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Historic Health Care Case At The Supreme Court

We size up three days of historic Supreme Court hearings on the U.S. Constitution and health care.

This artist rendering shows Paul Clement speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Justices, seated from left are, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Samuel Alito and Elana Kagan. (AP)

This artist rendering shows Paul Clement speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Justices, seated from left are, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Samuel Alito and Elana Kagan. (AP)

And so the high court came to the bottom line yesterday in health care reform’s legal debate: Does the federal government have the Constitutional authority to do what Congress voted for in the Obama health care reform?

And the instant analysis on the courthouse steps? No. That in tone and skepticism and body language, the court’s conservative majority was suggesting no. That reading was a long way from a final answer. But it’s all up in the air now.

This hour, On Point: broccoli, cell phones, and health insurance. The Supreme Court at the heart of the health care debate.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Kurt Lash, professor of law and director of the program on Constitutional theory, history and law at the University of Illinois. He’s the author of The Lost History of the Ninth Amendment.

Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at the George Washington University. He’s the author of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America.

David Cutler, professor of applied economics at Harvard University, one of the architects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being debated this week in the Supreme Court

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “With the fate of President Obama’s health care law hanging in the balance at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a lawyer for the administration faced a barrage of skeptical questions from four of the court’s more conservative justices.”

Wall Street Journal “The Supreme Court’s five conservative justices on Tuesday sharply challenged the Obama administration’s arguments for the health-care law, with Justice Anthony Kennedy saying the government has a “very heavy burden of justification” for the measure’s requirement that people carry health insurance or pay a penalty.”

The New Yorker “Across the ideological spectrum, the Justices, through their questions to the lawyers arguing for and against the upholding the A.C.A., declined the invitation for delay. They all (that is, the eight who asked questions; Clarence Thomas did not) seemed to recognize that there were legal and prudential reasons to resolve this issue now.”

Transcript: Oral Arguments Day Two

Here’s the transcript of the second day of Supreme Court oral arguments in the case over the health care reform legislation. You can hear an audio recording of the case here.

[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

http://www.scribd.com/doc/86940841/Argument-Transcripts

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  • Victor Vito

    Gee, I wonder how Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito will vote?  Four justices with different upbringings, educations, and life experiences should offer a wide range of legal interpretation and range.

    • Anonymous

      Scalia is a libertarian and Thomas, well he’s corporatist.
      Roberts and Alito are die-cut conservatives.

      • TFRX

        I saw a graphic on the “Roberts court strike zone” which I can’t find now.

        The “corporatist” gets pretty much all the marginal calls.

        • Robert Riversong

          During his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court in 2005, John Roberts assured senators that his job as a judge was merely “to call balls and strikes.” In the past five years he’s sided with the US Chamber of Commerce 70% of the time. In close cases he’s sided with the Chamber a stunning 90% of the time. As an umpire, it turns out that if you’re filing a case against the business community Roberts has declared a strike zone only a few inches wide.

          And Roberts isn’t alone. Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia also sided with the Chamber over 70% of the time. (Alito sided with the Chamber a stunning 100% of the time in close cases.) Clarence Thomas took their side 68% of the time. And “centrist” Anthony Kennedy? He clocked in around 66%.

    • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

      Thomas is mute, Roberts is asking tough questions on both sides

      • Robert Riversong

        Moot.

        • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

          i meant he didn’t speak

    • Ray in VT

      How long has it been since Thomas has asked a question from the bench?  I think that it’s been years, maybe even a decade.  I’m not criticizing him for it, but it does seem a bit odd.

      • Robert Riversong

        Why not criticize him for it? He’s either not doing his job, or he’s an idiot (or both). Or – a là b smart above, he’s “mute”.

    • Anonymous

      There is a poll out which indicates that SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT (75%) of Americans EXPECT the Justices to decide the case on POLITICAL terms rather than real Constitutional Issues.

      And after decisions such as Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, which the public generally views as political, why should there be a surprise in this? Even Republicans in their primary states are having misgivings over the Citizens decision.

  • Victor Vito

    Humankind will eventually realize that health and medicine should not be profitable commodities.  I sort of doubt we have reached that level of collective wisdom however.

    • Joshua Hendrickson

      Firefighters once worked for-profit as well.  Humanity’s actual moral development is slow and not very steady, and is typically argued against by conservatives who claim their ancient religion confers morality upon their opinions, but it is happening.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    The government’s argument is we all engage in health care eventually because we might get hit by a truck and need ER care.

    However, we now know the law mandates free contraception for all.  How does this requirement relate to their fundamental argument?

    • Anonymous

      Your point about contraception is unclear. The issue seems to be that if you get hit by a truck and an EMT unit arrives, they are going to treat you. You may not have health insurance, but they have no way of knowing that. You are unconscious, and receive treatment automatically. If, upon regaining consciousness, you cannot pay, the cost of your Emergency care is going to be passed on to everyone else with insurance. By virtue of being in public, by virtue of having a body subject to potential injuries and automatic emergency treatment, you are engaging in commerce. It would seem the only other alternative is to bring back debtor’s prisons.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Sorry, I was unclear.  A democrat congressman who participated in writing Obamacare gave that example tonight.  His point was that even if you don’t plan on getting sick, don’t get insurance that you will still get treated at the expense of everyone else.  This is his  justification for the mandate.

        Even under this scenario; use contraception is a choice.  However, free contraception is required by Obamacare.   How does this square with the government’s mandate argument?

        It doesn’t.  It is just another example of government overreach.

        • Joshua Hendrickson

          Why the concern over contraception?  I’d be happy to hear your specific objections to covering contraception, with one caveat:  no arguments from “morality.”

        • Michiganjf

           Not a difficult concept… Contraception is a necessity for those who can’t afford to have kids, either medically or economically.

           Since providing contraception saves health care providers more than it costs them, while simultaneously serving clients needs as Preventive Care, it’s a win-win situation.

          Smart all the way around, like nearly all the “Obamacare” initiatives.

          …non-hypocritical Republicans know “Obamacare” is as well-designed a bill as can be achieved short of single-payer, which is why Republicans came up with nearly every aspect of “Obamacare” in the first place.

          President Obama adopted REPUBLICAN ideas for healthcare to PROVE he was willing to solve America’s problems in a bipartisan manner… the infantile half of the Republican Party abandoned their party’s original ideas on health care, however, because they couldn’t stand the fact that President Obama would ever agree with them about anything.
           
            

          • Anonymous

            And they did not want Obama and the Democrats to get ANY CREDIT for it. They thereby acknowledged the power that came with the Democratic Party’s passing Social Security and Medicare. This was one of their background memos in the debate over “Clinton care” and the reason that the Heritage Foundation developed the market-based approach that included all the “benies” in the Clinton bill. That approach was adopted by Mitt Romney as Governor of Massachusetts.

        • kelty

          Get this straight – IT IS NOT FREE!! This lie perpetuates itself. No Co-Pay is not the same as free no matter how you slice it or dice it. There are many preventative medicines that are provided with no Co-Pay, but most Health Insurance is paid for by the employee/employer and now this provision allows for the employee to pay for this type of coverage themselves in total if wanted and get the medicine with no Co-Pay. Get it? Paid for – not free!! 
          Why exactly do you have a problem with women controlling their own bodies and using their Health Insurance to help with the costs of regulating their health? Or does having liberty and freedom only pertain to men? 

        • Anonymous

          Sorry but perhaps I’m just having a brain freeze. I think I’m starting to see where you may be going with this, but I’m still not clear on where exactly the contradiction lies. Insurance companies are required to cover contraception (and they want to anyway because it’s cheaper than covering unplanned pregnancies, so it’s not exactly coercion) but no one is being required to use contraception. Are you suggesting, then, that if the mandate is upheld, then the government could require people to use contraception?  At any rate, this may be a red herring in logical terms. You’d be better off trying to demonstrate more directly what exactly is unsound about the reasoning which suggests we are all, by virtue of being subject to automatic care, engaging in commerce (Or at least that would be a more persuasive strategy to me). 

    • Jim978

      HHS regulations don’t mandate free contraceptives.  What the rule says is that health insurance policies must provide contraceptives without a co-pay.  That’s different.

      If your health insurance comany required no co-pay when your appendix was removed, would you argue that you got free surgery?  I suspect not.  After all, your surgery was only “free” because you were paying thousands of dollars each year for coverage.

  • Yar

    Forget Baby Einstein,  Listening to these grandparent types discuss this issue put me right to sleep.  Play it for your child, who knows, they may end up on the Supreme Court,  The justices are behind the times, broccoli is out, chocolate is in.  Why is Chocolate really good for you? I bet, because it is expensive.  And if you can afford chocolate, you most likely also can afford whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.  You may eat less process meat, and most of all, you probably have health insurance.

    Which brings me to my main point, what this issue is really about is the minimum wage.  Should the minimum wage include health insurance?  I think it should.  Look, we are going to pay off our national debt with inflation, we better index the minimum wage to something that keeps the poorest in our workforce alive, it is necessary to prevent a revolution.  This law will decrease the wage gap, and it is the right thing to do.  No, it doesn’t do any of this directly, but the mandate creates the situation where health is considered part of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Eat Chocolate, we can afford it. Feed the people a living wage.  We can’t afford not to.  If sugar cost as much as honey, and oranges were cheaper than soda, maybe we wouldn’t be spending 19 percent of our GDP on sickness.  
    Sweat Dreams.

    • JustSayin

       I mostly agree. But, we cannot hope to have the nations needs supplied under fascism. The goal (and the obvious and rampaging elephant in the room), is single payer. How many times in history have the top 5% used propaganda and wedge issues to bribe a nation from its freedoms.

      The Nation wants what Congress has! Why is that off the table? Why is it always off the table?

      They, are feeding large, and they throw scraps from the table to the proletariat, and bark good enough for you, if you pay us for the scraps.

      This issue is just one more degradation of what was once the USA — A Republic. Not a fascist oligarchy. We all need to wake up and put the pieces together. 

      Would a Republic have the following?:

      -Corporations declared as people.
      -Revocation of Habeas corpus!
      -Subsidies and political laws for religion.
      -Government arrest and torture (extraordinary rendition).
      -One set of laws for wealth, and another for everyone else.
      -No prosecutions of corporate theft.
      -Corporate power over government and laws.
      -Corporate power over government officials and elections.
      -The only choice for national healthcare is the SJC debating a fascist extortion scheme. Really?
      -The unrelenting propaganda for fascism framed as “American freedom”, or “religious freedom”
      -Corporate subsidies framed as “free trade” or “American commerce”.
      -Rampant jingoism and military force used to confiscate international resources framed as “National security against terrorism”
      -Uncontrolled national Stasi infrastructure framed as “protection of freedoms”.
      -Forfeiture and confiscation laws, with assets going to government officials.
      -A national corporate incarceration industry, that lowers the level of felony arrest for profit.
      -The constitution under constant attack and “States Rights”.
      -Ect, ect ect…

      The Republic is going, going… gone. But hey maybe I’m just wrong. Perhaps that IS how the government of a FREE people operates.

      Everyone has to ask themselves – if what we have now, would have even be considered as legal, or even rational in the old republic.

      Wake up, and smell the fascism people. We are crossing the Rubicon — and we will be sitting in a new national infrastructure, and wondering what happened when old people muse about “the old republic”.

      Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man, with a good memory of a place — a Republic — that was once called the United States of America.

      • JustSayin

         I have to apologize for this rant. But I just received a letter informing me that I must  purchase homeowners insurance, not for the structure, that’s already insured. But by new statute, I must insure my possessions, books, furniture, clothes, etc, to a absolute minimum of $10,000.00. I don’t think ALL of my stuff together would even be worth that. New maybe, but not as is. So what am I insuring, stuff I don’t own that might be used to replace it…

        I’m really upset. Because Its MY STUFF, not the communities stuff, or the town, or the state, or the nations, or the Insurance companie’s stuff.
        I have more than enough money in my bank account to replace it all with new stuff.

        Oh yeah, I will be fined if I don’t comply!

        I see it as my stuff to keep or discard in any way I see fit. But now I am being told that it must be insured because it has value. WTF!

        Damn fascism! Give me liberty or give me death!

        • Jim978

          Obviously your stuff is different from your health.  If you show up at the ER in need of medical attention, you will be treated whether you can pay for it or not.  If you show up at your local Best Buy and can’t pay for STUFF, you will leave empty-handed.

          However, I agree that those who have the financial means to pay for an unforeseen medical emergency should be able to opt out of the so-called mandate without being subjecty to a penalty.  Considering today’s healthcare costs, that would probably involve a bond of at least $1,000,000.  Of course, people with assets in the seven figure range (or higher) don’t go without health coverage.  They can easily afford the insurance premiums, but couldn’t afford to lose everything they own.

          • JustSayin

             I’m not talking about medical here!

            I’m talking about everything I own, other than my car (already insured) and my house (already insured).

            This is my stuff, that has somehow become a possession of the community. Its NOT. Its MY STUFF!

            BTW I have no debt, I own the House, I own the Car, and I own my Stuff.

            And if all I owned was the clothes I have on right now, I would still be mandated to insure it for $10,000.00! Under penalty of law.

            It’s likely a felony to not pay this protection money to the insurance companies.

          • Ray in VT

            Is this a state or fedeal statute?  That’s really weird.  I have to insure my house as per my mortgage company, but I’m not required, last I checked, to insure my possessions, which I have insured.

            Also, I largely agree with a great deal of your comments in this thread.

          • JustSayin

             State.

          • Brett

            What state requires one to insure his/her “stuff” including clothing? Ensuring your “stuff” would be like renters’ insurance. I know of no federal law requiring such. 

        • Brett

          ?!

      • Robert Riversong

        Grumpy, yes. Good memory? What we tend to “remember” are the national myths we’ve been spoon fed since birth.

        There were three forms of tyranny that the Founders feared: monarchy (and aristocracy), standing armies, and monopoly corporations (the East India Company, e.g.).

        So what did they do? Talk the language of a Republic and civic virtue, and then create a framework and subsequent legislation to re-create exactly the demons they rebelled against, and an economy that put the individual pursuit of affluence above the common weal, eventually (and inevitably) making corporations king.

        There is plenty of evidence that the US has never really been a free republic. Read Why America Failed (2012) by historian Morris Berman. He makes a very strong case that we’ve been, from the earliest colonial days, a nation of hustlers which gave little thought to the common good and made a religion of material “progress”.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    If the public has turned against the mandate (and god knows I hated it from the get-go) it’s because most of us, with the exception of libertarians and hypocritical republicans (who originated the mandate at Heritage and in Mass. under Romney), want single payer and know that if this mandate survives, single payer’s hopes of eventually becoming established will be dashed.

    • Hidan

       You forget some democrats are going to following anything the President with a D does.  Claiming at least having a crappy inefficient product is better than not having anything at all. While the Republicans and Independents see such as a crappy inefficient product and are able to rail against it’s failure.(of course many republicans are full of crap about why this Health Care bill is inefficient and would gladly keep such that way if obama didn’t have his name on it)

      • denis

        And some of you do not recognize that if you want change you do it one step at a time… To completely trash the efforts to make change you allow us to step back in time and even fall further behind in the cost and quality of health care in America. If you really feel we need to move to a more “controlled” health mandate you need to support the ACA and then move to amend and modify. I am so frustrated by those claiming to be “liberal” and “progressive” that listen to the “Rush” nonsense. These same individuals decry the rights’ lack of concern for the “average American” and then turn right around and parrot what these lame brains has said.

        • Hidan

           I prefer having a car that works than being forced to get a overpriced junk box that sometime works which will require me to waste dollar after dollar trying to fix.

          This is doom because it’s not goint to accomplish what it’s backers claim it will. This will give fuel to the republican fire, it will give republican talking points and the ability to blame this health care bill for the high cost. Private insurance companies are still going to screw people and may but Americans even further behind than what you claim will happen if this fails.

          As for Rush I can’t stand the Turd. I also can’t stand people trying to sell me a turd sandwich and telling me it’s good.

          • denis

            I do not believe you have shown in any way other than emotional “turd sandwich” talk that your hypostasis is in fact correct. How do you know costs will go up? How do you know health care will again, in a reasonable time frame, be brought to the table if the current efforts are destroyed? History has shown us, in many instances – most notably Social Security, that once the concept of the national good is put into law changes and adaptations will be made to improve the program. You would be comfortable to allow pre-existing conditions to once again rule? You are comfortable with insurance companies spending whatever % they like on non-health related expenses? You are comfortable kicking kids off their parent’s policy? (a college professor just told me the other day of cases where students, in the past,  lost their college insurance because they were in an auto accident and could not continue to go to school)..  And going to your analogy about a car – I live 10 miles in the country – I need transportation to get to any service (health, grocery, government, etc.)  So yes I need a car no matter what its condition is and yes it is to my advantage to pay to have the car in good working order, but first I need the car.

          • Hidan

             This plan is based on the MA. Health Care. Yet..

            Mass. Grasps For A Cure To Rising Health Care Costs

            Mar 15, 2012, 3:20 PM
            http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/03/15/health-care-costs

            Health care costs are rising too fast. On that, there is iron-clad consensus. Where there is no agreement is how much wouldn’t be too fast. In other words, what’s a rate of medical inflation that we can all live with?

            A debate about that question has been taking place behind the scenes in Massachusetts for some time. But it’s been thrust out in public now as some high profile groups stake out very different positions

        • Robert Riversong

          Sorry, denis, but I’m a militant Leftie who detests the likes of Limbaugh, but knows that when a thing is completely broken, it’s merely throwing “good money after bad” to try to repair it one piece at a time, particularly when the only one to gain from such foolishness are the profiteers.

          As a designer/builder of healthy, affordable homes, there are times when I’ve had to advise a client to tear down the old house and start over rather than waste money trying to bring the dilapidated and expensive-to-own structure up to livable standards.

          Such is the case, not only with for-profit insurance (which should not exist), but also with the entire medical industry (for industry is what is). It is the most wasteful, expensive, inefficient and ineffective “health care” system in the known Universe. And studies show that it often does more harm than good and kills more Americans every year than any other cause (See Death by Medicine).

    • denis

      It would seem that without ACA you will never get to single payer… This was the one chance in a century to start the ball rolling for real reform; however, with so many “liberals” and “progressives” falling in line with the right’s demagoguery it would seem there will be no reform for another century. Talk about the insurance industry and big pharma winning a major battle!

      • Robert Riversong

        You have too little faith in the one force that rules America: cost. No one, not government nor private industry, nor working people can afford what we now call “health care”. The system has already collapsed and, if the ACA falls (as it should), there will be no choice but to cobble together an immediate alternative. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LLH7SFRBBDZ54YLFVP6POB6XAI ANNA

       No matter the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the individual
      mandate to buy health insurance, the Affordable Care Act remains flawed
      because it will leave at least 26 million people uninsured and does
      nothing to reduce healthcare costs. We need publicly funded universal
      healthcare — we need single-payer Medicare-for-all.

      Instead of
      mandating everyone purchase insurance from a for-profit company, we
      should expand and improve what we already know works: Medicare, whose
      administrative costs are only 3%. With Medicare-for-all, we would save
      $400 billion annually.

      Medicare is constitutional, loved and
      cost-effective. It should be improved and expanded to cover everyone
      under a single-payer healthcare system. It’s time for this. Even Mark
      Bertoli, CEO and Chairman of Aetna Insurance has said as much ( http://www.healthcare-now.org/single-payer-health-care-is-coming-to-amer… Let’s not accept any more of the ‘it’s not politically feasible’ excuses!

  • dollar collapse

    If Obamacare is so great,

    then Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi need to sign themselves up and their families for Obamacare.

    Oh that’s right, Obama, Reid and Pelosi as well as every single democratic member of Congress made themselves EXEMPT from Obamacare.

    When Obama, Reid and Pelosi sign themselves and their families up for Obamacare, as well as every single democratic member of Congress, then maybe I’ll consider whether or not I want Obamacare forced down my throat by some bogus unconstitutional goverment mandate.

    • JustSayin

       So… ONLY the democrats in Congress are exempt?

      I thought the entire Congress receives free government healthcare — and Cadillac care at that. They ALL have a full time doctor on staff.

      If a member of Congress were to read your partisan drivel, they would squeal with glee, because they have made you hate half of the population of our republic.

      Partisan bickering – divide and conquer. They win, we lose.

      • dollar collapse

        “partisan drivel”?

        Let me correct your ignorance Sherlock, 

        a majority of Americans want no part of Obamacare.  The same Obamacare that Nancy Pelosi said that “you’re going to have to pass it so that you can read the bill”.

        The very same Obamacare that Obama, Reid and Pelosi made themselves exempt from, even though they’re trying to force it on the American people.

        • margbi

           I’m so glad for the “majority of Americans” who want “no part of Obamacare” that they KNOW they will never be injured in an accident, suffer a heart attack, or get cancer. It must be nice to be so positive about the future. Could it be also that they can’t stand the thought of the President getting any credit for an innovative idea?

          • dollar collapse

            “innovative” (LOL)

            There’s nothing innovative about a health care plan that was written by the insurance companies and that excludes pre-existing conditions, and that will NOT keep health care costs from rising.

          • JustSayin

             Exactly. Fascism promises everything, takes everything, and gives nothing.

            We will end up paying, and paying, and if we get cancer, we will be denied treatment.

            I would rather die from cancer as a free man, than die under a fascist boot.

        • Ray in VT

           You wrote that “a majority of Americans want no part of Obamacare”, but I don’t think that that is the case.  People don’t like the whole piece of sausage, but there are certainly individual provisions that have been shown to be quite popular with the public.

        • Anonymous

          Start using facts, not anger. “a majority of Americans want no part of Obamacare” is false.

        • Anonymous

          Know what, Dollar?  That would be more convincing if you wrote “a majority of Americans want no part of the Affordable Care Act,” but I think it would also be untrue.  A sound economic plan to sustain health care (that’s what the ACA is)  is not an unpopular idea.  “Obamacare” is unpopular because the nickname was chosen as an insult, a rabble-rouser, and it contains no clue as to what legislation actually does.  It’s a little like slapping a woman in the face, making her cry, and then saying “See?  She must be frigid or something — she doesn’t like me to touch her!”

        • Anonymous

          Sorry to burst your bubble, but LARGE majorities of Americans DO like many aspects of the PPACA. They include the right to keep their children on their insurance to the age of 26, the assurance that they will not be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, and the assurance that they will be able to keep their insurance when a costly healthcare issue arises, without rises in premiums above that paid by everyone.

          One group that should support PPACA is women:

          http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/03/chart-day-affordable-care-act-and-women

          • dollar collapse

            Mother Jones??  What a joke.

            Hey Sherlock,

            try using a legitimate news source, not some communist dribble like Mother Jones.

            If you did use a legitimate news source, then you would know that polls show that a majority of Americans are AGAINST Obamacare.

          • Anonymous

            You don’t consider the facts that 85% of Americans approve the provision that prevents denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions or that 77% of Americans (71% of REPUBLICANS, reportedly) like the donut hole reduction validation of my point? That comes from the NYT/CBS poll.

            Ad hominem attacks are usually the last refuge of those who want to deflect or obfuscate the fact that they cannot substantiate their opinion(s).

        • Robert Riversong

          But an overwhelming majority of Americans want single payer health care, and it’s mostly the R side of the aisle that prevents any consideration of such “socialist” programs (with the D’s acquiescing).

    • Anonymous

      Well, they in fact do have Obamacare: they choose to use the insurance offered to them by their employers: the USG. That’s what Obamacare is: you have the choice of any insurance available to you through your employer or on the private market.

      You don’t have the right to not buy insurance, IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, and expect to land in an ER and get free healthcare.

      • Robert Riversong

        You don’t have the right to NOT buy a service on the “free” market? And one which contributes to the excessive cost of medical care for everyone?

    • denis

      And where exactly does the law exempt the members of congress and the administration? If I understand your logic about 95% of all Americans are exempt from the mandate portion of the law as they already have insurance that they will continue to use for their coverage.

      • Gregg

        There are waivers out the wazoo. Get a job at McDonald’s and you are exempt.

        • Brett

          Why do you think these waivers are being developed? 

          • Brett

            Don’t know? …One hint is that it is NOT because Obama wants to destroy America, but I’ll wait patiently. 

          • Gregg

            I gave you my answer. If you  disagree, fine but I’m not interested in pop quizzes.

          • Brett

            It’s more of a riddle than a pop quiz. ;-) I just don’t want you to perpetuate the myth that the waivers are this grand scheme by unions, big business and the Obama Administration in cahoots with one another to add something to their bottom line and intentionally screw over average Americans; the waivers are actually an attempt (whether misguided or not) to prevent such things. 

          • Gregg

            Your reading a lot into what I said. Denis seemed to think the waiver thing was made up, I responded. That’s all. I don’t think it was about padding pockets. I do think it was about promising anything to get it passed.

          • denis

            But of course you never sited a viable source for you stated waiver for congress etc

          • Gregg

            I think there were over 1000 but they expire. IMO they were added to gain support. It’s much easier to support if you are exempted.

          • Brett

            Hint #2: you mentioned “McDonald’s”…the answer is in there somewhere. I can’t see the Obama administration needing support from the McDonald’s corporation…

          • Gregg

            How many employees does McDonald’s have?

          • Brett

            Hint #3: the waivers were an attempt to prevent employers from dropping providing insurance altogether for their employees (e.g., low-earning ones as in McDonald’s employees). So,  say, a McDonald’s employee can keep his/her existing policy instead of having to get his/her employer (in this case McDonald’s) to invest in better policies, resulting in McDonald’s dropping people from their policies for financial reasons. The waivers are only temporary, too. I’ll bet you never heard that on Fox? Hint #4…. 

      • Robert Riversong

        Only 45% of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance and 17% have none.

  • Gregorclark

    Tom, I’m tired of the implication (in yesterday’s show) that all of us who oppose the current bill are freeloaders.

    I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I oppose the current mandate. Why? Because it requires us all to buy overpriced insurance from private companies. Even under the new law, the insurance companies are allowed to use 20% of their income for items other than health care — in short we’re all being asked to fund the profit margins of private companies who for decades have shown absolutely no scruples in basing their decisions on the bottom line rather than the well-being of their customers.

    I fully believe that all Americans should have
    health care, and all should share in its costs. I’d be delighted to pay taxes to
    fund Medicare-for-All or single payer, and I’d even accept the current mandate if a public option
    were included within it. The vast majority of Americans supported a public option back in 2009, yet our Congressional representatives (many of them in the pay of big insurance) denied us this opportunity in the final ‘Affordable’ Care Act. That was the point when I stopped supporting ACA.

    The law as
    written forces us all to pad the bottom line of the big insurance
    companies, whether we like it or not, and that’s just plain immoral (not
    to mention hugely wasteful).

    You want to talk about freeloaders? How about big pharma and big
    insurance, who have been fleecing us all, with politicians’ nods and
    winks, for decades? We need real cost controls, and a humane, universal system that stops making us all (customers and providers) jump through so many hoops. It’s truly ludicrous, the amount of time, energy and money Americans have to spend to get health care that’s more expensive and less dependable than the universal systems that are taken for granted in every other advanced western nation.

    Gregor Clark
    Middlebury, VT

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Gregor: I agree 100%. I don’t like the law as it’s written although I support it because in many respects and for many people it’s better than what came before it.

      However, Medicare for all (no Medicaid, just one service called Medicare for all) would solve the problem. Libertarians would make the “socialist” argument but they need to read your comment. We are padding the pockets of health insurance companies and the entire overpriced healthcare sector.

      Let’s put health insurance companies out of business or at least carve their business down to offering supplemental insurance to Medicare.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know of anyone who has written about the motivations that drove Obama to cut the “deals” he did with the providers and insurers, but he seems a quick judge of character and his four years in the Senate could easily have given him a good idea of what would eventually sell. Also, by letting Congress find the meeting place the final bill was more likely to pass.

        But read Ezra Klein for a disturbing analysis of the inscrutability of Congressional corruption;

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/our-corrupt-politics-its-not-all-money/

        This goes to the difficulty of passing any major legislation by either party but particularly the Democrats because they are not as hierarchically controlled.

        But the new book by David Corn may provide clues to the beginnings/negotiating of Obamacare.

    • Hidan

       Right on I feel the same way.

      But as you should know some democrats will support anything the President with a D does even know it’s a turd sandwich and will say or do whatever is need to paint others as _______ to accomplish such.  This is the same with National Security, Foreign Policy, War on _____  as well.

      • denis

        and some will oppose anything done by a progressive black president

        • Hidan

           of course. (see greg’s comments)

          Doesn’t mean when the president does something wrong others have to support him because some will never support him. I don’t see our current president as progressive, more like an moderate republican.

        • Gregg

          That’s sick.

        • Anonymous

          We don’t have a progressive, black president. 

      • Anonymous

        The BOICIA Obamabots will accept any little crumbs that they can get so they can continue to maintain their delusion that Obama is a “progressive” and not a corporate/Wall Street tool.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! And what the Obamabot apologists fail to realize is that the windfall profits that the “health industry” will reap from this will make it nearly impossible for the foreseeable future to get anywhere near a single-payer plan. 

  • Me

    This whole debate is purely political!

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Have you ever had to personally buy health insurance? It doesn’t sound like it.

  • Anonymous

    The cost of ER visits in the US is roughly $1000 per man, woman and child: call it 300 billion dollars. We pay that through premiums and taxes. IF 90% of those visits are preventable, and of those 90%, 90% were actually prevented through regular care at 10 cents on the ER visit dollar, that would free up about 200 billion dollars… and that’s just a simplistic estimation.

    We’re paying for the uninsured in the most inefficient way possible: that’s why we need a plan, but corporations are wealthy persons not restrained by the limitations of humans persons so we have a disfunctional government. If so many Republicans and Democrats didn’t have corporations telling them how to vote, maybe we’ld have a universal healthcare solution and solve the building healthcare crisis in this nation. If you don’t see the crisis God help us that we solve it before it’s so obvious that you do.

    Universal healthcare died because of health insurance companies.

    • Hidan

       I think what you miss is that forcing everyone to have health care means that everyone will be able to use it. Since the insurance companies are getting 20 Million people are are allow to tier there coverage you can still have people being forced to go to the ER cause they can pay there co-pays and deductibles.  Because this is not an universal health care plan private companies will still find ways to discriminate. And if someone has insurance but can’t use it there  kind of in the same boat as someone that had no health insurance at all.

      Banks have already got into this by making deals with health insurance companies by forcing some customers to have fee based Health Saving Accounts.

      “If so many Republicans and Democrats didn’t have corporations telling them how to vote, maybe we’ld have a universal healthcare”

      Blame it on Journalism school that allows P.R. folks to get Journalist degrees.

      • Hidan

         “cannot pay there co-pay”

      • Anonymous

        I am not missing that point. If the corruption in Congress is brought under control by us the voters, then maybe we’ll get legislation that passes the goofy test. This brings to the forefront of discourse the problems with healthcare in America. Until we get politicians that will actually solve problems with pragmatism and not vote “idiotologically”, we’ll continue to waste 200 billion a year in the ER.

        So let’s get Universal Healthcare back on the table and let the Republicans propose it, because ignoring the problem just wastes our tax dollars and we know how much the Right hates wasting tax dollars.

        • Hidan

          How are we going to fix this corruption? It seems it’s getting worst not better and it’s no longer about a good politicians or one that can do good for Americans(government can’t do anything right) it’s more of a P.R. type American idol politician who wins based on the best P.R. and copied talent.

          For Universal Healthcare to come back or be brought on the table thing will sadly have to get worst and this bill gives the republicans the ability to blame government not private insurers when it does.

          What happens when this bill makes it pass the S.C. and prices still go up? Do you think the public will buy the things could be worst from the democrats? The republicans will of course claim this is what happens when government gets involved? And calls to privatize it will be promoted by the Media than calls for univerisal health care.

          See this week
          -Ryan Budget hyped up again
          -Progressive budget?? very little in the news.

  • JNC

    I would be curious to hear the guests’ comments on the following:

    If the government can force private hospitals to treat those in need of emergency care, then they are basically mandating that private sector actors to do business with one another.  I don’t see the difference between forcing private providers to give unpaid emergency care and forcing private recipients to pay for insurance.  Both are forcible transfers of resources between private “people” (corporations are people, aren’t they?)
    Isn’t this the same problem, but in reverse?  The only difference seems to be that the electorate would not accept a system in which hospitals didn’t have to treat those in need of emergency care.  But aren’t these legal questions supposed to transcend popular politics?The parallels that Scalia draws between food and health care markets would be more applicable if the government forced grocery stores to give food to those who walked in and said that they are hungry.  

    • Anonymous

       If it’s a fully private hospital, sure. But “private” hospitals that take federal money can and should be obliged to follow federal rules — i.e. our rules. 

      (Too often we speak of the federal government as separate from us.  It is, after all, our government and there are legitimate reasons for calling the government “the people.”  Hence, the people (in the case of ACA, and through Congress) came up with the mandate for good economic reasons.  Striking down the mandate would be striking down the will of the people.  The Court can come up with a bunch of arguments, but in the end that’s what they’d be doing.)

      By the way, has anyone looked at how rationing was handled in WWII from the point of view of today’s mandate issues?

      • Anonymous

        Ha! Is this satire? The “will of the people”? Seriously? Most polls show most people support single payer. 
        The ACA is more a representation of the will of Big Insurance and Big Pharma than anything else.

        • Anonymous

           Couldn’t agree with you more,nj, but that ball bounces right back into our court.  We let the Bigs have it.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, and that’s not the same thing as saying that the current government represents the common good (will of the poeple).

          • Robert Riversong

            And let’s not confuse the common good with the will of the majority. They do not always, or often, coincide (though, in this case, they do).

          • Anonymous

             For sure. It’s not very often (has it ever happened?!) that every American supports a policy or the members of Congress or president initiating that policy. What changes the game is when big money allies with big media to deliberately influence citizens’ attitudes towards that policy. 

            You can see the flaw, for example, in the dislike many have for ACA in polls which ask, first, “Do you like the health care reform legislation?”  NO!  When pollsters go on to ask, “Do you want…?” and then list the contents of the legislation, a majority of the NO’s say “YES”!  That has to do with money and media, not common good or will of the people.

    • Anonymous

      I really welcome these points! There are so many who just accept the false analogies that without thinking the problem through. What might be even more disturbing is the apparent willingness of Scalia and others who have demonstrate critical thinking skills to use such shallow thinking to “win” an argument, at least in the minds of those without those skills.

    • Robert Riversong

      “The parallels that Scalia draws between food and health care markets would be more applicable if the government forced grocery stores to give food to those who walked in and said that they are hungry.”

      In a righteous society,  no hungry person would ever be turned away, and no one in need of care would ever be neglected. The issue of who pays would be irrelevant. 

      • JNC

        Yes, but the issue of who pays is a practical one that cannot be side-stepped.  My point is that Scalia’s analogy is not a strong one.

  • Lin

    When my faith in all else in the political system failed, I always felt I could trust the Supreme Court. Now I think this whole health care debate is already drawn, quartered, and sold out to corporate interests. 5 to4 anyone?

    • Ray in VT

      I would be kind of surprised if it was anything other than 5-4 no matter which way it goes.

      • Gregg

        I can’t see how any of the justices can uphold this law but I imagine a couple three will anyway.

        • Hidan

           Face it, it’s a 4 yes 4 no vote. And one Justice actually listening to both sides the other 8 already made up there minds.

          • Gregg

            Do you read minds?

          • Hidan

             No I have fox news for that :).

            Honestly speaking it’s quite obvious with the exception of 1 whose going to be voting for and against.

          • Brett

            Don’t you know that it is only obvious how the liberal justices will vote! This is because the conservative justices will vote properly, only working to honor the Constitution. All of this while, of course, liberal justices will vote based on a highly orchestrated agenda (in cahoots with Obama to systematically destroy this country and spread the most toxic form of socialism ever known to man)!!

          • denis

            Do you even know the definition of socialism? The ACA in fact requires the capitalist system continue…

          • Brett

            um…I was being sarcastic!;-)

          • Gregg

            I’m not a big fan of conventional wisdom, we’ll see.

        • Brett

          So, is it safe to say that if a liberal justice votes to uphold the law, as one expects, this is some indication of corruption? But, if a conservative votes against upholding the law, as expected, that means nothing I suppose? 

          • Gregg

            No, I think that’s a bit broad. I do think Kagan should have recused herself because as SG she argued for Obamacare but she didn’t. The conservatives on the court stood with her. So, I guess it’s fair to say I am suspicious of her in particular but I really am trying not to jump to conclusions. I am going to assume the justices are all of high character and will weight the evidence soberly. Let’s see how it shakes out. After we count the votes and read the dissenting and majority opinions, I’ll be happy to tell you how I think about it.

        • Brett

          Gregg, let’s say the law is not upheld and it is the “day after,” so to speak; how do you envision healthcare in the future? 

          P.S.-Didn’t you recently say you are against motorcycle helmut and seat belt laws? 

          • Gregg

            I posted yesterday how both sides are saying it’s a win if they lose. The latest polls say anywhere from 62% to 67% want it overturned. Scott Brown won his seat by vowing to be the vote against it (until they pulled the reconciliation stunt). The historic elections of 2010 were in large part a result of displeasure with Obamacare. For these reasons if it is upheld, I don’t think it will be settled until November. Ray in Vermont suggested it may not even be settled then and I can’t disagree.

            I oppose seat belt and helmet laws.

          • Brett

            Maybe I didn’t ask the question effectively…How do YOU think the US should handle its healthcare crisis? I ask this irrespective of how the politics of this law will shake down.

          • Gregg

            That’s a loaded question. The word “crisis” IMHO is inaccurate. I forget the numbers (forgive me for not googling them) but the number of uninsured was misrepresented to make it sound like a crisis. Once you factored in how many could clearly afford it but chose not to have it, and those that were eligible under other means (veterens, Medicare etc.) the numbers dropped dramatically. But the biggee was illegals. Obama lumped in thos 20 million until Joe Wilson called him on it. Then he changed his numbers.

            I’m not an expert but I think tort reform, competition and making Medicare sustainable would be a good start. I’d like to see insurance be sold across state lines but I don’t know how to do it logistically.

          • Brett

            Fair enough. I believe under the ACA one will be able to “cross state lines” when [if] the mandate kicks in (in 2014). However, the same four or five big insurance companies control ALL insurance plans in each state. Do you really think they are going break up their strongholds on their own? Crossing state lines has its problems, even if insurance cos. won’t fix prices (of course you know they do and will), it will be a race to the bottom, with a few states (and companies) holding all the cards (and setting prices). How should torte law be reformed? Should there be a cap on pain and suffering? Should gross negligence carry the same penalty as an honest mistake made in a difficult medical situation? 

          • Gregg

            Again, I don’t claim to have the answers but regarding tort reform, I like “loser pays”. It’s way more complicated than that though. It wasn’t even on the table, surely there is room for improvement.

          • Brett

            Much room for improvement!!!

          • Anonymous

            “I’m not an expert…”

            Don’t worry. No one thinks you are.

          • Robert Riversong

            Here’s a perfect example of taking libertarianism too far. 

            I am stridently opposed to a mandate to purchase for-profit insurance, but few laws could be more common sense and better serve the common good than seat belt and helmet laws.

            As a long-time EMT and firefighter, I know the damage to everyone done by unnecessary motor vehicle injuries and deaths. The restriction on personal liberty, however, is miniscule in comparison.

          • Gregg

            A seat belt in some instances can get you killed. Admittedly rarely but it should be my choice. BTW I’ll still buckle up no matter the law. I feel sure as an EMT you have seen many many tragedies from smoking, sedentary life style, alcoholism, rage and all kinds of things that affect others far more directly. I just don’t think we can legislate a hazard free society. Think how many lives could be saved if we lowered the speed limit to 5MPH. We have chosen to accept massive numbers of deaths so we can drive faster. These kind of choices are made every day.

            But I can’t say I don’t understand where you are coming from, I just disagree.

          • Gregg

            I should add if there were no law it would not mean no one would use seat belts or helmets.

          • Robert Riversong

            You obviously haven’t been in CA and NH where no biker wears a helmet.

          • Gregg

            No, but I’ve beento SCandsome wear them but many don’t.

          • Robert Riversong

            Yes, one in a million times a seat belt can kill. My younger brother was tossed from a rollover just before the hood came through the windshield at neck height. So, for years he wouldn’t use a seatbelt, until he grew up.

    • Drew You Too

      “I always felt I could trust the Supreme Court”

      I don’t know about trust but I used to think there was at least an attempt to be objective in the SCOTUS. That ended for me in 2001 though.

    • Anonymous

      There is a poll out that shows that SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT (75%) of the American public expect that the Justices will decide based on partisan ideology and not Constitutional basis, as they admitted in Bush v. Gore (“this decision is NOT a basis for further decisions” [sorry that it is a paraphrase]) and Citizens United. There is a developing revulsion in the Republican primary states to the “private PAC” negative ad spending that is understood to come from the Citizens decision.

    • Robert Riversong

      That’s truly a blind faith. The Supreme Court has been inventing corporate “rights” for more than 150 years, and in 2000 engaged in a coup d’état to install a stridently pro-corporate president.

      Money=Speech? Corporate Personhood? Unlimited private spending in political campaigns will not unduly influence the electoral process?

      On what do you base such faith?

  • test

    test

    • Hidan

       test what?

      • JustSayin

         My guess. Testing Bold font markup.

  • Gregg

    It’s not going well for the Solicitor General. I feel for him, he’s trying to defend the indefensible.

    • Anonymous

      Crocodile tears?

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    For Obamacare opponents : a question:  
    How can you be opposed to the penalty mandate on one hand, and on the other, reconcile how it is otherwise okay for the uninsured to cost families – with coverage – upwards of $1,000 dollars a year in hidden premiums?
    Another way of asking the question: What bothers you more – requiring everyone to buy health insurance – or – having to pay more on your own policy to cover those who chose to go without?

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Your question is a good one. Suggestion: Edit your posts and just keep your last paragraph and delete your first test…

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        Thanks Richard. It’s hard to kis!

        Back to question. There’s a lot of flak as answers but the essence of question is generally avoided.  

        It’s on this basis I’d bet the court won’t overturn. Yes, requiring or forcing people to buy insurance is onerous, but less so than the alternative. 

        • Pete

          “Onerousness” is not on the table, limiting principles and Commerce Clause are.

          If a single payer system (an even worse idea in my opinion) was before the court
          it would find it Constitutional because it would be funded through a tax, which the Congress does have the right to impose via the Constitution.

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            I wonder what a Federal gov’t is to do in this case – as too strict an interpretation will render it unable to address problems.

            While outside the scope – I want to ask if you’ve ever lived in a country that had single-payer system? 

    • Pete

      You’re missing the point of the argument. What’s before the Supreme Court is the question of how much power is given to the federal government. That is an extremely important issue.  If the federal government, under the commerce clause, can compel you to buy something you don’t want, then what won’t they have the power to compel you to do? Keeping the checks and limits on the federal government is one of the core purposes of the Constitution. If you let those checks erode for the sake of
      “effective” public policy you’ve made a bargain with the devil that could have incredibly dangerous consequences in the future.

      The pluses and minus of the health care law, while important, pale in comparison.

      If we ignore the Constitution for the sake of argument, your choice is still a false one because there is no evidence that the implementation of the Health Care law is going to lower anyone’s cost. On the contrary, despite all the promises given by the Obama administration in selling the law, prices are more likely to rise.

      http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/09/health_care_costs_to_rise_unde.html

      • lodger

        The Constitution also says that one of the purposes of the government is to ‘promote the general welfare’. 

        I can’t think of a better example of ‘promoting the general welfare’ then taxpayer-funded healthcare for all.

        Which we already have, but only for the most expensive patients (elderly, disabled, military, etc.). I pay for them AND for me, since I don’t qualify for medicare, medicaid, tricare, etc.

        I also pay for the healthcare of Scalia, Santorum, et al.   

        • Pete

          Yes, but the line about “promoting the general welfare” is part of the 
          Preamble of the Constitution and it has been already been ruled by the court in many previous cases that the Preamble, “has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobson_v._Massachusetts

          • Charles A. Bowsher

            Pete, I think you are a little confused. Preamble or not the General Welfare Clause appears in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution it gives Congress the power “to
            lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and
            provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United
            States.”

            At the bottom of your wikipedia reference is the following

            “Shortly after Butler, in Helvering v. Davis,[15] the Supreme Court interpreted the clause even more expansively, conferring upon Congress a plenary power
            to impose taxes and to spend money for the general welfare subject
            almost entirely to its own discretion. Even more recently, the Court has
            included the power to indirectly coerce the states into adopting national standards by threatening to withhold federal funds in South Dakota v. Dole.[16] To date, the Hamiltonian view of the General Welfare Clause predominates in case law.

            Think in terms of speed limits on Interstates. My idiot state (which I love) decides to lose millions in highway funds just so our speed limit can be 70.  Health care for all can only be considered for the General Welfare.  Obama blew it if you ask me.

          • Pete

            Yes, but the court is not arguing with the Congress’s ability to tax. They clearly indicated they would not have problems with this law if Congress had funded it with a tax.

            Withholding state funds is not the same as compelling commerce. The states have the option, for better or worse, to opt out of the federal funding. 

          • Robert Riversong

            Ironic, isn’t it, that the conservative justices were compelled by their ideology to support a tax-funded universal health care system, but oppose a market-based one?

            Yet, in Congress, it’s the alleged conservatives who won’t allow single-payer to be discussed.

          • Pete

            Instead of being an example of irony, I would say it’s an example of principle. The conservative judges are being consistent with their view of the Constitution even though that has the potential to lead to a health care program that they might not personally support. That should be applauded because it’s exactly what we want in a judge: affinity to the Constitution
            rather than a political party.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        Thanks for your considered response Pete.  But can I say it’s more ideological than practical?  Or, the impulse to restrain the gov’t in this matter will do little to address real problems in the health care market. 

        Perhaps we’re living in a time that requires a stronger federal government – we’re too numerous, transient and interdependent to return to an America of the 19th century.  

        • Pete

          I would say it’s  Constitutional rather than ideological response (not that I have anything against ideological thinking). It is not the court’s job to fix the health care issue, it’s the court’s job to rule on the constitutionality of Congress’s solution. If you listened to the audio of the hearings, it seems clear that the court would have no problems with the law if it was funded with a tax. Congress didn’t fund it with a tax because that was less politically palatable.

          You can solve a lot of problems if you make the federal government stronger but 
          of course that is only appealing when your guys are in power. It becomes very dangerous when someone you don’t like is steering the boat.

          • Robert Riversong

            While I don’t agree with the concept of a federal mandate to purchase private insurance, the constitutional argument FOR it under the commerce clause is that all Americans are already in the market for health care and the government is using its powers to implement a more fair and cost-effective program to assist the American people in this market.

            Where it really is more fair and cost-effective is outside the purview of the SCOTUS, which defers to Congress on such political matters. 

          • Pete

            That’s the argument but it really isn’t much of one.

            Agreed on your second point.

    • Hidan

      Have no health insurance or paid for over-priced practically no-coverage insurance?

      Have no private insurance- go bankrupt
      Have private insurance obscene copay or lack of coverage- go bankrupt

      No health insurance- use the ER
      Health insurance crazy co-pays- use the ER

      Ma. Brags about there forced health insurance coverage, yet omits many with it who can’t even afford to use it.

      I know many in Ma. who have insurances who were told to have such and not be a freeloader and due to co-pays or lack of coverage can’t even use it.

      Sounds nice to pat oneself on the back and say look at how many people are now or will be covered, it’s another to see how many of those people covered can actually use it.
       

    • Robert Riversong

      Requiring citizens to purchase a service on the “free” market from insurance companies which have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they are far more interested in the bottom line than in serving their customers – is not only unconstitutional, it’s immoral (and violates the principles of a truly free market economy).

      The only ethical way to deal with universal health care is to fund it through progressive taxation, in which those with more wealth effectively subsidize those with less (the republican notion of the commonwealth), and to make all hospitals non-profits and all hospital providers civil servants on a GS pay scale (there can always be private clinics for those who want more).

      Short of that, an informal market-based subsidy by those with more wealth (who can afford the luxury of health insurance) for those with less serves the same ends though less effectively, efficiently and ethically. But the over-priced for-profit health care industry serves almost no one except those who profit thereby (it is the largest single cause of unnecessary death in the US).

  • Hidan

    I was told that one has to have health insurance just in case one was hit by a car so other taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for it and one wouldn’t go bankrupt. But since we’re dealing with private insurance companies the same can happen such as bankruptcies  and other taxpayers paying for it.

    But now we just have a bunch of private insurance companies who are able to raise rates to pay there part of it or increase co-pays or decrease coverage.

    Blue Cross in Ma got in trouble last year for screwing over it’s payers

  • Gregg

    “Medicine is the keystone of the arch of socialism.”
    - Vladimir Lenin

    • Hidan

       fail…

    • lodger

      And since communists have indoor plumbing, we better get rid of that too.

      • Gregg

        That made sense.

        • Anonymous

          As much as your Lenin comment did.

    • John in Amherst

       Not every human endeavor belongs in the market place.  Profiting off medicine is trafficking in human suffering.

      • Anonymous

        Here, here.

      • Robert Riversong

        I happen to agree. But it could well be argued that profiting from any commodity or service is taking advantage of the needs of others for personal gain, and that advertising (the most despicable of all enterprises) is creating artificial “needs” for personal gain.

    • Aranphor

      Here Gregg, try this one for size. :)

      “In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

      Think that has about as much bearing on the case as does your comment. :)

      • Ray in VT

        A few years ago I heard a Prosperity Theology preacher explain that one away by saying that that was just an example of Jesus being funny.  Not really related to the topic, but related to the quote.

        • Brett

          That Jesus was quite the jokester…I heard that, after the Resurrection, he loved sneaking up on people from behind who knew him, putting his hands over their eyes, and saying, “guess who?” Just to see the looks on their faces. 

          • Ray in VT

            Jesus Christ:  the original Jewish comedian.

          • Robert Riversong

            If he was behind and covering their eyes, he couldn’t see the look on their faces.

        • Robert Riversong

          Theologians, just as most Christians, would like to deny that Jesus was the quintessential socialist.

  • Anonymous

    “Idiotic non sequiturs are the keystones of Greggg’s posts.” 
    —Daffy Duck

    • Ray in VT

      Come on.  I may not agree with where I think that Gregg’s post leads, can we please not have name calling.  I disagree with him on this, but I think that he’s pretty decent.

      • Gregg

        Thanks Ray but don’t bother. I get a kick out of the knee jerk reactions and projections being made when all I did was provide a quote. I must have hit a nerve.

        I think Lenin was right. There is virtually nothing the government can’t relate to health care if they control it. I’m not calling Obama a Socialist but Obamacare certainly has Socialist implications. I really don’t see how that can be argued. It is what it is.

        • Ray in VT

          No probs.  You’ve done the same for me, and I thought that the comment was unfair.  I also sometimes like to see a reaction when I feel like goosing people.

          I think that it has been relatively civil here this week, and it has been nice to see.

          I haven’t heard that Lenin quote before, so I’d have to think about it for a while.  Socialist implications maybe in the broad sort of sense that it’s being framed as a sort of common good argument that is generally attributed to the left, but a number have people here have gone the other way and argued it as more fascist, given that it works within the existing private framework.

        • Anonymous

          Gregg the point is not the Health Care act per say. The point is health care in this nation is a failure. Do you have a six figure sum stashed away for an emergency health care problem, such as cancer or an accident?
          If you are insured, do you know what it covers and what it wont? Do you know that in most cases the insurance company will do anything they can to deny you care above the basics. They will fight you if your case is one they deem fit to not pay out on.

          Imagine having to go through this while recovering from chemo therapy. Imagine that you can be denied coverage for asthma, acne, previous conditions of any kind.

          The issue here is the welfare and viability of our nation as a whole despite your political dogma or mine. To me it’s this simple.
          What kind of nation do we want in regards to health care and how do we define this for the common good of the nation. It’s not about you, or me, it’s about the fact that health care cost are going to bankrupt us and they are fast approaching 20% of GDP.

          • Gregg

            I do not ascribe to the theory that it doesn’t matter what we do just that we do something. It seems to me that is what this has become. The law is horrible, that does not mean we have a perfect system that doesn’t require fixing.

          • Anonymous

            Gregg, the system is broken.
            Health care costs are growing beyond the pale. In other industrial nations they spend almost half what we do and cover everyone, or at least close to everyone. We, on the other hand are letting a badly designed hodgepodge market based system rule the day.
            The insurance corporations and big pharma have huge financial stakes in this.
            I do not like the so called Affordable Health Care Act because it’s nothing short of a bill that give corrupt corporations a mandate to make a huge profit off the suffering of citizens.

            If you don’t see the healt care issue as the problem to solve in the next few years then you are not to be taken seriously when you go on about the deficit and debt. It’s about the common good of the welfare of the nation, which in my view trumps ideologies.  

          • Gregg

            I do see health care as a problem in need of fixing. Obamacare makes it worse IMO.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry, Ray, i reserve the right to label posts that seem idiotic to me as idiotic. “Calling ‘um as I see ‘um” in Greggg’s words.

        I’ve pretty much lost all patience with Greggg’s smarmy partisan-ness. He constantly makes overly broad, innuendo-laden statements, then squirms, wriggles, deflects, or disappears when called on them.For example, from the other day, he posited, “But why do atheist want to impose their beliefs on me?” [sic]Asked repeatedly for examples, silence.Here, he makes the stupid Obama-is-a-socialist implication, then says, no, that’s not what he meant, but there are “implications.”

        • Gregg

          Do you think Obamacare has no Socialistic attributes? I don’t see how you can say that.

          I’ll admit I rarely respond to you because I see no point and you are IMO nasty. Cool. But I’ll pointlessly answer your question if you like.

          I used the word “me” as a metaphore for anyone. I looked at the entire Georgetown thing as a violation of Catholics Constitutional right to exercise their religion. I find atheist nearly universally supportive of this concept. Atheist in my neck of the woods have successfully prevented nativity scenes during Christmas. There are many examples but I admit no atheist has affected me personally. The mantra from the left is Christians want to impose their beliefs of everyone and I see no evidence of that whatsoever. It’s all hype. This stemmed from the phony contraception debate. People were actually saying because Santorum opposed the pill that he would outlaw it. That’s as crazy as worrying about pro-choicers outlawing birth. I like turning the tables and I did. That it drives you nuts is a bonus.

          Just curious, not that I care (I think it’s rather cute), why do you spell my nae like that?

          • Brett

            Were those Nativity scenes on government-maintained public property? 

          • Gregg

            It used to be at the Post office, now they’ve moved it across the street but there are still howls. Oddly enough the community is Bethlehem.

          • Robert Riversong

            Gregg, you’re quite right that universal health care is a socialist program (though the ACA is anything but, since it’s entirely market based).

            But you prove yourself deluded and blind if you have seen no evidence that the Catholic Church tries to impose its faith on the nation. No one opposes nativity scenes in a church or within a private home, but insisting on putting them in public places (typically town commons – the most public of all places) is an imposition of religion on others.

            Similarly, no one objects to a church not insuring its clergy for contraception, but a hospital is not a church and lay employees are not clergy or even necessarily members of the faith, and refusing to give them the same rights as any other employee or patient is an imposition of their faith on others.

            You can’t possibly be so blind as to fail to see the obvious.

          • Gregg

            Obama care greatly supplements insurance coverage. I don’t think it’s unfair to say it has “socialistic attributes”. I wouldn’t call it a Socialist program but I wouldn’t call it “entirely market based” by any stretch either.

            I don’t see how a Nativity scene is offensive to anybody. Atheist put up anti-Christian billboards calling Christmas a myth, I don’t care. We’ve gotten way to uptight and intolerant.
            It seems like you are saying Catholics are free to be Catholics in name only. Please give me an example of Catholics (or as I wrote, “Christians”) imposing their religion on the nation. I understand your admonition that I’d have to be blind not to see it. Help me out because I don’t. I’m open, I could be wrong.

          • Robert Riversong

            The evidence is so overwhelming, that there is nothing but a deliberate blindness that would miss it.

            Prayer in school, adding “under God” to the Pledge, Christmas decorations on every street in the nation, nativity scenes on public squares, the Ten Commandments in public buildings…and finally the Catholic hospitals insisting on an exemption from labor laws that would allow them to discriminate.

            Religion belongs at home and at church. No where else. Not in the public square, not in public schools, and not at the workplace.

  • John in Amherst

    Several of the conservative members of the SCOTUS are adept at at least
    appearing obtuse.  A premier illustrative example is justice Scalia’s
    insisting that young people should be able to wait until they need
    health insurance to purchase it, on the rationale that they probably
    need their money now more than they need health care.  Unfortunately, he
    neglected to provide a list of insurers that would sell coverage to
    someone recently diagnosed with a costly medical problem, or speculate
    on how someone might be able to afford to purchase such insurance.  This
    is but one of many threads of reasoning trotted out in the historic
    case that seem to flaunt a lack of reasoned understanding of health
    care.

    Many issues make health care unique.  First and foremost, insurance,
    like healthcare itself is not a commodity that consumers can make
    rational on-the-spot market-based decisions about, because most
    consumers lack expertise and information to choose between procedures
    and providers, and many health care choices must be made post haste,
    with little or no time to “shop around”.  Permitting some to opt out on
    health insurance guarantees that society will pick up the tab when the
    irresponsible parties DO need care, as many complex medical procedures
    are immensely expensive and essentially unaffordable for “the 99%”. 
    This unaffordability question dovetails with another aspect unique to
    healthcare, namely, no other good or service is rendered by providers
    who are morally bound, by the Hippocratic oath and by the doctrine of
    every religion, to provide their “product” (health care) to those who
    need it, whether or not the consumer can pay for it.  This, of course,
    makes for a situation where providers either agree to “eat” the charges,
    and/or pass on them on to society as a whole, and this in turn leads to
    the games played by hospitals and insurance companies where rates for a
    given procedure can vary widely, with the highest price being reserved
    for the uninsured, out-of-pocket payers.  In addition, the need for
    healthcare is partially a matter of luck (good genes or bad,
    unforeseeable accidents, etc) and partially a matter of choice, either
    in terms of the procedure being optional (nip-tuck, for example), or the
    need being related to lifestyle choices (excessive eating, not wearing a
    helmet while motorcycling, etc.).  Finally, society has not yet tackled
    to question of what health care should be provided for all, and what
    care is too expensive and/or to “low yield” (successful in too few
    cases, or extending life without regard to the quality of life or the
    duration of the extension) to justify covering it for everyone.  In
    short, we know how to do a lot more than we can afford to do for
    everyone.  Grappling with this will get perilously close to setting up
    the “death panels” that hysterically charged the health care “debate” in
    its last iteration.

    Our inability to maturely and dispassionately discuss what makes both
    clinical AND economical sense is the key to comprehending our failings. 
    Our human urge to be compassionate conflicts with our American notions
    of personal choice and our “free market” ethos.  Other manifestations of
    this includes the rate of compensation for specialist MDs, profit
    margins for drug and medical device companies and the insurance
    industry, and malpractice damage awards.  It may boil down to this: some
    human endeavors do not belong in “the marketplace”.  Exercises in
    compassion cannot be “for profit”.  Any linkage between publicly traded
    companies, with fiduciary responsibilities to stock holders, and people
    in medical need, is fundamentally morally corrupt because it seeks to
    profit from human suffering.  In this sense, “Obamacare” has got it
    wrong.  But it is no worse than the conservatives’ arguing that
    government should step aside and let the marketplace rule.  We have a
    problem here.  It is growing in scope and severity, and until it is
    resolved, it will damage our competitiveness, but our spiritual health
    as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.staedter Tracy Staedter

      Excellent points!

    • Anonymous

      Great points. The Affordable Health Care Act is deeply flawed and I think what it has done is point out what a huge debacle our health care system is. It’s a mess and nothing short than a complete redo from top to bottom will work. That wont happen, so I think as a nation we are doomed in this regard. It’s going to get worse.
      The thing that gets me is that this entire issue is being decided by people who have a very good tax payer subsidized health care insurance plan. Everyone of the Congressional legislators, the SCOTUS and the executive all have the best health care we the tax payers can provide. And yet, we the people are being screwed day in and day out by the entire system which is falling apart.

      The future is Texas, in which 25% of it’s population is without insurance and the government is just cutting services left and right. Basically telling the people who can’t afford it to fend for themselves, a libertarian ideal no doubt. But one that will be a huge burden on this nation in a few short years. If we don’t get real serious about our dysfunctional health care market based system, a system based on greed and the bottom line, then we as a nation will most definitely fail and fall into the status of a third world nation.

  • Anonymous

    I oppose the No-insurance-company-left-behind bill for reasons entirely different from the right wingdingers, but i hope the mandate gets voted down.

  • Michiganjf

    Republicans are really going to screw Americans on Health Care!

    25 years ago, Republicans and Dems BOTH knew health care was going to eventually bankrupt America because costs were rising MUCH TOO QUICKLY.

    … that is why REPUBLICANS developed all the ideas Obama used to craft the Affordable Care Act… REFORM WAS BADLY NEEDED!!!

    Here we are, 25 years later, and Republicans have turned their backs on the ideas THEY THEMSELVES DEVELOPED!!!!

    If Republicans succeed in scrapping the Affordable Care Act, THE ONLY SIGNIFICANT HEALTH CARE REFORM since REPUBLICANS CAME UP WITH THE IDEA (BASED ON NEEDED REFORM!!!), America will be right back in the old pattern of health care costs rising 10-20 percent per year, eventually pricing EVERYONE but the wealthiest Americans OUT OF THE SYSTEM!!!

    You rank and file Republicans are only going to realize the stupidity of your leaders’ hypocritical decision AGTER IT’S FAR TOO LATE FOR US ALL!!!!

    • Drew You Too

      A bit too partisan for my tastes but I cannot disagree with any part of your comment.

      • Anonymous

        Why not be partisan? The Republicans do it 24/7 and cry foul when the Democrats give them the same back. It’s partisan politics that has brought us to this point and the court that we have. It’s partisan politics from the GOP that keeps a sitting President from making appointments to the government he is in charge of . Not because they are not qualified, but because of extreme right wing ideology.  How is it that almost all the GOP representatives in DC and in states around the nation have signed an document drafted by Grover Norquist that seems to override their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land.

        • Drew You Too

          Q: “Why not be partisan?”

          A: “It’s partisan politics that has brought us to this point and the court
          that we have. It’s partisan politics from the GOP that keeps a sitting
          President from making appointments to the government he is in charge of .”

          I agree with Michiganjf’s comments as well as yours, I just think the stump pounding doesn’t ever accomplish anything. Well at least nothing beneficial or productive. That’s just my opinion though.

          • TFRX

            As I always say about the media’s fetish for “polite bipartisanship”: Great idea! The GOP can go first!

    • Robert Riversong

      Now you got it figured out. It’s eugenics by another name.

      The elites know that there will be more than enough customers to fleece in China, India and Brazil, and they don’t need American workers or consumers anymore.

  • northeaster17

    Compared to many other nations our healthcare system is a debacle. It is also mostly based on so called free market principles. The market in my opinion has failed. Where would the opponents of an overhaul of the current system take us?The only mandates being consistant care, and an inclusive system with inflation reduced to normal increments. Have seen very little of that.

    • Robert Riversong

      “The market in my opinion has failed.”

      In fact, it has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. The market is a forum for the wresting of financial advantage from others, with the ultimate (and inevitable) goal of making some filthy rich at the expense of the vast hordes of the “unfortunate”.

      It is time to abandon the “free” market in all aspects of our common life. The purpose of work should be no less than service to the common good, and none should profit from the needs of others.

      Humanity lived well for millions of years in the gift economy, as many indigenous peoples still do. They should be our teachers. People were considered “wealthy” who gave the most to others, not those who accumulated the most themselves.

  • Dan

    It’s exactly like the government forcing us to buy broccoli!  … If my grocery bill was $2000 but my broccoli owner discounted grocery price was $300 and my copay was only $30… and the grocery store was forced to provide groceries to those who came in, had no broccoli and couldn’t afford the groceries.  The government would then pick up the $2000 price for those groceries.  Or perhaps I was hungry, then I wouldn’t be allowed to buy broccoli on my own because they knew my grocery bills would be high based on my pre-existing hunger.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Toss out Obama’s weak attempt at reform, and offer a real choice:  a Medicare system for anyone who wants it, while allowing private insurance programs for those who can afford them and wish to stay with those.  Then competition will decide which is better.

    • Ray in VT

      I could definitely go for that.  I doubt that it could pass in Congress though.

    • TFRX

      In hypothetical terms, I could deal with that. (In the age of “60 is the new 51″, however…)

      But if that far-off day ever comes, I’m prepared for the cherry-picking by private insurers resulting in the narrative drumbeat of “Medicare for all costs too much”, driven strictly by the pool of people who are in it.

      Hey, one doesn’t even need to be Roger Ailes to figure that out.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Keep the payroll deduction for everyone.  We subsidize corn; why not healthcare?

        • Robert Riversong

          We should stop subsidizing corn, mostly ethanol (with a negative EROEI and displaces food production) and corn syrup (which is making Americans obese and sickly).

          • Gregg

            I agree but It’ll never happen as long as Iowa is the first caucus.

    • Anonymous

      That’s where the legislation was headed until Obama caved to the “healthcare” industry and bailed on the public option.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         The reason that Obama is a disappointment–he’s wimpy.

    • lodger

      The insurance companies know that most of us would flee and opt for Medicare. They made sure to get rid of the public option for just that reason.

      Despite the republican soundbites there is no competition.  A few big players enjoy de facto monopolies.  

      Nobody wants to talk about the fact that insurance companies have exemptions from anti-monopoly laws.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I like the idea but in order for insurance to work doesn’t one need a big enough pool so that the group absorbs the costs of individuals?

      Why not simply have Medicare for everyone and let the insurance companies offer supplemental insurance (as they do now for Medicare recipients) for those who can afford it.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         I want to get rid of the mandate.  That’s the doubtful part of the reform.  If we have genuine competition, Republicans will have less that they can object to, at least on legitimate grounds.

      • Robert Riversong

        You don’t need a big pool, only a diverse one. Most ethnic urban neighborhoods in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had mutual aid societies, which took care of each other’s medical and burial and other such needs. 

        Too bad we’ve become “assimilated” and lost that communitarian ethic. But it’s also hard to be communitarian on the scale of a nation state, particularly in a time in which people focus on differences rather than commonalities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.staedter Tracy Staedter

    How is it that a state can

    1. force you to buy health insurance, as it does in MA?
    2. force you to buy car insurance?

    How is that different from what they’re talking about in the Supreme Court?

    If buying health insurance in MA and having to buy car insurance is considered constitutional on the state level, how can
    they NOT be considered constitutional on the federal level? Please clarify.
     

    • John in Amherst

       I am hazzy on the details, but states have a power to police their residents that the federal gov’t lacks.  So States can compel their citizens to do and buy lots of things the feds can’t.

      • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.staedter Tracy Staedter

        Thanks. I guess I don’t understand. How can a state mandate something that is ultimately ruled as unconstitutional?

        Because if the federal mandate is voted as unconstitutional, then wouldn’t it also be unconstitutional at a state level?

        • John in Amherst

           I think I’m on your side here, but the argument revolves around what states can do and what feds can do.  Something can be constitutionally enumerated as a state power, but not a federal power

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      The constitution is a document that limits the power of the federal government.  

      • John in Amherst

        and since the US today is exactly the way it was in 1790, why make any changes….

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          You may not be familiar with the amendment process?

          • John in Amherst

             And you are unfamiliar with the “strict constructionists” (Thomas, Scalia, Alito) who attempt to view the present through 200 year old lenses?

          • Robert Riversong

            Hardly. Those are among the most activist jurists who invent law according to their pro-corporate ideology.

          • Gregg

            “originalist”

      • Brett

        Yes, there are limits to power, but federal law trumps state law. The Bill of Rights was added by Madison because he feared the Constitution would not be accepted by certain states…so it was to ensure ratification. Look at any law that differs from its federal counterpart…the federal law trumps the state law.

        • Gregg

           Apples and oranges.

          • Brett

            What? That doesn’t address what I said at all! 1) The amendment process was put into place (the start being the Bill of Rights) to appease the states as some states feared the Constitution allowed too much federal power. 2) Federal law is more powerful than state law was my point (with a little background into Madison’s thinking). Apple and Orange comparisons don’t apply here. 

          • Gregg

            The scope of the powers of the Federal Government are severely limited with everything else going to the States and the people. As a matter of practicality the powers that are given to the Feds apply to all the States so in that very limited way I suppose they trump. But I would say the States have much more authority and leeway to do what the want.

        • Robert Riversong

          Federal law does NOT trump state law except in those cases which are specifically allowed by the constitution and in those many more cases in which the federal government has overstepped its bounds – often by use of the Commerce Clause or in the name of (false) national security.

          But Congress has played a trick on the states by making them dependent on federal subsidies in return for federal control or limits on states’ rights.

    • Ed Siefker

      Just because the states can do it doesn’t mean that the federal government can do it.  See the 10th Amendment:

       The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
      prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
      or to the people.

      But that’s irrelevant here.  This law falls clearly within the scope of powers Congress exercises all the time.

      • Robert Riversong

        “This law falls clearly within the scope of powers Congress exercises all the time.”

        Does it? That seems to be the core of the debate. 

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    1792: THE ORIGINAL INDIVIDUAL MANDATE?

    If the Constitution prohibited, as a principle, individual mandates to purchase from a private company… surely this provision of the Militia Act of 1792… written by those who knew Original Intent best, would NEVER have been written to include the following individual mandate:

    “That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself 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; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.”

    http://constitution.org/mil/mil_act_1792.htm
    repost…

    • Charles A. Bowsher

      That same wording also defines what is meant by “arms” in the  “Right to bear arms”.  The arms of the times, not glocks and uzis.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Article 1. Sec 8 says about that Militia that Congress has the power:”To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;” The details were fleshed out in the Militia Acts of 1792. One wonders what such State Militias do most of the gun nuts belong to? The intellectual contortions needed to transform a government MANDATE to buy a weapon and equipment… into an individual right to own are amusing. Any true right to own a firearm MUST INCLUDE THE RIGHT NOT TO OWN ONE.
        The “right” in the Second Amendment is these well-regulated militias made up of the Freemen of the day, could never be disarmed. But since 1903 those state Militias evolved into the State National Guard. As a gun owner I know my right isn’t protected by the Second Amendment. That protection is in the Ninth. But we stray from the topic.   

        • Robert Riversong

          The Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

          Those “other rights retained by the people” are the natural rights that pre-existed the nation and the Constitution. No one can legitimately claim that the Creator gave us a right to carry a firearm.

  • Michiganjf

    Say GOODBYE to social security if the REPUBLICAN ROBERTS COURT strikes down the Affordable Care Act!!!

    … the same logic will apply to SS… namely, how can the government force Americans to buy into a retirement plan?

    Republicans and the Roberts Court are going to finish the job they started of bringing middle class America to its knees!!

    • Anonymous

      SS and medicare/medicade and unemployment are taxes applied equally to everyone.  If we had set up a single payer system funded by payroll taxes today’s program would be about something else.

      • Ed Siefker

        Yes, and the individual mandate is a less severe requirement than taxation. Instead of completely taking all individual choice out of the issue, which would be well within Congress’s power, they let you keep some control.  How can that be unconstitutional when the more severe exercise of power is not?

        • Anonymous

          Agreed.  It will come down to weather the commerce clause applies.  I think those challenging the law are not really interested in the constitutionality.  They don’t want the Fed telling them what to do period.

        • Robert Riversong

          You clearly haven’t read the Constitution. The federal government has the right of taxation to promote the general welfare. It does not have the right, under the Commerce Clause or anywhere else, to mandate a private purchase on the “free” market.

          Ironically, the “conservative” justices agree that a single-payer, tax-funded system would be constitutional, but a mandated private system may not.

  • Drew You Too

    “Historic Health Care Case At The Supreme Court”

    Historic or Hysteric?

  • Anonymous

    It sure looks like Republicans don’t want a solution. They repeat the ‘free market’ mantra  mindlessly.  When healthcare becomes unaffordable, which is in the not too distant future under current free market regulation, what will they say then? We’ll see how much support they can rally. We need a solution, and not in the most inefficient manner possible – via private health insurance: we cannot continue to  afford to redistribute wealth to C-level executives with profits on 50$ cotton balls.

    • Anonymous

      It’s unaffordable now. The prices are all over the place for even basic tests and doctor visits. When you have a doctor charging $1200 for doing 10 stitches in 30 minutes, that’s absurd. You’re right about the over charges on everything from Tylenol to cotton balls. 

      • TFRX

        …and as always, an unconscious patient in an ER isn’t in a hospital, but a bazaar. No time to haggle.

        • Robert Riversong

          The perfect “customer”. You can sell them anything you want to.

    • Robert Riversong

      The American medical industry (hardly “health care”) has been unaffordable for quite some time.

      When I was an EMT working in a community hospital ER in 1990, I was scolded by the nurses for opening too many supplies to treat patients, because they knew just how much the billing department was going to overcharge for gauze pads and sterile gloves.

  • John in Amherst

    If the SCOTUS allows folks to opt out of health care coverage, why can’t I opt out of buying air craft carriers, nukes, etc., too?

    • Anonymous

      Defense, and that argument, while valid on it’s merits, does not really hold up in this case.

      The only way to go, and if the SCOTUS strikes down the mandate, is single payer.

    • Robert Riversong

      You can. I have done just that for the last 33 years. Taxes are voluntary, conscience is not. Just ask Thoreau.

  • TomK in Boston

    There is no traditional liberal Democratic dog in this fight.

    The ACA is the produce of elite far right think tanks. It is totally run by private insurance corporations, private hospital corporations and private drug and medical device corporations. It doesn’t have a shred of socialism or, moronically, “gub’mint takeover of the entire health care system”.

    I’m not comfortable defending the ACA, but I think it’s a baby step in the right direction. It is way too complicated, because our moderate republican, compromising President has run away from single payer to a system run by the private sector.

    Meanwhile, the extreme right, ie the current GoP, hates their own former ideas now. I suppose they’e not brutal enough or don’t transfer enough $ to the oligarchs.

    The argument about the mandate is nonsense. There may be a right to not buy insurance, but essentially everyone who is uninsured runs to the ER when they need it, and I have to pay for it with higher premiums. I grant the right to anyone who signs a binding contract to never use resources they can’t pay for. Such individuals may show up in hypothetical arguments but there are so few, if any, of them in the real world that there is no point in discussing them. The hypocritical galt wannabes who don’t insure and run for the safety net in a crisis are a cancer on the USA. I’d be happy to tell them to drop dead if they don’t have the cash. They have no “right” to go to the ER on my dime, so let them pay their dam mandate.

    Given the slant of the current GoP, I’m sure they envision a USA in which the 1% are veritable superbeings with all the sci-fi advances that will be coming, robotics, implants, nanomed, etc, and average Americans get by on band-aids and aspirin.

    • ana

      While I do support single payer insurance system, I wonder if this could be accomplished all once.  Would pulling the rug out from under the insurance industry result in massive job loss and instability?  How could a move to single payer be accomplished?

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Primary medical insurance for every American should be handled by Medicare. Medicare for everyone (no Medicaid, just Medicare). Let the insurance industry offer supplemental medical insurance as they do now. No job loss, maybe job gain.

      • TomK in Boston

        Good point, ana. Even wasteful activity like telling people they’re not covered for a particular procedure, like wars that harm our national security, employ people and stimulate the economy. Gotta be done, though. We can’t continue to pay 2x what the rest of the developed world pays and continue to be at the bottom in lifespan.

        • notafeminista

          “…at the bottom in lifespan…” Hum.  Given the average lifespan of an American male is 72 years and an American female 75 years..pray tell who is living (in large numbers) significantly longer than that?

          • notafeminista

            Furthermore…more people living longer overall really can’t be good for this planet that some schools of thought claim is already overpopulated….

          • Robert Riversong

            You’re correct, but the US is low on the list of all measures of well-being.

            On the Happy Planet Index, which measures well-being against social and ecological costs, the US is #150 out of 178 nations, right between Lithuania and Côte d’Ivoire.

          • notafeminista

            So?  The end game is to have fewer people on the planet.  The Left doesn’t concern itself whether or not the existence is a happy one.

          • Robert Riversong

            Japan, Hong Kong (People’s
            Republic of China), Switzerland, Israel, Iceland, Australia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden,
            Macau (People’s Republic of China), France (metropolitan), Canada, Italy, New
            Zealand, Norway, Austria, Netherlands, Martinique (France), Greece, Belgium, Malta,
            United Kingdom, Germany, U.S. Virgin Islands (US), Finland, Guadeloupe (France),
            Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey) (UK), Cyprus, Ireland, Costa Rica, Puerto
            Rico (US), Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Chile, Denmark, Cuba.

          • notafeminista

            Noting you didn’t cite your source…http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa042000b.htm

            I’m going to quibble with some of your numbers.

          • TomK in Boston

            Quibble all you want, but the outcomes of the developed world’s most expensive and most capitalist (can it be coincidence?) system are about the worst.

            Amusing pivot below to, OK, maybe other systems deliver longer lives, but that’s BAD in an overpopulated planet! Wow, notafeminista becoming concerned about the planet :) Better not let the gang on the righty blogs find out. You have a great spin there, the TeaOP is saving the planet.

          • Robert Riversong

            That wasn’t my source.

    • Charles A. Bowsher

      Why else would Cheney merit a heart transplant?

      • TomK in Boston

        I don’t think it was a transplant, i think a heart was put into Mr Cheney for the first time.

        • Brett

          Excuse me, but Mr. Cheney played a very plausible Tin Man in the Executive Branch’s production of The Wizard of Oz a few years ago…Now, guess which character W played?

          • Robert Riversong

            I don’t think Cheney was any Tin Man. He was the man behind the curtain, pulling all the strings.

      • notafeminista

        And on what basis would he not merit a transplant in your estimation?

        • Robert Riversong

          The age of 55 years has traditionally been the accepted upper limit beyond which heart transplantation should not be considered. Heart transplantation in patients as old as 72 years of age have been reported.

          Cheney is 71. He got his heart for the same reason that G.W.Bush got into the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War and then went AWOL without punishment.

          • notafeminista

            So the claim is then, that Mr. Cheney is too old to have received a heart transplant.   Okay, fair enough.  Clearly at 71 an individual has lived long enough.  Why perform any procedures on anyone over the age of 70 at all?  At the very least, the claim made on this very forum that the US is at the bottom of the lifespan ladder really should be moot…no? 

          • Gregg

            Don’t worry, with Obamacare the actuaries (sounds better than death Panel) will run the numbers and choose the cutoff age for new hearts. Everybody is the same so one size fits all. I’m thinking about day 21915, the next day you’re out of luck.

          • Gregg

            He had to wait 20 months, that’s hardly preferential treatment. 

          • Robert Riversong

            He obviously wasn’t dying during that 20 months and others were.

    • Robert Riversong

      TomK in Boston, You seem to favor a truly socialist single-payer option (as do I), but you detest the principle upon which that is based: that we all contribute to the common good and no one who needs care is denied it.

      Apparently, you support government socialism but not private sector socialism, such as paying a bit more for health insurance so that those who can’t afford it are also cared for (on the assumption that they’re freeloaders, which is the same reason right wingers detest welfare).

      I agree that the “free” market is the most inefficient way to approach socialism, but the ethical principle is the same.

      • TomK in Boston

        Robert,
        “you detest the principle upon which that is based: that we all contribute to the common good and no one who needs care is denied it.”Wrong. I have no idea how you got that. Maybe my sarcasm is confusing sometimes….Tom

  • Roy Mac

    Kennedy says “it changes the relationship between govt and individuals because it compels the individual to act.”  Really??  Did the august justice ever hear of filing income tax returns?  Registering with Selective Service?

    Someone needs to poke  that old man and tell him to start paying attention; either that, or join Sandra Day O’Connor.

    • Robert Riversong

      That statement was in the context of the Commerce Clause discussion and addressed federal compulsion for a citizen to act within the marketplace.

      The Constitution allows conscription and taxation (though I and many would argue that a tax on wages is unconstitutional, in spite of the 16th Amendment, and that conscription is a form of involuntary servitude).

  • Hidan

     Mass. Grasps For A Cure To Rising Health Care Costs
    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/03/15/health-care-costs

    Health care costs are rising too fast. On that, there is iron-clad consensus. Where there is no agreement is how much wouldn’t be too fast. In other words, what’s a rate of medical inflation that we can all live with?

    A debate about that question has been taking place behind the scenes in Massachusetts for some time. But it’s been thrust out in public now as some high profile groups stake out very different positions

    http://bostonherald.com/business/healthcare/view/2011_0623blue_cross_cries_foul_over_ags_cost_report

    Health insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts came out swinging yesterday in response to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s scathing report that found the firm’s plan to lower costs actually made prices soar as much as 36 percent.

    Blue Cross to rebate former CEO’s severance to members

    The board of the state’s largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts    , has voted to rebate $4.2 million to health insurance customers, after an investigation by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley into the severance package awarded to former BCBSMA CEO, Cleve Killingsworth.

    Members will receive a one-time reduction in premiums of a little less than $2 per member, which will be noted on the individual or employer’s bill.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2011/07/06/killingsworth-severance-returned.html

    • Anonymous

      I don’t understand how state-law mandates requiring people to buy crappy products from private, profiteering companies is any less fascist than federal-law mandates requiring people to buy crappy products from private, profiteering companies.

        

      • Anonymous

        Because we are a union of 50 individual states.

      • Ray in VT

        They may not be terribly different, except that for the argument that the state has the power to do it and the federal government doesn’t.

      • Robert Riversong

        It’s NOT any less fascist or unethical. But it’s legal. Law and ethics don’t often meet.

    • JustSayin

       A CEO named Cleve Killingsworth. LOL What a great name for a CEO.

      • Ray in VT

        Some jokes just write themselves.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6E5M4YACHDJ7AFL5D2XK3IMCL4 James P.

    Tom, Could today’s arguments affect the federal governements ability to force states to maintian the 21 and over drinking age by tying them to federal highway funds. Can the federal governement force states to expand medicare/medicaid, with an all or nothing approach.
    Jim- Iowa City

  • WW_ph15

    They keep using the ol’ slippery slope argument. That’s the GOP standard for everything. If we’re going to use that one, how about, if the government can mandate that a woman must have an ultra-sound and that she has to pay for it, what next?! Will they be mandating that a woman must have lots of babies?!

    • Patrik

      It’s the politics of fear.  They know people fear what they don’t know or understand and it seems to me a large portion of the population isn’t, or does not want to be, educated on this vital topic.  As an example; the consequence is the conservative base looks to zealots like Santorum to tell them what is good or bad instead of reading what is in the ACA or understanding the basics of the healtcare system and insurance.

      • notafeminista

        :)  This made me laugh.

    • Drew You Too

      “They keep using the ol’ slippery slope argument”

      Waking up in the morning and getting out of bed is a slippery slope. Patrik is correct when he says “It’s the politics of fear”.

    • Robert Riversong

      Some women legislators, in response, offered legislation or amendments to require men to undergo rectal exams in order to get Viagra.

      Now THAT’S a slippery slope that would reverse the course of civilization as we know it. 

      Freud, in Civilization and Its Discontents, argued that civilization began because of man’s ability to be continuously erect.

  • Steve

    Health care reform will happen when company-provided health care plans increase in cost to a point where they are untenable to the compnies that provide them.

    GM vs. Kaiser Permanente if you will.

  • Ed Siefker

    The government can force you to give them N dollars and then spend it on X, whether you are going to use X or not.  But they can’t force you to spend the same N dollars on a range of X, Y, and Z of *your choice*?  What sort of sense does that make?

    The individual mandate is a complete subset of the power Congress has to tax and spend.   There is absolutely no sensible argument otherwise. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       But Monday’s argument was that this isn’t a tax.

    • Robert Riversong

      Nobody on any side seems to agree with that. The SCOTUS had to hire an independent lawyer to argue that point because none of the parties would.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    To David Cutler- Why wasn’t  Single Payer Health Care a direct outgrowth of the “General Welfare” Clause of the Constitution?  I thought Obama was a Constitutional Law Professor?!  You all dropped the ball mister!

    • BHA in Vermont

       Single payer was taken off the table early because the Republicans were all “HELL NO TO SOCIALISM!!!!!”

      Of course, there is a HUGE difference between socialism as a governing system and social welfare run by a single entity (the government) FOR the population.

    • Robert Riversong

      That Obama was a Constitutional Law expert hasn’t stopped him from violating it every day of his administration (denial of habeas corpus, indefinite detention, special rendition, torture, warrantless wiretaps, targeted assassination, war without end…)

  • Anonymous

    Scalia’s argument is specious.  Emergency serivces, police, fire, ambulance are covered by taxes and as a government function it’s a single payer type system.  This is what’s needed for health insurance.

    • Robert Riversong

      Not everywhere.

      No pay, no spray: Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground in 2010 because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee.

      See how well the private market works for essential services?

      • Gregg

        That was not the private market it was the city municipality.

        • Robert Riversong

          Same principle. Outside their city limits, they operated as a fee-for-service provider.

  • Anonymous

    Folks, the problem with the 24-7-365 news cycle is so much talk,talk,talk and fingers in the wind.  As Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over til it’s over.  Oral arguments and questions often have no bearing on the decision.  The Supremes really asked tough questions on the Voting Rights Act, and ruled in favor of it.  The conservative federal circuit courts asked tough questions about the Affordable Healthcare Act and upheld it.  Let’s just calm down and let the process run the course.  Remember, as Justice Ginsburg said, these same questions were asked about social security-and medicare(medicaid too).  Stop and hand wringing and hair pulling please.

    Jim in Fort Mill,SC

    • margbi

       Thanks – a voice of reason amid the cacophony!

      And, I do have a question. I saw a sign which read “I Will Not Comply”, presumably from an opponent of the measure. Would it even be possible not “to comply” if the bill is declared constitutional?

      • Steve

        garnishment

      • Robert Riversong

        What most Americans fail to appreciate is that we always have a choice not to comply with laws we believe to be wrong, including taxation and selective service.

        There may be consequences, but there are consequences to every choice, including complicity in unjust laws.

    • Robert Riversong

      Like we let the process run its course in Bush v Gore?

      …in Citizens United?

  • Hidan

    More get waivers of health insurancehttp://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/02/07/more_get_waivers_of_health_insurance/

    Massachusetts regulators granted more exemptions last year to residents who said they could not afford the health insurance required by the state, waiving the tax penalty for more than half of those who appealed, according to state data

    Of the 2,637 people who applied, 63 percent received an exemption with 107 cases pending, up from 44 percent the previous year.

    BCBS-MA Plan Jacks Up Copays at Hospitals on ‘High-Cost’ List

    http://blog.corporateresearchgroup.com/2011/02/16/bcbs-ma-plan-jacks-up-copays-at-hospitals-on-high-cost-list/

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Boston) is reporting unprecedented interest in a new health plan that jacks up member copays for procedures at 15 hospitals on its list of “high-cost” facilities.According to a spokeswoman, nearly 30% of BCBS-MA’s small business and individual clients renewing in January 2011 signed up for the Hospital Choice Cost-Share plan.  Typically, a new plan option attracts just 1% to 2% of BCBS-MA businesses in the first year.  A separate BCBS-MA tiered network product called Blue Options – launched in 2007 – has 95,000 members.

  • Drew You Too

    Tom said “As Humans, we’re all in the market”.

    We Humans ARE The Market. That’s the whole problem. Pound of flesh anyone?

    • lgriss

       Right on….people getting rich on the misfortunes and ill health of others is the root of this issue – all insurance companies should be run as non-profit entities and the issue would be moot. 

      • Robert Riversong

        Not insurance companies – some of the biggest are   (or used to be) non-profits, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield. We don’t need insurance companies at all. And many hospitals are also non-profit but still part of the problem.

        It’s hospitals and community clinics that need to be non-profit, government-owned, with GS pay scales for all health care providers.

        If other essential services are government run, such as fire, police and public works, then health care should be the same.

    • Robert Riversong

      That’s the dirty little secret of American culture.

      As Jerry Mander pointed out in his book, Four Reasons for the Elimination of Television, we ARE the product.

      The “free” market is, and has always been, a slaughterhouse where the more clever and aggressive find ways to fleece the rest.

      And that is why, when we pretend to be exporting “freedom” and “democracy”, we always mean free-market capitalism. They are one and same, especially to ignorant right-wingers.

  • Anonymous

    By the way, in response to Justice Scalia’s question about food and vegetables…the government does indeed require the purchase of food.  If one poses a threat to one self then the government will lock you up for not feeding yourself-or providing food for your children or those you are a caregiver for.

    • Robert Riversong

      Wrong. No law allows the arrest or detainment for “protective custody” of an individual who is competent and refuses food. 

      However, once arrested for anything else, a detainee can  be force-fed.

      What’s really at issue here, is the ability of government to force parents to use conventional medical care for their children, even if it violates religious or moral beliefs. Vermont currently has a philosophical as well as religious exemption for childhood vaccinations, but is considering removing the former.

      • notafeminista

        Please –  how long would one who refuses food be considered “competent”?  You’re unfamiliar with the concept of involuntary commitments?

        • Robert Riversong

          Protesters have engaged in public hunger strikes (fasts) for generations, sometimes lasting more than a month, and they are never arrested.

          My mentor, Wally Nelson, engaged in an 18-month hunger strike when imprisoned for walking out of a WWII Conscientious Objector concentration camp, but was cruelly force-fed for much of that time, including guards putting cockroaches down his feeding tube.

          But he persisted until the federal prisons were desegregated (he was Black), and then became the fist national field organizer for CORE, and instructed MLK in non-violence.

  • David P.

    Regarding Justice Kennedy’s suggestion that the individual mandate is new  — requiring individuals to act — how is it different from mandatory registration for selective service by all 18 year-old males?

    • Robert Riversong

      Because that is clearly allowed by the Constitution (though the military draft is a form of involuntary servitude, and the male-only draft is discriminatory).

      The Commerce Clause allows the government to regulate interstate and international commerce, but not to require it.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

     Are we all in the market for free contraception?

    We recently learned that Obamacare mandates free contraception.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not free.  You still have to pay the insurance premium.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        What give the government the right to mandate it?  It fails Breyer’s test of “you are in the market if you exist”.

        • Anonymous

          It’s a political argument that is hashed out in writing the Bill.  Assuming a law in general is constitutional, then it’s contents can be required.  The law was written that insurance companies must provide prescription contraception coverage.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             By that argument, there is zero limit on government power.  Therein lies the problem.

          • Anonymous

            Not true.  That is why we have elected representatives.  A majority of our representatives can enact a constitutional law that provisions we as individuals do not like.  If something is constitutional, the 

        • TFRX

          Once more, with no feeling: The EEOC said in 2000 that “If a plan covers Rx it has to cover contraception.”

          John Ashcroft, the most partisan hack ever to head a Dept of Justice (sic), said “We have no problem with that.” They’d actually use the executive branch to hold up the law!

          Your sudden worry about this speaks volumes about how you follow others’ talking points. Your polite sheen doesn’t hide it.

    • TFRX

      Your politeness has nothing on your willful ignorance.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         I notice that when you lose arguments you resort to personal insults.  Nasty habit.

        • TFRX

          Try calling up Rush Limbaugh with your opinions about how he’s wrong on this issue. “Personal insults” may follow.

          • notafeminista

            You don’t hold yourself to a higher standard than Rush?

    • Hidan

      It’s not free, your smart enough to know this. The cost of having a baby vastly exceeds the cost of birth control.

      How Birth Control Saves Taxpayers Money

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/06/148042609/how-birth-control-saves-taxpayers-money

      • notafeminista

        Good idea.  Let’s make abortions mandatory after the first child and truly work towards saving the planet.

        • Robert Riversong

          Good idea. Beats infanticide.

          • notafeminista

            Because……….?

          • Robert Riversong

            Because infanticide was the primary method of population control among tribal humanity for millions of years. 

    • Robert Riversong

      No, it requires insurance companies to cover it without co-pay if a doctor prescribes it as either medically necessary or as a form of preventive medicine to reduce health care costs for everyone.

      It is probably the only sensible part of the law.

  • Tired_of_hate

    Despite the mandate’s constitutionality, the fundamental problem lies with the insurance companies exclusive power to decide what treatment a patient can receive.  As an RN, I have watched as the decisions made about tests and treatment went from the physician to the insurance behemoth.  With disease related groups, insurance companies lumped patients into groups in a quest to establish a norm.  If the patient did not fit the norm, they eventually might not get the care they need. It is the insurance companies that decide how long an elderly person with a hip fracture can be rehabilitated.  The insurance companies have the mandate!!!

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. And this is the problem with our market based system as well as how fees are charged by large institutions such as hospitals. I will add that doctors are also gaming the system, not all, but enough to make the mess we are in. In short everyone is out to game the system. It’s pretty vile if you ask me.

      • Robert Riversong

        Yet that’s always been the American Way.

        Why America Failed, 2012, by Morris Berman

        “In Why America Failed, Berman examines the development of American culture from the earliest colonies to the present, shows that the seeds of the nation’s “hustler” culture were sown from the very beginning, and reveals how the very tools that enabled the country’s expansion have become the instruments of its demise.”

        “At the center of Berman’s argument is his assertion that hustling, materialism, and the pursuit of personal gain without regard for its effects on others have been powerful forces in American culture since the Pilgrims landed. He shows that even before the American Revolution, naked self-interest had replaced the common good as the primary social value in the colonies and that the creative power and destructive force of this idea gained irresistible momentum in the decades following the ratification of the Constitution.”

  • Reggie

    I fear that ACA will go down in the flames; it’s heartbreaking when you consider the capital that the Democrats expended over the past 3 years.The Obama Administration should have bitten the bullet and gone for single payer.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Given that pretty much EVERYONE will need medical care through their life times:
     SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE!!!!!!!!!

    Either that or ALL medical service providers should deny care to anyone without the means to pay, whether through insurance or with their own money or a combination of both. Then you will see the REAL cost of providing a medical service.

    EVERYONE with insurance is ALREADY PAYING for people who have no insurance and can not pay out of their own pocket. Our current health care system is a VERY EXPENSIVE, administrative heavy FARCE wherein big companies swing deals with the insurance companies who swing deals with the health care providers to pay MUCH less than the actual price charged by the provider. Those without the power to swing these deals either pay the full rate (which must, by mathematical definition, be HIGHER than the REAL cost) or pass the cost on to others who are insured.

  • Amanda Takemoto

    I don’t want to participate in a for profit health care or insurance system.

    • Robert Riversong

      The good news is you don’t have to. The bad new is that, in America, there’s no other choice. 

      Live Free and Die.

      • notafeminista

        Thus reducing our overall carbon footprint.  Huzzah!

        • Robert Riversong

          Only if right wingers die. They are carbon-based creatures, whole the enlightened among us are made mostly of light.

  • Abel Collins

    I feel that although there isn’t a direct analogy, there are similarities between car insurance which is mandated for drivers and health insurance being mandated for health care users.

    However, I would like the guests to address what the effects might be if the court does strike down the ACA. In particular, if the justices find that health care is not a special market place, could some precedent be set for revoking the insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption? If the anti-trust exemption was put in doubt, perhaps we could finally have what the public really wants, a single payer option.

    • Robert Riversong

      It’s ironic that this nation was founded on the revocation of the monopoly status of the East India Company (the Boston Tea Party). How quickly we became our own worst enemies!

  • Adam

    What other business but health care does the government demand that you give people services that they won’t/can’t pay for? THAT is the government intrusion that already is bankrupting health services.

    • Robert Riversong

      Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Section 8 housing, Medicaid …

      …and also gargantuan subsidies to the nuclear, fossil fuel, timber, corn, agribusiness industries and military industry (to name just a few).

  • Jkriegel8

    I bet that Scalia has federal insurance and as a matter of fact, if this bounces, than Hospitals should not be required any longer to provide emergency treatment for anybody without coverage. It is not right to have me and others that carry insurance pay for those treatments and this is very much commerce. When I am subjected to pay bills for other people than I should have a saying in who gets this coverage. Of course nobody will reject somebody in emergency but that is what makes it different from an idiotic argument about Broccoli. Healthcare is a a fundamental important basic element of our society and if society does not take care of patients for e.g with infectious diseases the entire society is at danger. And if this is found in contradiction to a constitution than there is something wrong with that constitution. 

    • Robert Riversong

      You pay for the care of others regardless of whether it’s in the private market or a tax-funded program. The ethics are the same, but the government-run programs are far more cost-effective.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    The irony is Obama ran AGAINST the mandate when he was running against Hillary.

    Now the conservative justices are using the same arguments Obama made when criticizing the mandate.

    • Robert Riversong

      Etch-a-Sketch. That’s politics.

  • TFRX

    Did a caller really mean it when he said he’s “Sick of paying for people who don’t have the foresight” to have health insurance? (Approx 30 minutes in.) Or was it a satirical “bounceback”?

    People have plenty of foresight. When people don’t have health insurance, there is a dread hanging over them with every little scrape or otherwise ordinary situation. And there are plenty of “cover nothing” crap plans that insurance companies pitch to people on the fringes of the economy.

    “Healthcare insecurity” is another one of those terms which somehow never gets into the mainstream media.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       The caller was referring to deadbeats.  Are you saying deadbeats don’t exist?

      • TFRX

        You say “deadbeats”.

        I say “There are very few folks going around without healthcare thinking It’s great to go around without health insurance, it gives me such a secure feeling inside.”

        Do you think that the Lucky Duckies looooove going around without health insurance, not being able to go to the doctor for little things, and ending up in the ER when small things become disastrous health outcomes?

      • Robert Riversong

        The majority of the “deadbeats” are young, healthy people competing in the job market and thinking themselves invulnerable.

        Precious few others choose to be uninsured.

    • Jkriegel8

      I think you misunderstand the concept. Like here in Massachusetts People who cannot afford healthcare insurance can be covered through a state insurance. There is no reason to reject healthcare insurance, people need to understand what the program means
       

      • TFRX

        I didn’t hear where the caller was from. If he was from MA, it was from one thing. If he’s describing people whose choice is rent or food or health insurance, it may well be another.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           He was from MA.

  • AC

    i’m listen to the audio tapes before I listen to this show – it’s really interesting!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Try reading the transcripts.  Just as compelling.

      • Gregg

         I agree.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that I’d prefer the audio.  I like to hear the actual voices.  You get to hear the inflections and the emphases, plus I can listen while I rework some coding or something.

          • Gregg

            Yea, me too. I just mean there are very compelling arguments going on. It’s much better to go to the source than to depend on what the pundits choose to tell us.

          • Ray in VT

            Agreed.

      • AC
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6WW4AFVJJJW6E5AT525TLCSXY4 BrianneC

    We already have universal health care (no one’s turned away at the ER doorstep); there needs to be a fair way to pay for it.

    • Robert Riversong

      That’s hardly universal health care. At best (or worst) it’s accessible catastrophic care which inhibits people from getting the kind of regular preventive care that would eliminate the need for much emergency care.

      Everyone screams about these “freeloaders”, but they are the ones who get the highest bills for service, while the insurance companies negotiate bargain rates.

  • wally

    We seem to be missing the legal point of the argument. The question is not whether the individual mandate is a good idea or not. The question is whether the US Constitution allows the federal government to impose this mandate in the name of regulating interstate commerce, one of the enumerated Federal powers. There is no question that individual states may impose such a mandate, as they do with car liability insurance. Does the US Constitution mean what it says? Or, do we take the position that the Constitution can mean whatever our politicians of today decide it should mean? The difference is one of a gov’t of laws vs. a gov’t of men.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Liberals don’t believe in the constitution.

      Stunningly, Ruth Bader Ginsberg told Egyptians that they shouldn’t adopt the US constitution because it is outdated.  What happened to her oath?

      • Ray in VT

        That’s a load of bull.  You may believe it, but I certainly don’t agree with you.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          I’ll grant you that I’m over generalizing. 

          Is there any limiting principle to  government power in the constitution?  We’ve seen an erosion of government limits over the years.

          I fear our society will collapse under the weight of our government.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that your concern is legitimate, and I do share it, although I put the goal posts in different places than you do.

            You raise some interesting questions, and I don’t think that they are ones that are easily answerable, especially in an online message board.

          • Robert Riversong

            The only effective limit to government power is the willingness of the People to rise up and demand their rights. 

            The American people are particularly ill-suited to that task and have been effectively bought off for generations.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah we do.  The constitution says only congress can declare war.  When was the last time that has happened since December 1941?

        • Gregg

          The Constitution does not give a method or any requirements as to how war is declared. The Iraq war was approved by Congress. I think that meets the very low bar set by the founders. 

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           I believe Libya was the only time it didn’t happen.

          • Ray in VT

            We have often engaged militarily without a war declaration.  The last time that we declared war was December 8th, 1941.  Maybe the 9th.

          • Anonymous

            No, try Vietnam, Korea, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan. Congress just did not enforce the law.

        • Robert Riversong

          The United States has formally declared war against foreign nations five separate times (War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II), each upon prior request by the President of the United States. Four of those five declarations came after hostilities had begun.

          Since 1798, the US has engaged in foreign military adventures nearly 200 times, nearly once every year of our existence.

      • denis

        How do comments like this add to reasoned discussion?
        We can look at many examples were people use the constitution to justify their position when in fact the constitution does not mention the situation or states a principle entirely opposite the advocated position.

        • Robert Riversong

          Much like with the Bible or the Qu’ran.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Rice/100000693874282 Joseph Rice

        Isn’t the oath about upholding the constitution of the United States? Did Egypt get added when we weren’t looking?

      • Robert Riversong

        Ruth Bader Ginsberg told Egyptians that they shouldn’t adopt the US constitution, just as Fidel Castro told Hugo Chavez (and other Latin American leaders) not to go the way of violent revolution as he had because the price is too high.

        But it is not only wrong that the “liberal” justices don’t uphold the Constitution, it’s a blatant inversion of the truth.

        From Jusice Morrison Remick Waite (Santa Clara v Southern Pacific, corporations are persons), to Buckley v Valeo (money=speech), to the Lewis Powell pro-corporate agenda (the Powell Memo to the US Chamber of Commerce), to Bush v Gore (federal pre-emption of state’s constitutional rights), to Citizens United – it has been the conservative justices who have engaged in outrageous acts of judicial activism.

  • Gdbknyc

    We have to do something about the rising cost of healthcare in America.

    http://gooddesign-bknyc.blogspot.com/

  • So Sad

    It is exactly this type of program that is indicative of the ‘liberal bias’ that so many people recognize in NPR.  While not overtly coming out and stumping for the administration’s position it is so painfully obvious from the types of things that Tom says and doesn’t say, the amount of time he spends on each side of the issue, the threads that he tugs on which support one side or another that Tom is clearly alarmed and disappointed not only in the possibility that the Supreme Court will rule Obamacare unconstitutional, but even at the rigorousness of their questioning. 

    It’s sad really, but I have more respect for someone who comes right out and states they support one side of an argument than one who positions themselves in the noble position of unbiased journalist when nothing could be further from the truth. 

    The fact that the vast, vast majority of NPR staff does exactly this same thing on a daily basis makes truly open-minded consumers like me sad and jaded when it comes to taking NPR seriously.  

    • Anonymous

      Oh please, that’s a tired argument that holds no weight.
      And if you don’t like it change the station and listen to Rush or Fox.

    • Robert Riversong

      That NPR harbors a liberal bias is an article of faith among many conservatives. Fairness and Accuracy in Media repeated their 1993 study of NPR in 2003.

      Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources—including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants— Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

      Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge, individual Republicans were NPR’s most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance. With the exception of Secretary of State Powell, all of the top 10 most frequently appearing sources were white male government officials.

      FAIR classified each think tank by ideological orientation as either centrist, right of center or left of center. Representatives of think tanks to the right of center outnumbered those to the left of center by more than four to one: 62 appearances to 15. Centrist think tanks provided sources for 56 appearances.

      Checkmate!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Rice/100000693874282 Joseph Rice

    A few comments:

    I believe Sonia Sotomayor alluded somewhat to this the other day, but I find it interesting that we think of “young people” as a separate group. They are not. They are part of the same group, simply at a different point in time, and the fact that “they may not use health care” is irrelevant; there are much older people who also believe they will not have the need”.

    And yes, health care is different. Can you give an example of any other product sold the way health care is? Oh, you can have a microwave in your kitchen for 30.00, because your employer offers that benefit; part time workers pay 235.00. Some are not eligible to purchase because we don’t think they are good cooks.

    Another difference is, for better or worse, is that we do not have the expectation that at some point we will be provided with a cell phone or broccoli, the way most people accept that we will with health care.

    The most depressing part of this whole scenario is that if cable television service or fast food were sold this way, most of the public would advance on congress with torches and pitchforks in order to get it rationalized.

  • wauch

    That guy that called in from Cambridge claiming gov’t overreach into most intimate of personal affair all of a sudden must not be paying attention to the right-wing moral encroachment on a woman’s right to an abortion or the right of anyone to marry whomever they like or the right of anyone to practice or not practice religion. Aren’t those encroachments into our personal lives far more nefarious than wanting every citizen to have access to healthcare?

    • So Sad

      Every citizen does have access to healthcare.  The debate is how to pay for it – yes?

      • Brett

        Weh-he-hell…not exactly. If one is speaking of emergency care/treating acute illness, then his/her “access” is there, sure, that is if he/she can pay for it; if he/she can not pay for it, he/she will still gain access in those situations in an ER, which will then pass the cost on to other, “more responsible” patients (like you and me). Also, make no mistake about it, treatment for the indigent may often be less than what an insured patient can “access.” 

        As far as preventive care goes…not so much, Duckie. Unless a patient can genuinely show the ability to pay in non-emergency/chronic cases, access is…well sort of side-stepped. Physicians readily have people who tell patients that “Dr. So-and-So is not taking any new patients at this time.” “Access,” meaning something is available, means nothing if the patient can’t afford said treatment/ can not get in to se a physician (which is one reason why many go to the ER inappropriately).

        Of course, Bob’s your uncle.

      • Brett

        Looks like “Arrogant English” has changed the sobriquet of some of his/her comments to “So Sad.” …Your previous “anonymity” wasn’t camouflaging enough for ya? 

      • Robert Riversong

        Americans have less access to health care than many third world nations (and poorer care to boot).

    • Robert Riversong

      Oh, come on new. That’s just bringing human law into sync with God’s law.

  • Kate

    The comments about broccoli and burial plots are about the government’s control over the citizens.

    If “The Land of the Free” can force it’s citizens to purchase one product, what stops them from forcing them to purchase any other product?

    Whether it be healthy food, vaccinations, burial plots, clothing from this company, cars from that company, it’s all the same! It’s all about removing the ability to make a choice for ourselves.

    When was the last time you read Fahrenheit 451? Welcome to the future.

    • Dan

      Or at least pay for a product they are already using.  It’s the choice, allow healthcare facilities to turn away people without insurance or the ability to pay out of pocket and let them die or require that everyone has insurance.  Either way will work fine.  Or a third solution, regulate the fees so an individual would pay the same to the doctor as the insurance company does, instead of only the insurance able to get some huge discount.

    • Robert Riversong

      The only truly American examples of a fully-regulated lifestyle are plantation slavery and company towns – in both cases, it was private enterprise that determined it had a right to control every facet of the lives of a group of people.

  • Wackerdr

    I agree that it’s wrong to require anyone to purchase a “product” whether-or-not they want it. But my BIGGEST complaint is that we have to buy it from an industry that has time-and-time again shown that all they’re interested in is making a profit. We have no promise that our rates will go down just because everyone has insurance; on the contrary, I’m sure we will continue to see rates increase because when eveyone is insured, more of us will take advantage of the program and insurance providers will raise rates for that reason.

    Finally, as to the “better good” argument: what if an extreme religious group managed to take over the congress and decided that reading the Bible was good for all of us. Could they then require us to purchase AND read our Bibles on a daily basis?

    • notafeminista

      Um…all industries are interested in making a profit – that is the whole point of going into business is to make a profit, no?

      • Robert Riversong

        For the first 100 years of the United States, business corporations were charted for a limited time to make a modest profit in service to the public good (such as building roads and bridges). Business corporations had no rights, only responsibilities to the community, and charters would be revoked or officers charged with crimes for bribing elected officials or interfering with either elections or legislation.

        This has long since shifted to unlimited charters with corporate “rights”, and no obligation other than to the bottom line, along with near total ownership of government. And it is this kind of corporate monster which reigns in the Medical Industry.

        The only way to reform health care in America is to reverse this process of accumulating corporate power, and the only way to do that is with a Constitutional amendment. First things first.

        The Myth of Corporate Personhood: Five essays on the takeover of American democracy by corporations and how we can – and must – take it back for We the People

        • notafeminista

          I am all for corporations not being considered as persons.  Since we agree on that, can we please stop anthropomorphizing corporations?  No more demands for them to behave as humans do.  No more demands for corporations to be socially responsible, no more demands for corporations to behave in a compassionate fashion.  After all, that which is not human cannot behave in a human manner.

    • Robert Riversong

      An extreme religious group HAS taken over Congress.

  • Anonymous

    I agreed with your caller the other day that thought health insurance has become a parasite. Where else do we rely upon middle-men, negotiator’s, fixers, depending on which seat you have at the table. I understand capitation and the principles, I just think health care too important to carry dead weight; and health insurance trends more to denying coverage and finding preexisting conditions. They thrive only by taking a cut of medical fees.
    It chaps my that insurance companies seem the winners. With SSD, it matters little to me, as a disabled cohort– supplemental insurance is not going to be made available to us. We’ve already had our death panel. No money for the heart procedure above and beyond what Medicare pays, tough luck.
    I’ve understood that Maryland has a cost per DSM &/or procedure that is the same for everyone. Is this correct?
    Glad to see your audience numbers up. Congratulations!

  • BHA in Vermont

    We are already done in by the current system.

    My health care choices must be made in October. In October of 2009 we did not know that my younger daughter would need her wisdom teeth out 9 months later (at 14 years old) so we stuck with the ‘regular’ dental coverage. That ‘mistake’ meant we paid full boat for her extractions. FF to Oct 2011, same deal. Found out last month that my older daughter (now 19) needs her wisdom teeth out. Again, we are on the ‘regular’ coverage and will pay in full out of our pocket.

    How, exactly, does one determine during a 1 month period what ills they may have in the following year?
     

    • Robert Riversong

      And there’s controversy about the necessity of this common operation.

      A 2003 meta-study determined that there were 16.4 million unnecessary hospitalizations or medical procedures annually in the US, resulting in more than 3 million iatrogenic events (physician-caused illnesses, injuries or deaths).

      • notafeminista

        16.4 million unnecessary hospitalizations ordered by fearful physicians that if there is one misstep ..they will be sued for millions. 

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    This guy acting like he knows what Kennedy is doing is a little naive. Frequently the Justices will seem to argue for a point by their questions, when in actuality they are laying the groundwork for their arguments to the contrary later with the other Justices.

  • David New

    I wish the government would separate Health “Insurance” from Health “Care”, because they are totally separate things.  Insurance should be for the unexpected, catastrophic, accident, major things, like with Automobile insurance is.  The day-to-day maladies need to be pay-as-you-go, out-of-pocket.  This way the people who try to keep fit and healthy, use home remedies or otherwise bypass the expensive medical system, would not have to pay for the people who need to see specialists and order expensive tests every time they get a runny nose.

    • So Sad

       Totally agree.  It’s funny to me how people understand the need to save up to replacing that aging furnace or car, but expect to get access to all the health care they need for a $20 co-pay (or better still – have the gov. fully subsidize their triple by-pass procedure).  Crazy really . . .

      • Brett

        You sound uncannily like “Still Here” and “Notafeminista.”

        • Give Me a Break

           Not sure what that means, but perhaps you could speak to my point?  Do you think it’s reasonable for people to have to pay/save for their own health care and do you think that the majority of people feel that way now?  Did you know that VT Medicaid recently RESTRICTED recipients (i.e. people who currently don’t pay anything for their health care) to TWELVE ER visits a year?  TWELVE?  How many times a year do you go to the ER on average?  How many of those health care over users that we all pay for have large screen TV’s?  How many are willing to take any single job that comes their way to provide for their families?  Please .  .

          • Anonymous

            Your comments about TV’s is absurd and really off base.

          • Brett

            You don’t really have a point; you’re just ranting. What you say is a characterization of a characterization. You’ve conjured up images of welfare queens as an example of why people don’t deserve to have access to affordable health care. It is reasonable to want  people to be responsible, sure, but taking potshots at a stereotype to bolster one’s point is cheap.         

    • Brett

      Then there are those who have chronic conditions they’ve had their whole lives through no fault of their own. Those don’t quite fit the definition of “unexpected, catastrophic or accident.” 

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Are we born into the market for “free contraception”?

    I don’t think so.
     

    • Ray in VT

      You keep bringing up the contraception issue.  It’s been a hot topic, but what makes a prescription for contraception different from other prescriptions for you?  That it was required to be covered without co-pays?

    • Anonymous

       We all must make the choice.  Don’t believe in contraception?  Don’t use it.  Given the populution of the planet, to not encourage people to limit their procreative impulses seems irresponsible to many people.

    • Robert Riversong

      If we had free contraception, there would be a lot fewer “born into the market” and all social costs (never mind environmental costs) would be less.

  • John Pare

    Why can’t we compare this to national defence. The government provides national defence and requires us to pay with our taxes. There are lots of private companies producing defence equipment and we are not able to opt out of national defence costs.

    • Jasoturner

      Ah, but we are not buying our armed forces from the “marketplace”, it’s single payer…

      Excellent point, though.  Almost too straightforward and logical for America 2012.

    • Robert Riversong

      In fact, that’s what even the conservative justices are saying: if it’s paid for by a tax, it’s constitutional.

  • Tom

    Every working person n the UK is required to pay health insurance. No-one is forced to buy broccoli  a car, or carry a gun, as one of your guests suggested could happen.
    From a European perspective, listening to the arguments on this is like watching Laurel and Hardy go round and round on a building site, accidentally whacking each other on the head with ladders.
    If the Supreme strike this down they will be the laughing stock of the civilized world.
    — from Tom (Brit in Burlington, Vermont)

    • David New

      If they were striking down a single-payer system, funded by taxes, you would be right.  In the UK, I do not believe you are required to buy private health insurance, are you?

      • Tom

        David:  No, you don’t need private health insurance in the UK, but you can get it if you want to, and you can get private care through public doctors and private doctors. Often a public doctor will simply walk to another part of the hospital for his/her private practice.
        You only have to pay into a private system in the US because there are no alternatives because of Republican and Tea Party obstructionism on the past, and if you get your State to create a State alternative, as is being tried here in Vermont. Also, get the Federal government to have a Federal alternative.
        If the Supreme strikes this down they will be the laughing stock of the civilized world, and America will go bankrupt.

        • Robert Riversong

          We’re used to being the “laughing stock of the civilized world”. That happened when the Repugnants tried to impeach a president for a blow job.

          • Gregg

            Oh yea, that’s accurate.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Aren’t they now talking about rationing care to anyone over 75 in the UK due to cost constraints?

      • TFRX

        They spend less money than the US per capita. If they want better outcomes, they can spend a bit more money. And it will still be cheaper than here.

      • Tom

         No.

      • Jasoturner

        Depends on who “they” is.  The they at Fox news say all kinds of inflammatory things that are transparently half truths our outright distortions.  Rationed care, death panels, Obama a Muslim.  You can find whatever you want if you look for it, true, false or in between.

        • Gregg

          C’mon man, you’re a striper catching Rationalist who drives trains, don’t be like that. Fox has never said Obama was a Muslim.

          http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bret-baier-factchecks-new-obama-book-no-fox-host-has-ever-called-president-obama-muslim/

          • Anonymous

            Awww, ain’t that cute, Rush- and Coulter-loving Greggg is using nitwit Baier (from Fox So-called-News) to defend Fox So-called-News.

            More mindless, smarmy, partisan crap. Now watch Greggg wriggle and deflect.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=astY6xIKJuA

          • Gregg

            That’s a hoot NJ! Thanks for posting. When you find a quote of someone on Fox saying Obama is a Muslim post it please.

          • Anonymous

            Didn’t watch the video, did you?

            Fox’s Steve Doocy: “Now the news that he was raised as a Muslim; Barack Obama raised as a Muslim. This is huuuge!”

          • Gregg

            I watched it. Obama’s claim was Fox called him a Muslim 24/7. So if you want to say the one quote that was retracted back in Jan. 2007 is 24/7 fine. Doocy went on to say it was all ancient history and he was a Christian as evidenced by his membership at Trinity. He did not say Obama was a Muslin, he said he was a Christian. The Turks left that part out. He later retracted the part about the Madrassa. It was a garden variety Muslim school.

            “Dreams from my Father” pg. 142:
            ” In Indonesia, I’d spent 2 years at a Muslim school, 2 years at a Catholic school. In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Koranic studies. 

            Try again.

          • Gregg

            It’s hilarious you complain about Coulter and Rush while turning to Cenk. Absolutely hilarious.

          • Hidan

             lol.

            Fox never said this…..news clip later shows fox saying just that.

          • Jasoturner

            Fair enough.  I willingly concede the point and admit my error on this one.

          • Gregg

            Your point is valid and it is alarming what some people believe but it certainly goes both ways. The danger comes when these arguments are presented out of context with no rebuttal. I don’t see that on Fox.

            At the same time there are real concerns about rationing because it does go on in countries with National Health Care. It really must to some extent. Obama has yet to set foot in Israel but has given speeches in every major Islamic Capital. He suggested Israel go back to the ’67 borders and he has not been all that helpful with Iran, IMO. That doesn’t mean he’s a Muslim at all but his perspective is geopolitically important. I don’t think we should tip toe around it but accusations fly when the debate rages.

          • Anonymous

            I love the way Greggg can pretend to be all even-handed and sensible, then he says s**t like, “The danger comes when these arguments are presented out of context with no rebuttal. I don’t see that on Fox.”

          • Gregg

            Whatever dude.

          • Anonymous

            Show some spine, man! You have nothing here to apologize for!

          • Gregg

            He didn’t apologize. He’s just honest about it.

          • Jasoturner

            Not a matter of spine.  To refute this legitimately would require that I look into various provocative statements made on Fox News.  Which I have no intention of doing.  I think my point was still made outside of this purported exception.

      • Brett

        You’ve got your talking points well rehearsed today.

      • Hidan

         not that I heard of

      • Dan

        Aren’t people there spending half of what American’s spend and don’t they have a higher life expectancy? 
        http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/spend.php

      • Brett

        I thought they were going to ration death panels…or maybe they were going to ration Muslims. Awh, I can’t remember.

      • Anonymous

         And talk they must.  Us too.  Some procedures make no sense for people in the last months of life.  Should society spend hundreds of thousands on care that extends a life without regard to the quality of life or the length of the extension it provides?  Some people are at peace with their own mortality and imminent death, and some will cling desperately to every last second.  We as a society have to have the discussion of what makes sense, given our finite resources.  Hard?  You bet.  Essential?  You bet.

        • notafeminista

          And we have to drag those poor desperate clingers-on to life into the 21st century don’t we.

          • Anonymous

            Would you sooner do a $300K but worthless brain operation on someone with terminal cancer and at best a month or two to go, an operation that would obliterate the patients free will and ability to speak and leave the patient wracked with pain, or spread that 300K around to provide reconstructive surgery on a couple kids?  This is not hypothetical.  My in-law was talked into just such an operation by a neurosurgeon.  (presumably  he was able to make the payment on his boat or mercedes).

          • Anonymous

            Would you sooner do a $300K but worthless brain operation on someone with terminal cancer and at best a month or two to go, an operation that would obliterate the patient’s free will and ability to speak and leave the patient wracked with pain, or spread that 300K around to provide reconstructive surgery on a couple kids? This is not hypothetical. My in-law was talked into just such an operation by a neurosurgeon. (presumably he was able to make the payment on his boat or mercedes). It was paid for by all of us via medicare. I work in medicine, and see these examples daily. Got a snappy retort for that?

            - John

            Subject: [on-point] Re: Historic Health Care Case At The Supreme Court

          • notafeminista

            Retorts plural actually.  You can pick the one you like best.
             
            1)You aren’t quibbling with the procedure, it’s the amount that offended you.  The snarky comment about the physician’s boat or Mercedes is evident of this.  Had Dr. X performed the procedure for $10,000 you woudn’t have blinked….. (because you know on an adult level that 300K did not directly and solely in Dr. X’s pocket)

            2)Had Dr. X offered instead to provide some sort of palliative/euthanasia treatment to the patient to help him die a dignified death and ease his suffering..BUT charged 300K for that procedure..again, you wouldn’t have blinked.

            3)Why why why do you want the government to decide who gets an operation of whatever type?  The US federal government has proven themselves time and time again to be incompetent, corrupt, selfish people.  How do THEY decide better than family and/or physicians what is the best course of treatment?

          • Anonymous

            First, Notafeminista (or maybe Justajackassa?), your descending to trivializing the death of my relative for the sake of your sociopathic retort is highly offensive. And, oh, I am “quibbling” with the procedure. The price tag is just additional aggravation. And since the discussion here revolves around allocating scarce, limited resources, price is germane. The fact that an MD talked a patient’s relative (my mother-in-law, in an emotionally vulnerable position to make such a call) into a procedure he knew full well to be highly risky and of highly limited value might well not have happened had not the MD and the hospital stood to profit handsomely for it. I see this approach OFTEN in orthopedics, where patients are channeled away from conservative care and toward pricier procedures (fusions, replacements) with higher rates of risk and often with little added benefit to the patient in terms of quality of life. Furthermore, palliative care does not cost 300K per patient, as you well know, so yes, I would have “blinked” at that, too. I have also had the experience (with my own father), of a doc declining to honor a living will DNR order, which kept my father alive in agony in a hospital for a week before he died, when he, in a lucid frame of mind, kept pleading to just be able to go home to die. My family declined to prosecute due to our need for closure and our wish to avoid a lengthy court battle, so this doc was free to go on with his playing god. But that’s OK with you, I suppose. The system in place in many countries with more rational approaches to health care – and in Oregon, the only state to attempt to provide such guidelines – involves surveying physicians to ascertain how they rank procedures in terms of cost/benefit, and then establish guidelines for what will and won’t be covered, so that case-by-case “death panel” decisions do not have to be made. In Germany, there is a gov’t. funded system that provides a host of services paid for by the gov’t., and citizens are then free to purchase auxiliary policies to cover those not on the approved list.
            - John

            Subject: [on-point] Re: Historic Health Care Case At The Supreme Court

          • notafeminista

            Sounds like you picked number two.

      • Anonymous

        It’s done here everyday to anyone who has insurance. The private insurance corporations deny care to tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people a year. What part of this messed up market based system are you having problems understanding? 

      • Worried for the country(MA)
        • Robert Riversong

          We do the same in the US. Organ transplants are strictly limited to anyone over 55 (Cheney was an exception because he is so very deserving).

      • Anonymous

         doesn’t it make sense to take a person’s condition into the equation when deciding on care?  In the real world, where the gov’t is deciding how to apportion a finite amount of money for care, do you provide a huge amount of resources to a patient in a group that statistically has a high risk of mortality and at best a few years to go, or would it be more humane and reasonable to devote those resources to patients who might benefit and who on average have longer to live?  I am not saying these are easy choices.  But right now these choices are made by bean counters at insurance companies whose primary fiduciary responsibility is to share holders, not the insured.  That make you comfortable??

    • Arrogant English

       That’s fine.  Just try to stiffle your guffaws the next time you beg us fools to help you defend yourselves against your enemies.  I guess having a slightly crazy ‘Uncle Sam’ across the pond can be convenient at times . . .

      Given that we think the mere notion of ‘Royalty’ is a joke, perhaps you should not worry so much about how seriously we take our own liberties and keep your own ‘civilized’ sensibilities to yourself?

      • Tom

         Hey, “Arrogant English”:
        1. British won the 2nd world war using the airforce victory, Rommels tank victories, and capturing the Enigma machine. Without this the Americans would have been blown out of the water half way across the Atlantic.
        2. The Royalty is a net financial gain for the UK. It makes a profit for the country. Your presidential campaigns spend more per capita in a year than the Brits spend on Royalty in 25 years, and the Royalty make the country a profit. They don’t tell anyone what to do. Get an education.
        You have less freedom in America because you have a lot less upward mobility (research shows) due to not having a social health care system. American companies are moving to Europe BECAUSE they get free health care for employees. You are losing your freedoms because you think you are still in the wild west.
        If the Supreme strikes this down they will be the laughing stock of the civilized world.

        • So Sad

           Wow – where to start?
          1. U.S. and Britain were indeed great allies in defeating the Axis, but if you think the English could have done it without us then I would question your sanity to the point of making this whole argument moot.  And Air Force lol?  Maybe your Spitfires and Hurricanes helped keep the Nazis off your shores but I’m pretty sure it was the long-range Mustangs and the Super Fortresses that brought Germany’s industrial might to it’s knees.  Do us all a favor and read up on WWII military history and then come on back.  Also, the Enigma machine was indeed very helpful, but perhaps you’ve heard of a couple of our little inventions – Fat Man and Little Boy? 
          2. No one said anything about financial gain.  The mere concept of Royalty/birthright is an enigma to Americans.  I believe you guys might have lost a little skirmish with us over that?
          3. Upward mobility can come and go with the policies and politics of the moment.  Our freedoms come from our belief and adherence to our Constitution which is what this whole debate is about.
          4.  Hope you are enjoying your stay in our wonderful country.  When will you be returning to your paradise again??

          • So Sad

             PS It hasn’t been until very recently that the political leadership in the US has been concerned – nay, consumed – with thoughts of how we are perceived by the rest of the (more civilized) world.  And that is part of the problem . . . .

          • Brett

            Ah, the old, “why does Obama have to apologize/bow to leaders of other countries?” …You aren’t very original.

          • Liberals Are SMART

             I know – I’m sorry.  I WISH I could be as original, authentic and smart as you superior liberals and socialists.  You come here to stroke your ego’s with fan boys who hold the same views as you.  Maybe one day I’m become as enlightened as you all.  Just not yet . . .

          • Brett

            Not yet…and not for a long time coming. You went into whine mode very fast…do that much?

          • Anonymous

            Being that you are into reading history, maybe read or listen to Andrew Bacevich.
            Very intelligent and well thought out view points to counter your old view points on our nation as a power player in the world. We, while still a huge player, are no longer going to be the super power you seem to think we are.

            Oh, while the Brits were not as well positioned to fight the Nazis and the Japanese, you have to remember that while we were getting our shit together General Montgomery was in North Africa beating Field Marshall Rommel.
            Also the British had Lancaster’s and many other bombers. One fact you left out, the Lancaster was the best bomber built in WW2.
            Also the Army Air Forces day time bombing raids were not as successful in terms of losses and outcomes. The Brits thought we were mad to to this. But then again they flew low and at night, we flew high and used carpet bombing.

            Funny how your arrogance is so much more in the breech than our British friend here. 

            http://billmoyers.com/segment/andrew-bacevich-on-changing-our-military-mindset/

          • Robert Riversong

            Ideologues always view history through a narrow lens.

            US corporate and financial elites were getting rich supporting BOTH Hitler and the Allied effort, so it’s likely we prolonged the war. And we deliberately provoked the Japanese into bombing Pearl Harbor as an excuse to get into the fray so we could get a piece of the action without suffering much consequence.

            Almost all WWII military leaders acknowledge that the atomic bombs were not necessary either to end the war or to save American lives – it was mass civilian murder to start the Cold War against our other ally: Russia.

            Americans worship royalty even more than the Brits, but ours are sports and Hollywood celebrities.

            And Americans have always sold their precious freedoms for a piece of the pie or a false sense of security.

          • notafeminista

            Which explains why Social Security has been in existence for so long. 

        • Anonymous

          20 love methinks.

      • Brett

        Blimey! …Now, remember, Marquis of Queensbury rules! 

      • notafeminista

        Well not all of you do…unless the thousands who turn out see the royalty are insincere.

    • Anonymous

      The UK does not have a constitution, which severely restricts the use of federal power.

  • Hidan

     Just wait until they start forcing the people who can’t afford the good coverage into Health Saving Accounts where the likes of JPM and other Wall Street Bank charge them to “manage” and “invest” those accounts. Of course taxing fees to do such.  All mandated by law.

    2010 HSA were around 10 billion by 2015 it’s looking like it’s going to be up to 61 billion. After 1k in your account this companies will invest your money for you for a fee of course.(http://www.health–savings–accounts.com/) notice the fees there charge are not readily available

     The penalty for spending Health Savings Account (HSA) funds on something other than qualified health care before you turn 65 was doubled. In addition, over-the-counter medicines were removed from the list of qualified expenses unless a doctor prescribes them. Besides the regular annual change in contribution limits, everything else remains the same.

    Health savings accounts are ill-advisedhttp://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/04/business/fi-lazarus4Now remember that these plan are targeted at the people who can barely afford health care in the first place and are mandated  by the likes of Cigna Critics of health savings accounts counter that the plans favor the healthy and wealthy, and can increase medical costs for everyone else by requiring people to take out high-deductible insurance policies that kick in only after thousands of dollars in healthcare expenses have been rung up.”Most people can’t even afford to put money into the account,” said Jerry Flanagan, health policy director for Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica. “All the money goes into premiums and deductibles.”Health savings accounts were introduced five years ago as an alternative to traditional employer-based health coverage. Although they were championed by former President Bush as a way for Americans to exercise more control over healthcare spending, most employers have been wary of embracing them.According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, only about 2% of the more than 200 million Americans with private insurance have opted for health savings accounts.But market researcher Diamond Management & Technology Consultants predicted in a report last month that as many as 10 million Americans would be enrolled in health savings accounts by next year, or about twice the number in 2007.

    • Hidan

       http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/04/business/fi-lazarus4

  • Allan Fierce

    By focusing on the straight-up arguments made yesterday before the Court, the conversation on the show is wilfully ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room, i.e., that there is another, widely held paradigm for analyzing current Supreme Court Jurisprudence, namely, that when this Court confronts a case whose outcome is of paramount importance to Republican political interests (as in Bush v. Gore and the Citizens United case), the five Conservatives on the Court will find a way to make sure that those interests obtain their desired outcome.  Come on, Tom.  Ask your guests about this.

    • Gregg

       Bush v Gore was 7-2

      • Ray in VT

        7-2 that there was an equal protection clause violation, but 5-4 on the remedy which stopped the recount.  Something like that.

        • Gregg

          Both of the rulings were very nuanced and complicated. I like this:

          http://www.daveross.com/marklevine.html

          I guess my point here is the conventional wisdom that 5 justices elected our President is a bit simplistic.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah.  I looked at it, and it was not very clear at first glance.  Or even at a second.

          • Robert Riversong

            You’re right. Katherine Harris also had a lot to do with it.

          • Gregg

            Florida has been counted and recounted 100 times. Bush still won. What ever happened to Katherine Harris anyway?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Ron Paul, when pressed by Wolf Blitzer’s debate question, couldn’t balance his stance for personal responsibility to not have to have to buy insurance with not treating a dying person coming into the ER  without insurance. He offered no alternative.  Isn’t personal responsibility also NOT being a burden to others?

    I really wonder how many people would gladly pay to be in Medicaid?  I know quite a few.  Get rid of COBRA, which is still unrealistically high for people that have lost their jobs, and let those that lost their insurance (and likely jobs) but don’t need to be on social services yet, be able to buy affordable insurance, perhaps based on their finances at first.  When then get back on their feet, let them have to option to buy into Medicaid if they choose to, as they might not be able to get, or afford, insurance through their job, or perhaps they’re happy with the services through Medicaid.

    ***

    About the caller Steve in MA point – Maybe not a mandatory checkup, as that would seem far reaching. But wouldn’t it be a good idea to have everyone get one free checkup a year? That would catch problems before they could get worse, like my cancer was. How much would that save by catching things when they are small and possibly easier to fix, or preventing a problem before it arises?  In return , pay the healthcare provider quick and easy – Send in the from (one form) and get the turnaround on payment in days, not weeks and months. 

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

       Just to compare apples to oranges a bit, when I lived in FL I was required to keep my lawn mowed. Why? Because  high grass attracts, hides, and provides a breed ground for undesirable critters or all kinds, some that can kill a person.  It also lowered property values is my house looked like a wreck, including my own. So I was effectively REQUIRED to buy a lawn mower, gas, oil, and – it being Florida – pest control every now and then for things everyone has to deal with in that state that take a little more to deal with than a some bug spray or a trap from the local store. 

      So why would I want to burden my neighbors by not maintaining my yard?  So why would I want to not chip in to making sure that I’m not going to be a burden to everyone if and when , need health care in an ER or a medical condition; which I did on both counts? 

      • notafeminista

        By law required?  Presumably there was a penalty of some form for failing to maintain the property…also seems likely there were those residents who would have been penalized in such a manner.  Also seems unlikely (although I could be wrong) that a lawn mower was the required method of maintenance.   It was what you chose.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah!  He could have deployed a herd of sheep.  Oh, wait, that’s probably illegal.  Maybe he could use scissors.  But they cost money too.  Maybe he could have forged his own scythe or something.  Or maybe just learn how to digest grass himself.

          In case it’s not clear, I am mocking your ridiculous reply to Scott B.

          • notafeminista

            Sad that you mock creative thinking.   For example he didn’t have to use a gas (or electric mower)..this would have eliminated his need for gas and oil.    Any number of realistic (and environmentally friendly!) options are available.   On the other hand, that’s what in the box thinking gets for you.

            I thought you guys were supposed to be the smart ones.

          • Scott B, Jamestown NY

             Hey, I’m all for sheep. They don’t use gas, provide fertilizer, they’re way cuter than a mower, and I can sell the wool.

            But I’d still have to buy them, buy sheep feed when needed, provide shelter, buy shearing equipment, and pay for medical needs (hmm that sounds familiar in this discussion…)

            But I don’t think that the city and it’s citizens want sheep a hop, skip, and jump from downtown. They have laws about having such things.

          • Scott B, Jamestown NY

             Thinking about it, I could also use the old punishment method of lore – Nail clippers!

          • Robert Riversong

            You didn’t have to have grass.

          • Gregg

            I had 46 goats at one time. They ate every weed, bramble and thistle on my land. Then I sold them for meat one Easter.

          • Scott B, Jamestown NY

             There’s at least one state that uses sheep to tend the grassy areas along some highways because they’re cheap (paying one sheep herd @ hr vs paying $$$ @ hour plus the operator), and because they can go where tractors can’t.  Goat is delicious. They will eat anything, like thorny bushes, but the problem using them for lawns is that they will eat grass down to the dirt, whereas sheep don’t. 

        • Scott B, Jamestown NY

           Yes, the local laws. I’m in NY now and even there are laws that say you have to mow your lawn, much for the same reasons, just a different set of critters & bugs, and property values.

          There were fines if you didn’t, and the increased in value the longer you didn’t do it.  No one was going to put a lien on your house, or throw you in jail, but they would harass you, and the neighbors would make it known to the neglectful parties that they weren’t happy.  If you lived in a gated community you had a whole ‘nother level of making sure you kept things maintained, or it was Harper Valley with the neighborhood housing association.

           I wasn’t implying that the law said,  “lawn mower”, but I would have to pay for something to mow the lawn, be it my own mower, a lawn service, the neighbor kid, or sheep. 

          • Robert Riversong

            I know of no state or local laws requiring lawn maintenance. These are almost invariably neighborhood association rules. Those rules may not make sense (such as prohibitions against hanging laundry in the free sun and wind), but you chose to live there and hence agreed to the regulations.

            As to your question “Isn’t personal responsibility also NOT being a burden to others?” No, personal responsibility requires that you help others in need. It is the American myth of the rugged individual that prompts us to think we must be 100% self-sufficient. Society is based on mutuality, not independence.

          • Scott B, Jamestown NY

             Use search engines much, Bob?  Just because you know of no laws requiring lawn maintenance doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I did a search and got a list of cities as long as my arm: Golden Valley, MN; Temple Terrace, FL;  Ft Collins, CO; North Lauderdale FL.. There’s several.

            BTW, wasn’t in a subdivision or anyplace with a home owners assoc.  Just a home with a yard.

            ****
            Then I can help others in need of keeping their own money by making sure I have health insurance.  I already know how to be a good Samaritan.

          • notafeminista

            Personal responsibility is just that – responsibility to one’s self.  You’re mixing up the individual with the collective, comrade.

  • Rob-in-Norwich

    Hopefully they will strike down the mandate, which is a mandated monopoly for the insurance industry, so we can address the cost of health care, which is the insurance industry itself, adding 30-50% to the cost of delivering care.  Once that is done, we can get back to a public option, supported by 75% of the people, which can provide care for the poor (20% of the population) and unemployed (15%) at no or little cost, paid for by our taxes as a higher priority than subsidizing the Insurance Industry.  It is a social responsibility to provide education and work, which the “conservatives” have left out of their “Family Values” and Christian platforms.  Maybe they could join in on the RIGHT side of the conversation.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      For those have strong objections to a single payer system I ask: “do you object to single payer because you’ve heard about how bad it is, or and you’ve actually lived in a country that has a one-payer hc system? 

    • Robert Riversong

      Insurance overhead and profits should be eliminated, but it’s only a small part of the exorbitant cost of medical care in America. Much of it is due to the high-tech and unnecessary tests, procedures and operations that many of us demand and that physicians and hospitals love to provide.

      We have to get the profit motive out of the entire medical establishment, and make it a municipal service just like all other social necessities (fire, police, public works, education).

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    So the government decides if it is affordable?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Require everyone to buy and carry a gun?  I’m there.

    • Plustag

       just another asinine comment coming from Prof. Greg

  • Anonymous

    All of us need to bathe. How many people slip in the bath tub and injure themselves every year, raising insurance costs? Should the government require everyone to buy non-slip tub mats?

    • Dan

      If everyone will eventually slip, yes.

  • Andrew from Cambridge, MA

    The Supreme Court Justices deciding this case benefit from wonderful taxpayer-funded health insurance plans. It seems to be a bit of a conflict for any of them to decide this case.

    More to the point, I agree with the comparison to police and fire department protection: health care is a basic emergency service. In fact, it is more basic in that even the people who are protesting “Obamacare” will use health services, but many people will not call on the police, even in an emergency. I don’t want them coming to my house for any reason, but I don’t have a choice; I pay for them for better or worse, whether they are helping stop crimes or shooting innocent people because they look “threatening”. No on considers this to be infringing on the market, even though there is also an abundant private police/security market.

    • Robert Riversong

      And some of us are fortunate enough to have a private neighborhood watch program ;-)

  • Bruce

    To Justices Scalia and Kennedy who raise the broccoli question, I say that the price, consumption or lack of access to broccoli is irrelevant.  Nobody in their right mind would suggest that what’s going on in the broccoli market is economically unsustainable or morally indefensible.  Furthermore, if we recognize health care as a fundamental right, then why is it surprising that the relationship between the individual and the fed. govt. would change in a fundamental way?
     
    The classical laws of supply and demand that libertarians want to apply to all sectors of the economy simply do not function well in the health care market.  Here are a few reasons why this has always been the case: 

    1) Accident and illness are largely unpredictable and purchases of health care cannot be planned as with other goods and services.

    2) Third-party payment whether private or public distorts consumer decisions based on net vs. actual gross cost of health care purchases.

    3) Medical information is asymmetrical, that is, too expensive and beyond the reach of most consumers.  Entry into the medical profession is limited; medical education extremely expensive. There are obvious monopolistic and oligopolistic forces in the medical sector that impede price competition, limit supply/access, and add to runaway costs. 
      
    4) Private insurance incentive is to shrink the risk pool to include only the young and healthy, and to dump elderly and sick customers onto public or charitable programs.  Public health model is the opposite, that is, to increase the risk pool to include everyone, thus providing a more humane system as well as more efficiency (expenses are borne by everyone).

    5) The prevailing view in our society that health care is a human right leads to the provision of life-saving emergency care at all hospitals and the free-rider problem that Ron Paul addressed in such a stunningly amoral manner.  The “individual mandate” does provide a morally acceptable solution to the inefficiency and irresponsibility of the cost shifting that occurs when free-riders seek life-saving treatment. 

    • Anonymous

      …and one can eat kale or collard greens instead of broccoli.

      • Ray in VT

        Careful, if you encourage people to eat more kale then Chik-Fil-A might come after you.

    • notafeminista

      Accidents and illness are not largely unpredictable.  It is why (for instance) males under the age of 25 in the US are charged more for auto insurance.  It because statistically speaking males under the age of 25 will have more car accidents on the whole.  The entire insurance industry (health,auto home take your pick) is based on predictions. 

      People who make certain lifestyle choices (drinking, smoking etc) will cost more than people who do not..ON AVERAGE.  

      People over 65 will, on average, incur more cost in healthcare as they age. 

      People over 65 will be more likely, on average, to need long-term acute care. 

      Making these predictions and following the percentages is what an insurance actuary does.

      • Bruce

        “making predictions and following percentages is what an insurance actuary does”–yes, but not what most of the rest of us do in planning our health care purchases whether emergency or non-emergency.  For example, uninsured young people, who believe in their invincibility or simply discount the future, will show up at the emergency room for everything from flu symptoms to a stroke, and many have come to expect to be treated at someone else’s expense.
         
        Pick up behavioral economist Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” and after perusing, tell us if you still believe the “free” market offers any hope of resolving the gross inefficiencies and injustices inherent in the health care sector of the economy.
         
        So, other than item #1, you’re okay with the rest of my line of reasoning, which any sophomore who takes Health Care Econ. 101 is familiar with?  And if so, you would agree that there is ample justification for significant social investment and state intervention to correct the failures and abuses in the health care market?
         
        Obamacare involved compromises that I personally did not want to see.  However, given the political reality, it was just about the best reform that could be obtained.
         
        If the Supreme Court issues another perversely partisan decision this time to gut AHA, I guess besides the economy, the Nov. election could be a referendum on whether we want meaningful reform of a broken health care system (i.e. Medicare-For-All or some other form of single-payer) or are we going to acquiesce to the intransigence of Ayn Rand-inspired conservatives and their corporate cronies who will fight to protect the status quo at any cost.

        If AHA is struck down, our only hope to address the national disgrace of 40-50 million uninsured may be to re-elect Obama, give the Dems control of the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and hold their feet to the fire. 

        • notafeminista

          The concern over 40-50 million uninsured Americans would be more believable if the law didn’t add in funding from people paying the penalty for not having insurance.

          • Bruce

            In order for the reform to work, the risk pool has to be enlarged to include everyone who can afford to pay (subsidies for those who cannot).  That’s how we get to the “affordable” part of the AHA. 

            Everyone has skin in the game with either premiums or a penalty/tax. 

            Maybe we could think of this feature of the reform as a reinstatement of E Pluribus Unum.    

          • notafeminista

            Except it isn’t.  Read the law.  A portion of the funding is projected to come from the fees collected from those who choose not to have insurance.  The law NEEDS people to be uninsured to work.  Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what people CLAIM it does?!

        • notafeminista

          What do you mean it isn’t what the rest of us do?  Why do you think people don’t smoke or drink excessively or engage in whatever other risky behavior might be out there.    You think people don’t smoke because someone told them not to smoke? 

          I do think there needs to be significant reform yes…we can agree on that point.  We will disagree fundamentally on how to achieve said reform.

          • Bruce

            Your oversimplification of what motivates people to begin/choose a risky behavior ignores the reality of environmental and genetic factors that contribute as much as lifestyle (or maybe more) to a person’s health status. 

            And as to what people are told to do, yes parents and other authority figures have a huge effect on a person’s decision to engage in risky behaviors, to say nothing of peer pressure.

            We don’t seem to be wired to consult an actuarial table before signing up for sky diving lessons or repelling off the side of a mountain. 

            And given all the dynamics of  addiction (since you cite smoking) it is unbelievably naive to assume that all that is required in every instance to avoid harming ourselves is the exercise of individual will.

    • Robert Riversong

      “Nobody in their right mind would suggest that what’s going on in the broccoli market is economically unsustainable or morally indefensible.”

      I’m generally considered sane, and I would assert that conventional  American agriculture is economically unsustainable and morally indefensible. But that’s apropos of nothing.

      Your statement about “cost shifting that occurs when free-riders seek life-saving treatment” is just as stunningly amoral as Ron Paul’s. People who cannot afford the exorbitant cost of health insurance are not “freeloaders”, they are victims of a free-market system run amok.

      And the individual mandate to purchase over-priced and inefficient private-market insurance is neither morally acceptable nor logically sensible, as it will do nothing to restrain the profiteering of the medical and insurance industries – which is the root of the health care crisis.

      • Bruce

        The statement Ron Paul made which I described as amoral was in response to a hypothetical scenario in which a young person WHO COULD HAVE AFFORDED TO BUY INSURANCE, refused to purchase it, then finds himself unable to pay out of pocket for life-saving treatment when he needs it.  The libertarian position espoused by Paul was to let him die, to which the audience erupted in applause apparently equating his stance with personal responsibility.   Under ACA, a person who cannot afford insurance receives a subsidy or is Medicaid eligible.  In any event, no one in the Obama camp is suggesting he not receive life-saving treatment (not the same scenario and a much more humane one to most sensible people I know).

        There are other examples of where I’ve noticed a gap between your justifiable indignation against a system run amok and the facts of a particular situation or communication.   For example, Obamacare does not mandate purchase of coverage exclusively from for-profit insurance companies.  As I understand it, the ins. market in many states is dominated by non-profit companies who, if they meet fed. standards governing cost, quality and access, are perfectly able to compete in the health care exchange.

        In another post I find your dismissal of Obama as just another corporatist to strain credulity (I thought he was a community organizer).  While he has received support from Wall St. (who hasn’t?), since passage of Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, I’d hardly call him a favorite of corporate America or the hedge-fund managers on Wall St. 

        Your contempt should be reserved for the real promoters of a rapacious, unregulated capitalism personified by Mitt Romney.  The notion that there is essentially no difference between the GOP and Dems is misguided at best, disengenuous at worst.  It reminds me of George Wallace’s populist cry that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties” or words to that effect before he ran as a third-party candidate.

        In your comments I also find a disturbing rejection of compromise in light of political realities — based on a denial of those realities which distracts from problem solving, puts down a politics of the possible, and throws out the good in favor of an unattainable perfection.

         

         

  • Jodyavtges

    Jody in MA:  Even in June 2011  Sutton wrote. “Regulating how citizens pay for what they already receive (health care), never quite know when they will need, and in the case of severe illnesses or emergencies generally will not be able to afford, has few (if any) parallels in modern life. Not every intrusive law is an unconstitutionally intrusive law.” 

    I’m from MA and did not like the ind mandate idea.  I worked with HealthcareforMass – we argued the mandate was all to the benefit of insurance companies and instead we should look at this as a basic human right – because of the ‘parallels of modern life’.  

  • JustTheFacts

    It is very obvious that the Whitehouse has done a poor job of educating the citizens to what “exactly” is this new plan.  It is my understanding that you don’t “have to” buy the insurance.  You can opt out and pay a tax or “fee”.  How much?  I don’t know.

    I heard something more interesting yesterday.  Does anyone remember when they mentioned that the government could have simply created a tax and gave a tax credit to anyone who has purchased insurance.  That might have been a better way to skin this cat (sorry PETA). 

    • TFRX

      It is very obvious that the Whitehouse has done a poor job of educating the citizens to what “exactly” is this new plan.

      A third of the mainstream press is dedicated to telling us President Obama is a KenyanUsurperSocialistFascist, to the point that a “reasonable Republican” is one who says “If Barack Obama says he’s a Christian, I guess I beleive him”. Dogwhistle city.

      Half of the mainstream press are piss-pants scared of being called liberal, or their heads are so up the Beltway that they don’t dare say something bad about the politicians they go drinking with.

      Given that mediascape, the selling of any of the President’s accomplishments to the public is pretty remarkable.

      And lest anyone consider me an Obot, try to remember the last time a mainstream narrative actually contained the ideas “left of Obama” and “good policy” and “good politics” in the same sentence. Usually it comes out in that “wow! look at that!” tone reserved for the water-skiing squirrel.

      • notafeminista

        Ooooh…dogwhistle alert.  You have quite a talent for it.

    • notafeminista

      The proposed fee for not having insurance is $2000.00 as I recall.  Anyone feel free to correct me on this.

      • Anonymous

        That’s the penalty for some businesses, which differs from that on individuals.  This site gives a pretty good summary of the impact of the law:

        http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf

        • notafeminista

          Thanks.  I prefer the law itself.

          • Anonymous

            OK, I’ll be less helpful and simply tell you, “you’re wrong.”

          • notafeminista

            Have problems with original sources?

          • Anonymous

             Of course not, if you can accurately comprehend what they say. 

          • notafeminista

            The language isn’t complicated in the slightest.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    The duty of anyone supporting calling a policy, or position,  into question is to play devil’s advocate and ask logical questions to define what’s being presented, when called for.

  • Dlorenh

    Justice Kennedy ….. had he practiced medicine for a lifetime, as I did, and seen the sadness and cruelty of people who could not get medical care because they had neither money or insurance, he would believe that the “heavy burden of Justification” (for govt action) has been met.

  • Rmdey

    In his analogy, the CJ used Android interesting word,”respond”. But the question at stake in this debateis not response to the healthcare insurance but rather the cost reduction of it with the ultimate economic benefit to all. In fact the would have been correct if the had asked whether by everybody buying cell phones, the cost of making 911calls will go down because more citizens will make the call because everyone may need it at one time or another.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HIOJO5INTDKNUPEWAL2Y5BVIZA Leon

    I thought the mandate is you must buy health care. But It seem if you don’t have money then that “Mandate” is not a “Mandate”. So it is not a “Mandate”. That cost will still be passed along to people who buy health insurance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wes-Nickerson/100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    The medical system was once noble and compassionate. Now it is a vast Medical Industrial Complex devoted to profit, rather than to the wellness of the American people. Vast fortunes are made at the expense of the people. The system is wasteful, expensive, unnecessarily complex, and provides poor results. It’s all about – making a killing on Wall Street – not saving lives.

    We need to turn this around by adopting a single-payer, Medicare-for-all, program, that is based upon outcomes, not on fee-for-service. The great majority of people want a single-payer health care system. Obama refused from day one to discuss single-payer because he is underwritten by the fat-cat Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies who are making a killing on Wall Street.

    Jill Stein is a presidential candidate, who is herself a doctor and knows from working on the front lines that a single-payer health care program is what America needs.

    http://www.jillstein.org/

    Single-payer is constitutional. It is sensible. It would save lives. It would make a healthier America – a kinder, friendlier, and healthier America. That’s one reason why we need a president like Jill Stein, who is actually working to heal America.
     

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HIOJO5INTDKNUPEWAL2Y5BVIZA Leon

    You must Buy health insurance, But If you have no money then the cost will be paid by people who have health insurance. That make a poor persone  who have no money act like  “KING”. Why should I work If everything will be pay by people who what to work?

    • notafeminista

      And how many people will figure out how to be part of the group that doesn’t pay but receives benefit nonetheless?

      We are all self-interested first.

    • Anonymous

      So stop working and live with the consequences if that’s such a wonderful option,your highness.

    • Robert Riversong

      America often claims to be a Christian nation (at least the right wing, which screams about “freeloaders”, does), but Christian ethics demands a “preferential option for the poor”. The poor man born in a manger was brought into Jerusalem as the “king” of the Jews.

  • Jasoturner

    Fascinating that the life, health and death of citizens of the United States are being debated as matters of markets and market participation.  I think there was a time when matters of life, death and health were considered apart from other commercial activities – were considered more important and somehow special – but perhaps I am wrong.  It is certainly true today that we seem more like the employees of the United States than her citizens.  We seem to be valued largely on our contribution to GDP, not so much as lovers of liberty and commonwealth.

    • Drew You Too

      “but perhaps I am wrong”

      Nope, you’re not wrong. We are commodities. As are Natural Resources. As is everything in exisistence. This isn’t my view but it is where we currently stand.

      • Ayn Marx 666

         People used to criticise the System for mystifying that fact…on the whole, I think it’s worse now that it’s out in the open and our owners are _proud_ of the fact.

    • Anonymous

      Because the constitutional debate is whether the mandate falls under the commerce clause, not whether it’s good idea.  The good idea debate was made by congress.  Rather than picking a good constitutional idea like a single payer system that would have died politically, they picked a political idea that may die constitutionally.

      From your fellow P.E.

    • Anonymous

      Sad is it not. That we have come to this.

    • notafeminista

      Because, since the dawn of time, there is no such thing as a free lunch.   The desire to be compensated in whatever way for one’s education, time, energy, experience, and talent is natural.

      • Anonymous

        Can you explain why, when one of these educated, experienced, talented  medical  professionals PROVIDE care, it is a matter of ethical and moral obligation, but when they want to get PAID for doing so, it is a matter of business?

        If they want to give their expertise and effort away and reap the personal and professional benefit therefrom, why do they expect the rest of us to pay for it?

        • notafeminista

          You tell me.  I have no problem with anyone, in almost any profession, making a profit. 

          • Robert Riversong

            Profit, by definition, is unearned income. No one has a right to income they didn’t earn. Another word for that is theft.

            Wages are a form of barter: money for products or services rendered. An equal exchange of value.

            Owners of capital extract value from the labor of their workers and pocket it themselves, or simply mark up the price of a product because it passed through their hands.

            Otherwise, profit is generated from interest and dividends – the absurdity of money making money without adding anything of value to the world.

          • notafeminista

            You bring up a fair point.  So you are suggesting then (since this a medical/health care conversation) that a new physician with X dollars in student loan debt and housing/vehicle expenses that we all have should not be permitted (by law if necessary) to not charge more for his services than his potential clients can pay.  Yes?

      • Robert Riversong

        In fact, since the dawn of life on earth, there has been nothing BUT a free lunch, and all early indigenous societies were based on this gift economy. 

        It is only since we became “civilized” that we began to extract our living from the natural world and exploit one another for personal gain. Americans have perfected this art.

        It is past time we unlearn this abomination and sin against nature.

        • notafeminista

          If the indigenous peoples didn’t extract their living from the natural world, what did they use for sustenance?

      • Brett

        Did they even have lunch back at the dawn of time? 

    • aj

      Beautifully put.

    • Robert Riversong

      If only we were treated like “employees of the United States” and given the benefits and wages that civil servants have come to expect. We are, in fact, vassals of the “free” market, and slaves to our own insatiable desires.

      • notafeminista

        Slaves to our own insatiable desires?  Isn’t that the kind of the thinking that puts a devout Muslim woman in a burka?  Men can’t control themselves and the sight of the female form will drive him to uncivilized behavior…..

  • Drew You Too

    In response to the caller on the issue of Mandated Car Insurance: I was T-Boned on my motorcycle when I was in my late teens by a driver who lived in a state that at that time did not require liability coverage. The result was that I spent 3 months in a hopsital, then three months in a hospital bed in my home, then 6 months in a wheelchair, then almost a year on crutches. I still have a slight limp and experience pain from the injuries on a daily basis. The initial medical expenses (monetarily) was in the neighborhood of $100,000.00 and the burden fell completely upon myself and my family. My only recourse would have been to file civil suit against the at fault driver who was of course unemployed. This is why Liability is required. You get into a 3,000 plus pound hunk of metal and don’t pay attention to what you’re doing and then I am forced to take responsibility for YOUR actions. This doesn’t necessarily bare directly on the current Healthcare debacle but it is a demonstration of why I feel Liability Insurance should be mandated. Now if, on the other hand, we had Universal Healthcare none of this would have ever been at issue.

    • Robert Riversong

      Glad to see you made the essential connection at the end: with universal and accessible health care for all, there is no need for the insurance racket or government mandates.

      But this is too simple a concept for Congress or the White House to fathom.

      • Drew You Too

        “this is too simple a concept for Congress or the White House to fathom”

        It’s not the simplicity of the concept that is the problem, it’s the lack of profitability. I’m certain you’re quite aware of this but I’m just as certain that there are those who still don’t get it. They likely never will get it, got to keep trying though.

        PROFITABILITY IS A BARRIER NOT A BOOSTER!

  • Anonymous

    Several of the conservative members of the SCOTUS are
    adept at at least appearing obtuse.  A premier illustrative example is
    justice Scalia’s insisting that young people should be able to wait
    until they need health insurance to purchase it, on the rationale that
    they probably need their money now more than they need health care. 
    Unfortunately, he neglected to provide a list of insurers that would
    sell coverage to someone recently diagnosed with a costly medical
    problem, or speculate on how someone might be able to afford to purchase
    such insurance.  This is but one of many threads of reasoning trotted
    out in the historic case that seem to flaunt a lack of reasoned
    understanding of health care.Many issues make health care unique. 
    First and foremost, insurance, like healthcare itself is not a commodity
    that consumers can make rational on-the-spot market-based decisions
    about, because most consumers lack expertise and information to choose
    between procedures and providers, and many health care choices must be
    made post haste, with little or no time to “shop around”.  Permitting
    some to opt out on health insurance guarantees that society will pick up
    the tab when the irresponsible parties DO need care, as many complex
    medical procedures are immensely expensive and essentially unaffordable
    for “the 99%”.  This unaffordability question dovetails with another
    aspect unique to healthcare, namely, no other good or service is
    rendered by providers who are morally bound, by the Hippocratic oath and
    by the doctrine of every religion, to provide their “product” (health
    care) to those who need it, whether or not the consumer can pay for it. 
    This, of course, makes for a situation where providers either agree to
    “eat” the charges, and/or pass on them on to society as a whole, and
    this in turn leads to the games played by hospitals and insurance
    companies where rates for a given procedure can vary widely, with the
    highest price being reserved for the uninsured, out-of-pocket payers. 
    In addition, the need for healthcare is partially a matter of luck (good
    genes or bad, unforeseeable accidents, etc) and partially a matter of
    choice, either in terms of the procedure being optional (nip-tuck, for
    example), or the need being related to lifestyle choices (excessive
    eating, not wearing a helmet while motorcycling, etc.).  Finally,
    society has not yet tackled to question of what health care should be
    provided for all, and what care is too expensive and/or to “low yield”
    (successful in too few cases, or extending life without regard to the
    quality of life or the duration of the extension) to justify covering it
    for everyone.  In short, we know how to do a lot more than we can
    afford to do for everyone.  Grappling with this will get perilously
    close to setting up the “death panels” that hysterically charged the
    health care “debate” in its last iteration. Our inability to
    maturely and dispassionately discuss what makes both clinical AND
    economical sense is the key to comprehending our failings.  Our human
    urge to be compassionate conflicts with our American notions of personal
    choice and our “free market” ethos.  Other manifestations of this
    includes the rate of compensation for specialist MDs, profit margins for
    drug and medical device companies and the insurance industry, and
    malpractice damage awards.  It may boil down to this: some human
    endeavors do not belong in “the marketplace”.  Exercises in compassion
    cannot be “for profit”.  Any linkage between publicly traded companies,
    with fiduciary responsibilities to stock holders, and people in medical
    need, is fundamentally morally corrupt because it seeks to profit from
    human suffering.  In this sense, “Obamacare” has got it wrong.  But it
    is no worse than the conservatives’ arguing that government should step
    aside and let the marketplace rule.  We have a problem here.  It is
    growing in scope and severity, and until it is resolved, it will damage
    not just our competitiveness, but our spiritual health as well.
     

  • Richard (Southbury, CT)

    Morality & Ethics, aside, don’t people realize that, as it stands now, if someone were to be treated in an emergency room or hospital without medical insurance,
    those of us with insurance would foot the bill?

    If some people object to having to buy medical insurance, then let them
    sign a legally binding document – much like a “Do Not Resuscitate”
    document – saying that it’s their choice not to be treated in an
    emergency room or in a hospital in the case of injury or illness –
    unless they pay with cash or credit card, on the spot. 

    That way, they don’t have to buy medical insurance and those of us who choose to have it won’t have
    to pay for the medical treatment of those who don’t want medical insurance and/or don’t want to pay for it. 

    However, those people who do want medical insurance but can’t afford to pay for it, will have it – especially children of poor parents.

    And the cost will be borne by not just those of us with health insurance (as we do now), but by all American tax-payers, which means that the cost to me as a taxpayer will be less than the cost to me as an individual with medical insurance. 

    Not only does that reduce the effective financial burden, but it allows all people who – even though they can’t afford it – to have medical insurance, which is to say, to have health care for themselves and their families.

    We get to reduce our financial burden and feel good about helping others in the process. 

    Richard
    Southbury, CT

    • Ray in VT

      There is the very large question, though, is whether or not this fits into the realm of something that the federal government has the power to do under the Constitution.  Worried For My Country and others voice this concern here, and I think that they have a legitimate point as to where does federal power end.

    • Robert Riversong

      “Morality & Ethics, aside”

      And there lies the heart of the problem.

  • Coopfun

    If the Supreme Court rules against the mandate in the ACA, what does that mean for Medicare Part D?  The Part D law requires eligible individuals to have “credible coverage” or to sign up for a Part D plan and pay premiums to a private insurance company.  If an individual declines to do so but wants to sign up later they pay a penalty in the form of increased monthly premiums.  That penalty amounts to 1% per month.  That is, if you waited 3 years to sign up you would pay a monthly premium 36% higher for the same plan than someone who signed up when “eligible” or “required”.  It seems a lot like a mandate to me.  By the way, remember who passed that law.  The same people who now argue against the individual mandate.

    • Brettearle

      That’s a very good point.

      But it may be that the entire coverage, under Medicare, does not come under the same scrutiny as the individual mandate.

      Medicare has never been successfully challenged as unconstitutional.

      And the Part D Mandate never was successfully challenged–before it was incorporated under Medicare, generally.

      Perhaps there ought to be a `revisit’:

      If Medicare Part D acts somewhat similarly to the strictures of the Individual Mandate, for the Affordable Health Care Act, then why hasn’t legal precedent been set?!

       

    • Anonymous

      The difference is that seniors vote.

      • Brettearle

        So, the ONLY reason Bush II had Medicare D passed was to curry favor with Seniors?

        It wasn’t out of any consideration, at all, for a group of citizens, who are, typically, living with limited income?

        I’m a Democrat–but I don’t necessarily believe that every Republican politician is heartless and self-centered, while Democrats are kind and selfless.

        It doesn’t work that way–and to perceive it that way is to create even more divisiveness, than there already is.  

        But, perhaps, I am being presumptuous–when I claim that your comment, about senior votes, is aimed at Bush II’s politics.

  • dollar collapse

    I can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t be in favor of state-run health care (Obamacare),

    just look at how well it’s worked in Cuba and North Korea.

    • Anonymous

      Funny that in Cuba they have a better return than we do.
      Cuba also has a better infant mortality rate than we do.
      In that more babies die in our nation per capita then theirs.
      Lumping North Korea into Cuba is a cheap shot, and kind of absurd.

      • Brettearle

        Well said.

        See my comment above.

      • dollar collapse

        Yeah,

        people are also starving to death in your socialist paradise of Nothe Korea and being tortured as well for criticizing the goverment.

        But you probably think that would be good for America as well, especially if was happening in predominately red states.

        • Brettearle

          You’re missing the point because of your own bias.

          • dollar collapse

            Yes,

            I admit to being biased against having an unconstitutional health care mandate being forced on me that was written by the insurance companies, which doesn’t hold down health care costs and excludes people with pre-existing conditions.

          • Anonymous

            You are obviously ignorant, and clearly proud of it.  And don’t ask that I engage you in some sort of rational discourse, as that would be a waste of time, as it was for the above commenters.

          • dollar collapse.

            That’s good.  I didn’t want to debate an idiot like you anyway.

            Enjoy your death panels, slave.

          • Anonymous

            You sound like a ten year old child.

      • notafeminista

        Ironic as well as there is no universal standard for reporting infant mortality  – each country defines it differently and reports (if and how)as they see fit to the WHO et al.

        • Robert Riversong

          The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of babies under one year of age per 1,000 live births. Pretty straightforward.

          However, you’re right about reporting problems. The American medical establishment reports an estimated 5% to 20% of all iatrogenic (medically-caused) events. And, even at that low reporting rate, it kills 783,936 people a year (2003 numbers), making it the leading cause of death in the US.

          • notafeminista

            You’ll see my previous posts.  And I’ve yet to see your sources for iatrogenic deaths anywhere but the US.

      • twenty-niner

        You always have to examine cause and effect. Hong Kong has an infant mortality rate in the top five, roughly equivalent to Sweden, but an economic system that is nearly polar opposite. They have both public and private hospitals, the private being almost exclusive to the wealthy. The have a semi-flat tax with a top rate of 17% and a corporate rate of 17.5%. They have no sales tax, no VAT, no inheritance tax, capital gains tax, or dividend tax. They also have no public retirement plan (akin to SS). Further, Hong Kong has an unemployment rate of 3.7%.

        If we get to cherry pick a system with a low infant mortality rate, I choose Hong Kong’s every time.

        • Anonymous

          I was responding to a comment about Cuba.
          Not cherry picking. My figures on infant mortality comes from the World Health Organization. We have a bad record no matter how you parse this when compared to other industrial nations. Also, a nation as wealthy as ours should be in the top 5.

          • twenty-niner

            Not you in particular, but in this debate there’s a lot of pointing to other systems.

            Of course, statistics can manipulated by a skilled practitioner to further any argument. The countries with the lowest infant mortality rates like Sweden, Honk Kong, and Japan are fairly homogenous, both culturally and ethnically, and have overall better health statistics, largely because of healthier eating and exercise habits.

            If you break the US into smaller regions, you will find infant mortality rates in the North East and West Coast that rival those of Switzerland and Germany. The South East, however, drags the country’s average down with double the mortality rate of the North East and West. This is not by accident, as the South East is, by far, the most obese region of the country, leaving it with worse health statistics in many areas beyond infant mortality.

            A lot of our current fix is a result of a broken culture, which is too big of challenge to repair, even for the Federal Government. Real change has to come from within, and we need to brake the cycle of waiting for Superman to fix things for us, including our own bad habits.

        • Robert Riversong

          Hong Kong also has the second highest expected lifespan in the world (after Japan). The US is down at 36th.

      • Robert Riversong

      • notafeminista

        No it’s pretty much on the money given Cuba’s penchant for throwing people they don’t like into jail until…just whenever.  Furthermore…..

        “The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a live birth as any born human being who demonstrates independent signs of life, including breathing, voluntary muscle movement, or heartbeat. Many countries, however, including certain European states and Japan, only count as live births cases where an infant breathes at birth, which makes their reported IMR numbers somewhat lower and raises their rates of perinatal mortality”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_mortality

        There’s no universal standart for calculating infant mortality.

        Come to think of it, all this teeth-gnashing and shirt-rending from the Left is pretty funny considering their first goal always is to have fewer people on the planet in order to save the planet.  I’d think crappy healthcare would be perfect for ensuring less consumers.

    • JNC

      Cuba and North Korea?  How about Canada and the UK?

    • Brettearle

      I don’t think that Michael Moore is the only American, who sees some benefits to the health program in Cuba.

      I believe that some MDs, in the States, do as well.

      If some MDs, here in America, feel this way, it doesn’t make these MDs, either socialisits, or communists–or do you believe we ought to paint such professionals with an all-or-nothing, broad brush, of being unpatriotic?

      It is possible to find some constructive aspects to programs, in countries whose political system is antithetical to our own.

      To demonize `the Other’ is to repel any ideas, from that so-called foreign source–before scrutiny and objective examination. 

      • Robert Riversong

        In fact, Cuba’s excellent medical schools accept American students who can’t afford US tuition rates. All education is free in Cuba.

        • notafeminista

          No it’s not.  The money to operate the school, pay the instructors, house the students and so on comes from somewhere. 

    • Mwoodlief123

      Why would you compare what we do to any other country? This is the United States, the greatest country on earth. Do you really think America doesn’t have what it takes to provide decent health care for its own citizens? The lack of faith in this country by some on the right is in patriotically disturbing and cowardly.

      • Robert Riversong

        We don’t have what it takes, which is a commitment to public service over private gain.

        • notafeminista

          And if we don’t demonstrate a commitment to public service voluntarily, someone will make sure we do it by coercion.  Read “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” sometime.

    • Anonymous

      Cuba has a lower child mortality rate than the US. That is a good indicator that Cuba has better prenatal care that we do. The quality of US healthcare ranks behind 36- 40 something other countries depending upon which indicators you use to grade health and healthcare efficacy. So… yes, we do have the world’s Cadillac of national health care systems: it’s got a brand new shiny paint job but it gets 8 miles per gallon and burns a quart of gas in every tank.

    • Robert Riversong

      Cuba has a higher life expectancy than the US and the best health care system in the Western hemisphere.

    • Anonymous

      Why is it that opponents of state run health care always use the healthcare systems of places like North Korea to state their case, but consistently fail to take note of the fact that very few of the people in Great Britain, France, Canada, or Scandinavia would ever dream of switching to the type of fucked-up, convoluted, ass-backwards healthcare system of the U.S.?  If ever there was a “Death Panel,” it’s the American healthcare system itself.

      • notafeminista

        God I hope not.  The NHS is a mess.  Pick any British periodical availble online and you can read how the NHS fails its customers on a regular basis.

  • twenty-niner

    Of course the question of how to pay for Obamacare is trumped by the question of how to pay the current tab:

    “Funding Government by the Minute”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p0RkWqyn1y4

    “We can reduce the federal government to a glorified assisted living facility and we still wouldn’t be able to balance the budget.”

  • dollar collapse

    All those death panels which are set up under Obamacare should help save the federal goverment a lot of money,

    cutting off medical coverage to old people and people with a terminal illness will be a big time money saver for the federal goverment. 

    • Brett

      Let’s see…what does Nazi Germany and ObamaCare have in common? Is that about the tone you’re looking for? You win the “propagandist of the day” award 

      • dollar collapse

        And if Obamacare gets passed, you’ll win a free audience with a death panel.

        • Brettearle

          “By Their Ignorance, and Mean-Spirited Invective, We Shall Know Them.”

          • dollar collapse

            I’m glad to see that you’re being honest about yourself.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          You do not even know what you are talking about. The Affordable Care Act HAS BEEN PASSED – like 2 years ago. What we are seening now is a legal challenge in the courts. DUH

    • Brettearle

      “Death Panels” was a propagandistic myth, perpetrated by Right Wing Media and initiated by Former Governor Palin.

      It has been refuted–and your comments, here, are intended to enflame and provoke, not to be edifying.

      The next thing we know, we might hear from some Right Wingers, on this thread, that Obama is a murderer–because he’s pro-choice.

      Already, the comment, above–regarding Death Panels– is suggesting legalized euthanasia, advocated by ObamaCare.

      It is so energizing, heartening, and comforting to know that some, on the Right, see President Obama as a double-pronged murderer.

      The implications of such comments–about Roe v Wade and Death Panels–are outrageous.

      • dollar collapse

        I guess that’s the reason why Bill Gates (who is in favor of depopulating the planet), has endorsed the death panels that are in Obamacare.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          Nonsense.

        • Robert Riversong

          I’m in favor of depopulating the planet, but I want to start with you.

  • leftofcenter

    Once again, we’re getting hung up on celebrity and not the facts in this case. It’s not just Supreme Court justices and arguing attorneys. It’s “rock stars”. It’s the infamous (and insulting) “Alito Broccolli Soundbite”.

    Please deal with the facts:
    If the rest of the world is happy with single payer health care, why is it bad to take care of your citizens?
    If you are critically injured thru no fault of your own, do you really want to be left to die at the side of the road?
    The current system sucks. Why then would you continue to pay for and be abused by it? Why would you willingly throw your money away and be treated like dirt by the insurance firms?
    If you’re on Medicare and don’t want “govt. health care”, are you a hypocrite?
    Last time. Obama is not a Kenyan born socialist Muslim terrorist who’s out to destroy the country. If you don’t understand the difference between socialist and communist, please look it up online. This racist garbage is SO boring.

    • leftofcenter

      And no, Ron Paul won’t save you.

      • dollar collapse

        So you’re waiting for Obama to save you?

        Don’t hold your breath, he’d rather shove cheeseburgers in his mouth.

        • Robert Riversong

          DON’T FEED THE TROLL

    • Brettearle

      The issue of taking care of one’s citizens is interconnected with the economics.

      It’s one thing to be Left of Center–both of which you and I are–but it’s another thing to complete a safety net that is financially viable.

      Many on the Right misunderstand that the Affordable Health Care Bill was devised with economics in mind, for the long run.

      • Robert Riversong

        The economics of profits for the insurance industry, you must mean.

  • AWLinNC

    I have not heard anyone mention that the main conservative argument against against the ACA health insurance mandate is a slippery slope fallacy.  It is just silly to suggest that if the Court finds the mandate to be valid that there will be no limits to Federal authority.  The Court could easily write a narrow opinion that validates the mandate but leaves plenty of room for finding future limits.  The argument about limits is simply illogical; i don’t see why anyone takes it seriously.  Of course health care is different from other markets: for one thing, people buy health services, not products, so the analogies w/broccoli and cars are off-point.  The analogy w/police and fire services are much closer.  If the mandate or the entire law are overturned, the Court should also void the federal statute that requires health providers not to turn away people w/out insurance.  Let’s be honest: no insurance, no service!

    • AWLinNC

      After all, this is the real conservative/GOP health care plan: if you don’t have $$ or insurance, just go die!  Let’s at least be honest about it.  Repeal and replace!  Yay!

      • notafeminista

        Oh c’mon!  What better way to consume less than to have less consumers?  Isn’t this planet already overpopulated – leading to more and more demands on our precious, limited, non-renewable resources?

        Hilarious.

    • William

      The mere idea of telling people they must buy something from a private company is scary enough. If this were approved it would be open season for additional laws requiring us to do whatever some political hack determines is good for us.

    • Robert Riversong

      Mandating serving those in need first, and then worrying about payment later, is hardly the same as mandating that every citizen purchase a product from the for-profit market.

      • notafeminista

        Sticking point – those who do the serving tend to want to be compensated.  No one works for free.

  • Anonymous

    I hope people are aware that if the Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act it’s now open season on all the progressive programs going back to the New Deal. The extremist have a chance now to win the day and bring this nation back into the 19th century.

    • Roy Mac

      Yes.  That is their plan.  Only landed, white males have a vote.

    • Gregg

      Only the unconstitutional ones.

    • William

      If it were only true.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      That is exactly what is happening. The criminal Republicans have never made a secret that they want to turn the clock back 150 years. Say hello to the return of SLAVE WAGES,CHILD LABOR, 12 hour work days, 7 days a week, NO benefits, NO women’s rights, debtor’s prisons. All you have to do is look at what the criminal Republicans are up to all over the nation…in many legislatures. These nuts are as dangerous as they come.

    • Robert Riversong

      Not at all. The justices already made clear that any government program that is funded with taxes meets the constitutional standard. Mandating purchasing a private service on the market has no correlation to New Deal government programs.

      • Anonymous

        I hope you are right. I think the GOP will go after SS and all the other programs, just as they did when Bush was President. We shall see.
        These are times that try men’s and women’s souls.

        • notafeminista

          We can only hope.  I’m tired of my government planning my life for me.

  • Think112

    I am confused, there are 50 million uninsured and up to 4x poverty can be subsidized? How is that supposed to bring in money to pay for everything else? It feels like a break even or negative. So to me the argument that we need uninsured to pay  for this to work is bogus. What am I missing?

    • notafeminista

      Read the law.  Part of its funding relies upon fees collected for not having insurance.  The assumption is that some individuals will opt-out because the penalty for not having insurance is cheaper than having insurance.  The program counts on people not being insured – kind of laughable considering its supposed to make sure everyone is insured.

  • Gdbknyc
  • Anonymous

    Plenty of countries (e.g. Switzerland) require their citizens/residents to carry health insurance without descending into totalitarianism. The US is the only nation in the developed world without some basic form of universal health coverage. Single payer might be preferable and would clearly be “constitutional” but it was politically impossible given conservative opposition and pressure from big pharma and the insurance lobbies. “Obamacare” was a market-based compromise (borrowed from the Heritage Foundation) designed to appease conservatives. The Republican-packed Supreme Court now looks set to add to their roster of partisan decisions (e.g. Citizens United) by striking down this attempt at compromise. Can Roe v Wade be far behind? 

    • William

      Big government does not work well here in the USA. We have nearly 50 years of Great Society programs and poverty and food stamps are at an all time high. Adding additional entitlement programs at this time is unwise.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

        A standard Republican, right wing, party line thinking reply. Simple propaganda. You neglected to include the standard Republican code word of Obamacare.

        • Willaim

          Simple left wing nonsense…can’t argue facts…

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            You have proven yourself to be a mindless rightest, with a closed mind, simply babbling the words of the right wing nuts. Simply a parrot.

          • Willaim

            You are just a slug for the left. Mindless, drift around wating to be told what is PC, what is right or wrong, unable to read, study, figure out the liberalism has failed.

      • Anonymous

        “American conservatives argue that a large public sector is subject to inefficiency and mismanagement, corruption, and bureaucratic abuse, while the taxation needed to support it blunts economic efficiency. But each of these propositions is refuted by the Nordic experience.

        Consider the claims of inefficiency and waste. As a result of government-funded national health insurance, the Nordic countries have a higher life expectancy and a lower infant mortality rate than the US. Life expectancy is close to 80 years in the Nordic countries, compared to 78 years in the US, where the government does not guarantee national health insurance and millions of families are too poor to pay for it on their own. Ironically, the heavy reliance on the private sector in the US system is so inefficient that Americans pay a larger share of GNP for health (14%) than do the Nordic countries (11%), but get less…

        Half a century ago, the free-market economist Friedrich von Hayek argued that a large public sector would threaten democracy itself, putting European countries on a “road to serfdom.” Yet the Nordic states have thrived, with much less public-sector corruption and far higher levels of voter participation than in the US.”

        http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/lessons-from-the-north

        • Willaim

          We do very well with a much smaller government. The failures  of big government continue to mount but all we get is calls for an even bigger government.

          • Anonymous

            Many other countries around the world (including the Nordic countries) do better than us in many important respects with “big” government. Read the link I posted above. 

          • Robert Riversong

            “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

            A 2010 study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate – the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

            And, apparently, John Stuart Mill was right: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

            A study conducted at Brock University in Ontario led by Gordon Hodson and reported in Jan, 2012 found that low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice.

          • Willaim

            That’s interesting. Why did we see the riots in the UK last year? Those people did not look like conservatives, but were the results of 60 years of failed liberal “good intentions”.

          • Gregg
          • notafeminista

            Oh I know this one – right out of the left-wing playbook.   It makes a nice companion piece to the “liberals are stingy” study and/or school of thought.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.htm

            http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/generosity-index-2011.pdf

            On the other hand, it explains an awful lot.  The Left tends to be emotionally immature – after all how many times (even anecdotally) do we hear the Left scream “It’s not fair !” – just like an 8 year old to his parent.  It makes sense the Left would need structure – look at Social Security.  The federal government takes our money in increments they see fit, on a schedule they’ve determined and give it back to us in the same way.  Our money that we earned.   Like an allowance. 

          • Anonymous

            Define small government?
            I don’t see how small is better, only less than and unable to do things when needed. Katrina is a good example of how making a department smaller and defunding has real consequences . I’m for a more efficient and professional government that is free from special interest. One that does what it is supposed to do, run the country well.

          • Willaim

            Eliminate failed government agencies. Dept. of Education and Energy are a good place to start.

          • Gregg

            That would mean all our kids would be stupid and we’d have no electricity… wouldn’t it?

          • notafeminista

            Ha!

          • Brett

            You’re thinking about what would happen if Santorum became president! 

      • Hidan

         ??? What do you call the Reagan/Bush Years? where does that time fit into your chart? Taxes are lower than the start of the “Great Society” and over the past 30 years the policies of Conservatives and “Anti-Great Society” have been adopted and in place.

        • Willaim

          Great Society saw fit to transfer huge sums of money from productive people to unproductive people with little to show for it.

          • Anonymous

            I think calling the “1%” who reaped virtually ALL the gain created by our economy over the past 30-plus years “unproductive people” is an exaggeration.  But they undoubtedly have been the ones to whom the transfer of huge sums of money has been directed.  If you feel otherwise, you are provably wrong.

          • Willaim

            Results matter and for all the “good intentions” the Great Society has failed.

          • Anonymous

            You mean the poor, right.
            At least your honest Sir William.
            I suppose when your carriage runs over some poor waif you will order your driver to carry on.

            Apologies to Charles Dickens.  

          • Willaim

            Despite all the money given to the poor we have not seen them move off the taxpayer time and have only created a “dependent” class of which nearly 50 percent don’t pay any federal income taxes.

      • lodger

        The periods of greatest prosperity and productivity in US history have been when government was strong. The postwar boom and growth of the middle class wouldn’t have happened in the absence of ‘big government’ highway funding. 

        The financial meltdown never would have happened if we had the safeguards in place that were instituted after the Great Depression.

        Ideological soundbites will not solve the problem of healthcare.  You can shrink government as much as you want. 

        Single-payer financing with private delivery is the most efficient and equitable solution. It will also benefit business. It has nothing to do with ‘big government’. 

        • Willaim

          The excellent economy we enjoyed after WWII was due to a robust private sector. The problem with healthcare is pretty much one issue…money…who pays…either you or your friends..but it’s still about money….single payer is a easy way to push off the problem and hope it fixes it..but then again..Medicare and Medicaid are both going broke fast…so once again..it’s back to money…

          • lodger

            The robust postwar private sector had everything to do with government. As an example, the whole aerospace industry in CA never would have happened were it not for ‘big government’.  

            Yes, it’s about money. Right now I write a check to an insurance company every month for my own coverage. I also write a check to the US Treasury, part of which goes to cover the people who currently enjoy US single-payer healthcare (they amount half the $, but not half the population).
            You’re right that the tsunami of boomers that will hit Medicare will be a huge and unaffordable expenditure.

            The only fix is to get younger/healthier people in the same risk pool as older/sicker people, and to put resources that insurances currently siphon off back into paying for doctors and treatment.
             

          • notafeminista

            Let’s not forget that our robust post-war private sector had a lot to do with the rest of the planet having no sector at all, having be devastated by WWII.

          • notafeminista

            “been”

        • Robert Riversong

          Unfortunately, the right wing quest to downsize government to the point at which it can be drowned in a bathtub is doomed to failure.

          With lax government oversight and regulations, we are facing severe droughts and water shortages, such that there may not be enough tap water to drown anything.

      • Robert Riversong

        I agree. Let’s eliminate all the corporate entitlements, subsidies and tax breaks. Then we can afford universal health care, which is a natural right, not an entitlement.

        • Willaim

          I have no problem with going to a simple two tier tax. 10 percent/25 percent, no deductions. I would also make non-profits, churches etc..pay too.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Well said, excellent summary.

  • Roy Mac

    I’ve heard enough.  It’s time to crank up the impeachment machine.  Scalia, Alito, and Thomas this time; all 3 are clearly bought and paid for.  Let’s at least see what wing-nut crowd circles the wagons around them–I’d bet Kochs are in that soup; that gang of 3 is obviously not impartial.

    • Anonymous
    • Robert Riversong

      Unfortunately, no Supreme Court justice has ever been successfully impeached.

      A better strategy is to pass a Constitutional amendment reversing corporate personhood and money=speech. That we’ve been able to do many times, with an average ratification period of less than two years.

      The funny thing about the Koch brothers is that, after creating the Cato Institute as an independent libertarian think tank, it’s become too independent and the brothers are suing to take control and turn it into yet another propaganda mill.

  • SteveV

    And from the Supreme Court that gave us Citizens United we expect what? If they
    can make a decision like that, anything’s possible. It’s sad to watch a country
    with such potential failing before our eyes.

  • notafeminista
  • notafeminista

    Wow…I am loving the front page of the HuffPo right now.   And conservatives are accused of fear-mongering?! 

    • Anonymous

      Huffpo is a tabloid with some OK articles. I never take it seriously.

      • Drew You Too

        I remember hearing a story about an Information Diet somewhere recently, can’t remember where but it was great. I’d look for it but I’m out of here after this comment. The way I think about it is that NPR gets attacked from both sides of the aisle so the majority of their content is likely okay in my book. I didn’t say ALL of their content, I get hacked with them sometimes too. The point I guess is that if you want entertainment or to be told what you want to hear MSNBFOX is fine, if you want News, NPR and BBC are probably your best bet. Sill have to read between the lines sometimes though. Sorry for rambling, think it’s past my bedtime. Have a great night.

      • notafeminista

        :) This made me laugh.

  • leftofcenter

    All of the Justices are federal employees with lifetime jobs and govt. health care. If any or all of them lost everything, everyone who opposes single payer would instantly be for it.

    This proves the hypocracy of the system. The rich and powerful have it. Meanwhile they make stupid legal jokes about cell phones and broccolli and the MSM (yes, this includes NPR) stumble all over every word of it.

  • leftofcenter

    The current system is designed to deny you coverage. Yet despite that, you want to keep wasting your time, money and possibly die from lack of coverage?

    If you died from lack of coverage, would Obama or any of the other Powers that Be care about that? No they wouldn’t.

  • dollar collapse

    I want to see President Obama sign up his precious family for Obamacare.

    Then again, this is a President who is against school vouchers, yet at the same time he sends his own two daughters to an elite private school, where tuition is $30,000 dollars a year per student.

    • Robert Riversong

      Obama and Michelle send their daughters to that school only to keep them away from the likes of you.

      • notafeminista

        Isn’t that the grump the 99 percenters have about those who live in gated communities? 

        Cake and eat it too time. 

  • Bruce

    Obamacare involved some compromises that I personally did not want to see.  However, given the political reality, it was just about the best reform that could be obtained. 

    One of those compromises was the “individual mandate”–an idea dating back to George Bush Sr. as an alternative to Dem proposals based on an employer mandate.  Later, even the Heritage Foundation endorsed the notion of an “individual mandate.”  Funny, there was no outcry from the limited Govt., strict constructionist, ultra-conservative types at that time.  It’s amazing to me how a few decades lapse, a slightly left-of-center President who happens to be African-American gets elected, and all of sudden one of the pillars of his reform threatens to undermine our liberty when it was the self same liberty-loving conservatives who originally proposed the idea.  I suppose they’ve been getting down with their etch-a-sketch tablets a lot lately.  
     
    If the Supreme Court issues another perversely partisan decision this time to gut AHA, I guess besides the economy, the Nov. election could be a referendum on whether we want meaningful reform of a broken health care system (i.e. Medicare-For-All or some other form of single-payer) or are we going to acquiesce to the intransigence of Ayn Rand-inspired conservatives and their corporate cronies who will fight to protect the status quo at any cost.
     
    If AHA is struck down, our only hope to address the national disgrace of 40-50 million uninsured may be to re-elect Obama, give the Dems control of the House as well as a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and hold their feet to the fire.

    • Robert Riversong

      “given the political reality”

      We – and our representatives – make the political reality. 

      “a slightly left-of-center President”

      The reason that Obama and his Democrat allies proposed ACA is because he’s a right-of-center pro-corporate politician, who has been a far greater friend of Wall Street, the banksters and the insurance racket than of We the People.

      “If the Supreme Court issues another perversely partisan decision this time to gut AHA…” 

      This is not a partisan issue. Many Democrats and Independents don’t want to see a mandate to buy for-profit insurance. Americans, by a broad margin, want a single-payer system.

      Let’s hope the SCOTUS does us all a favor and sends this back to the drawing board.

      • Bruce

        Thanks for the reply. I notice a gap between your justifiable indignation against a system run amok and some salient facts.  For example, Obamacare does not mandate purchase of coverage exclusively from for-profit insurance companies.  As I understand it, the ins. market in many states is dominated by non-profit companies who, if they meet fed. standards governing cost, quality and access, are perfectly able to compete in the health care exchange.
         
        Your dismissal of Obama as just another corporatist strains credulity (I thought he was a community organizer).  While he has received support from Wall St. (who hasn’t?), since passage of Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, I’d hardly call him a favorite of corporate America or the hedge-fund managers on Wall St.
         
        Your contempt should be reserved for the real promoters of a rapacious, unregulated capitalism personified by Mitt Romney.  The notion that there is essentially no difference between the GOP and Dems is misguided at best, disengenuous at worst.  It reminds me of George Wallace’s populist cry that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties” or words to that effect before he ran as a third-party candidate.
         
        In your comment I also find a disturbing rejection of compromise in light of political realities — based on an inexplicable denial of those realities which distracts from problem solving, puts down a politics of the possible, and throws out the good in favor of an unattainable ideal.

        • Anonymous

          The political reality is the GOP’s idea of compromise is the word no.
          Obama is a centrist and he’s always been one. Our government is now run by special interest and President Obama has had to to deal with that. The problem is the GOP is going off the rails with extremist ideology that just wants to do away with government as an entity for which it was set up for in the first place. On the other hand corporate interest are using money to buy influence and are even writing bills or briefs that become bills. We have a dysfunctional federal government. We also have a broken, dysfunctional market based health care system, which is bankrupting citizens now, and will bankrupt the nation if we don’t make some real reforms.

  • Wolfitgames

    What the heck!  A law that is going to help miilions who are currently uninsured is possibly going to be dismantled?   Is that Comstitutional?   If people have listened to the president this law would not change your coverage if you already have insurance provide through your job , etc.   I’ve already benefited by being able to keep my 24 year old son on my insurance until 26.  And perhaps as important, this bill does not allow insurance companies to turn down individuals with an existing illness.  That is a tremendous stride forward.  The naysayers of this bill are either misinformed or republican.   It will be a sad day indeed if this bill is caually swept away!

    • Joe

      who cares if you like the law because you benefit from it .  you must look at the bigger picture and that is we are a country of law and if it is unconstitutional then it is.  my freedom from a government mandate was earned for me as an american several 100 years ago and took 100′s of years of english laws and customs and wars and then the us revolution and constitution to protect me (and you) from a government overstepping their bounds.  the benefits you like can be gotten a different way albeit maybe a harder path.  take the law down and fix the health care problems in a legal manner.  i for one will allow for a gov to tell me what i can an cannot do, but a gov must be constrained or i and you will loose our freedoms which once gone are gone.  so look at the big picture and not some portion of a law which you like.  

    • Robert Riversong

      I am one of the most informed Americans and have never been a Republican, and yet I am unalterably opposed to a federal mandate to force Americans to give profits to the insurance racket.

      It is you, dear fool, who are either misinformed or deluded.

      • Anonymous

        We are a nation of bickering children.
        I agree with you, but we have to start somewhere or the nation is going to have a serious problem.
        Let’s say the law is struck down. Now lets say the amount of people without insurance goes up from 40 million to about 60 or 70 million. Or a quarter of the population that ends up without any coverage, as it is in Texas. Then what?

        What is the GOP, tea party and libertarians decide that it’s time to take down SS, Medicaid and Medicare and every other social program.
        I just read an article about how the GOP side of congress can’t find to votes to fix bridges and roads. This stuff is now beyond a joke, the GOP are just nuts in my view.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/business/with-bank-teetering-a-bet-on-the-gop-backfires.html?ref=us

  • Sy2502

    While we all know NPR leans to the Left, some of their programs manage to be more objective than others. Those that aren’t, like this one, remind me why heavy bias is bad: it prevents people from seeing, and understanding, both sides of the debate.  So I’ll set straight a couple of things that were mentioned but not accurately considered.
    1) The idea that we are in the market of health insurance just by virtue of being born is preposterous. If that’s the case, then we must also be in the food market, since we can go by without food a lot less than we can go by without health coverage. In this light, the “broccoli” comment sounds a lot less preposterous than the program tried to make it. 
    2) In California it is not mandatory to have private insurance to own a car. A driver has the option to give proof of financial responsibility by making a deposit of $35,000 to the DMV. Comparing car insurance to health insurance is flawed because the argument, intentionally or not, is incomplete. 

    In my view the vast majority of problems come from the way the US keeps trying to bend backward to have its cake and eat it too. You can have a fully privatized health system, or a fully public one. As soon as you try to make some unhappy mishmash of the 2, that’s where constitutional problems will inevitably arise.

    • Robert Riversong

      “While we all know NPR leans to the Left…” Do we now?

      That NPR harbors a liberal bias is an article of faith among
      many conservatives. Fairness and Accuracy in Media repeated their 1993 study of
      NPR in 2003.

       

      Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has
      ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no
      support. Looking at partisan sources—including government officials, party
      officials, campaign workers and consultants—Republicans outnumbered Democrats
      by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican
      sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be
      surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent
      to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled
      both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential
      nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

       

      Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge,
      individual Republicans were NPR’s most popular sources overall, taking the top
      seven spots in frequency of appearance. With the exception of Secretary of
      State Powell, all of the top 10 most frequently appearing sources were white
      male government officials.

       

      FAIR classified each think tank by ideological orientation
      as either centrist, right of center or left of center. Representatives of think
      tanks to the right of center outnumbered those to the left of center by more
      than four to one: 62 appearances to 15. Centrist think tanks provided sources
      for 56 appearances.

  • Roy Mac

    Would you just STOP it with this nonsense about auto insurance?

    Nobody requires you to own a vehicle or to drive!

    There might be cogent arguments against the notion that health treatments are a societal right and those who choose to skirt their responsibility to participate are blameless; those arguments have not been made, unless you subscribe to the notion that other people are bleeding hearts who will care for “rugged individualists,” who refuse to own up to their share of the load.

    • Tech

      The analogy with auto insurance would be accurate only if there were a federal law requiring repair shops to repair everyone’s car regardless of ability to pay.

      • Robert Riversong

        No, the analogy with auto insurance is for liability insurance, not collision.

        While state laws aren’t restricted by the US Constitution, the same principle applies. In each case a law mandates that citizens purchase a service from a for-profit enterprise on the “free” market. 

        If either health insurance or auto liability is considered a public good – like fire, police, public works and education – then it should be run by government and funded by progressive taxation.

        • Gregg

          “In each case a law mandates that citizens purchase a service from a for-profit enterprise on the “free” market. “

          I’d quibble. In the case of auto insurance, the law in most States requires car owners to purchase insurance. Obamacare requires citizens to buy insurance subsidized by the government by either confiscating and redistributing wealth, borrowing from China or printing money.

          I agree with Roy Mac and I usually don’t.

          • Roy Mac

            Thank you for that.  I try to be reasonable, as I have observed you to be.

  • Anonymous

          We must get off our ideological horses on this issue. It’s not really a question of liberal or conservative, big government or small government. The only question is, as a society, how far in either direction are we willing to go? A society is, after all, what we are, not just three hundred million individuals.                                                                              The idea of government mandating the purchase of a service can reasonably be considered onerous. But, unless we are willing to absolutely ban medical care for those who choose to opt out of insurance coverage, unless they qualify for Medicaid, we wind up holding the bill. In my state, and I believe most others, if an individual winds up in the emergency room, he gets medical care. Period. If he can’t pay for it, someone does. People who think hospitals don’t make sure they get compensated somehow for the billions of dollars of “free” emergency care they provide don’t deal with any hospitals I know of.                                                                                 But, as I asked, what kind of society are we prepared to be? Are we really prepared to let the automobile accident victim bleed to death outside the hospital because he was stupid enough to forgo health insurance?  If he’s treated and billed, but he can’t pay, he can’t pay.That means the rest of us pay. If not outright, then in increased hospital costs made necessary by just such cases. Perhaps we ARE supposed to let him bleed to death. Without mandated healthcare, that would be the only reasonable course of action. Pay up or die. The same action would have to apply to anyone who could afford insurance, but chose not to purchase it. It would even have to apply to the eight year old with leukemia whose parents made too much money to qualify for medicaid but felt they couldn’t afford decent private insurance. Are we prepared for that? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. But if we are, I’m pretty sure we’d be one of very few developed nations that let it’s citizens die or suffer with treatable illness because of mundane issues like money and politics.

    • notafeminista

      C’mon…there’s too many people on the planet already right?  Using up our limited resources to the point of certain catastrophe.  Let the folks die by the side of the road – more resources for the rest of us!

      Man.

      • Anonymous

         I bow before brilliance such as yours.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Such RICH ‘conservative’ ‘compassion’?   Too bad that your type are not the ones on the side of the road.   I have helped many rich people in distress, and received a much smaller “thank you”, than from the poor and working class “THANK YOU!!”
           MOST of the rich that I have dealt with, have thea attitude of ENTITLEMENT!!! , just because they have stolen, or otherwise acquired MONEY.
           FEW of them could approach my record!

  • Anonymous

    Two faced politicians – this is not about constitutionality, this is about embarrassing the administration. Watch this… it’s epic!!!

    http://thinkprogress.org/progress-report/meet-the-republicans-for-mandated-coverage/?mobile=nc

    I would have preferred a universal system. The duplicitous political machinations of the Right make me think that they are the traitors calling themselves patriots as they cry treason at the top of their lungs.

    • Drew You Too

      Nice

  • Gregg

    It seems clear to me if the mandate is struck down the entire bill will be struck down. There is no severability clause and that should be enough but Scalia was strong on the issue today without even getting to the lack of the clause. He made a ton of sense and Verrilli had no answer. He stammered.

    I’ll throw this bone: The pundits are saying the arguments are not going well for Obama’s cause but no one can say that for certain. It’s impossible to say how they will rule at this point.

  • leftofcenter

    Here’s the big contradiction in the anti single payer argument.

    It’s a “govt. intrusion” in our lives. Really? What about all of these?

    THE NAIA
    The Patriot Act
    Torture
    Rendition
    Monitoring all of our communications
    Blatantly violating intl. law

    Obama continues to do all of these. If these are intrusions in our lives, how come millions aren’t demanding his immediate impeachment? You’ll put up with these to protect yourself from “terrorists”. Yet, basic health care for all that can preventatively save and extend your life is evil? Sorry. That makes no sense at all.

    • Anonymous

      Of course health care is evil. Everyone will want it! Yes, I have actually had someone I hadthought intelligent, say this to me.

    • Anonymous

       We have to wonder how many of these single payer opponents would turn down terrible government intrusions in their private lives such as unemployment insurance or federal aid in the event of natural disasters like floods or hurricanes. How many of them would turn the fire engine away from their burning home? Would they refuse aid from the police in the event of an assault or a robbery. Perhaps they might claim that their tax dollars give them a right to these things. They would be right. But, why these things and not healthcare? Why an Interstate highway system and not healthcare. Why a department of defense and not healthcare? Why air traffic controllers and not healthcare. Shall we abandon government oversight of food safety, and let the chips fall where they may? How about the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the C.D.C.? All of these programs and agencies exist in order to serve the COMMON good. What could be a greater common good to any nation than the health of it’s people?

    • Guest

      Please name something that you used to pay for but it somehow became free and because of this you started using less of it?

      The truth is all evidence shows the opposite occurs and outcomes stay the same.

  • Rob

    Here is a thought concerning the comment by Justice Roberts
    concerning Health Care Legislation: “Can the government require you to buy
    a cellphone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency
    services?”

     

    While you are not required to have a cell phone, they are
    available either free or at low cost to those who cannot afford them or
    otherwise would not acquire a cell phone if the service is self-paid. To pay
    for this federal subsidy a tariff (or surcharge – the Federal Universal Service
    Charge) is included on the monthly statement of all paid for cell phone plans.
    The issue of health care coverage, and defense thereof, should be allowed for
    the same reasoning, the government is already making “nonessential” services
    available for those who would not purchase it on their own.

     

    Universal Connectivity Fee (Universal Service Fund),
    Federal: Because telephones provide a vital link to emergency services, to
    government services and to surrounding communities, it has been our nation’s
    policy to promote telephone service to all households since this service began
    in the 1930s. The USF helps to make phone service affordable and available to
    all Americans, including consumers with low incomes, those living in areas where
    the costs of providing telephone service is high, schools and libraries and
    rural health care providers. Congress has mandated that all telephone companies
    providing interstate service must contribute to the USF. Although not required
    to do so by the government, many carriers choose to pass their contribution
    costs on to their customers in the form of a line item, often called the
    “Federal Universal Service Fee” or “Universal Connectivity Fee”.

     

     

    Take note of the second to last sentence: Congress has mandated
    that all telephone companies providing interstate service must contribute to
    the USF. This is a private enterprise having a federal regulation imposed
    mandating that services are made available to those who would otherwise not buy
    the service. How are providers of insurance any different from
    telecommunication providers? These health insurers are providing a service that
    crosses state borders.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       You missed his point completely.

  • Anonymous

    I believe those who oppose the ACA do so because they don’t know enough (if anything) about it and how they will benefit from it. The individuals that are complaining about having to purchase health insurance can, for the most part, afford it. They simply don’t care to be responsible to their families, friends, or society in general. They prefer to buy 3 homes, 4 cars, boats, ski’jets, and on and on. You live. You get ill. You have accidents. You will need health care and you should be made to buy it because you won’t act like a responsible adult. I will help a stranger in an emergency, but I will no longer pay for the slackers, sliders and cheats.

    • Wbsurfver

       We don’t really now where the future of the economy is headed. Even though I may own a very modest condo and a small camp up in the woods (with no electricity), I have no way of knowing if I will be in dire straights in a few years with the economy and tough job market the way it is. I could easily lose my condo. I just found out that Blue Cross is the only provider in the state for individuals. I can’t buy a cheaper plan that only would cover large medical bills at a high deductible as my sister does in her state. I have no way of knowing if my $430/month bill is going to keep increasing. I have no use for all of the  expensive drugs that the medical holligans push and if I got cancer I’d probably rather sign up for the Max Gerson therapy that has been suppressed by the highly effective brainwashing campaign of the medical establishment. I am forced into a medical system that I don’t believe in for many types of things.
       

      • Anonymous

        So I take it a single payer system would be good for you. By the way this kind of mind set is kind of absurd. If you’re so worried sell all your assets and rent. On the one hand you seem to be touting the right wing line here and yet you’re not willing to take responsibility for your actions. You are also pointing to the very reason why the GOP plane of market based solutions would fail right on the out set. Like banks, we do not have a lot of choices on this country when it comes to health insurance providers. It stands to reason that they, the health insurance corporations need to go.

  • Anonymous

    Obama passed the NDAA law which allows the government to arrest American citizens on our own soil without a warrant and put us away for as long as they wish.  Government works closely with corporations so huge it would give Goliath an inferiority complex and they skew laws to rig the system in favor of their wealthy donors. They voted to send our young to a war they trumped up themselves and also almost totally crashed the economy. The Supreme Court made a ruling called Citizens United that allows corporations as much right as you and your children, or as any person.  Everyone knows that corporations cannot possibly be people but these wise men and women have said that they infact do. How comfortable do you feel to extend even more power to this government?  The least they can do is agree to be bound by the same system that they impose on everyone else but none of them are offering to do that. 

    Everyone should be covered by health insurance. Why doesn’t the government simply offer a few good non-profit health plans and compete with the for-profit companies?  Yes then everyone is going to use the government plans – bingo – affordable health care without all the red tape.

    • Drew You Too

      “Obama passed the NDAA law which allows the government to arrest American citizens on our own soil without a warrant and put us away for as long as they wish”

      Wouldn’t have been possible without the precedents set by our previous President. Not pointing fingers, just stating what should already be obvious. Read up on Patriot Acts I & II and more crucially The Military Commissions Act if you don’t believe me.

      “Why doesn’t the government simply offer a few good non-profit health plans and compete with the for-profit companies?”

      Because Non-Profit is a dirty word in this country. As is Humanitarianism. As is Universal. If it’s not profitable and driven by personal gain at the expense of others Our Great Nation doesn’t want anything to do with it. I’m sure you already knew that though.

  • TODD B

    We often hear from the right that “Obamacare” is an infringement on our personal freedom. I consider it a MAJOR infringement on my own personal freedom that I have to pay outrageously inflated insurance and health care costs, even to the point of forcing me into debt,  due to having to pay for those who choose not to pay. This is an infringement on my personal freedom! I literally have no choice but to pay for others. The only fair solution is to bring more people into the system by forcing them to pay up. I do have reservations about this mandate because it will put more money in the pockets of insurance companies, who are parasites, but at least it is a step in the right direction, because the system will become more equal, more fair. The supreme court should uphold this mandate as it will even out the playing field. 

  • Anonymous

    Nobody seems to want to tackle the fundamental question regarding health care and that is can we afford the system we have. Is having health care be 6% of our economy affordable? I think the answer is no. If we continue to send jobs overseas that used to pay some of the health care costs and continue to have a negative balance of payments problem, the health care problem will just get worse and worse. If we can’t afford Medicare and Social Security what makes us think we can afford Social Medicene. Maybe we need to export some of our sick patients to a more cost effective medical system just like we are doing with jobs.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Everyone that is against Affordable Health Care, please abstain, if your income is above $100,000, or your health care is paid for by the taxes on those making less than $100,000 per year, as you have NO idea of what you are dealing with!

    • Guest

      If you make less than $60k per year, please refrain from talking about taxes since you don’t pay any federal income tax and are yourself a freeloader that doesn’t pay your “fair share”!

      • Gregg

        Bingo.

      • Anonymous

        BS. There are plenty of other taxes that moderate income and poor folks pay (e.g. state, payroll, sales, property, etc.). And as Adam Smith pointed out in Wealth of Nations:  “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You mean the IRS has been ripping me off ALL these years?  AND MANY others?
           Not to speak of all the other taxes that I pay in HUGE disproportion to the WHINING Rich?

      • Anonymous

        That’s BS. I make less that 60K and I paid federal taxes. I did get some back but not as much as I paid in. I’m not sure how this crap started and why it even matters as everyone is paying taxes on some level or some kind. The bottom line is health care in this country and how we deliver it and pay for it is a joke. You can spew all the rhetoric you want into the night, but the reality of what’s going on with our dysfunctional health care system will still be there in the morning.

        If our system was so god why is that not one country is even copying it. Some, such as Switzerland, and Canada, which had systems like our saw the light of day and threw out the for profit  market based system you seem to think is working so well. When you get sick, and you will, good luck with that.

      • JayB

        I  make 18K a year and pay federal income tax without doing any whining, so you can go stick it where the sun don’t shine!

  • notafeminista

    It is a great point you bring up and well taken..here’s why I don’t want anything similar to what is the NHS…
     
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000824/NHS-indignity-Peter-Thompsons-body-ignored-hours-corridor-Edale-House-unit.html
     
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218816/Jobsworth-ambulance-boss-refuses-let-crew-treat-man-broken-lying-inches-water.html

     http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2672411/Crippled-man-up-in-arms-over-NHS.html

     http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/8829350/Elderly-patients-condemned-to-early-death-by-secret-use-of-do-not-resuscitate-orders.html
     

    • Anonymous

      The problem is, stories similar to the ones you cite can easily be found in relation to any healthcare system in the world, even ours. We need only recall the  example of Walter Reed hospital in 2007, and it’s shameful treatment of our military veterans. Were I so inclined, I’m sure I could spend the whole day putting up story after story about sub-par medical care in U.S. hospitals.                               My own fifty six year old sister died of cervical cancer last year. She should be alive today. She was shuffled from doctor to doctor, usually ignored or given a pat on the back and told she might need some klonopin or xanax, as her symptoms were clearly “in her head.” Then she died. The hoops my wife had to jump through when she was diagnosed with DCIS in 2002 were absurd. The emotional stress we both had to deal with while trying to navigate the kind of insurance system we have in this country was almost as bad as the diagnosis itself. If we invited people to tell their personal horror stories of dealing with the American healthcare system, those stories could take over this forum for a week.                              I’m certainly not claiming that American medicine is worse than anyone else’s. But we can’t highlight the flaws in other systems and simply ignore the abundant flaws in our own. And the fact remains, whatever flaws may exist in British healthcare, or any other European or Canadian style healthcare, very few if any of it’s beneficiaries would ever dream of choosing our system over theirs.

      • notafeminista

        The fact that you didn’t post even one is telling.

        • Anonymous

           Of course it’s telling. It tells us that you’re too damn lazy or disingenuous to look it up yourself. Besides, I think relating ones own personal stories is a bit more pertinent to the discussion than any of the hundreds of stories that can be found on the web by any boob with a keyboard and an index finger.

          • notafeminista

            “Anec is not a sufficient prefix for data”  or so sayeth TRFX.

    • Sam Walworth

      If you look back 5 years, I am sure we have had ample amount of cases thrown into the media highlight with similar issues.

      I can recall one on top of my head where Mr. Glenn Beck, had kept a Vlog of issues with our healthcare system during Bush era

  • Brandstad

    IRS seeks 4,000 agents, for Obamacare!!!!

  • Brandstad

    Wasn’t Obama a Constitutional law professor in Chicago?  

    Is this another example of how bad our schools are if a  Constitutional law professor fought to become president and then used the majority of his first 2 years passing a monumental law that was fully and completely unconstitutional!

    • Wbsurfver

       that’s just what he studied, it does not reflect whom he serves, what he believes, or which group of bankers/corporations/insurance companies or establishment types control things

  • Roy Mac

    Would you STOP it with the automobile insurance crap?  Nobody insists you drive or even get a license, unless you insist on driving!

    • Sam Walworth

      Roy,

      If I try to be realistic, unlike any other Western European city or Australian City, we have almost zero meaningful public transport system, that makes driving a neccessity not a privilige like that of the Western Europe or Australian cities.

      Secondly, you dont have to buy an auto insurance in states like NH, regardless of the imminent risk of a liability claim from an auto accident.

      Secondly, unlike driving where one does that task voluntariliy, there is almost nothing one can prevent, to be admitted in an ER (accident or life threatening issues like cardiac arrest etc) and when do people show up in ER, they are treated regardless of the insurance and if the patient is not an insurance subscriber, the cost is passed on to people like me and you, who buy the health insurance.

      Hence, either way, we are in a “Universal Healthcare” system in a way, the only difference is that, our current form of “Universal Healthcare” aka ER treatments are much more costly than otherwise of a typical Universal Healthcare system.

      I will look forward for your view.

      • Roy Mac

        You are certainly correct in pointing out the deficencies in the provision of public transportation, and I won’t quibble over those.  My point is that the comparison between public health and automobile insurance–even pure liability–is simply not comparable.

        The essence, I think, is that health insurance is for the insured individual.  Auto liability insurance, on the other hand, is for the benefit of people who share the highway.

        It’s not equitable that I pay to cover people who refuse to insure their own health–and that is the state of current law.  It is imminently fair that I should be able to expect other drivers on the roads we share to be commensurately responsible for damage they might cause.

  • leftofcenter

    A mesage to everyone who opposes single payer health care. If this is a bad system, please explain to me why I saved at least $10,000 over a ten year period while living abroad and using a system that promotes preventative care.

  • Obummer

    The comparisons of universal health care insurance to automobile insurance raise a line of thought that I am not sure has been addressed in this debate – state’s rights.  With respect to all types of insurance (homeowners, renters, personal property, liability, automobile, etc.), doesn’t each state maintain the right to regulate the coverage and costs associated with the insurance?  How and why is health care so different that it gains separate treatment under the law, and the rights of the states are ignored?
     

  • RChicago

    So Time magazine wrote an article a few years ago stating that insured families pay $1100 more and individuals pay $410 more to cover those without insurance. Isn’t it unconstitutional to make me and everyone else pay against our will for the uninsured? It’s the flip side of the coin.

    I’m just wondering if I can file a class action lawsuit to get my money back because when I multiply that over 20 years, that’s a lot of money. Sorry for the people who don’t have insurance, but it’s the fault of those against universal coverage. If people are too ignorant to be in favor of universal coverage then I shouldn’t be responsible for picking up the tab.

  • KLGJ

    In Australia, we have universal health care. For those making over a certain amount, we have to pay a “levy” at tax time if we don’t have private health insurance. We are not forced to eat broccoli, or buy a gym membership, or buy a car. We are as “free” as Americans. It’s a bit of a pain to pay extra money at tax time, but we know it’s to balance having a good health care system for all with taking pressure of the public system onto the private system for those who can afford it.

  • notafeminista
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