Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Health Care Law

The Supreme Court is hearing six hours of arguments over three days on the Affordable Care Act.

During the first of three days of historic arguments, the justices voiced doubt that a U.S. tax law requiring that people pay first and litigate later should delay the legal challenge to the president's signature domestic legislative achievement.

This morning the court heard 90 minutes of arguments from an outside lawyer about whether it is premature for it to consider the law. It agreed with both parties that it can determine the case now.

Tomorrow the Court will hear argument on the the constitutionality of the provision mandating that individuals obtain insurance. The ruling is expected by June.

Here's a thread to discuss it.

< Pakistan to Charge Osama Bin Laden's Wives, Daughters | Appeals Court Affirms Conviction of Ex-Rep. William Jefferson >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    If they in the end are able to (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 12:47:08 PM EST
    destroy ACA are there options for people like me to sue insurance companies for denying my child's needs every time a physician puts in a referral or request.  I will not return to the wonderful olden days.  I was defeated, depressed beyond tears, beaten into submission with nobody around me willing to fight either.  I've tasted sanity now.  I'm not going back.  If they destroy ACA is there a way I can sue?  I'm done being abused for profits.  I'm done having my child tortured for profits too.  I'm just phucking done!

    Can (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:51:03 PM EST
    they just overturn the mandates? I'm thinking that's what the constitutional issue is.

    As I Read it They are Deciding if it... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:26:10 PM EST
    ...can actually be brought before the court before it effective ?

    I think if they view it as a tax there's no issue.  To me it's like not having kids (insurance), you pay more if you don't.


    That's today's argument (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:32:58 PM EST
    Whether they can even rule until someone is actually "harmed" by having to pay the tax /penalty, which will be in 2014. Tomorrow's arguments focus on the constitutionality of the individual mandate.  Wednesday's argument focuses on the Medicare expansion.

    I thought that overturning any part of ACA (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:37:00 PM EST
    nullifies all of it

    Nope (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:42:57 PM EST
    Not necessarily.  That's the administration's argument.  There are 6 possible outcomes:

    1. The entire law is struck down

    2. The individual mandate is struck down

    3. The mandate and anything connected to it is struck down

    4. The Court could punt for 3 years and rule that no claim is justiciable at this time because no one has yet been harmed from the effects of the law.

    5. The Medicaid expansion could be struck down

    6. Uphold the law in its entirety.

    That's a relief (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:45:21 PM EST
    I think?  Everything having to do with this issue is nothing but a fight :)  And for some of us it is a current fight for a loved one's life.  I pity those who won't be able to be helped until 2014.  I suspect some people are dying out there right now waiting for ACA to fix what they need to be fixed.

    You do realize (none / 0) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:14:18 PM EST
    that the "ACA" does not mean that people will get beefed up Tricare.  People with pre-existing conditions can buy health insurance now (thru a govt program thru the ACA).  They aren't doing so in surprising numbers.... because they can't afford it.

    Making people buy insurance in 2014 won't help those people.  Hopefully some people will be helped by increased Medicaid funding.  In some cases the subsidies will bring insurance into an affordable zone....although copays and deductibles might still keep them away from the doctor (like it does me.  I don't see the doctor for anything except when I have to, once per year to get my maintenance drug prescriptions renewed).  

    But many people are just going to pay the tax and have no insurance....or if they're lucky, the tax will be waived.  My SIL is one of them.  The ~$1000 she used to dedicate to her own healthcare will now be used to pay the ACA tax.  Thus, she won't have healthcare because that money will go to the tax.  And she won't have health insurance either.  She doesn't have the money, even tho she's outside of Medicaid eligibility (and still will be in 2014).

    The ACA is not the miracle you seem to think it is.  I'm not sure where that's coming from.  I thought you knew better than that.  It sounds like the ACA has created some new benefits for Tricare recipients.  I'm very, very glad for you and your wonderful son.  But the law is actually going to be very detrimental for a significant number of people.  I hope that if the mandate is repealed (and I'm crossing my fingers that it IS repealed for my SIL's sake), that at least some parts of the law remain. And I certainly hope that whatever is helping you will remain.


    Oh Please (none / 0) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:30:51 AM EST
    First, what is beefed Tricare?  What in the world are you talking about?  Second, my son is SEVERELY disabled physically and over the past two years we have been denied NOTHING that he needed.  Prior to ACA he was denied almost everything at least once that doctors wanted for his health and well being.  I think you are the one who doesn't know what they are talking about.

    Children were the first to experience the benefits of ACA though, everyone else can wait as long as 2014.


    The Onion (none / 0) (#37)
    by CoralGables on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:25:15 PM EST
    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:04:24 PM EST
    with the analogy offered by Obama in 2008:

    if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,

    I just don't see how mandating that people buy insurance from private companies can be justified. If the Obama administration wants to justify this by insinuating, off and on, that it is a tax, why didn't they just try to get a tax bill passed that would have set up a national health care system?

    Video link (5.00 / 0) (#49)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:17:50 PM EST
    Because without the mandate (none / 0) (#68)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:52:11 PM EST
    Then many folks won't buy insurance until they get sick.  You need healthy people in the pool to "contain" costs.  Withour tbe mandate, the entire pkan, including the requirenent to cicer pre-existing conditions, goes away.

    Typos - yikes! (none / 0) (#69)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:53:25 PM EST
    The issue (none / 0) (#108)
    by lentinel on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:20:46 AM EST
    still remains that the Congress of the United States is mandating a product on the private market.

    Not a very healthy precedent, imo.


    It would be nice (2.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:55:52 PM EST
    What the (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:05:06 PM EST
    heck are you talking about? Your article links to the NHS in England.

    Why Do You Try so Hard to be Wrong ? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:35:17 PM EST
    Or are you so lost that you will believe anything Fox News put in front of your face ?

    The National Health Service (NHS) is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom.


    My child was denied everything he needed (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:38:42 PM EST
    Before ACA.  I have no idea what a UK article has to do with that reality.

    Today's arguments do not seem to (none / 0) (#5)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:17:19 PM EST
    have been received by the Justices as favorably as the anti-mandate contingent would like.

    David Dayen:

    But as per the first impressions that leaked out of the Court, the transcripts show that the justices didn't really buy the argument that the mandate is a tax. Whether or not you think that the Court should be more restrained and let the other two branches play out the policy, they have to base that on something in the law. And the arguments today didn't move the Justices. Here's an example. In this section, Justice Kagan questions Robert Long, the court-appointed attorney brought in to argue for the applicability of the Anti-Injunction Act (neither side of the broader case agrees with the argument for applicability, oddly enough), and makes the clearest case against viewing the mandate as a tax:

    JUSTICE KAGAN: But, Mr. Long, aren't you trying to rewrite the statute in a way? The statute has two sections. One is the you have to have insurance section and the other is the sanction. The statute has two different sets of exceptions corresponding to those two different sections. You are trying to suggest that the statute says: Well, it's your choice; either buy insurance or pay a -- or pay a fee. But that's not the way the statute reads. And Congress, it must be supposed, you know, made a decision that that shouldn't be the way the statute reads, that it should instead be a regulatory command and a penalty attached to that command.

    I think that's a pretty clear-cut reading. The statute needs to be read in a very particular way in order for the mandate penalty to be seen as solely a tax. The Administration tripped themselves up on this by alternately calling the mandate penalty a tax, and then not. In fact, Justices Alito and Breyer jumped on that today (the Administration wants to keep alive the idea of a tax penalty because that makes constitutionality much easier, as Congress has clear ability to tax). But legislative language takes precedent here, and as Justice Kagan says, the language doesn't go the way Robert Long wants it to go.

    I think, based on what I read here and elsewhere, that the Court is not going to kick this can down the road past the election.

    So the people (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:27:05 PM EST
    arguing against the ACA are arguing against it from a tax perspective? Are they completely stupid or what? The government can impose taxes. There's no question there. I'm no legal eagle by any means but it seems to me that the best argument against the ACA is that it is the government compelling a citizen to purchase a product from a private entity.

    It is their only avenue in (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:41:30 PM EST
    But from I read of Armando at Orange, their argument isn't addressed after they have made their way into being heard.  It is only the avenue they employ to challenge, but their arguments have been about the merits of ACA once they got their foot in the door and not about any tax grievance.

    The cases before the Supreme Court (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:43:31 PM EST
    are quite legally complex.  The issue argued today was whether the enforcement mechanism for the individual mandate is a "tax" as that term is used in a particular 1867 statute (still in effect) commonly called the "Tax Anti-Injunction Act."  If it is, then the legality of the mandate arguably cannot be litigated before the penalty/tax has been paid up front by someone against whom it has been assessed -- and that can't happen until 2014 or something, at the earliest.  Sounds like few if any Justices thought the "anti-injunction" statute applied to bar the current, pre-payment challenge, however.  What may be confusing to some is that there is a separate issue -- part of what is to be argued tomorrow -- whether authority to enact the PPACA can be found in Congress's constitutional power to imposes "taxes" for the "general welfare" of the United States.  Whether the PPACA is a taxing statute for this purpose is legally a separate question, which could very well have the seemly opposite answer, from the "Anti-Injunction Act" question that was argued this morning.

    I thought I heard (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:00:38 PM EST
    on NPR today something about the tax/fine/penalty/what-have-you provision doesn't kick in itself until 2015, and if they rule that it's indeed a "tax," then it would have to wait to be litigated until 2015 by, as you said, someone with standing to bring it before a court.  I may have misheard the correct date, though; I had 2,000 other things on my mind at the time.   ;-)

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:07:42 PM EST
    The provision kicks in in 2014, but no one would be hit until it's tome to file your 2014 taxes - in 2015.

    Yes, that (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:23:00 PM EST
    makes sense.  So, if the IRS is involved and can treat us legally as though we owe them money, how is this not.....a tax?  I fail to understand this.

    Congratulations! (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:27:50 PM EST
    Now you get it!  You are now qualified to sit in Congress!

    LOL! (none / 0) (#45)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:52:19 PM EST
    My head is spinning.  ;-)

    Actually, in this particular argument (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:44:33 PM EST
    Neither the administration, nor those challenging the law, argue that tax law blocks the Court from hearing the case now.  The Court had to appoint a special counsel to make the argument.

    In other words (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:47:16 PM EST
    The court chose to rule on this, nobody actually brought the issue to them?

    I think because of (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:51:20 PM EST
    The Fourth Circuit cases this issue arose and has to be dealt with.

    This is a three-part argument, (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:52:14 PM EST
    as follows:

    Monday: 90 minutes on whether the Anti Injunction Act (AIJA) prevents consideration of a challenge to the individual mandate until it takes effect in 2014;

    Tuesday: Two hours on the Constitutionality of the individual mandate;

    and Wednesday: 90 minutes on severability of the main law from the mandate and 60 minutes on state sovereignty concerns of Medicaid reform

    There was no argument today on the constitutionality of the mandate - that's for tomorrow.

    I would read bmaz's post, as linked, and also the Lyle Denniston post at ScotusBlog - and BTD's postings at DK (hate going there, so would love to see those posts here) - it's all very weedy and interconnected, and I'm not sure I have as much of a grasp on the arguments as I would like, but I'm working on it.


    I wish the administration would have put (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:07:24 PM EST
    up a fight about the Anti Injunction Act.  Perhaps there was no good fight there, but with more people then having the experience of some decent insurance coverage, ACA would be socially and politically stronger.  I'm sure the powers that be, and be richer culling all of us know that too.

    It is sad how so many have come to simply accept that they have been culled by their own society and nation.  I felt so demeaned before Josh finally started to not be denied everything.  They had me doubting that my husband fighting for his country actually made his children's lives worth fighting for in their own country.  I have had a year of sanity now, by God I'll go down fighting like a crazed Rush Limbaugh b-word before they send me back to that hell I used to live in and they had me believing that I was unlucky enough to deserve.


    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:20:53 PM EST
    This politically charged election year environment does not seem conducive to hearing the case.  Indeed, we see lines of people winding around the Supreme Court, not all of whom are interested in the constitutionality of ACA.   And, few are naive enough to believe that politics never influences Supreme Court Justices.

    While neither the challengers nor the administration argue that the Tax Anti-Injuntion Act applies so as to block hearing the case now, it seems a less understandable pathway for the administration than the challengers.

    The administration would like to get it over with now and not let this issue percolate for the next three years.  However, it seems to me that even an overall affirmation of ACA by the Court in a 5-4 decision will not "get it over with".   Indeed, it will only burnish the hopes for eventual repeal by electing Romney, or Santorum and getting rid of those activist judges that did not see it their way.

    The administration was, in my view, too clever by half with the slow implementation of ACA, save for some provisions.  As noted, time is likely to either cure many concerns of ACA or demonstrate to all needs for revisions.  The Supreme Court often prefers to make narrow decisions, and may have welcomed the opportunity to hear the complexities of this case at a later point as well.  It now appears that the Supreme Court will, unfortunately, move ahead with the case.


    The Administration could win (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:19:03 PM EST
    the constitutional issues here by as much as 7-2 or even 8-1.  Seriously.

    Yes, this is my thinking (none / 0) (#88)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:12:57 AM EST
    as well.  Certainly, Clarence Thomas will be in dissent, but even Scalia is a possibility.  I think Roberts and Alito will find their way.   However a favorable decision on the constitutionality issues will not make people like ACA, experience with it, along with revisions, where needed, have a better chance.  But, it would have not only an electoral impact, but give the Act a chance.

    And as even this thread demonstrates (none / 0) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:23:08 AM EST
    Everyone has heard everything that could be wrong with it while many are still twisting in the wind without coverage.  To date too few have experienced what the Act does.

    Define "win" (none / 0) (#99)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:01:22 PM EST
    Listening to NPR yesterday morning, one of the two analysts / reporters who had been following this story made the observations that:

    1. If ACA is overturned, it deals a blow to Obama and the administration - getting his largest legislative accomplishment tossed right before the election shows weakness, or

    2. If ACA is upheld, it further energizes and mobilizes those on the right, especially as it is an extremely unpopular law, with 42% saying throw out the law in it entirety, and 25% saying at least dump the mandate. (Or, in another poll, "In a basic assessment, 41 percent of Americans support the health-care law, while 52 percent are opposed. The measure has never scored majority support in Post-ABC polls. ")

    It doesn't matter if the law is ACTUALLY good or ACTUALLY will help people - perception is everything in an election year.

    The slow implementation (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:25:47 AM EST
    Has been an emotional killer.  My child was one of the first to benefit.  It is easy for me to see and experience where we are going, but not so for everyone else.

    They would have, if this were (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:36:02 PM EST
    a normal case. But it's not.  It's political as well as legal, for both sides.  The Administration could not call the individual mandate enforcement penalty an ordinary "tax" (for purposes of today's argument) without Obama having to explain on the campaign trail how he supported a "tax increase on the middle class," as the R's would then have characterized it. So they scuttled one of their possible (but not one of their stronger) legal arguments.  The Administration has very strong constitutional arguments to make (tomorrow) that the PPACA is totally valid.  They are going for the big win on the merits.

    I am so (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:08:14 PM EST
    phucking confused over this whole thing.  I have an adult son who works at a series of temp jobs and as a "contractor," and therefore has no health insurance, and he has been unable to get any because of a "previously existing condition."  I just pray that he doesn't get appendicitis or anything else that requires hospitalization and a whole lot of money.  Can we for pity's sake get single-payer now???  Medicare For All.  G-d d@mn it to he!!.  This is the only "westernized" country that has no form of single-payer/universal/national health care.  (Not to mention a whole lot of countries which are not "western," but still have some kind of universal health care.)

    Amen sister (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:11:34 PM EST
    I've been turned down by a couple of companirs be ause my BMI is too high.

    I'm with you. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:17:10 PM EST
    Single payer.  

    That's because (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by NYShooter on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    other countries are fortunate to be blessed with corruption.

    We, not content with simple corruption, went with complete & total sell-out.

    "We're #1, we're #1, "we're.......


    We're # (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:04:54 PM EST
    37, according to the World Health Organization's rankings.  Outranked by such countries as Andorra, Malta, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Chile, Columbia, Oman, and Costa Rica.  Among many others.  We should be so proud!    :-(

    These sorts of lists defy common sense (1.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:27:15 PM EST
    This list has many issues.

    As this link points out we are a great country to get sick in.

    Our collective lifestyle choices and lack of a centralized system heavily influence the WHO list and is not really relevant to our problem.

    How we decrease cost and increase access is the issues and in my opinion ACA does nothing to improve that central issue.


    It's only not relevant (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:50:47 PM EST
    If you ignore
    The second part of that saying is also supported by statistics, such as those published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing that, in 2007, 45% of the almost 43 million Americans under the age of 65 without health care coverage had to delay or forgo medical care due to costs.


    If health care reform extends coverage so that all Americans can have affordable access to primary health care providers, instead of having to delay or forgo medical coverage altogether, then the United States might become a good country for staying healthy, too.

    From your Forbes link.  But you're right- the ACA does nothing to "decrease cost and increase access."  In my opinion, the only way to do that is some kind of single-payer system for health care.  And I would add to that some way to ensure that medical students do not graduate from medical school with many, many thousands of dollars owed in tuition costs, and that physicians do not have to pay exorbitant rates for malpractice insurance.  (My own gynecologist, for instance, has given up her obstetrics practice because of the insurance rates.)  


    Obvioulsy (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:59:07 PM EST
    you've never been sick in this country. I am a cancer survivor and the system in this country sucks. It is a literal nightmare. When they finally get it right, you are then stuck with thousands of dollars in bills, hospitals threatening to turn you over to collection agencies based on what THEY think you should pay.

    If you are a millionaire, you can get great care here in the US. For the rest of us, the middle class not so much.


    4 time cancer survivor (1.00 / 0) (#58)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:56:40 PM EST
    And from a medical family.

    I know all about our system.

    Cost has exploded because of too much government involvement, not because their isn't enough.

    Health care is rationed in every system.  The choice is do we do it through a capitalist or government funnel.

    What I don't understand about liberals on this matter is you didn't get anything you wanted really but are only backing this for what apper to be partisan political reasons.  In my view this law will lead to people losing good insurance so that a few people get put into a system they will not like, meanwhile costs will keep going up.

    No matter what happens in this round it's not over.  This law will not survive in its current form no matter what happens for one simple reason, it not affordable.   We are still in the first inning of this ball game.

    My father the surgeon puts it sim


    You obviously (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:46:35 PM EST
    have not read many of my posts if you think I'm backing this.

    The problem with the healthcare system is the same problem with a lot of other areas in this country---greed. Hospitals used to be nonprofits. Now they are all trying to make huge bonuses for everybody. So instead of their main objective being providing a service they are trying to make a profit off of sick people.

    And none of that has anything to do with the fact of the quality of care in this country. If you had a dad who's a doctor, you were not at the mercy of the system like the rest of us. You had someone "inside the system" who knew how to work it and make it work for you.

    Have you ever been misdiagnosed? Have you ever had a doctor who couldn't be bothered to call you back with a diagnosis and then realized two months later that he hadn't given you the "news". All of that has NOTHING to do with the government.

    And I'm in a cancer survivor's group with people all over the world and they get the EXACT same treatment that we do here in the US. You would not be denied treatment or have treatment "rationed". None of these people experienced this. Frankly I think this is just a lie conservatives have put out there because they want to keep the good stuff for themselves and let the rest of us just deal with the horrible situation.

    And as far as the government, there are tons of hospitals and doctors who get 60% or more of their money from Medicare. So yeah, we could get rid of all that but the doctors would have to take a huge cut in pay because the majority of Americans don't have the money to pay what medicine costs these days.


    Look we're on the same team (none / 0) (#80)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:08:23 PM EST
    This system sucks but it could be worse and I worry that this piece of legislation will make it worse.

    You can blame conservatives but they aren't the problem.  The system is bipartisan and a partisan solution like Obamacare is not going to make it better.


    What (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:38:23 AM EST
    I don't understand is why conservatives don't LIKE this legislation. For years, at least here in GA, i have heard them whine about all "these people who have a TV instead of buying insurance" and here's a piece of legislation that ends their obsession with "freeloaders" imaginary or real by making them purchase insurance or pay a fine and they still are whining about it.

    And the solutions that conservatives have put forth like the Ryan plan are even worse than the ACA. Vouchers are such a joke it's not even funny.


    The Republican plan ... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:07:03 AM EST
    ... of 1994 is now a partisan (Democratic) solution?

    That was quick.


    Puts it simply (none / 0) (#59)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:58:26 PM EST
    "I'm glad I'm getting out of medicine."

    It's a choice (1.00 / 0) (#62)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:11:16 PM EST
    Find a way to pay or let the government decide which treatments are available.

    The issue we have in this country is insurance costs are driven up by government regulations.

    How expensive would car insurance be if it had to cover oil changes?

    The solution in my opinion is for the government to expand Medicaid and free up the insurance system and allow broader options, medical savings accounts, interstate insurance, etc...

    This plan doubles down on most of the bad problems we already have.  It doesn't fix the problems in insurance it just adds more options and will accelerate the price curve.  


    Okay (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:53:51 PM EST
    I have extensive experience in the insurance business and the "whole selling policies across state lines" is nonsense. What that would do is there would be some states that would be selling virtually worthless policies and then when the person had to use them, they would find out that they're worthless. Since they were depending on said insurance to pay something and it didn't the costs are going to shifted onto others. And then who do you complain to about your insurance? An insurance commissioner in another state isn't going to care one whit about your problem because you can't vote for them. Heck, the ones that are in your own state don't really care as they answer to the insurance companies not the consumers anyway.

    Medical savings accounts are another one of those "feel good" conservative things that really do nothing. Oh, they're great if all you have is a few doctor's visits during the year and all but if you have to go into the hospital or something, they're pretty worthless.


    Dontcha just love it (5.00 / 0) (#82)
    by NYShooter on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:20:33 AM EST
    "Find a way to pay or let the government decide which treatments are available."

    As if the Insurance Profiteers don't "..decide which treatments are available."


    Bullsh!t. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Edger on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:00:18 PM EST
    ...the rest of the industrialized world, including many developing countries like Mexico, Korea, and India, viscerally understood that "private insurance would [never be able to] cover all necessary hospital procedures and services; and that even minimal protection [is] beyond the reach of the poor, the working poor, and those with the most serious health problems."  Today, over half the family bankruptcies filed every year in the United States are directly related to medical expenses, and a recent study shows that 75 percent of those are filed by people with health insurance.
    The United States spends far more per capita on health care than any comparable country. In fact, the gap is so enormous that a recent University of California, San Francisco, study estimates that the United States would save over $161 billion every year in paperwork alone if it switched to a singlepayer system like Canada's. These billions of dollars are not abstract amounts deducted from government budgets; they come directly out of the pockets of people who are sick.
    There are two criteria used to judge a country's health care system: the overall success of creating and sustaining health in the population, and the ability to control costs while doing so. One recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal compares mortality rates in private forprofit and nonprofit hospitals in the United States. Research on 38 million adult patients in 26,000 U.S. hospitals revealed that death rates in for-profit hospitals are significantly higher than in nonprofit hospitals: for-profit patients have a 2 percent higher chance of dying in the hospital or within 30 days of discharge. The increased death rates were clearly linked to "the corners that for-profit hospitals must cut in order to achieve a profit margin for investors, as well as to pay high salaries for administrators."5

    "To ease cost pressures, administrators tend to hire less highly skilled personnel, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists...," wrote P. J. Devereaux, a cardiologist at McMaster University and the lead researcher. "The U.S. statistics clearly show that when the need for profits drives hospital decisionmaking, more patients die."
    The facts are clear: Before 1971, when both countries had similar, largely privately funded health care systems, overall survival and mortality rates were almost identical. The divergence appeared with the introduction of the single-payer health system in Canada.

    The solid statistics amassed since the 1970s point to only one conclusion: like it or not, believe it makes sense or not, publicly funded, universally available health care is simply the most powerful contributing factor to the overall health of the people who live in any country. And in the United States, we have got the bodies to prove it.

    When I got a rare form of cancer (1.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:02:15 PM EST
    I was treated by the worlds leading specialist.

    Guess where he was from.  the USA

    If I wouldn't have had the insurance to pay for it I would have found other means.

    If I'd lived in Mexico or Canada I'd be dead.

    Can't put it more simply then that.  Find a way or die.  In other countries it's just die.


    IOW, your response (5.00 / 0) (#63)
    by Edger on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:35:22 PM EST
    to the stats and facts referred to in that article is a simple "i got mine, screw everyone else" response.



    If you (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:56:18 PM EST
    didn't have the insurance to pay for it, you would have died. No one is going to take you without insurance and most of them want a large deposit up front. If your insurance refused to pay for it, you would have died. That is the truth.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#79)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:00:40 PM EST
    But in a government rationed system I would not have had any chance.

    In our system I could try to raise money, seek help from a foundation or gone into debt.

    Better than dead.

    All care is rationed.  It's simply a choice of how.


    You (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:17:51 AM EST
    still don't have any choice!!! Health care is rationed here by ability to pay. I have just been through all this with doctors wanting the money up front before they do anything. It's like I said our system is great for millionaires.

    You could try to raise money but you probably would be dead before you got enough money to pay for treatment. Maybe you could get help from a foundation. The health care industry wants a large down payment before they will "let you go into debt".

    The other countries that you talk about have longer life expectancies and live longer than we do here in the US.


    So the ONLY doctor ... (5.00 / 0) (#72)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:05:26 PM EST
    ... in the entire world who could have saved you is the "world's leading specialist from the USA".



    What part of "rare" do you (none / 0) (#75)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:35:46 PM EST
    not understand?

    I may not agree with all of Slado's positions on the issues, but when it comes to his personal experience - four-time cancer survivor - I will take him at his word.

    It's one thing to have a garden-variety form of cancer for which any competent oncologist can prescribe treatment, but it's another thing altogether when you enter into "rare" territory.  The pool of docs with the knowledge and expertise to treat it shrinks exponentially, and geographically, and if you want to live, you do what you can to get yourself into the best medical hands.

    Sometimes, the opportunity to score rhetorical points ought to be ceded to the opportunity to learn from the experience of others, especially when those people have been in a battle for their very lives.


    I understand all of it (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:09:57 AM EST
    What part of my point did you not understand? .... apparently, all of it.  Let me clarify.

    I have three issues with Slado's claims.  First, he states (unequivocally) that, "If I'd lived in Mexico or Canada, I'd be dead".  Ignoring the fact (as illustrated in his follow up post) that he wasn't just referring to Mexico and Canada, he has absolutely no way of knowing this.  Yes, there are a shrinking pool of specialists as you deal with rarer forms of any disease, but to state unequivocally that "If I'd lived in Mexico or Canada (or another country with "socialized" medicine) I'd be dead" is silly, on its face.

    The bigger issue with his point is his extrapolation from the singular to the general.  Yes, he had a good experience with the doctor he was able to see, but he was bringing it up to defend the US healthcare system in general.  There are thousands (millions?) of people who are regularly denied the care they need (including lifesaving care) because they are uninsured and just can't pay for it, or because they are denied coverage by their carrier.  His answer?  "I would have found other means", suggesting that's what everyone should do.  Of course, for the vast majority of people, raising hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars necessary to be treated by a cancer specialist is a pipe dream.

    Finally, I disagree with his "survival of the wealthiest"/"I got mine - screw everyone else" position.  He's suggesting the US healthcare system is a preferable system because he had good insurance when he was sick and it worked for him.  I think that's a silly defense of a system which regularly denies care to millions, unless you're one of those with good health insurance (I am) or wealthy.  Yes, the US system may work well for those with good insurance and for millionaires, but suggesting everyone else should just "find other means" is both incredibly unrealistic and breathtakingly cavalier, IMO.

    As for "the opportunity to learn from the experience of others", I'm not sure what lesson I'm supposed to take from Slado's post.  The US system - spending over twice as much as other modern systems - can work very well if you have good insurance and/or you are wealthy.

    I already knew that.


    Thanks for that (none / 0) (#77)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 09:54:24 PM EST
    Germ cell teratoma

    12 pound tumor at 23

    2 surgeons and multiple oncologists told me I was terminal

     I was lucky that I had a surgeon for a father who would not quit.  We found the right specialist and surgeon and 15 years later and 3 reoccurrences I'm still here.

    No medical system in the world would have saved me.  Only my family and their refusal to hear no allowed me to find the right doctor for me.  

    I say this all the time.  You and your family are the best doctor for you.  Doctors are human and no government system can do a better job for you than you can do for yourself.  I worry that a government system will restrict that freedom and the next 23 year old with my rare form of cancer won't be allowed to find the best doctor for him.


    Didn't say that (none / 0) (#78)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 09:58:03 PM EST
    But I will say there are very few who could and one of them is here and I'm pretty sure their are none in Morroco or many of the other 36 countries with "better" medical care.

    "Pretty sure"? - heh (5.00 / 0) (#90)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:34:02 AM EST
    There may well be "very few", but you have absolutely no idea whether you would have been treated successfully in one of the many countries who's systems perform better than the US system in terms of equity, efficiency and quality.  Moreover, no one is disputing the fact that the US healthcare system works well for those with good insurance and/or wealth.  While I don't think that's the way we should design a healthcare system, I understand why you would.

    We're talking about health care in the USA, (none / 0) (#97)
    by sallywally on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:17:39 PM EST
    actually, not in Morocco.

    Obamacare creates a system in which someone without wealth and an inside connection through a surgeon father (who not only knows the ropes but has powerful influence in the system, doctor-to-doctor special treatment and reciprocal access) would be able to see that specialist and could receive the treatment you received.

    Now anyone in this country who has your form of cancer and does not have your very special access likely dies from it, perhaps even with insurance, which would do all they could to deny treatment or even cancel coverage because the individual got sick.

    This is the present reality of our system and  you sort of seem to be for letting anyone else in the USA who has your cancer die of it.


    Zorba, a stepson (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Towanda on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:26:56 PM EST
    is in a similar situation, and he had a horrible accident some months ago -- life-threatening, long-term disabling, broken back and ribs and bruised (at first apparently torn) aorta, etc.

    Fortunately, Flight for Life (he was out hunting, had to crawl half a mile to get back to his camp for someone to call) paramedics figured out right away to not take him to a local, small-town hospital and flew him to a university hospital.

    Remember that:  A teaching hospital, preferably a university hospital, for your son.  They refuse to charge ours, and as his g.p. just had retired, they have him come back there for free checkups.  I think that they have resources to write these off as teaching moments for interns and residents.


    Thank you, Towanda (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:37:40 PM EST
    This is an excellent suggestion.  We are within an hour and a half of both Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University hospitals.  I will move heaven and earth to get my son care there, if necessary (and I really, really hope that it's not necessary!).  I am so sorry about your stepson.  And isn't it simply a crying shame that we have to think of things like this?  
    OTOH, Dick Cheney, at age 71, was able to get a heart transplant.  Okay, okay, I shouldn't even think like this, I suppose.  Except, I can't help it.

    As the California Nurses Assoc. (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by caseyOR on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:18:19 PM EST
    pointed out back in 2007,  that Cheney was still alive then and is still alive now, is an outcome that is denied to many other American.

    The usual suspects were "outraged" when this ad appeared back in '07. What else is new? Those same people are always outraged when their privilege is highlighted for all to see.

    The fact remains, if Cheney had not been covered by government health insurance all these many decades, he's have died a long time ago. Unless, of course, he chose to pay out-of-pocket with the millions he amassed by  directing federal dollars in tot he coffers of his former employer Halliburton. Of, yeah, even then tax dollars would be paying for Cheney's health care.


    Actually the (none / 0) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:08:18 PM EST
    requirement for states to form pools to insure people with pre-existing conditions has been around since 2010.

    Details below (none / 0) (#55)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:16:08 PM EST
    Creation of High-Risk Pools

    •            Starting on July 1, 2010, people who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions will have immediate access to high-risk pools that don't exclude people with pre-existing medical conditions.

    •            The creation of high-risk pools is a temporary measure; the pools will end on January 1, 2014, when government-regulated insurance exchanges start operating. By this date, the law also mandates that insurance companies will no longer be able to deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

    •            To apply to a high-risk pool, you must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the United States; have had no health coverage for the last 6 months; and have a pre-existing condition, which will be defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    •            People will have to pay premiums to participate in the pools. However, the law limits premiums to "standard rates", defined as the average amount private insurers in the state charge for premiums for similar coverage.

    •            The law says that older people can't be charged more than four times what younger people are charged to participate in the plan



    Details below (none / 0) (#56)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:16:11 PM EST
    Creation of High-Risk Pools

    •            Starting on July 1, 2010, people who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions will have immediate access to high-risk pools that don't exclude people with pre-existing medical conditions.

    •            The creation of high-risk pools is a temporary measure; the pools will end on January 1, 2014, when government-regulated insurance exchanges start operating. By this date, the law also mandates that insurance companies will no longer be able to deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

    •            To apply to a high-risk pool, you must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the United States; have had no health coverage for the last 6 months; and have a pre-existing condition, which will be defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    •            People will have to pay premiums to participate in the pools. However, the law limits premiums to "standard rates", defined as the average amount private insurers in the state charge for premiums for similar coverage.

    •            The law says that older people can't be charged more than four times what younger people are charged to participate in the plan



    Yeah Right (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by kmblue on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:43:14 PM EST
    In my home state of GA, you have to gamble on not having insurance for six months, then pay a high premium for the pre-existing condition pool.
    In my case, 615. a month.  

    What people forget is that private insurance companies may be forced to sell insurance to high risk patients, but they can charge any price they want.  

    Not only that, my insurance company has raised my premium 300 percent--no doubt getting them up before Obama care kicks in.

    Single payer please.


    Here's the problem (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:22:24 PM EST
    The administration argued prior to having the law voted on that it wasn't a tax.

    Today's argument shows that some justices feel it is not a tax but instead a penalty.

    If that is the case then all the arguments against the mandate are in play.   The pro appeal base will argue you can't penalize someone for not buying a product.

    See question from Alito to administration lawyer...

    General Verrilli, today you are arguing that the penalty is not a tax. Tomorrow you are going to be back and you will be arguing that the penalty is a tax.

    Even more from today (none / 0) (#29)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:25:15 PM EST

    When the SG slipped later on and termed what today should have been a mere "penalty" a tax, Justice Breyer called him on it, drawing laughter from the observers in the courtroom.

    The SG's arguments also triggered incredulous laughs when he answered Justice Kagan's query about whether the requirement to buy insurance was logically separate from the penalty, since some of the people subject to the mandate are not subject to the penalty, and vice versa.  She wanted to know whether someone required by law to purchase insurance, but exempted from the penalty, would be violating federal law by not getting insurance. General Verrilli answered they wouldn't, effectively arguing that the statute's own description of the mandate should be ignored when it conflicted with the penalty provision.

    The Solicitor General enjoys significant respect by virtue of his position as chief advocate for the federal government, but his positions today seemed to strain credulity with most of the justices. Even two of the liberal justices, Ginsburg and Breyer, commented that the penalty was clearly not intended as a revenue-generating provision. It seems safe to assume that the government may not want to use up much of its valuable argument time tomorrow on what appears to be a losing argument.

    Audio Link (none / 0) (#31)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:39:33 PM EST
    Guess it depends on your perspective (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:44:02 PM EST

     The Court had selected a Washington attorney from outside the case, Robert A. Long, Jr., to make an argument that the Supreme Court and no lower court had any authority to rule on the challenges to the mandate, on the theory that the requirement is a part of the tax code and the Anti-Injunction Act of 1867 had closed the courthouse doors to any lawsuit against a tax law before it took effect. But the most difficult questions from the bench Monday were aimed at Long's argument. And most of the Court seemed to be leaning toward some version or variation of the argument made by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., speaking for a government that very much wants a final decision soon on the mandate.

    Verrilli had to take a bit of a tease that he was arguing on Monday that the mandate was not a tax but would be arguing on Tuesday that it was (a seeming anomaly for which the Solicitor General did have an explanation), but his basic plea to move on to decide what he called "issues of great moment" got a largely sympathetic hearing.

    Yes and no (none / 0) (#33)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:48:47 PM EST
    Both the pro and anti appeal groups where arguing to bypass the 1867 act.

    The small point I'm making is it's clear the some if not all the justices are skeptical that the mandate is a tax.  Instead it is a penalty which will move us straight into the commerce clause argument which will come down to whether you are a traditionalist or a living breathing follower of the constitution.

    On this IMHO the precedents are mixed.   Predictably you will have 3 or 4 on one side of the argument and 3 or 4 on the other.   Kennedy will be the most likely swing vote and that will be that.

    Even if the mandate is overturned I don't think they strike down the whole law.

    For what it's worth.


    FWIW (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:53:18 PM EST
    I've thought for months that it all depends on what Justice Kennedy feels like on rhe day they decide.

    B/S. That Justice Kennedy does not (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:39:19 PM EST
    have his mind made up in advance to vote "conservative" every time, does not mean he does not make principled (and thus somewhat unpredictable) decisions. He is pragmatic and cautious, as well as principled.  I don't consider that a criticism, or grounds to denigrate him as a jurist.

    I agree (none / 0) (#61)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:03:53 PM EST
    Its an issue that we already assume how the other 8 will rule

    Yep (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:49:37 PM EST
    And also what pretty much every other legal expert out there has been saying all along.

    Charles K says it well (1.00 / 0) (#42)
    by Slado on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:27:58 PM EST
    It will depend on what side of the bed Justice Kennedy gets up on.

    "Charles K"? (5.00 / 0) (#73)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:07:21 PM EST

    Heheheheheheh .....


    In 1792 George Washington (none / 0) (#30)
    by NYShooter on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:32:04 PM EST
    signed into law the first (I think) "public option:"

    In defense of our country the law gave the President the right to call up members of State's militias...
    "Those conscripted were required within six months to arm themselves with "a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball." Rifles could be substituted for muskets."

    Bwahaha! (none / 0) (#40)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 04:27:38 PM EST
    Although, I think that this speaks more to the Second Amendment than anything else.  "A well regulated militia...."  etc, etc, etc.
    And that may be opening up another can of worms.  ;-)

    No, actually it's a Mandate (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by NYShooter on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:30:35 PM EST
    The Right claims the Government doesn't have the Right to force people to buy something they don't want. That issue was settled hundreds of years ago. My example was the Government forcing people to buy, and/or own, guns for the protection of America.

    National defense (none / 0) (#65)
    by BTAL on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:44:30 PM EST
    is an enumerated power of the federal govt.

    OT perhaps, (none / 0) (#109)
    by lentinel on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:23:14 AM EST
    but it seems to me that every national election is about forcing the American people to buy something from among products that they don't want.

    supreme court (none / 0) (#76)
    by christineboutwell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 09:48:12 PM EST
    Can anyone tell me about the appointments to the Supreme Court.  I was wondering why there were 9 justices.  Who can expand the court?  I believe the court was expanded to 9 justices last century, but I'm not sure.  Why couldn't President Obama add another two justices?  What's the process? It seems with the exploding population, the people are really not represented correctly, but rather narrowly.

    It seems an expedient thing to do considering congress is just about completely broken and not representing the people who keep electing them.  Let's change things up.  I think its way overdue.

    The number was set by Congress at 9 (none / 0) (#81)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:34:33 PM EST
    way back in 1869.  The President cannot change that; Congress would have to pass a law.  When F.D. Roosevelt suggested increasing the Court's size in the 1930s there was a political firestorm. It's not going to happen. Under the Constitution, each Justice, once appointed and confirmed, can serve for life (or until s/he chooses to retire), and there is no vacancy until that happens.  The Court is not designed to be representative.  If it were, there would be no way the present members would be on it -- six Catholics and three Jews, in a country that's over 50% Protestant! Two Italian-Americans raised in New Jersey. Two former Harvard professors. Only one southerner; one Westerner. No veterans. Etc., etc. It is intended to be a merit-selected court of excellent judges and nothing else.  Not that it (or all its members) always live up to that highest ideal, but that's the concept.

    supreme court (none / 0) (#102)
    by christineboutwell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:15:33 PM EST
    Thanks Pete G.

    However, there's no requirement that judges be (none / 0) (#103)
    by jawbone on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:30:25 PM EST
    nominated, per the Constitution.

    Wha??? (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:22:40 PM EST
    Federal judges must be appointed by the President and co firmed by the Senate per Article II.  Magistrates and bankruptcy judges do not.

    Article II, section 2, clause 2 (none / 0) (#106)
    by Peter G on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:11:07 PM EST
    The President "by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the supreme Court ...."

    Yikes -- no requirement that only judges/ lawyers (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by jawbone on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:29:28 PM EST
    be on the court. Non-legal types can and have been nominated.  And candidates for the Supreme Court must be nominated by the president.

    Of course, as written, my comment was a full-on, embarrassing to re-read blooper!


    I give up on... (none / 0) (#91)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:57:44 AM EST
    our dysfunctional corrupt government improving our health care system.  If you're working or middle class ya can't afford to get sick...the harsh reality.

    I'm mainly concerned over setting the precedent, or strengthening the precedent, that the government can force you to buy sh*t.

    I could totally see a bank account mandate in our future, a 401k mandate to replace SS...the sky is the limit to how we could be forced into further indentured servitude by threat of fine or arrest by government mandates to buy sh*t we don't want from corporations.  

    the government (none / 0) (#92)
    by CST on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:48:48 AM EST
    has always been able to tax things kdog, and give tax breaks for things.

    They are raising your taxes and giving you a break for buying health insurance.  Sure that's not what they're "saying", but functionally that's what it is.  It's not a new power, or even an expansion of power really.

    The sad fact is, I have way more faith in our dysfunctional corrupt government than I do in the system we currently have.  At least the government is somewhat accountable to the people.


    Playing politics with the verbiage... (none / 0) (#93)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:14:43 AM EST
    it's so lame, and so predictable, and not helping.

    Not a fan of using the tax code to regulate behavior, but that's better than a fine.  Though I question the morality of placing a reverse tax incentive (or fining) somebody for not buying something they can't afford to buy.

    Better would be a taxpayer funded single payer system.  The wealthy can always pay out of pocket for cadillac care, same as ever in any system...and at least the proles will have basic access to healthcare.  

    The problem, of course, keeping the insurance industry beast in profits.


    Upon further thought... (none / 0) (#94)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:44:37 AM EST
    What the hell is the difference between "do this or we'll fine you" or "do this or we'll raise your taxes"?

    Upon further further thought... (none / 0) (#95)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:51:14 AM EST
    the government is already fining us (aka collecting more in taxes) for not having a mortgage.  Or am I missing something?

    I don't think you are missing anything (none / 0) (#100)
    by CST on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:16:07 PM EST
    that's exactly what's happening, which is why I don't buy the brouhaha over the health insurance mandate.

    A new brew-ha-ha... (none / 0) (#101)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:57:10 PM EST
    emerges...why hasn't the mortgage mandate been challenged?

    The more I think about it the more I dislike using the tax code to regulate behavior...that's what criminal and civil law is supposed to be for, taxes should be about funding the government, not an incentive program to get people to go in debt to a bankster or get screwed by an insurance company.


    Except that the government -- (none / 0) (#105)
    by shoephone on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:38:10 PM EST
    the Obama administration -- is claiming that the penalty is not a "tax" but a "fee."

    That mandate will come if the Republicans (none / 0) (#98)
    by sallywally on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:25:32 PM EST
    win power. They'll set it up and Romney would sign it in a second! But I think it's questionable that it would come as a result of this law.