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Oh, Christ, here we go.  I already see it starting on the boards I frequent.  And I have to wade through all this.  The discussion is not on what happened, but what should happen.  People are anxious to defend philosophical arguments and label any dissent as The Enemy.  This is my blog, and I will insist on keeping the discussion civil.  This hasn't been a problem on LJ to date, so I'm not expecting any wars, I'm just making sure we're on the same page of music here.  You can disagree with me, you can debate me, you can even say you think my opinions are laughable and leave it at that, but please don't lose your manners and please don't lose the plot, capise?

Today, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson declared that one of the central points of Obamacare is unConstitutional.  WE ALL KNOW THIS IS GOING TO BE APPEALED, AND IF I HEAR ANY LIP FROM ANYONE, I WILL HACK THE MILITARY COMPUTERS AND TARGET A THERMONUCLEAR DEVICE ON YOUR HOUSE.  AND I WILL HAVE THEM PAINT THE LETTERS "L.A.R.T." ON THE SIDE BEFORE IT LAUNCHES.  Hudson refused to strike down the law entirely or even suspend it, citing the upcoming appeals, although I think it has more to do with some of the provisions actually being good, like no denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.  No point in throwing the baby out with the bathwater, ya know.  The only part he targeted was the individual mandate.  When I last discussed this, I mentioned that there were two possible avenues that would be used to attack it.  The first was a state's rights issue, forcing states to participate (with some states providing for other states, like how Illinois is subsidizing Nevada).  I wasn't sure it would hold up, seeing how the Supreme Court has lately ruled less for the 10th Amendment and more for the overarching "general welfare" clause from the preamble and Article I of the Constitution.  The second was an individual rights issue, with the government forcing citizens to participate in a market.  Both of these fall under the same header, how far does the Constitution's Commerce Clause reach?

Before I go any further, allow me to express my stance.  Longtime readers know that I oppose Obamacare, as I feel it is government intrusion.  "Well, Peter," I hear some of you ask, "if the only cure for bad ideas is better ideas, what is your better idea?"  The government cannot force people to buy health insurance.  But it is within its rights to create its own insurance coverage program to cover people who cannot afford private insurance.  As it is for people who are being frozen out of the market, the government will not be competing with private enterprise (well, the government does do that through Gieco, but you know what I mean).  This does, however, feature a dividing line of, "If you can't be bothered to do this, then any health care problems you have now are YOUR problem."

All sides are agreeing that they will wait for the Supreme Court ruling.  Thank you for keeping it together.  This could take a year, possibly two, before it gets a hearing, so this is a long way from over.  Hudson ruled that the Justice Department's argument that the requirement would come under the definition of regulating interstate commerce was bullshit.  Making people buy insurance "is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution."

Now, this is actually a problem, and I already see where the challenge will come from -- Social Security.  Social Security is mandated (well, for the most part.  For example, railway workers were exempt, but that's just splitting hairs).  The question is, what is Social Security?  If you view it as a bank account, then it is not commerce and mandatory participation is legal.  If you view it as commerce (which I do not), then it is illegal, but no one I am unaware has challenged it.  Social Security will be used as an example, but the specific wording is what will make or break it as a defense.

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, spent today reminding his colleagues that they were elected into office on promises to repeal Obamacare so don't wait for the courts to rule.  Meanwhile, the challenge filed by 20 states in Florida?  That gets underway this Thursday.  In addition to the points raised by Virginia's AG, it also argues the federal government can't require states to expand their Medicaid programs.  I don't think that's going to fly.  After all, the government still had say in how the stimulus dollars were spent.

Please, before we start screaming, one way or the other, let's let things sort out.  We are ultimately on the same side here.  We want to protect ourselves and those that don't have the protections we have.  But name calling and arguments that have nothing to do with the main point, we don't need that.  It just makes us each other's enemies.  There's no room for that in America.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
You're a poo-poo head....Therre, I feel much better now! :-P

Seriously, read the following. I was sort of amazed at the conclusion this writer drew. If he's right, then...it's Obama-geddon.


And I personally believe that a health insurance mandate is the only way (and this has been borne out by recent events) that a no denial for pre-existing conditions law will work. The problem with trying to not allow Government to intrude too much into our lives is that horse got out of the barn years and years ago. Furthermore, we are not a nation of individual islands, but communities both large and small. We have responsibilities to one another.
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
Poo-poo head? I know you are, but what am I? ;-)

I'm not entirely sure that the individual mandate and pre-existing conditions go hand in hand. I personally would like to see people allowed to get insurance out of state, opening competition. Another problem I have with Obamacare is that it is reinforcing a protected market. Don't get me wrong, I think Adam Smith's "Wealth Of Nations" was pure bullshit, but I think leveling the playing field could go a long way towards bringing prices to manageable levels. Seeing an end to exclusive deals (one of my friends gets a "discount" if he gets his prescriptions at a certain place) would be nice, too.

Too much of modern health care is aimed at putting all the choices in the hands of the insurance companies or the HMO's or...anyone but the people who need it. I personally think this is the bigger problem, because it is overlooked too often in the debate.

I do agree about government intrusion and how the horse left the barn, but we have to start somewhere. I mean, just because the horse left the barn, it hasn't yet wandered too far that we can't get it back in there.
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
IF you have a pre-existing conditions law without the mandate, you get what was spelled out in the article I referenced. People wait until they get sick, get insurance and get the benefit without paying in beforehand. People being people, that's what they'll do. You know they will. You marry the two and you get a bigger pool and lower rates. Happened in MA when they instituted both.

Even the insurance industry realizes this and that's why they have themselves said that the only way for a serious change in health care to work is a mandate.
Dec. 14th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
I afraid I just don't buy that. I've seen a scale model of sorts. When I was working union, we had a great health plan. Then people started either taking ambulances just because it was being paid for or going to the emergency room since it covered more (sometimes, the savings was about $20) but cost the insurance provider more for the ER. Our rates shot up (even mine, when I only used my insurance twice for physicals, nothing else), all because people abused the system.

Insurance of any kind is a cold-blooded business. It will still be a private, for-profit insurance industry. As such, when more people are using it because they have coverage now, they are going to want to make up the money somewhere (my premiums have already gone up, and it seems we won't be getting our meager raises this year). When Katrina hit, insurance companies raised the rates on everybody to make up for what they were paying out. And it still does nothing to address abusive lawsuits (Illinois doesn't have a neurosurgeon because the insurance premiums here are too high, they have to bring one in from Indiana, and the cost gets passed on).

The whole Obamacare thing just strikes me as bad economics and requires me to put a lot more faith in insurance companies, the government, and my fellow man that I really feel comfortable with. I see a system ripe for being exploited. Maybe it would be better if they went with the single-payer option, which would eliminate the health insurance market in favor of the government program, but I don't know enough about that proposal to advance a credible opinion on it, so I can't say anything.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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