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Friday, March 30, 2012

From Matt Wuerker

Copyright 2012 by Matt Wuerker. Used by permission. (Yay!)

Comments (27)

As an attorney, and certainly not the brightest one ever created, the level of questioning from the Supremes yesterday was so sophomoric as to be embarassing. It reminded me of year one of law school. Broccoli? (granted, I don't like it). Cell phones? Burial insurance? The nature of the questions from the justices showed such a clear partisan political bias it made me shudder.

The outcome is a foregone conclusion. I've seldom been as embarassed for my country as I have been by the extreme partisanship by the Supremes, who are actually supposed to look at the law, rather than their political affiliation. Shameful.

The only thing missing is them arriving in clown cars.

Look- when we let JFK's killers go free for 40 some years, do we really think we still live in a just and free society?

It's a real uerker all right.

I know...right? My first reaction to all of this "the government can't make you do anything" argument was to burst out laughing. Try to tell that to all of the families of those who were drafted into uniform and killed in battle. If they can send you off to be killed I'm pretty sure they can you to do lots of things. (assuming a compelling governmental interest is at stake mind you).

I'm just growing wheat to feed my livestock...

It's an interesting 'toon, although there hasn't been a draft since 'Nam (incidentally, March 30 was the date of pullout, if I recall correctly).

Although I choose to purchase health insurance, the idea of government holding a gun to my head and demanding that I do so - or else - is completely unappealing.

I suspect that this will be a 5/4 decision; the girls and Breyer will decide everything's hunky-dory, and the others will rule the opposite. I expect Justice Kennedy to move in that direction.

And yes, there is a large political component at play, here - but Obama hit that tripwire all by himself, when during his State of the Union speech two years ago, he took the unprecedented step of berating the Supreme Court before a global audience because he didn't like their ruling on campaign finance.

The author of that ruling was none other than Justice Kennedy, and I'm relatively certain that, being human, the humiliation that Obama delivered will inevitably enter into his deliberations.

While I can understand the need for everyone to "be in" for health insurance to be affordable, I believe they are going at it wrong. Why can't the fed government or the states just offer a insurance pool for catastrophic care? Why should 20-somethings be made to pay for a insurance plan that covers mammograms, Viagra, birth control, etc.

This is the real issue and why I believe that if it does go forward, there is going to be hell to pay down the road politically speaking. And also, I am sick of hearing how corrupt the health insurance companies are. Sure, they make a decent profit but they are not the ones setting the rates at the hospital by and large.

Single payer is the way to go IMO. It seems to work quite well everyplace else and for those who want and can afford "Cadillac" insurance it too is available in nations where single payer is the norm.
The 2700 pages of the health care reform bill is a travesty it should be 2 pages! You pay get that.
As for younger folks not will get old and sick, so you pay now, so you don't pay later. Think of it as Social Security for medical needs. And young folks get sick too, and they have accidents.
And everyone! should pay for and use birth control! It is the young who are breeding, not the people who need Viagra, BTW. There are too many people on this earth already.
And one more thing, keep abortions, safe, legal, available, and rare.

I'm just hoping that after the supreme court tosses this monster out that our legislatures will get busy actually reforming medical care laws. What I wont do is hold my breath while waiting.

I still don't get the idea behind forcing people to buy health insurance. People don't have it because they can't afford it. How does forcing them to spend money they don't have help them?

The only way to make the system work is to dissolve health insurance companies.

I think that cartoon is so sophomoric as to be embarrassing. By that "logic," such as it is, because the government can do some very drastic things (most with volumes of due process) it therefore should be able to do anything. Really, is that where we want to go? Maybe we're already almost there -- but not quite.

As for "health insurance," everyone is responsible for their own "health" insurance. That does involve primarily lifestyle.

Maybe it's just my own personal pet peeve that this isn't called "medical insurance," which is what it is. I lived without it for many years because I could not afford it. Most of my "health care," however, was pretty cheap.

Perhaps the saddest part of this charade is that no one expects this Supreme Court to deliver anything but a party-line ruling.

The not-exactly-radical Bloomberg News Service found that 75 percent of those surveyed expect the "justices" to vote their politics rather than decide on the legal merits of the case.

Bloomberg also reports: "The poll also found that 37 percent of Americans think the health care reform law should be repealed, while 46 percent think “it may need small modifications, but we should see how it works,” and 11 percent think it should be left alone."

You are right, Tankfixer, this is indeed a Wickard v Filburn moment

Sowell says it better than I do:

Source: RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via

This cartoon - showing 9 players on the Supreme Team - brought to mind the Chicago Black Sox who, for silver pittance, sold out the World Series and betrayed American tradition. The 9 Black Robes are sell-outs, too, betraying more than American tradition -- they are traitors of Justice.

* Clarence Thomas evades taxes on millions of dollars of unfiled household income. No IRS action, no penalty, still sits on the Supreme Shames panel.
* Ruling in a S.Carolina case of a cruise ship denied permission to dock by an Executive branch Maritime Administration panel, and writing for the majority to void Executive standing and (falsely) assert Judiciary power where the maritime panel had the word 'Court' in its title, the deciding solomonic argument Thomas wrote, verbatim, is: "if it walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it is a duck."

P.S. and as an aside, samesaid Joke Thomas, bosom buddy and confederate of Rush Limbaugh, phoned him the results of the Supreme Shames vote this morning re: Affordable Care Act mandate; which result Rash 'no advertisers' Lamebrain today implicitly announced to be 6-3 sustaining the mandate and the Act -- first poll went 5-4 and then Chief Joke Roberts switched his vote in order (by virtue of being in the majority), to himself write the ruling Opinion.
(By Thomas's unethical premature disclosure he indemnifies 1%er Rash 'no advertisers' Lamebrain from wrong prediction of what will be announced in June. Accordingly, Lamebrain's attitude today was noticeably downcast with overweaning cautionaries against expectational certainty of June's outcome.)

I still don't get the idea behind forcing people to buy health insurance. People don't have it because they can't afford it. How does forcing them to spend money they don't have help them?

Jon, you can think about it like this: people who don't buy insurance and can't afford it actually have it to the extent that ERs have to treat them even if they can't or won't pay. So they are insured — they just aren't paying the premiums. So the ACA fixes that, and provides a subsidy for those who, by some objective standard, really can't afford the premiums.

I'm with you on the health insurance companies, though. They are an unnecessary and expensive middleman.

Nancy - I felt the same way. The discourse was seriously depressing. Granted, I've delved no further than soundbites, but, ugh. This seems like a case that is ripe for making bad law - if overturned, there will be much weaseling in the decision to lessen the impact on commerce clause precedent. Said clause really is all or nothing, and much hinges on its current "all" status.

It's an interesting 'toon, although there hasn't been a draft since 'Nam (incidentally, March 30 was the date of pullout, if I recall correctly).

And has the government stopped forcing 18 year-old boys to sign up for selective service? I remember facing potential penalties a bit worse than an extra tax if I didn't opt in to conscription.

I still don't get the idea behind forcing people to buy health insurance. People don't have it because they can't afford it.

You already can waltz into an ER without insurance today. We pay for it and it costs more than simply covering regular clinic visits and preventative care.

How does forcing them to spend money they don't have help them?

Folks that genuinely can't afford it should be eligible for the revised Medicaid, right?

This law is a fraud, imposing a hidden tax on the populous.

When the healthcare law passed I did a little research. There were five free clinics and dozens of doctors providing free or low cost service within five miles of where I live vs three hospital emergency rooms. Also, recently, there was research which showed that insured young people use emergency rooms with greater frequency than uninsured young people. The emergency room argument is a shibboloth. Costs will go up not down. What the law does is create an unaffordable multi-trillion dollar mess built on a raft of false assumptions.

The Constitution provides for war powers, not insurance powers. As for the liberty aspect, if I were drafted at least I could have gone to Canada to avoid it. If I stayed and served it would have been only two years, I would have been paid, fed and clothed, and assuming I survived I would have been entitled to benefits for a lifetime (a huge perk used by many being veterans preference in federal hiring and firing). I would be happy to go back to the original understanding of powers and authorities under the Constitution, where the Federal Government looked to the states to raise armies in times of war. One overreach should not be used to justify others.

Face it, it was (and is) a bad, no make that pathetic law. A 2700 page law? Really? And when section after section reads "... to be determined by the administrator at a later date ..." sheesh, give me a break.

I agree that there should be something regarding catastrophic coverage, I don't want to pay for your birth control (or abortion) and I don't want you to pay for my viagra (I don't need use any but I'm just saying). Money in the bill for bike trails and walking paths? Hey, fine goals and ideas, but in the health care bill? And no, I DON'T think it's a good idea to cover a 'child' on a parent's insurance up to age 26. By the time the 'kid' is 26 it's long past time for him/her to grow up and start taking charge of their own lives.

Finally where does it stop? Can a person live longer without food or healthcare? Well then I guess we need to charge taxpayers more taxes to ensure that everyone has 'adequate housing'. Can they live longer without water or healthcare? Time to jack up the tax rates so we 'ensure' that everyone has 'adequate water'. Just where does it stop? When is it that we've declared enough?

I just hope it's struck down, I mean the entire bill, all 2700 pages. Think of the trees it will save.

"Well then I guess we need to charge taxpayers more taxes to ensure that everyone has 'adequate housing'."

We do.

"Time to jack up the tax rates so we 'ensure' that everyone has 'adequate water'."

We have.

"Just where does it stop? When is it that we've declared enough? "

When you decide to live life as one man on an island.

This is the cost of living in a society. There are millions of acres of uninhabited land just waiting for someone to move to for a life off the grid. Give it a shot.

Really Chuck, really?

I guess they haven't raised the taxes high enough then, because last I've seen, we've got LOTS of people both without housing and with 'less-than-adequate' housing. As for water, hmmm, they seem to have NO PROBLEM turning off your water if you don't pay the water bill. So exactly WHERE is it that you are talking about?

And no Chuck, while I wish to live in the society, I also want people to pull their own weight. Yes, I've had my water turned off because I couldn't afford to pay the bill. Yes, I've had to move to less than desirable accommodations (from some rather nice accommodations) because I could afford the bill to live there. I pay my fair share of taxes, I pay my bills, that's all I'm asking of others.

Excellent, Native & Newleaf. Personally, I found it appalling when the "wise Latina" went off into the weeds, asking how many kids get booted out of emergency rooms because their parents have no health insurance, when a shot would save that child's life.

At the risk of making her look like the ignoramus that she is, I can answer her question: zero. Nada.

And as NL pointed out, there are free clinics close by - and ER facilities(though I'd really like to see that option cut back). And I read the same research stories that NL did; it seems insured use ER at higher rates than uninsured.

I pay my fair share of taxes, I pay my bills, that's all I'm asking of others.

Exactly. If you can believe it, I was once so poor that I had to find housing I could afford, and I had no tv, and I didn't even have no dang dishwasher! How bad is that!?

A majority of Americans today classified as "poor" have at least one color tv and have - or have access to - a refrigerator, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. By my standards of 45 years ago, they live opulently. I buy enough for them.

I work in health care collection.

Anyone who presents at a non profit hospital must be treated - they cannot be turned away. A huge segment of the population uses the ER as primary health care.

If you think that is not cost shifted, then you are living in a dream world.

A single payor system is the way to go, but absent that, this is the best we've got. So when the Supremes strike down this law on some bootstrapped and pathetic argument under the commerce clause (broccoli anyone?) which they most CERTAINLY WILL - because this is about politics, not the commerce clause, expect your premiums, all you insured people, to go UP - as mine already have (thank you Regence BX/BS) - in anticipation of the decision. Also expect that your employers will ask you for a bigger contribution to your monthly premium.

Oh, and gosh, a refrigerator, a stove, a microwave and a dishwasher? Opulence personified!

"expect your premiums, all you insured people, to go UP - as mine already have (thank you Regence BX/BS) - in anticipation of the decision."

Our (two-adult household) medical insurance premiums went up more than $100/month (Regence BX/BS) a nano-second after Obamacare passed. We pay almost $8,000 a year, with a $5,000 deductible, large co-pays and low caps for essentially catastrophic coverage (and new 'free' flu shots!!).

The exorbitance of American medical costs, which, all sanctimony and screeching aside, is its worst fault relative to every other comparable country, has only been made worse by this bill.

For those who think the uninsured have it made because they can waltz into the ER and get "free" medical care, you are missing one important point. The hospital doesn't just say - "oh you're poor with no insurance, don't worry about it." No, the hospital bills the patient, duns them for payment, sends the debt to a collection agency and the patient ends up getting sued with a judgement on his/her credit record. I have seen many trashed credit histories as a result of medical bills. It is no wonder that the insured use the ER more; after all, they have insurance coverage. Yes, it costs more than an office visit, but it is not going to cost anywhere near what an uninsured patient is billed for.


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