Using the Courts to Kill Obamacare

March 28th, 2010 at 2:38 pm | 86 Comments |

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In the wake of the Democratic passage of health care reform, conservatives now seem ready to throw principle to the wind by heading to the courts. A mere seven minutes after president Obama signed his bill, thirteen attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the federal government on the grounds that the healthcare bill is unconstitutional.

One of the backbones of the conservative movement is its opposition to judicial activism. Now, however, the right’s decision to run to the courts to resolve the healthcare debate as well as the recent conservative embrace of the decision in D.C. v. Heller suggests that conservatives are all talk and no action when it comes to judicial philosophy. Conservatives often rail against the evils of liberal attempts to legislate through the courts. The pro-life movement’s most reasonable argument against Roe is and remains that the decisions substituted the will of a judge in an area that should have been decided by the voters of each individual state. Conservatives have long criticized Earl Warren for ignoring the constitution to pursue his own social agenda.

Yet, the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller has been embraced by conservatives throughout the country as a landmark victory for the movement. In the stampede to celebrate the victory of gun rights, many conservatives failed to consider the peculiar nature of the victory: the decision, authored by the Court’s most outspoken opponent of judicial activism (at least theoretically), struck down a law passed by democratically elected representatives of the District of Columbia.  Ensuing challenges would similarly throw out other laws passed by legitimately elected city and state governments all across the United States. This dichotomy bothered two of our most prominent conservative federal judges. The 7th Circuit’s Judge Richard Posner argued that Justice Scalia created a right that is not in the constitution.  Posner wrote that:

“The text of the amendment, whether viewed alone or in light of the concerns that actuated its adoption, creates no right to the private possession of guns for hunting or other sport, or for the defense of person or property. It is doubtful that the amendment could even be thought to require that members of state militias be allowed to keep weapons in their homes, since that would reduce the militias’ effectiveness. Suppose part of a state’s militia was engaged in combat and needed additional weaponry. Would the militia’s commander have to collect the weapons from the homes of militiamen who had not been mobilized, as opposed to obtaining them from a storage facility? Since the purpose of the Second Amendment, judging from its language and background, was to assure the effectiveness of state militias, an interpretation that undermined their effectiveness by preventing states from making efficient arrangements for the storage and distribution of military weapons would not make sense.”

The 4th Circuit’s J. Harvie Wilkinson III went a step further, arguing that Heller “encourages Americans to do what conservative jurists warned for years they should not do: bypass the ballot and seek to press their political agenda in the courts.” Conservatives largely ignored these observations, content to celebrate the outcome and ignore the process.

The conservative position has traditionally been that barring egregious violations of our nation’s founding document, the court should defer to the will of the people as expressed by their elected officials.  Having been unable to stop the Democrats from passing health reform, conservatives now seem to have abandoned this position. Putting aside the fact that there is almost no precedent that suggests that the court would find against the legislation, seven minutes is hardly enough time to reflect over whether we are doing what we’ve always purported to hate: legislating through the courts.

Rush Limbaugh once said that “Liberals attempt through judicial activism what they cannot believe at the ballot box.” Yet on these two high profile issues: gun rights and health reform, the use of the courts to challenge legislation that was passed by representatives of the voters has generated almost no internal debate among purported conservatives. In fact, the silence is deafening.  Regardless of whether these suits are right or wrong, conservatives must at least be able to acknowledge that these actions seem to violate our own principles to not legislate via the courts.  Yet, there has been almost no internal debate. Our hypocrisy is palpable, and this silence should embarrass us all.

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86 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 10:07 am

    “Here in America, the awful employer-based system of tax-exempt health care has become so deeply ingrained that it’s now a sacred cow comparable to Social Security.”

    …..As it happens Sinz I agree with you, but the fact is it’s the ocean liner of how the current insurance system works and no one is ever going leave it and get into leaky Republican lifeboats called tax credits or health savings accounts which are largely spin rafts anyway

  • balconesfault

    Telly If Obama/the Congress had had the ’stones’ to do an old-fashioned, Ford/Carter-era Tax Increase — yep, on the “middle class” and working class as well as the rich — and *then* said, “But, if you buy health insurance, we’re going to credit you for the difference” — problem solved.

    The problem is that for the people who really NEED help getting insurance – the working poor – the tax credit doesn’t do it. They need subsidies from the government. That is the reality of our current healthcare dilemma.

    Tax credits would primarly help those who need it least.

  • ottovbvs

    Telly Davidson // Mar 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    “FWIW, I’d gladly play the IQ Match Game with Bart Stupak or Alan Grayson while under anesthesia.”

    ……Even I could do that…..but they aren’t your opponents ….the problem is your whole (they were altering it to the last minute) premise is naive in the extreme….of course they were altering it…..this is how the legislative process works…..where you’re out to lunch is in believing this bill hasn’t been carefully written by Orzag and others to withstand these state challenges….of course it has……I’m not a lawyer, are you, but I have a couple of kids who are and both tell me no way does this succeed….one of them btw is quite a conservative, member of the Federalist society etc.

  • Sunny

    I respectfully disagree with the entire premise of this article. But then, I’ve not been big on hollering about activist judges (though some do indeed exist).

    There are a couple of critical differences I can think of offhand. First, it seems that the “activist” moniker is hung on those who create legislation through their rulings. The simple example is Roe v. Wade, which didn’t legalize abortion so much as it required all states to allow it.

    But whether you rail about activist judges or not, if a bill passed which mandated Catholic liturgy in all public schools, where else could one possibly go *but* the courts? Or, for instance, if a president suspends habeas and censors the press during a civil war?

    I understand that in *this* bill, and in *practice*, the insurance mandate is not different than a tax incentive. You get insurance, you don’t have to pay a tax penalty; you don’t get insurance, you have a chunk added to your tax bill. It could has easily have been a tax incentive — except, it isn’t. It’s a mandate requiring the purchase by every citizen of a service sold by private purveyors. It is designed expressly with that implicit threat in mind, and as a bone to the insurance companies, because the whole thing falls apart if everybody isn’t playing.

    If the bill gets hung on the interstate commerce clause, it will pretty well expand the power of the federal government to do any dadgum thing it wants under that clause, which was already stretched beyond recognition by the Stone Court’s determination that a farmer couldn’t grow his own wheat because he then wouldn’t purchase wheat on the open market, thus *affecting* interestate commerce. That, at least, was a ruling somewhat loosely related to regulating an existing market; this would in effect *create* that market.

    I’m worried about that precedent. Once it’s set, there’s no guarantee that the next purchase the fed wants to mandate will be tied to the tax code, and so easily offered as a kinda-sorta tax incentive. And given that it’s a mandate, and in effect a crime to fail to comply, there’s no guarantee that the penalty will remain some dollar figure on your income taxes. The penalty can be anything to be determined at any time, because if you do not purchase insurance, you are not “failing to take advantage of a tax incentive”; you are in violation of the law. This becomes especially important when one remembers that, again, the whole thing falls apart if everybody doesn’t play — if the “penalty” isn’t sufficient stick, a bigger stick is likely. As an added bonus, you’re required to prove you’ve purchased the approved insurance coverage to demonstrate that you *aren’t* a lawbreaker, which is itself a violation.

    There’s simply nowhere else to go with it *but* the courts.

    Tax incentives I can easily live with. A mandate which offers penalty for failure to comply, even *through* the IRS, I can’t.

  • ottovbvs

    Sunny // Mar 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    “if a bill passed which mandated Catholic liturgy in all public schools, where else could one possibly go *but* the courts? Or, for instance, if a president suspends habeas and censors the press during a civil war?”

    ……Apples and oranges?

  • Sunny

    “……Apples and oranges?”

    More like a quick throwaway line to suggest that there are times when legislation exceeds the enumerated powers, and that the only recourse then *is* the courts.

  • balconesfault

    Sunny: Tax incentives I can easily live with. A mandate which offers penalty for failure to comply, even *through* the IRS, I can’t.

    I am sympathetic to this. That said, I think that the Republicans may actually be falling into a trap with this lawsuit.

    The public is beginning to understand that this bill will eliminate one of the most despised practices of insurance companies. If a lawsuit against the mandate is succcessful, everyone recognizes that individuals will game the system, and that insurance costs will be forced to rise as a result of people opting out of the coverage pool until they have an expensive condition that they can force insurers to cover.

    At that point, there will be three choices:

    1) accept that insurance costs will need to rise to accomodate those “free riders” set free via the ruling

    2) drop the ban on insurers denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and recissioning those who get severely ill while their policy is active

    3) adding a government option that everyone must pay a (progressive) tax towards unless they can demonstrate that they have other insurance coverage, thus eliminating the “mandate” that one must give money to a private company or pay a tax

    What do YOU think will be the most likely fix?

  • ottovbvs

    Sunny // Mar 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    “More like a quick throwaway line to suggest that there are times when legislation exceeds the enumerated powers, and that the only recourse then *is* the courts.”

    …..yes this legislation looks very like an attempt to impose catholic liturgy in all public schools, suspend habeas corpus and impose universal press censorship…..complete equivalence….no question about it

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault // Mar 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “What do YOU think will be the most likely fix?”

    ….your usual intelligent take……These guys have become somewhat expert at digging their own graves or failing to anticipate unintended consequences as was awfully apparent in the immediate aftermath of passage when they were floundering around between repeal/replace ……this incidentally is the same flaw in Sinz’s argument that Republicans need to start screaming about rate increases…..thereby building the case for the PO…..which I believe is just around the corner anyway

  • Sunny

    “What do YOU think will be the most likely fix?”

    I have no idea. I do think that the mechanisms driving medical costs are only beginning to be understood. I also think it will take time to wend through the courts, no matter what the eventual outcome. I think the bill exists, and the push to repeal it will eventually translate into fixing it (insofar as can be done). Additionally, since most of it doesn’t take effect until 2014, I think there’s actually time for that. How it will work is anybody’s guess — I’m honestly primarily concerned with the precedent the mandate sets, and what that broad expansion of federal powers will mean.

    Everything else is up for discussion.

  • balconesfault

    Sunny: I’m honestly primarily concerned with the precedent the mandate sets, and what that broad expansion of federal powers will mean.

    I’m actually in agreement with you on that – and I was making a very similar argument here months ago.

    This is NOT like the requirement that one buy auto insurance – which only applies if you want to drive a vehicle on public roads.

    This is NOT like the requirement that one pays income tax – which only applies if you have an income.

    This is NOT like the requirement that one pays sales tax – which only applies if you purchase a good or service.

    This is a requirement that you purchase insurance (or pay a fine/tax) simply for the right to live in America.

    I argued even long before the current lawsuit that the end game of any such suit was very likely a public option. It’s just ironic that Republicans may be the catalyst for that endgame.

  • Churl

    Also sprach ottovbvs // Mar 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    “I see next year a majority of births in this country will be non Caucasian so good luck with alienating minorities as a policy…..Demography is destiny (google that if you like too) and destiny is not on the side of your world view.”

    So what if a majority of births in the country will be non Caucasian? Will a majority of non Caucasians somehow stop the deficit from growing and eliminate the requirement for paying interest on the national debt as it continues to grow?

  • ottovbvs

    Churl // Mar 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    “So what if a majority of births in the country will be non Caucasian? Will a majority of non Caucasians somehow stop the deficit from growing and eliminate the requirement for paying interest on the national debt as it continues to grow?”

    ….Do you have a patent on the non sequitur?…..you use them so constantly I was wondering whether you were adding to royalty income

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault // Mar 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    “I argued even long before the current lawsuit that the end game of any such suit was very likely a public option. It’s just ironic that Republicans may be the catalyst for that endgame.”

    …..I agree completely it’s the endgame….as I observed above based on a bit of professional input I don’t think these suits are going anywhere (some will disappear completely when they start to become instate embarrassments for the AG’s concerned) but they will ironically as you say provide some support for nudging the PO to center stage

  • Sunny

    “I argued even long before the current lawsuit that the end game of any such suit was very likely a public option. It’s just ironic that Republicans may be the catalyst for that endgame.
    Churl // Mar 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm ”

    It may be. What has seemed obvious to this conservative is 1) that the minute the law passed that said hospitals were required to provide life-saving care to everyone regardless of ability to pay, that the money would have to come from somewhere, 2) that nobody wants to throw out that law, for obvious human reasons, and so 3) here we are.

    I did a rough calculation years before this issue gathered steam which suggested something just under half of the US was covered, one way or another, by the government, whether military, VA, Tricare, federal, state, and municipal jobs, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, what have you.

    Somewhat fewer than half of all Americans actually pay taxes — and of those, I’m primarily interested in the self-employed and small business owners, since I are one. Too many friends and acquaintances in similar circumstances struggle to pay the self-employment tax while trying to sustain and build their own business, to the point that often their choice is to not pay the government, not pay the mortgage, or not pay health insurance. Which means that the folks who drive the economic engine are often the very ones paying the higher self-pay rates, or going bankrupt. They’re paying for all those *other* people’s insurance/health care, and struggling to pay for their own.

    For me, the health care debate has always been included in a larger debate about how to maintain a strong, thriving middle class, which is a, if not *the*, prerequisite for a stable, free society. There aren’t going to be any perfect answers — there are relative risks and benefits, always. Since I still haven’t decided which I think would maximize benefit, I don’t have anything beyond that to offer.

  • ottovbvs

    Sunny // Mar 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    “I did a rough calculation years before this issue gathered steam which suggested something just under half of the US was covered, one way or another, by the government,”

    ….it’s actually about 54%….there’s a small private market of mayb 3% and the rest is employer based but about half of employer insurance is actually self funded and just administered by an insurance company proxy…..in the ten years before I retired I ran a group of companies with nearly 4000 employees and it was this experience that converted me into an absolute believer in some sort of universal system underwritten by the govt who are the only institution with the monopoly power to a) rein in the insurance industry cartel…. b) get control of costs in the healthcare provision and pharmaceutical industries…..it’s in b) where most of the problem is concentrated …..I always believed that the tipping point would come when medium and large sized companies who have faced an average increase rate over the last 20 years of around 10% (it would be worse but slackened a bit in the 90′s with the HMO movement) and could no longer continue shifting cost to employees….we’ve basically reached that point which is why a big chunk of manufacturing industry supported the changes…..the bottom line for them is that if you’re a business facing a doubling of premiums in the next ten years this represents a huge wealth transfer from you to the “healthcare industry” which is practice a massive, fragmented and disorganized bureacracy …..this bill is only act one of a ten act play and it’s zero sum game for both the insurance and provision industries.

  • balconesfault

    Sunny: I did a rough calculation years before this issue gathered steam which suggested something just under half of the US was covered, one way or another, by the government, whether military, VA, Tricare, federal, state, and municipal jobs, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, what have you.

    Here’s the other fun fact.

    The US collects spends money per capita in taxes across all those levels (Federal, state, local, school district) than every country in the world but Switzerland.

    And again … covers about half our population.

  • sinz54

    ottovbs: As it happens Sinz I agree with you, but the fact is it’s the ocean liner of how the current insurance system works
    “Ocean liner” is a good analogy.

    People didn’t stop riding ocean liners until something much faster (i.e. more efficient) was invented: Jetliners.

    MA reformed their own health care.
    The ObamaCare bill does not prevent states from experimenting with their own reforms.

    If liberals truly believe that a single-payer system is better, why don’t they try implementing it in some liberal state like Vermont? Let’s see if it really works at the state level before proposing it at the national level.

  • sinz54

    ottovbs: ……Apples and oranges?
    Here’s an example that isn’t:

    General Motors is struggling to regain market share. What would stop a future Administration from mandating that Americans should only buy cars from American companies or else be guilty of a misdemeanor?

    Obama, the cautious intellectual that he is, wouldn’t do that. But President Hillary Clinton wouldn’t hesitate. She’s as tough and semi-paranoid as Richard Nixon was.

    The truth is, there is no simple rule that governs the applicability of the Commerce Clause. It’s been decided case by case, so we now have a giant body of case law that I fully admit I do not understand.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Mar 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

    “What would stop a future Administration from mandating that Americans should only buy cars from American companies or else be guilty of a misdemeanor?”

    ….becuase it’s one of those inane analogies that don’t pass the sanity test….what’s next self raising flower……that’s the problem with you guys straining for these gnats just make you look loopy

  • balconesfault

    General Motors is struggling to regain market share. What would stop a future Administration from mandating that Americans should only buy cars from American companies or else be guilty of a misdemeanor?

    We’d get our ass kicked in the WTO, for one.

    That said, it would be far more simple if we wanted to start a trade war to just jack up tarriffs on imports, no?

  • Sunny

    “….becuase it’s one of those inane analogies that don’t pass the sanity test….what’s next self raising flower……that’s the problem with you guys straining for these gnats just make you look loopy.”
    ottovbvs // Mar 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    The fact remains that the federal government having the power to dictate what must be purchased from the private market by every single person is a lousy precedent, and a major expansion of the scope of government — *beyond even nationalization of health care*. Speculation is nearly inevitably loopy, because we can only guess what future circumstances would be.

    Seriously, who would have thought in then largely agrarian America that it would become illegal for a farmer to grow wheat for his own personal use?
    Or 10 years ago, who would have thought the answer to health care woudl be to force every American to buy health insurance?

  • ottovbvs

    Sunny // Mar 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    ” Seriously, who would have thought in then largely agrarian America that it would become illegal for a farmer to grow wheat for his own personal use?”

    …..seriously who would have thought in then ante bellum America that it would become illegal to own people…..welcome to the modern world……what would you prefer to purchasing insurance?…. a single payer system based on changes to tax laws……at the end of the day all this scratching around in the weeds with it’s turn back the clock/self raising flower metaphors is just casuistry aimed at derailing implementation of the bill….it doesn’t have much to do with reality.

    “Or 10 years ago, who would have thought the answer to health care woudl be to force every American to buy health insurance?”.

    …..Quite a lot of people in MA where their bill was in the foothills of debate

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Mar 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

    “If liberals truly believe that a single-payer system is better, why don’t they try implementing it in some liberal state like Vermont?”

    …..Sinz: critical mass and the need for a national change in the tax laws that you can’t restrict to one state(and probably loads more reasons I don’t know about)…….are you really this obtuse or is the real objective to produce smoke and mirrors solutions which is what the current Republican plans largely consist of.

  • Sunny

    “what would you prefer to purchasing insurance?…. ”

    My objection isn’t to purchasing insurance.
    My objection isn’t ever to tax incentives *to* purchase insurance.
    My objection is and continues to be a precedent expanding the government’s power such that it can dictate what every person must purchase.

    Your point about antebellum America actually supports mine — what seemed ludicrous then (all slaves freed; voting rights for women; the 14th amendment; later prohibition) seem obvious now; what seems ludicrous now will at some point seem commonplace in the future.

    Thus, a world where an administration mandates purchase of American made cars or solar panels or birth control pills or vitamins, all made hunky dory by acceptance of the premise that interstate commerce means the federal government can tell you what you must buy.

  • ottovbvs

    Sunny // Mar 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    “what seems ludicrous now will at some point seem commonplace in the future…..Thus, a world where an administration mandates purchase of American made cars or solar panels or birth control pills or vitamins, all made hunky dory by acceptance of the premise that interstate commerce means the federal government can tell you what you must buy.”

    ……So we COULD be compelled to purchase a particular brand of self raising flower……..there are times when extrapolation takes you into the nonsensical…….and you just got there…….what interests me about this is that you think its an effective form of advocacy when in fact it devalues any merits there may be in your argument by its obvious silliness……It’s not a perfect analogy but remember that British lawyer in the sixties prosecuting the publisher of Lady Chatterley’s Lover who uttered the immortal line “Is this a book you’d want your servants to read”……he lost the case there…..I’ve no problem with anti camp advancing patently risible and over reaching arguments…..the mystery is why would they do it?

  • balconesfault

    Thus, a world where an administration mandates purchase of American made cars or solar panels or birth control pills or vitamins, all made hunky dory by acceptance of the premise that interstate commerce means the federal government can tell you what you must buy.

    I’m with you, Sunny. I think there are reasons why your examples are off the mark but government mandating we make purchases from private corporations bothers me.

    Out of curiousity, weren’t the Republicans trying to mandate that Michael Schiavo continue to purchase healthcare for Terri despite the wishes of the family?

    Similarly, would an anti-abortion law be essentially government forcing a woman to purchase all the pre-natal and medical delivery services required to carry a healthy fetus to term?
    Similarly, wouldn’t any

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault // Mar 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    “I’m with you, Sunny. I think there are reasons why your examples are off the mark but government mandating we make purchases from private corporations bothers me.”

    ……you’re mandated to buy car insurance…..or isn’t state government really government….as a practical matter is your relationship with state govt substantively different from your relationship with the federal govt ……financial institutions are compelled to get bonds rated, airlines are compelled to meet safety standards involving private purchases……..I’m sure HHS and DOJ have a mass of like examples to buttress their cases….I’m standing by for an insightful reply BF

  • Rob_654

    Everyone is all for “judicial activism” and “socialist policies” as long as they agree with the “judicial activism” and “social policies” – those are both only evil when the other side uses them…

  • balconesfault

    ……you’re mandated to buy car insurance…..

    No – I’ll bet that NY City alone has 5 million people who don’t have auto insurance coverage. And who don’t pay any tax penalties or fines as a result.

    financial institutions are compelled to get bonds rated

    Financial institutions exist because of government charter. I don’t.

    airlines are compelled to meet safety standards involving private purchases

    I don’t understand exactly what you’re saying in that sentence.

  • ottovbvs

    Rob_654 // Mar 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    ……you ingnore the fact that “judicial activism” is a conservative construct…….it’s largely fanciful and when it’s suited their book the right has indulged in it…..the heller campaign finance case being a classic example where the court threw out about 100 years of case law and have essentially returned campaign finance laws to the era of the Gilded Age………if major corporations and banks dominating political discourse causes you no concerns that’s fine but you might want to read a couple of books about it’s effect on the political system in say 1900……if you think you’re interests coincide exactly with say Goldman Sachs you’d be wrong.

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault // Mar 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    “No – I’ll bet that NY City alone has 5 million people who don’t have auto insurance coverage. And who don’t pay any tax penalties or fines as a result.”

    …..the “they don’t have cars” defense…..so in ND, WY, KS, IN where existence wihout a car is difficult imagine?…..the problem with a polity as complex as ours is that if you look hard enough you can usually find an argument to justify any position however specious….which is how we got to Sunny’s self raising flower

    “Financial institutions exist because of government charter. I don’t.”

    …..so just because of that you don’t think they should be compelled to get their bonds rated…..in the perfect perfect world you posit why should they be discriminated against

    “I don’t understand exactly what you’re saying in that sentence.”

    ……a lot of the measuring of airline safety standards is done by subcontractors hired by the FAA

  • balconesfault

    …..the “they don’t have cars” defense

    It’s not a “they don’t have cars” defense. They don’t operate motor vehicles on public roads, they are not subject to the license requirements to operate motor vehicles on public roads – one of which is purchasing liability insurance.

    …..so in ND, WY, KS, IN where existence wihout a car is difficult imagine?

    Imagine. Live in downtown Fargo, or Cheyanne, or Kansas City, Kansas, or Lafayette. Get a place where you can walk to stores, and take public transportation to work. Ride a bike. Use cabs.

    I will bet that there are adults in each one of those locales who in fact do not operate motor vehicles, and do not buy auto insurance.

    And they are not in violation of the law.

    “Financial institutions exist because of government charter. I don’t.”

    …..so just because of that you don’t think they should be compelled to get their bonds rated

    I don’t understand. With this example, and with I guess (I still don’t understand exactly where you’re going with it) in your FAA example, we’re talking about commerce – and the power of the government to regulate specific forms of commerce.

    To be intellectually consistent, we would now have to consider just living in America to represent an act of commerce unto itself. Perhaps a fee for breathing the air which is a common good?

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault // Mar 30, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    “Imagine. Live in downtown Fargo, or Cheyanne, or Kansas City, Kansas, or Lafayette. Get a place where you can walk to stores, and take public transportation to work. Ride a bike. Use cabs.”

    ……so we get entire population of ND to move into towns and rely on bikes and public transport(what public transport)…..the problem is it’s not reality…..HELL it’s not reality in LA let alone WY…..and that’s the flaw in your and Sunny’s argument that you have reach for the absurd in looking for arguments to support the case…..yep the citizen in being required to buy health insurance is surrendering an iota of personal sovereignty in order to achieve an overarching public good….given that we live in a hugely interdependant modern society where such purely pecuniary transactions are a commonplace and there are many more worrisome encroachments on personal sovereignty it just seems an odd ordering of priorities to me.

  • balconesfault

    ……so we get entire population of ND to move into towns and rely on bikes and public transport(what public transport)…

    No – simply the population nof ND which does not want to comply with state regulations for operation of motor vehicles should, for practical purposes, consider moving to a place where that is possible.

    Note that they might do this and still retain their American residency/citizenship without being in violation of the law for not purchasing insurance.

    the flaw in your and Sunny’s argument that you have reach for the absurd in looking for arguments to support the case

    You don’t seem to really understand the point behind legal/Constitutional arguments. Those arguments aren’t “absurd” – because I would bet that somewhere around 100 million Americans are not covered under auto insurance policies. Perhaps you could try to label them “extreme”, as outside the range of practicality for most Americans – but that’s where legal issues often reside, in those “extremes” that bound the relationship between the state and the individual.

    yep the citizen in being required to buy health insurance is surrendering an iota of personal sovereignty in order to achieve an overarching public good

    My objection is not simply surrender an iota of sovereignty – but that the mandate is that one must support the private insurance industry simply to live in America.

    given that we live in a hugely interdependant modern society where such purely pecuniary transactions are a commonplace and there are many more worrisome encroachments on personal sovereignty it just seems an odd ordering of priorities to me

    I’m not sure what other encroachment requires me to purchase a product from a private corporation just to live in America.

    Again – I would be perfectly fine with a public option that requires a tax of everyone to participate in. But that’s not what we have.

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault // Mar 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm
    “Again – I would be perfectly fine with a public option that requires a tax of everyone to participate in. But that’s not what we have.”

    …..the path to a political objective is seldom a straight line……the US insurance industry and it’s role in how our healthare operates is anomalous….but it’s reality……so you have to deal with it