As mentioned, I'm looked at as sort of the political dean of the group. I took charge of the discussion immediately. I told them I didn't know necessarily what was in the 1,200 page bill, even though I have a copy of it (nothing like a little light reading in the john, you know). I was concerned about two things: 1) the caps in coverage and 2) the legal aspects. As things we started hashing things out, here's what came through our online Play-Doh Fun Factor of discussion:
1) The caps. This concerns me because it is based on current values. Prices are only going to go up. Even without the influx, inflation still plays a roll. Those caps will be inching closer before you know it. When you suddenly have an excess of people exceeding those caps, what then? Who pays? Remember, this bill isn't "Everyone has the right to health care", it's "Everyone has the right to health insurance."
2) The Constitutional Challenges. Here's where the legal eagles really got into it, and more people were threatened with being dropped. Several went with the car insurance thing. Another poster shut it down, however, and in doing so, provided what might be the states' rights angle that successfully blows Obamacare out of the water.
Legally, driving a car is optional. You are choosing to do it. If you want to drive a car, you have to do what the state says, such as getting a license and having insurance. You don't want to do that, you don't drive. You want to do it, you agree to play by the state's rules. The difference here is the health insurance thing is not optional. You are required to do it regardless. You make the choice to drive. You don't make the choice to participate in Obamacare.
And this is where it gets murky. The feds are well within their rights to regulate commerce. The preamble's "general welfare" clause and Article I of the Constitution are used to trump the 10th Amendment all the time. The question is, can the feds FORCE you to participate in commerce? Obamacare has created a new protected market and is mandating everyone be involved. That is the lynch pin of this whole thing. You don't participate, the IRS will fine you and throw you in the stir (last night, I got a phone call from my dad. He was complaining about the fines. I mentioned the jail time. "Oh, no one's going to go to jail, only as an example. No one is going to ask for jail time, it would be political suicide." I sniffled on the phone and said, "It's touching to see someone with such childlike faith in the System." He hung up on me. According to my mom, he won't be speaking to me for a few days. It's been a long time since I pulled a number like that. I wasn't sorry then, either.)
Obamacare was created by Washington, not the states themselves. So the states are being forced into commerce (like how Illinois is paying for Nevada's costs) and so are the citizens. As far as I'm aware, courts have never upheld that the Feds have the right to require participation in a specific economic activity (and believe me, people are looking to see if a precedent has been set). And "general welfare" is an argument that can be reduced to absurdity by anyone, because the question is, where do you draw the line? With health care now the government's responsibility, do you start outlawing certain foods to make sure everyone is healthy? Stop certain activities? Anyone ever read "With Folded Hands?"
Here comes another round of complaining about "activist courts". People only complain about activist courts when they make a ruling they disagree with (otherwise, it's just wisdom and understanding). Courts are supposed to protect people from bad laws. I can see the courts being vilified by the very people that championed them on other subjects. Obamacare is rife with Constitutional issues. They will have to be heard. One theory is that a lower federal court will issue an injunction, putting Obamacare on ice while everything gets hashed out. A writ of certiorari gets filed with the Supes, and they agree to hear it. Will the Supes strike down an already existing law done for the good of the people? They have before when they eviscerated FDR's New Deal programs. And this bill clearly does not have the will of the people behind it, 83% think it is bad. Meanwhile, the R's are almost guaranteed to get their supermajority in the next election. Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Republican, started it with his "baby killer" yell. He's playing to his electorate, saying what they want to hear so they'll remember him and vote for him. Remember, there's nothing phonier than reality TV, and that's all C-SPAN is.
So the race is this: will the voters attack Obamacare first in November, or will the Supremes get there first? Gun up...GO!!!