to eat, the government sees this as a problem because food is getting too expensive for uncovered people to afford.  The solution, they decide, is to require the company to cover everybody and require everybody to purchase food coverage.

On the flip side, it's somewhat more possible that we'll see a tax on certain types of food (like sugary softdrinks), and such a tax would be perfectly 100% legal (even without the 16th amendment)

I don't mean to be flip, but . . . so what?  You don't see a difference between government using the existing tax system to discourage certain consumption and government using fiat to require certain consumption?  Why not require that we all use approved tax preparers in order to simplify the IRS's job and mash all of this up into one big potpourri of government power?

just as bad as the direct regulation that you're freaking out about

I'm not freaking out.  For one thing, I'm fairly confident that the Supreme Court will, in this instance, uphold its Constitutional responsibility and strike down the mandate.  For another, while I will be sad to live in a country noticeably less free if they fail to do so (and not to mention the horrible precedent that will be set), I'll restrict my reaction to another in a list of considerations when I'm deciding for whom to vote and provide political support.  I won't be setting myself on fire in downtown DC or whatever would constitute "freaking out".

Making up other absurd things that it might do is pretty much irrelevant,

I believe you're the one who introduced absurd things (i.e. raising the price of bread and water until people starve).

unless you have a really good reason to think that whatever you're making up actually has a chance of being implemented in law.

Since the proponents of the mandate have been unable to vocalize a guiding limit on Congressional power that would allow the mandate but not allow forced purchase of food insurance, I think I have every reason to believe that such a mandate could be implemented within my lifetime.  If you'd put forth the notion of federally-required health insurance to me five years ago, I would have thought the possibility was absurd.

I realize you're not a huge fan of the Constitution, but can you say what limits it places on what the government can require if it allows a mandate to purchase something?

102

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:19:03 AM EST

none

Because people like subsidies that benefit them?  If there was a company that was going to provide me with $300 of food per month and it only cost me $200 per month for the plan (with my employer kicking in another $125, tax free, per month), I'd be a fool not to take the deal assuming I consumed that much food.  I'd be a fool not to take a $150 pay cut for the deal since I'd still be ahead after taxes.  I win, the company wins, my employer wins, government loses.

Fast forward to when the company has used its market position to negotiate cheaper prices from food providers.  They also refuse coverage to heavy eaters.  Food providers, in return, raise prices for the uncovered.  Since everybody needs to eat, the government sees this as a problem because food is getting too expensive for uncovered people to afford.  The solution, they decide, is to require the company to cover everybody and require everybody to purchase food coverage.

So, like I said, all you can come up with are absurd examples.

You don't see a difference between government using the existing tax system to discourage certain consumption and government using fiat to require certain consumption?

Functionally, they are the same thing (particularly if the government is just forcing you to buy something, not actually forcing you to use it).  If the government forces you to buy $500 worth of something, or the government forces you to pay $500 worth of taxes - either way you're out $500.  Why is one more objectionable than the other?  In this sense I sort of agree with ThePlague - in either case the government is taking something from you with no guarantee you'll get anything in return.  Taxes are worse, actually - at least you know you'll be getting access to healthcare through the ACA, straight up taxes, who knows what you'll get back?

I realize you're not a huge fan of the Constitution, but can you say what limits it places on what the government can require if it allows a mandate to purchase something?

It's a piece of decaying old paper, and it doesn't limit anything.  The less we fetishize the constitution, the better.  The democratic process of our government, as codified by the Constitution and legal precedent, but most importantly as expressed through the political will of the people is what limits the government.  If the public becomes so apathetic that it's politically acceptable for the government to force a certain kind of food purchase, then the battle is already lost, no matter what the constitution says.

Allons-y!

105

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:34:47 AM EST

none

Because people like subsidies that benefit them?  If there was a company that was going to provide me with $300 of food per month and it only cost me $200 per month for the plan (with my employer kicking in another $125, tax free, per month), I'd be a fool not to take the deal assuming I consumed that much food.  I'd be a fool not to take a $150 pay cut for the deal since I'd still be ahead after taxes.  I win, the company wins, my employer wins, government loses.

Fast forward to when the company has used its market position to negotiate cheaper prices from food providers.  They also refuse coverage to heavy eaters.  Food providers, in return, raise prices for the uncovered.  Since everybody needs to eat, the government sees this as a problem because food is getting too expensive for uncovered people to afford.  The solution, they decide, is to require the company to cover everybody and require everybody to purchase food coverage.

So, like I said, all you can come up with are absurd examples.

How is that absurd?  That's how health insurance works.  Would you not take that deal?  Is there something about our voting history that makes you think such a subsidy would not be politically possible?

It's a piece of decaying old paper, and it doesn't limit anything . . .  The democratic process of our government, as codified by the Constitution

This sounds like how some of my friends practice their religion.  Why do you get to choose which parts of the Constitution we're going to implement?

On a sidenote, as I understand it, the noble gas in which it is housed has significantly slowed its physical decay but is unable to combat the deleterious effect of those who think it's irrelevant.

111

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:53:30 AM EST

none

Would you not take that deal?  Is there something about our voting history that makes you think such a subsidy would not be politically possible?

Food and health insurance are completely different markets and not comparable.

Why do you get to choose which parts of the Constitution we're going to implement?

I don't, the courts do, the people do - my  point is there's no hard and fast rule about the meaning of the Constitution that exists outside of how it's implemented.  I mean, fuck, do you really believe that?  Look at Roe v. Wade, or Griswold, or more recently Heller - these are all cases where the court radically changed its interpretation of existing law without Congress ever changing the law, or without the Constitution ever being amended.  Are you really so naive to think that the Constitution has some fixed, unchanging meaning that's not shaped by the politics and context of when it's being interpreted?

Allons-y!

115

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:04:03 AM EST

none

Food and health insurance are completely different markets and not comparable.

Largely due to how government treats them.  If government subsidized a third party buyer in the food market, you'd start seeing more similarities.

I don't, the courts do, the people do - my  point is there's no hard and fast rule about the meaning of the Constitution that exists outside of how it's implemented.  I mean, fuck, do you really believe that?  Look at Roe v. Wade, or Griswold, or more recently Heller - these are all cases where the court radically changed its interpretation of existing law without Congress ever changing the law, or without the Constitution ever being amended.  Are you really so naive to think that the Constitution has some fixed, unchanging meaning that's not shaped by the politics and context of when it's being interpreted?

Have you just changed your argument from "the Constitution is irrelevant" to "the Constitution is malleable"?  That's a completely different argument, and I will agree that people can reasonably disagree over the meaning of the Constitution.  They can also engage in bald-faced lying about what it means as they will if, for example, the Court finds something in the Constitution that allows the federal government to mandate purchases.

116

^ 115

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:09:55 AM EST

none

If government subsidized a third party buyer in the food market, you'd start seeing more similarities.

The government already heavily subsidizes agriculture, actually.  

Have you just changed your argument from "the Constitution is irrelevant" to "the Constitution is malleable"?  That's a completely different argument, and I will agree that people can reasonably disagree over the meaning of the Constitution.  They can also engage in bald-faced lying about what it means as they will if, for example, the Court finds something in the Constitution that allows the federal government to mandate purchases.

If the Supreme Court can "engage in bald-faced lying" and make that lying the law of the land, wouldn't that seem to indicate that the document itself is kind of, well, meaningless?  Have you perhaps not just proved my point for me?

Allons-y!

118

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:18:13 AM EST

none

The government already heavily subsidizes agriculture, actually.

They don't subsidize third party buyers.

If the Supreme Court can "engage in bald-faced lying" and make that lying the law of the land, wouldn't that seem to indicate that the document itself is kind of, well, meaningless?  Have you perhaps not just proved my point for me?

No.  It would demonstrate that its protections can be chipped at so that it's made less meaningful, and that certainly isn't helped by those who feel it should be putty.  The solution is not to abandon it but to focus on appointing Justices who aren't willing to engage in somersaults to support their own political leanings.

119

^ 118

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:25:48 AM EST

none

They don't subsidize third party buyers.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10101.html
http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/
http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/

The solution is not to abandon it but to focus on appointing Justices who aren't willing to engage in somersaults to support their own political leanings.

We should also give everyone a pony.  Just do some reading on the history of the Court - your ideal Court has NEVER EXISTED.  They ALL engage in political somersaults to support their political leanings.  It's what they do.  What seems perfectly unbiased to you...is because your political leanings tend in that direction.  To someone else...somersaults.

Allons-y!

121

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:40:09 AM EST

none

Those are all instances of the government making purchases.  If we were discussing a Canada-style, single payer system, you might have a point, but I'm talking about the American health insurance industry.

What seems perfectly unbiased to you...is because your political leanings tend in that direction.  To someone else...somersaults.

Not at all.  For example, I think the ACA is, on balance, a good thing that results in a better healthcare system than we currently have.  I also think the individual mandate is central to it as written and most of it falls apart without the mandate.  But I think the individual mandate should be thrown out by the Court because it's a blatantly unconstitutional power grab on the part of the federal government.  If the legislature and the executive won't take constitutionality into account when hammering out policy, then the judiciary is obliged to step in and do so.

Moreover, while my personal policy preferences tend to be more liberal than conservative, if I had to rank the current Justices on engaging in somersaults (based solely on high profile cases) from least to most, the conservatives on the bench would rank toward the front.  It doesn't mean I'll get the results I want.  It just means that we'll all at least have some certainty as to the rules of the game.

122

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Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:08:23 AM EST

none

http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/who-really-profits-big-from-food-stamps-jpmorgan- walmart

if I had to rank the current Justices on engaging in somersaults (based solely on high profile cases) from least to most, the conservatives on the bench would rank toward the front.

Raich?  Bush v. Gore?  Seriously?

Allons-y!

124

^ 122

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:33:32 AM EST

none

That's still a government-provided service, akin to them contracting out the administrative work for Medicare and Medicaid, not subsidizing a third-party purchaser.

Raich? Bush v. Gore?

I'm not interested in going through case-by-case and Justice-by-Justice.  I'm referring to a general trend.  Listening to NPR's recitation of the transcript on any given case, I'm more likely to recognize mental gymnastics on the part of a liberal Justice than a conservative Justice.

127

^ 124

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:14:45 PM EST

none

The conservative justices sure did a lot of mental gymnastics when they decided corporations are people and have freedom of speech rights.

130

^ 127

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:38:36 PM EST

none

The conservative justices sure did a lot of mental gymnastics when they decided corporations are people and have freedom of speech rights
That only occurred in your imagination.

154

^ 122

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Jackkeefe.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 12:03:14 PM EST

none

Raich?

Which conservatives in Raich?  The vote was 6-3 in favor of upholding the law and the "conservative" justices split 3-2.  So I'm not sure how you can characterize Raich as an example of a monolithic conservative political block in action.  Given your statements elsewhere in the thread about how  rolling back the commerce clause would lead to the destruction of America, I imagine you must credit the two conservatives who supported the government with saving the country.  After all, Raich was just a redo of Wickard, the famous case that validated the massive expansion of the government's commerce clause power, with pot substituted for wheat as the crop being regulated.   Raich was the case that would have significantly rolled back the government's power, overturning the ACA would just recognize that a limit to that power actually exists.

126

^ 119

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:10:52 PM EST

none

It seems to me that somersaults aren't always bad, IE Brown vs Education.

103

^ 101

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:22:03 AM EST

none

Functionally, they are the same thing (particularly if the government is just forcing you to buy something, not actually forcing you to use it).  If the government forces you to buy $500 worth of something, or the government forces you to pay $500 worth of taxes - either way you're out $500.

Let me put this another way - right now it would be perfectly legal (has always been perfectly legal and constitutional) for the federal government to levy a $500 per person tax, then take that money and give it to Microsoft to buy a $500 personal computer for every person in the country, and then distribute those computers for free.  Functionally this is exactly equivalent to forcing everyone to buy a $500 computer from Microsoft.  Why is one constitutional and one not?

Allons-y!

107

^ 103

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:42:41 AM EST

none

Why is one constitutional and one not?
Why are you being so stupid? One power is explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution and the other is not.

112

^ 107

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:56:34 AM EST

none

Why are you being so stupid? One power is explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution and the other is not.

So you don't see any insanity or hypocrisy in the notion that it's perfectly okay for the government to do something one way, but not okay to do EXACTLY the same thing, just through a law that uses different wording?  

Allons-y!

117

^ 112

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:15:36 AM EST

5.00 (correct)

No, I do not see any insanity or hypocrisy in following the spirit and letter of the law.

120

^ 117

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:27:11 AM EST

none

No, I do not see any insanity or hypocrisy in following the spirit and letter of the law.

I'll say again...functional result EXACTLY THE SAME

Allons-y!

129

^ 120

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:37:20 PM EST

none

Without granting that the outcomes in your hypothetical are exactly the same (it certainly is not the case with an analogous hypothetical concerning Obamacare), I would point out that I still do not see any insanity or hypocrisy in insisting that the government follow the law.

Your argument (at this point anyway) is founded solely in practical outcomes, but you have failed to consider the chaos that would ensue if courts were asked to evaluate whether or not an policy outcome arrived at illegally was, in fact, "exactly the same."

132

^ 120

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

gerrymander.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:56:05 PM EST

none

"Functionally the same" and "the same" are not equivalent statements.

Consider an alternative scenario:

  1. The government legislates a tax of $X per taxpayer, and uses the tax money to shelter and feed a soldier.
  2. The government legislates that each taxpayer must house and feed a soldier, which will cost $X.

Functionally the same, yes? A soldier gets feed and sheltered at an $X cost to a taxpayer. Yet we do the first, and have a specific amendment prohibiting the government from doing the second.

133

^ 132

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:02:51 PM EST

none

Functionally the same, yes? A soldier gets feed and sheltered at an $X cost to a taxpayer. Yet we do the first, and have a specific amendment prohibiting the government from doing the second.

That would be awesome to see in the decision - has there ever been a decision made on third amendment grounds?

135

^ 132

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:08:37 PM EST

none

The government is forcing people to purchase health insurance, though, it's not forcing them to actually use it...so yeah, bad analogy.

Allons-y!

136

^ 135

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

gerrymander.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:14:44 PM EST

none

The government is forcing people to purchase health insurance, though, it's not forcing them to actually use it...so yeah, bad analogy.

It's a good analogy, precisely because no one is forcing people to use healthcare insurance. No one is forcing the taxpayer to do anything with the soldier, either -- apart from pay for his upkeep one way or another.

138

^ 136

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:33:13 PM EST

none

No one is forcing the taxpayer to do anything with the soldier, either -- apart from pay for his upkeep one way or another.

The 3rd amendment bars the government from forcing people to quarter soldiers in their homes.  That's a direct impingement on someone's personal space.  The healthcare law isn't anything like that - there's nothing in it that forces a person to physically do anything, other than to pay for a health plan.  You're not even forced to use it - if you want to pay for the plan, but then pay for your doctoring entirely out of pocket, you're completely free to do that.

Allons-y!

141

^ 138

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

gerrymander.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:23:47 PM EST

none

The 3rd amendment bars the government from forcing people to quarter soldiers in their homes.

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
I trust we can agree that, based upon the actual text of the 3rd Amendment (above), that a government request to quarter troops in a vacation home or rental property would also fall afoul of the restriction despite not immediately impinging upon the owner's personal space.

Also: if you if you put as much effort into thinking about how the analogy works instead of trying to find reasons it doesn't, you'd be better off. You might, for example, get to that one important aspect not covered as "functionally the same" in of any of these examples is that of agency -- who bears the ultimate responsibility and accountability for action. It was one of the major focal points by Justice Kennedy's questioning during the SCOTUS hearing, so it might be worth considering.

142

^ 141

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:41:21 PM EST

none

in of any of these examples is that of agency -- who bears the ultimate responsibility and accountability for action. It was one of the major focal points by Justice Kennedy's questioning during the SCOTUS hearing, so it might be worth considering.

And this relates to the constitution how?  Certainly that's not something that's in the plain text of the law...

Allons-y!

108

^ 103

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:43:07 AM EST

none

Because in the first case, the USFG is using it's power to tax and spend as per the constitution.  The USFG has, apparently, the power to tax in any manner it sees fit, and to spend likewise.   In the second, it's compelling action (Thou shalt) without any condition on an individual.  I'll ask this question again:  are there any other examples of the USFG exercising this power to universally compel economic activity with a third party without condition or avenue of escape?

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

113

^ 108

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:57:32 AM EST

none

In the second, it's compelling action

Is taxation not compelling action?  

Allons-y!

123

^ 113

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:32:30 AM EST

5.00 (elaborative)

It's compelling action to engage in commerce or, in other words, enter into commerce with another entity.  At the very least, this violates free association, all the moreso since there's no chance to escape.  The USFG has the right, apparently, to compel individuals to do this with itself, namely taxation and conscription as examples.  It does not, nor can anything short of a wildly expanded interpretation of the already surrealistic commerce clause give it, the right to compel such action without condition with another entity.

That's one way this is different than Wickard vs filburn.  In that case, growing corn for whatever reason, even personal consumption, was effectively declared commercial activity, and hence subject to federal regulation.  Ok, that's bizarre, but that's the standing precedent.  However, one could simply not grow corn to avoid being subject to the resulting fine.  There's an out at the very least.  In the case of the ACA, there's no out unless you belong to some preferential demographic as stipulated in the law or you die.

Now, you may argue that the fine/tax/whatever it is this week for failure to follow this law can be avoided by simply forgoing an income.  That may be true, but you would still be in violation of the law, since you do not have health insurance.  You would not be following the "Thou shalt" provision.  The enforcement mechanism may be lax in this case, but that doesn't change the fact that you would still be in violation.  Furthermore, the enforcement mechanism could be changed by a one-line bill later to anything, though if the law stands the most probable would be an increase in the fine/tax/w.i.i.t.w

Now, I can only conclude that you believe the only effective limit on USFG power is political viability, and that's the only one there should be.  I believe, and I think the intention of the constitution, was to put hard-and-fast limits on federal power no matter how popular a given course of action may be with the populace.  Since no where is it even hinted that I can see that the feds have the power to compel commerce without condition save being alive, then I don't see how one can honestly argue the individual mandate is constitutional.

Now, you may argue that the feds compel economic in other situations, namely the CRA.  Whatever you may think of the USFG putting additional conditions on commerce, that is at least someone who is already engaged in commerce, and thus the feds certainly have the power to regulate it, effectively even if it's not interstate by the surreal expansion of the CC.  In the ACA case, no commerce is taking place at all, or any activity that could be reasonably interpreted as commerce or potentially commerce.  The only argument that I can think of is that if one is alive, then their choice to engage or not engage in commercial activity affects commerce, and therefore is subject to federal regulation.

Ok, I don't know if that's your basis, but I don't see what other precept could justify the USFG to have the power to compel economic activity and then to use its power to regulate commerce to forcibly direct your actions.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

147

^ 123

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

HidingFromGoro.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:05:00 PM EST

none

The individual mandate exists solely to protect private profit (that's why there are no price controls or premium caps, and why they gave the industry several years to fatten up before 2014)- insurance companies would lose a lot of money if they couldn't exclude preexisting conditions etc unless profitable folks could be coerced into paying into their plans via an individual mandate.  It's there to ensure lots of young, healthy people to fill their coffers in case they actually have to pay out for expensive care.

Why do you think the Heritage Foundation came up with it?  Why do you think wealthy Republican oligarch Mitt Romney implemented it?

I'd like to see the employer mandate stuck down too, since all it does is ensure a price floor for the industry- in other words gives them a license to print money.

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

109

^ 103

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:44:54 AM EST

none

Why is one constitutional and one not?

Because the Constitution grants government the power to tax.

What I don't understand is why you keep labeling my hypothetical which directly parallels the development of the health insurance industry as "absurd" while you keep introducing your own hypotheticals which are similar to nothing that has ever been done on the national level (or, if it is, I would appreciate if you would make the analogy a little less obscure for my "freaking out" self).

114

^ 109

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:00:01 AM EST

none

What I don't understand is why you keep labeling my hypothetical which directly parallels the development of the health insurance industry as "absurd" while you keep introducing your own hypotheticals which are similar to nothing that has ever been done on the national level

In that case, you were posing a hypothetical that you claimed could become reality.  My hypotheticals are simply illustrating a mechanism - I don't think the federal government would ever compel everyone to buy a computer.  My point was simply that under current constitutional law, they could do so through the tax mechanism.

Allons-y!

125

^ 114

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:43:13 AM EST

none

My point was simply that under current constitutional law, they could do so through the tax mechanism.

Then they should have written the ACA to do so.  The way it is currently written is blatantly unconstitutional and unprecedented.  The means are every bit as important as the ends.

70

^ 64

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:10:07 PM EST

5.00 (brilliant, brilliant)

The majority in Gonzales v Raich consisted of Souter, Kennedy, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer with Scalia in concurrence.  3 of them aren't on the court any more, so this could quite likely go the other way.

Thomas' dissent was awesome:

"If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress' Article I powers -- as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause -- have no meaningful limits."

&

"If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison's assurance to the people of New York that the "powers delegated" to the Federal Government are "few and defined", while those of the States are "numerous and indefinite."

It would be nice if we had some bright line limits on congressional power, and Raich would have have been an awesome place to do that, but the court can make up for their fumble here and put an end to leviathan government by putting clear limits on the scope of the commerce clause.

I'm curious - the 99%* of constitutional scholars interpretation of the commerce clause, do you believe there is anything that can be bought, sold, given, traded, negotiated or bartered that congress is not allowed to regulate?

26

^ 18

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:51:45 AM EST

5.00 (informative)

Actually, it's a federal law.  Which you'd know if you'd spent any amount of time actually paying attention to the healthcare reform debate instead of just reflexively opposing anything the Democrats proposed.  Bill was signed into law by Reagan, btw.

Allons-y!

31

^ 26

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:10:12 AM EST

none

Then the federals should pay directly for its implementation rather than pass the costs on via yet another unfunded mandate.  It cracks me up, the attempt to use one bad law as an argument for yet another bad law.  Of course, Reagen was another touchy-feely big government conservative, as witnessed by the budget growth during his administration, so it's hardly surprising that he endorsed such a law.

Of course, the law can be avoided simply by hospitals by simply not participating in Medicare, as the Wiki you linked points out.  So, it is an avoidable mandate, the only ramification being the federal government won't do business with you via Medicare.  If there were such an out in the personal mandate, then that would be more acceptable.  Instead, it's all stick and no carrot unless you're part of a favored demographic.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

32

^ 31

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:12:07 AM EST

none

the only ramification being the federal government won't do business with you via Medicare.

I'm sure it's in the best business interests of hospitals to deny the biggest insurance carrier in the country.

35

^ 32

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:19:06 AM EST

none

What they decide to do is their choice.  The impetus is participation in the Medicare program.  The fact that some hospitals choose to go this route proves that while it may not be a popular choice, it is a viable choice.  And that is the very definition of freedom:  people can make their own choices, forgoing personal or business relationships if they are not in their best interests and even if such a choice is not popular.  The mandate is 180° opposed to that, removing choice under threat of federal penalty rather than a loss of some related federal business opportunity.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

33

^ 17

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:12:36 AM EST

5.00 (astute, astute)

Personally, I find it completely acceptable to deny treatment to those who cannot afford it.  Its a service rendered for money.  Should we be giving spa days at Burke Williams to the indigent too?

37

^ 33

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:29:23 AM EST

none

Ultimately, either someone pays for it or it is slavery (i.e. compulsory delivery of unfunded labor/services).  So, people who insist that the service be provided at no or subsidized costs are advocating either slavery (HC workers are not compensated) or theft (disinterested third parties forced to pay for it against their own judgment).  While such terms may be charged, I don't see how one can honestly claim that it's something else.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

39

^ 37

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:41:12 AM EST

none

You don't seem to get nearly as upset by the slavery required to build public roads.

Allons-y!

40

^ 39

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:07:36 AM EST

none

The workers who build the roads aren't paid, and are forced to work on them against their will?  If so, yes, I am upset about that and think it should change.

If, instead, you're referring to the taxes that pay for it, there is an out:  don't drive, and you avoid the federal gas tax that pays for it.  If you maintain that the gas tax doesn't cover the costs, then either raise that tax or lower expenditures.  Very simple, very easy, and eminently fair.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

42

^ 40

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:10:47 AM EST

none

So anything paid for by taxes out of the general fund is slavery then?

Allons-y!

46

^ 42

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:31:51 PM EST

none

If it's not specifically dictated by the constitution, then yes, it is.  Defense is a good example of that, though of course the defense budget has been absurdly high for at least 20 years.  And no, "general welfare" does not mean specific welfare such as federal checks in the mail for breathing, or rewarding chosen demographics (coincidentally correlated to voting patterns) by subsidizing their purchases.  General welfare means just that, general, which means anyone at anytime could make use of the common resource.  That's why roads could be considered part of general welfare, since you are free to make use of any public road anywhere in the country at any time.  Fortunately, though, there's already a directly proportional mechanism in place for funding that endeavor, namely the gas tax.  Eminently fair and equitable, and reasonably proportional to use.

It just cracks me up that people can, with no hint of shame, advocate for a 12k per capita federal government (3.6 trillion/300 million people) while paying less than that themselves, the vast majority far less.  Instead, and even more shamelessly, they advocate that the the feds should spend even more while their own taxes stay the same or even be lowered.  Moochers.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

56

^ 46

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:01:38 PM EST

none

If it's not specifically dictated by the constitution, then yes, it is.

Why does something being dictated by the constitution make it any less slavery (or theft)?  And does it make a difference to your argument that the constitution does not dictate something but allows it?

Fortunately, though, there's already a directly proportional mechanism in place for funding that endeavor, namely the gas tax.  Eminently fair and equitable, and reasonably proportional to use.

There are even more "fair and equitable" ways for what I assume is your definition of "fair and equitable" (as close to proportional to use as possible), but why should your definition of "fair and equitable" prevail?  Is that in the constitution?  And if it does prevail, do we apply it to everything?  And if we do apply it to everything, why not forgo taxation and simply enact user fees?

38

^ 33

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:32:33 AM EST

none

Personally, I find it completely acceptable to deny treatment to those who cannot afford it

So when they show up at the ER bleeding from a gunshot wound and don't have a credit card or proof of insurance, but then it turns out that they actually do have insurance and don't carry a card with them all the time, are you going to send the apology card to their family?  Also, just a logistics question - do you put in some nice benches for them to sit on outside the ER while they die, or just a big oven to shovel the bodies into?

Allons-y!

41

^ 38

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:09:28 AM EST

none

That would be up to the hospital in question, which would be decided (I presume) via a (PR)cost/benefit analysis.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

45

^ 38

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:00:34 PM EST

none

So when they show up at the ER bleeding from a gunshot wound and don't have a credit card or proof of insurance, but then it turns out that they actually do have insurance and don't carry a card with them all the time, are you going to send the apology card to their family?

I don't see what there would be to apologize about, unless the doctor is the one that shot them.  And hey, if the doctor or hospital wants to do the work pro bono or a charity wants to cover cases like that, that's their call (and it would be great, actually).  I don't think imposing on the rest of the populace for payment is the answer, though.

Either way, the mortality rate remains stubbornly at 100%.

51

^ 15

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:03:30 PM EST

none

You don't know how HSA's work, and you repeatedly confuse the situation of the poor with those who choose not to purchase insurance.

52

^ 51

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:14:30 PM EST

none

You don't know how HSA's work

Maybe not, I have an FSA but it's not quite the same - still, when you burn through it, it's gone, no?  What's to stop a family of poors from burning through their HSA money taking little Jimmy and Sally to the doctor because they have the sniffles (something they shouldn't really be "wasting" the HSA money on) and then not having enough to pay their deductible when dad runs over his foot with the lawn mower?

epeatedly confuse the situation of the poor with those who choose not to purchase insurance.

I don't think idiots who go without insurance should be allowed to die from fixable conditions either.

Allons-y!

54

^ 52

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:43:54 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Obamacare and the individual mandate doesn't change the fact that the poor don't pay for their own medical care, because they are poor. Idiots who who aren't poor who go without insurance and need health care end up paying big medical bills.

57

^ 54

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:05:24 PM EST

none

It's only idiotic if the sum of the probabilities of illness times the cost of each illness is greater than the premium less deductions, copays, and percent not covered.  If not, then it's a sound financial decision based on rational risk assessment rather than fear-mongering, sob stories and anecdote.  This is even more true in the coming era of irrational price determination, where depending on various health factors you may be charged even more disproportionately for the probabilistic expected return.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

62

^ 57

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:27:34 PM EST

none

I'm not sure if it's a sound financial decision, though it may be in some states. Policies could be implemented to make insurance more affordable for individuals to purchase. Instead, government interventions have driven up the price of insurance.

66

^ 62

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:53:52 PM EST

none

It has to be a sound fiscal decision on average, or else insurance companies wouldn't make money.  Their source of income is premiums, and they have overhead in addition to their primary expenditure of paying claims.  Thus, they would break even if the sum of premiums is exactly equal to the sum of all overhead and claims.  Since they (generally) make money, then the sum of premiums must be larger than expenses.  Consequently, on average, insurance is a losing proposition for the consumer.  On average, you would be better off saving the cost of premiums to apply against future possible medical expenses.

Now, of course, that's just the average.  If you have a sufficiently expensive health condition, or are planning to an elective one that is covered such as birth, then you obviously "beat the house".  However, that can not be the statistical norm over time or else the insurance company would go bankrupt.  Or, as I'm sure we'll see in the coming era, be bailed or bought out by the feds.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

68

^ 66

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:59:14 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Insurers make money on fire insurance, too. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to forego fire insurance.

69

^ 68

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:05:47 PM EST

none

Again, it's a probabilistic assessment, best decided by the individual who is most familiar with their relative risk profile.  On average, though, it's a bad choice, and again, as illustrated by the fact that insurance companies are generally in the black.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

72

^ 69

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:21:46 PM EST

none

The fact that insurers make money is irrelevant to the calculus of the individual.

73

^ 72

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:43:23 PM EST

none

Of course it is, as they have their own personalized risk assessments.  However, I'm talking about the average.  Since we know that insurance companies do better than breaking even, and that's subtracting out overhead, and they have a known number of policies, then they make (Total Profit)/(Number of policies) profit per policy on average.  That means that they take in more than they pay out plus overhead on average.  Thus, on average, the consumer's return on investment (Total payout - Total premiums) is negative.  That's the very definition of a bad deal.

Now, that's average.  If your factors make the probability of damage times cost of damage larger than your premiums, that's a sound rational decision.  Just as people can win big at casinos, so too can people win big at insurance.  Both businesses operate on the same sort of mathematical principles, and both love word of mouth or news stories about big payouts for exactly the same reason:  it drives business their way which, statistically, they'll make some percentage of profit per customer.

The only significant difference is that Casinos prey on a combination of adrenaline and greed, while insurance preys on fear.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

75

^ 73

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:54:57 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

It's not a bad deal. The average outcome is irrelevant to the individual. Yes, insurance has a negative NPV unless something unfortunate happens. That does not mean if you have fire and medical insurance should you be disappointed each month when you haven't been hit by a bus or your house hasn't burned down.

76

^ 75

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:07:40 PM EST

none

Well, losing money on average and over the long haul is the definition of a bad fiscal deal.  Now, if you wish to assign a value to the nebulous quantity "peace of mind", then of course it may be an overall good deal to you even if you (on average) lose money on it.  Just as people are willing to lose money at casinos for the entertainment value, what each industry is selling is the promise of a big payout under some (statistically slight) conditions.  As long as on average the cost to consumer per play (premium or slot pull) is more than the probability times payout, the consumer loses over the long haul.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

77

^ 76

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:22:37 PM EST

none

Well, losing money on average and over the long haul is the definition of a bad fiscal deal.

That's not necessarily true - an individuals ability to bear those low probability events without running into temporary (or permanent) fiscal problems is much less than that of the insurance company.  You are, in a sense, paying the insurance to assume risk that would be problematic to bear individually.

Lots of financial transactions contain some element of one party paying the other to assume risk, insurance is just more explicit about it.

86

^ 77

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:10:19 AM EST

none

Exactly, that's what insurance is, paying the other party to assume risk.  The point here is that the price of that event, whether payout from insurance or casino, is going to be less than the price of the consumer to participate on average.  That's how insurance companies and casinos stay in business.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

131

^ 86

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

tjb.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:41:32 PM EST

none

Exactly, that's what insurance is, paying the other party to assume risk.  The point here is that the price of that event, whether payout from insurance or casino, is going to be less than the price of the consumer to participate on average.

"On average" is meaningless for tail events.  Take satellite launch insurance for example - let's say we have a small startup that depends on launching its satellite in order to be viable, like say Dish Network or Sirius in the late 90s.  They've scraped together $60M, built an $30M satellite and are spending another $10M in launch-related costs, so a total of $40M invested directly on the satellite and $20M on other aspects of the business.  There is roughly a 5% chance that the rocket will blow up on the pad or fail the orbital insertion or otherwise render the entire $60M investment entirely useless.  Launch insurance for the satellite would cost $4M, or 10% of their direct investment in the satellite, and, worst case, gives them their $40M back to build another one and try again.  

Should they forgo insurance because the average payout on the insurance is -$2M?  Is a 1-in-20 chance of total, instant ruin a responsible position to put the investors in if there is a way to hedge the risk?

Also, casinos can and do make money at table games that have player odds (slightly) better than 50% because the casino has deeper pockets than any individual player.  Check out some of the single-deck blackjack tables in Reno or on Fremont St. in Vegas sometime - they are extremely player friendly, with basic-strategy paying out in the neighborhood of 50.5%, but the player is generally unable to endure large losing streaks while the house can (and, of course, not everyone follows their basic strategy card)

139

^ 131

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 03:16:27 PM EST

none

Statistically, as an ROI analysis, yes it is.  Investors, though, want to hedge their own risks, so they insist on insurance, and they do this by pushing the cost of the hedge to the borrower.  No different than lenders insisting that borrowers take out "mortgage insurance" if they put down less than 20% (in the past, don't know what it is now) or carrying home owners insurance.

Of course casinos still do make money even if the players' have a theoretical edge, though I suspect it's much more from failure to play perfectly than running out of bank despite the edge.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

78

^ 76

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:35:22 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Insurance does have a negative NPV, but purchasing it is not a "bad deal".

"the consumer loses over the long haul"

Unless he's lucky enough to have his house burn down if has fire insurance, or is killed if he has life insurance, or has a severe medical event if he has health insurance. Then he "wins". This exchange is bizarre. Your "logic" applies to all insurance. No one should be insuring any risks.  

"what each industry is selling is the promise of a big payout under some (statistically slight) conditions"

It's irrational to spend lots of money chasing big payouts at a casino. It is rational to pay a small amount to get a big payout for your wife and kids in the unlikely event you are killed, because if you haven't, they will have to move into a homeless shelter. The situation of the average purchaser of life insurance who is not dead has no bearing on yours if you're dead.

87

^ 78

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:28:34 AM EST

none

 Actually, insurance and casinos can statistically be made to be profitable, so in that sense they are the best business to be in.  From that point of view, everyone should be in one of those endeavors.

Now, you claim that it's irrational to "spend lots of money chasing payouts at a casino", and I agree.  But you claim that it is rational to play the same odds (or worse) chasing the insurance payout.  In both cases, on average you, or your wife and kids, would be better off if you just pocketed the money.  Now, if you have information that either of the other two do not have such that the probability of payout is higher than the price to play would indicate, then it would be rational in the fiscal sense to participate in either.  Examples would be something akin to card counting (properly done) for a casino, or an increased risk of death that isn't factored into the premiums, whether by edict or by ignorance, in the case of insurance.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

128

^ 87

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:32:20 PM EST

none

In normal circumstances you aren't "chasing" the insurance payout, you hope it doesn't pay off. The average benefit  for a population is not relevant to me as an individual. As I noted above, your "logic" applies to all insurance. Aren't you a free marketeer? If insurance were irrational,  businesses that didn't purchase it would have a market advantage. Think of how much money an airline would save if it didn't insure its planes, or an oil company would save, if it didn't insure its drilling operations. Yet for some reason they all do.

134

^ 128

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:07:51 PM EST

none

What you hope happens doesn't affect the math one way or another.  Now, I agree, what happens on average to the populace doesn't necessarily affect you as an individual.  However, if you are basing your decision to purchase insurance on a strictly cost/benefit analysis, and if you have no compelling reason to believe that your set of circumstances has you deviate from average, then from a strictly cost/benefit standpoint, you are engaging in a losing proposition.  The only way to justify the expenditure is to put a value on the nebulous concept "peace of mind".  That is, knowing that if some unlikely event does occur, you'll be covered up to some amount, even if the Payout - sum of premiums is negative on average.  That's fine, different people give different weightings to different items in any decision matrix or, in the case of business arrangements, are compelled to either by law or contract.  But unless you believe that insurance companies are paying out more than they take in over time, and barring special factors that deviates one's situation from the average, it is a long term loss.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

137

^ 134

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:17:05 PM EST

none

You keep repeating the same conceptual errors.
 

140

^ 137

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:15:14 PM EST

none

Show me the math that proves me wrong.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

143

^ 140

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:09:16 PM EST

none

144

^ 143

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:36:20 PM EST

none

Um, you realize that link PRECISELY proves my point.  I quote:

<quote)For the purchaser the certain cost of buying the policy is now -£220. But the expected value of not buying remains at -£200. A risk-neutral person would not buy the policy, which requires spending £220 to avoid a situation (no insurance) whose expected value is -£200.<p> People with diminishing marginal utility of wealth are willing to buy insurance policies that are not mathematically 'fair' because they value the reduction of risk more than they value the reduction in their expected wealth when they buy the policy.</quote>

I'll repeat, "they value the reduction risk more than they value the reduction in their expected wealth".  So, they've put an inherent value on risk reduction for it's own sake, not for expected returns.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

145

^ 144

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Ephraim Gadsby.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:49:28 PM EST

none

That link illustrates why you are a loon. Literally, look at the illustration.

146

^ 145

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:09:15 PM EST

none

The graph shows utility-maximizing, not wealth maximizing.  That's another way of saying paying for risk aversion, as my quote above indicates.  Notice that their wealth is less if they buy insurance (point e and c).

Now, if you are willing to lose wealth to increase utility, great, that's your choice.  However, it's only a winning proposition if you assign a (relatively arbitrary) inherent value to risk avoidance.  Otherwise, you net lose on average.  It amazes me that this is so hard to understand.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

148

^ 87

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

joshv.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:46:51 AM EST

none

"In both cases, on average you, or your wife and kids, would be better off if you just pocketed the money."

on average is the key. I have one life time. My house will either burn down or it won't. If it does, I make more from insurance than I paid in. If it doesn't burn down, I lose money on insurance.

Now if I could live 100 or so lifetimes and share income between them, you might have a point, on average.

149

^ 148

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:37:29 AM EST

none

What other probabilistic assessment can you base it on other than averages?  Unless, of course, you have reason to believe that your house is more prone to fire than your premium would indicate (P*Payout - Premium >0).  Otherwise, you are in effect paying the insurance company to alleviate your fear.  I suppose that's great if it makes you feel better, but it's demonstrably not a sound decision.

Now, we all hear the sad sad stories of people who didn't have insurance and their house burned down, or they got some terrible disease, or what have you.  Of course that's going to happen at a certain rate.  What you don't hear is that for every person like that, there are hundreds who never collect a dime, and all the premiums they mailed off might as well have been shoveled into a fire.  The response is usually something along the lines that this is what you hope happens, since you don't want that stuff to happen to you.  That makes insurance very similar to sacrificing to the gods, dropping in the plate for karmic credit.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

150

^ 149

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

joshv.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:49:19 AM EST

5.00 (astute)

"I suppose that's great if it makes you feel better, but it's demonstrably not a sound decision."

It depends on the risk.  For an individual, statistics do not come in to play in decisions on extremely infrequent events.  For frequent events, you have a point. I am perfectly will to "self insure" small, frequent events.  I never buy the "extended warrantee".  Why?  Because I have enough electronic products that the averages do come in to play.  It actually is cheaper for me to buy a new one when it breaks, rather than to purchase the insurance.  The cost of an electronic failure is small, and they are frequent.

I take a similar approach to medical expenses.  "Insurance" for frequent or recurring medical events, such as a visit to the pediatrician, is fucking stupid.  I pay for that stuff out of pocket and have a high deductible policy that covers infrequent and extreme/expensive events.  This is demonstrable a sound decision.

Also, I will die exactly once.  If that happens in the next 15-20 years my kids and my wife are fucked.  Now I could save the $1000/year I pay for term life insurance in bank account.  I am sure my wife will find that $15k pretty useful when I die at 55.

152

^ 149

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

joshv.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:18:47 AM EST

none

"I suppose that's great if it makes you feel better, but it's demonstrably not a sound decision."

Another way to think about this.  Without life insurance, the risk of my children and wife being left entirely without a source of income in the next 20 years is non-trivial, based on risk factors, perhaps 0.5% - a 1/200 chance.  Unacceptable.

Life insurance reduces the risk that my children and wife will be left destitute to 0%.  That doesn't only make me "feel" better - it IS better.  Failure to insure against such events is one of the reasons the poor remain poor.  They save their premiums and spend them on cigarettes and lottery tickets.  Win-win!

153

^ 152

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

improper.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:32:45 AM EST

none

Failure to insure against such events is one of the reasons the poor remain poor.  They save their premiums and spend them on cigarettes and lottery tickets.  Win-win!

Very good point.

156

^ 152

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:27:32 AM EST

none

Actually, it's not better for you.  In any scenario that you survive, you'd be better off without insurance.  In cases where you die, well, you're dead, so whether you have insurance or not doesn't matter to you being dead and all.  So, insurance makes you feel better because for the small chance that you do die, your survivors get a windfall.  That's the only benefit to you, the emotional satisfaction.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

158

^ 156

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

joshv.

Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:32:06 PM EST

5.00

Well, it's a he'll of a lot better outcome for my genes, which are more likely to be propagated, and really, in the end that's all that matters.  Eventually people like you will be weeded out of the gene pool.

160

^ 158

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:21:29 AM EST

none

Very Aryan of you.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

161

^ 160

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

joshv.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:54:14 AM EST

none

Really?  I do happen to be white - perhaps you are not.  Regardless, people of any race can buy insurance and increase their chances of successfully propagating their genetic complement to future generations.  I recommend that they do.

Speaking of genetics - you seem to be genetically incapable of conceding a point.

162

^ 161

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:45:22 AM EST

none

You do realize that buying insurance for such reasons introduces a small, but non-zero, decrease to your own 20 year survival probabilities.  Namely, now certain people have a financial incentive to see you dead, and may wish to take action to implement that outcome.  Now, I'm sure you think that your beneficiaries would never do that because either you're more valuable to them alive, or due to emotional attachments or for a combination of both.  However, either of these reasons can change with time.  I'm sure the victims of documented cases of murder for insurance gains had similar reasoning and, admittedly, by the relatively low incident rate, it's not an unreasonable assumption.  The only problem is that it introduces the element of specific independent action by individuals, rather than relying on statistical justification.  In other words, it is very difficult to calculate the probability in a specific case due to the reasonable assumption that the perpetrator(s) wish to conceal their intentions.

Of course, that doesn't negate your genetic propagation justification.   In that sense, it's similar to the fact that a male preying mantis succeeds genetically even though the price is his life.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

163

^ 162

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:00:36 AM EST

none

...now certain people have a financial incentive to see you dead...
There are emotions far stronger than greed.

165

^ 163

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:14:41 AM EST

none

Of course there are, which explains the relatively low incident rate of insurance-gain murders.  However, when isolating that one variable, I think that it's reasonable to presume that it's much more likely that someone will be killed by a beneficiary if one is insured than if not.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

166

^ 161

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

HidingFromGoro.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:32:52 PM EST

none

He might have thought you were Bengali, Punjabi, or any other noble Indo-Aryan speaker.

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

167

^ 87

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

redshift.

Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 06:08:58 PM EST

none

Stocking life jackets in a boat does not typically provide a good financial return on investment.  Are the people who do so "chasing" a boat accident payout?

There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you and me and we just disagree - Jim Krueger

81

^ 76

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:03:44 PM EST

none

I hope you're fully invested in Mega Millions at the moment.  The expected value of each of those tickets is way over a dollar.

88

^ 81

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:29:13 AM EST

none

If true, that would make more sense than insurance.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

93

^ 88

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

John Adams.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:47:23 AM EST

none

It is true.  The jackpot for tonight's drawing is $540,000,000 (but could possibly go up before tonight) and your odds of winning on a $1 ticket are ~1:175,000,000.  But I still wouldn't toss a few tens of thousands from my retirement accounts into it because, as tjb pointed out, rational is about more than just the expected value of the exchange.

98

^ 93

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:46:36 AM EST

none

If you use criteria other than Reward/Risk ratio, sure.  But of course, the jackpots quoted are usually expected value over some period of time, usually 20 years of annual payments.  Generally speaking, if you take lump sum payment, it's half of that.  That lowers it to 270M.  Factor in state and federal taxes, I'd be surprised if even with such a large jackpot that a purchaser would statistically break even.  Hell, I assume (but could be wrong) that it would be taxed at least as much as personal income, meaning most of it is at the 35% rate rate.  That lowers the net payout to 175.5M.  That's barely breaking even (175.5M/175M), and implicitly assumes there are no other costs such as additional taxes and/or fees associated with winning.  But, like insurance, you have to play to win!

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

151

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

joshv.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:27:37 AM EST

none

I was thinking about the functional equivalence of a mandate to a tax combined with a tax credit.  Obviously each has different political implications in terms of public support, but from the standpoint of effecting a desired outcome, they are the identical.

So even if the the mandate is shot down, Congress has a way around the problem - Tax and Credit.  So really, if you are worried about the Commerce Clause granting Congress unlimited power, sorry that ship's already sailed.

In a perfect world, Congress would be restricted in taxing power to enacting taxes whose sole purpose is to raise revenue to fund the constitutional duties of the federal government.  Any attempt to direct behavior via the tax code would be seen as an unconstitutional infringement on the powers reserved to the states.

155

^ 151

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

HidingFromGoro.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:21:57 PM EST

none

Unfortunately they will find some way to mandate insurance purchase- the argument (even from the "progressive" Kagan) is that unless there is a mandate then young healthy people won't buy the insurance until they need it, and if insurance companies can't arbitrarily deny coverage when folks get sick or hurt and want to buy insurance, then the companies might not make as much profit.  They might even, in certain nightmare scenarios, actually lose money, and we certainly can't have that.  A mandate also provides a federally-guaranteed price floor (that's why there's a lot of talk about individual mandate and none on employer mandate).  There's really no scenario in which HeritageFoundationCare doesn't result in a win for insurance companies (they weren't stupid when they wrote the bill).  Even if the whole thing is scrapped and we go back to square one they still win- because when the bill passed back in 2010 they all started jacking up rates and it's not like they will lower them if HFCare is abolished.

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

157

^ 151

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

port1080.

Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 10:18:33 AM EST

none

So even if the the mandate is shot down, Congress has a way around the problem - Tax and Credit.  So really, if you are worried about the Commerce Clause granting Congress unlimited power, sorry that ship's already sailed.

This is what I've been saying for three years now, but for some reason TnT's more conservative contingent (and a lot of Republicans, in general) thinks there is a meaningful distinction to be made.  I just don't get it.

Allons-y!

164

^ 157

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

ThePlague.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:10:11 AM EST

none

Of course there's a meaningful distinction to be made, namely using clearly defined constitutional powers (tax and spend), or claiming a new power out of thin air (unconditionally compel economic activity).  Why would they do this?  Because increasing taxes is just too hard.  Boo-hoo, cry me a river.

The USFG has way more power than it needs, in my estimation.  However, if you disagree, there's a mechanism in place for increasing its reach, namely the amendment process.  While difficult, it's certainly not impossible, and is much preferable to the Harry Potter school of constitutional law.

the secret to happiness is to have you pay for my cocaine and mountain climbing-p0157

159

^ 151

Re: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

zyxwvutsr.

Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:17:28 PM EST

none

...if you are worried about the Commerce Clause granting Congress unlimited power, sorry that ship's already sailed
Implicit in that is the idea that constitutional law evolves in a single, predictable direction. I see no good reason to believe that is true and a number of reasons to think it is not true.

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