Streams

After the Supreme Court Arguments

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two policemen guard outside the US Supreme Court on the third day of oral arguements over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Ezra Klein, columnist at The Washington Post and Newsweek, talks about what happens now that the Supreme Court has heard arguments in the Affordable Healthcare Act case, and what it means for policy and politics in 2012

Comments [104]

The lives of 50 M Americans v Supr.Court Sophistry from Voiding the heathcare law will kill 1000s of Americans/year.


If the Supreme Court voids this healthcare law, it will
DIRECTLY result in the DEATH of 1000s of US citizens EVERY YEAR.
That is more innocent Americans killed PER YEAR than from all
terrorism attacks against the U.S..

The facts are clear. There are 50 million uninsured American
citizens. These Americans are overwhelmingly uninsured by NECESSITY -
NOT for reasons of greed, foolishness or selfishness. They are
the working poor or the unemployed. They cannot AFFORD what in
most of the world is a basic human right.

By necessity, these 50 Million Americans delay access to care
and have decreased access to care. When they do become sick they
are usually bankrupted. "Not for profit" hospitals are usually
brutal about hiring collection agents - and they charge the
poor, weak and uninsured MANY TIMES more FOR THE SAME SERVICES
than anyone else.

They are very stingy about "charity care" - and much like the banks -
they use bureaucratic mazes to inappropriately deny people help.

Most importantly :

The Uninsured are more likely to DIE unnecessarily of READILY
TREATABLE conditions like Asthma, Infections, High blood pressure
and high cholesterol leading to stroke and heart attack, diabetes.

The Uninsured are also much more likely to DIE in the hospital
even controlling for risk factors.

The Uninsured have life expectancies comparable to the THIRD WORLD
-they die YEARS earlier than other American Citizens. EACH ONE YEAR
OF REDUCED LIFE EXPECTANCY FOR THE UNINSURED TRANSLATES TO MORE
THAN 500,000 innocent American citizen's lives NEEDLESSLY LOST.

Fancy arguments are always entertaining.
No doubt smart lawyers and judges can make arguments for
any side of an issue. Academic debates are an art form
in themselves. But the Supreme Court is not a think tank
or an academic ivory tower.

If the Supreme Court voids the healthcare law, they will be sentencing
1000s of innocent American citizens a year to an unnecessary and
premature death.

They will be inflicting needless pain and suffering on millions more.

The Supreme court should focus on the practical reality, not
empty word play. If they can not act for JUSTICE, but only
for technicalities - they should remain silent.

Voiding this law will kill 1000s.

Apr. 05 2012 01:33 PM

@Sophistry and the lives of 50 . . . etc.

Unfortunately for the satisfaction of your "Savior Complex", which you, and those who share your obsession, wish to satisfy by commandeering the wealth and treasure of others, the practice of law and legal argument are disciplines. I have no doubt you may come to appreciate it even if you are unable to rid your self of "magical thinking" (e.g., "I want" or "Someone needs", therefore "Someone must provide.")
That is the "fact" that seems clear to me.
Here is some therapy material:
http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/breyers-unhinged-commerce-clause-ramblings/453011

Mar. 29 2012 11:36 PM

dr dave from Manhattan asks:

"Will the Justices answer the question: Does for profit health insurance need to exist?"

Do "for profit doctors, medical clinics, hospitals, pharmacists or pharmaceutical companies" need to exist?

Assuming your doctorate is in human medical practices of some sort, are you a "for profit doctor"? How would that be determined?

(The salaries of the SCOTUS judges range from $223500 per year to $213900 per year. In your estimation, are they for profit judges? At what salary amounts do members of Congress become for profit legislators?)

In your world, what work, labor, task should be allowed to receive "for profit" compensation? (if any) ;-)

Mar. 29 2012 11:07 PM

I'm not a supporter of Obamacare. I often weigh a candidate's support for the program as mark of dishonesty because the "necessity" of the so called "anti free-rider" provisions are unexplained in a country with a civil court system that functions as a venue for collecting unpaid fees for services or products. While there may be a problem for collecting the money "due" on medical services and products, I haven't heard anyone address whether these unpaid amounts are chargeable to persons who actually have the resources to pay (or buy insurance) or whether these bills are for the truly indigent and needy. It feels like the "reforms" are really intended to service the needs of a heath insurance and health services industrial complex that wants its incomes guaranteed by the government or . . . ? Isn't that the kind of argument that sent us down the rabbit hole for the recent financial industry bailouts? MIKE CHECK! MIKE CHECK!

Mar. 29 2012 08:29 PM
Don

Consitutionality is a smoke screen put foward by the republican party to hopefully do away with Obamacare right before the election. They want so badly to make sure that Obama is limited to one term that they were willing to let the credit rating of this United States be downgraded.
During this election season they have said we can't take another four years of this administration, the recovery isn't going as planned. Hopefully once there is a republican nominee, the Democrats will stand up and remind the country, which administration created a need to recover.
The previous administration waited until after the mid-term elections of 2010 to come to television and admit they weren't pointing the finger at anyone else. President Bush said he did what he thought was best at the time. Once the hole has been dug so deep, by your predicessor, you can't blame the current President for not getting it all filled in in one term.

Mar. 29 2012 06:12 PM

turned 81 march 24th i have had 15yrs of medicare and it is great. if every one is given health care run by the goverment there would be no need for insurance co's. the 20% minimum cost could go to providing services. most cost can be prepriced the exceeptional operation can be mediated. more money to police the system from fraud etc. which there is plenty. for example i can see a pediatrist every 61 days and have my toe nails cut, but i can never go to a dentist and have my teeth cleaned. with insurance co's doctors now have four clerks to one nurse. they spend most of the time trying to collect thier fees. i guess they play the game who can hold the money the longest. many doctors nolonger take medicare for this reason. health care should be a tax on all. the rich will be able to go to private drs wih no waiting lines, but still support the health system. great idea but a tough lobby to fight.

Mar. 29 2012 04:44 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Calls'em - Too bad "rightist" judges, namely Chief Justice the person with the most bearing on this situation, find no "guilt" with Kagan (strange term to use there). (The same goes for Justice Thomas, whose wife has actively tried to repeal the ACA.)

"The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request for debate over whether Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the health care reform case due to be argued in March."

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71819.html#ixzz1qXVF5P6Q

"Rightists [like Calls'em] have no shame, despite their" unadulterated prejudice even when proven wrong.

Mar. 29 2012 04:29 PM
Sophistry and the lives of 50 Million Americans from Voiding this will kill 1000s of Americans each year.


Fancy arguments are always entertaining.
No doubt smart lawyers and judges can make arguments for
any side of an issue. Academic debates are an art form
in themselves.

But the KEY point is this :

If the Supreme Court voids this healthcare law, it will
be killing 1000s of US citizens every year.

The facts are clear. There are 50 million uninsured American
citizens. These Americans are overwhelmingly uninsured by NECESSITY -
NOT for reasons of greed, foolishness or selfishness. They are
the working poor or the unemployed. They cannot AFFORD what in
most of the world is a basic human right.

By necessity, these 50 Million Americans delay access to care
and have decreased access to care. When they do become sick they
are usually bankrupted. "Not for profit" hospitals are usually
brutal about hiring collection agents - and they charge the
poor, weak and uninsured more FOR THE SAME SERVICES than anyone else.
They are very stingy about "charity care" - and much like the banks -
they use bureaucratic mazes to inappropriately deny people help.

Most importantly :

The Uninsured are more likely to DIE unnecessarily of readily
treatable conditions like Asthma, Infections, High blood pressure
and high cholesterol leading to stroke and heart attack, diabetes.

The Uninsured are also much more likely to DIE in the hospital
even controlling for risk factors.

The Uninsured have life expectancies comparable to the THIRD WORLD
-they die YEARS earlier than other American Citizens.

The Supreme Court is not a think tank or an academic ivory tower.

If the Supreme Court voids the healthcare law, they will be sentencing
1000s of innocent American citizens a year to an unnecessary and
premature death.

They will be inflicting needless pain and suffering on millions more.

The Supreme court should focus on the practical reality, not
empty word play. If they can not act for JUSTICE, but only
for technicalities - they should remain silent.

Voiding this law will kill 1000s.

Mar. 29 2012 03:12 PM
Calls'em from Here, there & everywhere

The Supreme Court will overturn 0bamaCare in it's entirety since there is no severability clause in the law; and Justice Kagan will be impeached for her participation in the trial by the new Super Majority in the Senate in 2013. Kagan helped draft the government's case before she was a Justice and therefore has one of the most profound conflicts of interests ever held by any federal justice, let alone one on the Supreme Court. Leftists have no shame, despite their guilt.

Mar. 29 2012 03:10 PM

@Ben Boer from NJ:

So what other products can the "gummamint" achieve a price decrease for by directing or controlling the purchaser's choice, by requiring everyone to buy one, or when "appropriate", requiring the purchase of a certain "type" of one?

Mar. 29 2012 12:36 PM

To some extent, my progressive fellow citizens, all this high dungeon is premature, nothing has really change by the public unmasking of the false justifications and reasoning upon which the flim-flam of Obamacare was based.
Why not wait for the Supreme Court decision before you expend all of this strum and dung.

Mar. 29 2012 12:11 PM
Ben Boer from NJ

@Christina from Brooklyn

Employers receive discounted rates for covering most, if not all, of their employees because covering groups creates a larger pool of risk. If you have 100 people buying insurance and 1 gets a terminal illness that is extremely expensive the insurance companies dips into the money they get from the other 99, if the group is only 50 people it's less likely the insurer can afford to cover those treatments. The whole idea of insurance relies on the people who pay more than they spend, which sounds like a raw deal... until you're the one who gets sick and ends up paying less than you spend.

The idea behind the guaranteed issue and community rating(coverage of people with pre-existing conditions) combined with the shared responsibility requirement(the so-called individual mandate) is that it creates a nationwide risk pool. Once both are in effect premiums in the individual market will drop because it will no longer be much riskier to insure and individual than it is to offer employers health insurance plans. However, there will still be the incentive to offer employer based plans because it essentially creates a risk pool within a risk pool. In countries like the Netherlands, where they have a very similar health insurance system to the Affordable Care Act, individual rates are massively lower than the current discounted company rates here... though their system involves a little more government involvement.

Mar. 29 2012 12:08 PM
John A.

Hoshiar Abdollah from Kingston, Ontario
I think we're together on this.

Olivia Koppell from New York City
They did seem to be having just a little too much fun for such an important case. Mental thumb twiddling until the time on the shot clock ran out.

Bonnie from Staten Island
Looks like you have made the perfect summary here.

Mar. 29 2012 12:07 PM

I'm re-listening to the show again, and it occurs to me that we already have "lawful" regulations requiring the purchase of agricultural produce
(e.g., broccoli and asparagus, or wheat or sugar) - isn't that what government
"price support" programs all about?
In my opinion we are so far "un-moored" from the the founders' ideal of liberty in a polity of limited government.

And I noticed I misheard the case name; luckily I believe the correction is the same - Marshall wrote the decision for McCulloch v. Maryland, not Madison.
(Lots of "M's")

Mar. 29 2012 11:48 AM
Olivia Koppell from New York City

Draping the health care reform debate in the black robes of the Supreme Court doesn't change what it really is: an attack on President Obama designed to further the stated goal of the Republicans to get him out of office. I found the arguments against the bill very disingenuous, especially when they said had reform just involved a tax to make it "medicare for all" they would have had no objection on constitutional grounds. But you know very well that had the President taken that route these same people would have screamed bloody murder - socialism or worse! This case by these states is nothing but the continuing attack on the Obama presidency. And it should be framed as such rather than the purely legal portrayal with which the media is treating it.

Mar. 29 2012 11:40 AM

Obviously, the Court has (erroneously in my view) found the system of mandatory public service "a.k.a., the military draft to be a legitimate means in a free society.
What is the limiting principle after you allow sending people to their death?
(mike check mike check)

Mar. 29 2012 11:26 AM

Clearly, we live in a Kulture™ bereft of empathy or compassion.

This circus and the circus "coverage" (including Mr. Leher) has shown shocking disregard for human suffering.

THIS IS NO BROCCOLI JOKE!

Mar. 29 2012 11:17 AM

dr dave from Manhattan ~

EXCELLENT question.

Mar. 29 2012 11:12 AM

sophia ~

amen... unfortunately.

Mar. 29 2012 11:09 AM
John A. from within the law, fortunately?

I'm divided, was Ezra Klein, a columnist, correct when he said the construction of the law was simple and constitutional? Or was the solicitor general genuinely shut down by the Supremes? If the first statement is correct, then it Appears we have activism on the part of our Justices, which would be a horror, especially with this case. If the second statement is correct, then an imaginary Attorney arguing for Mr. Klein would simply be shut down for having a poor argument. The press (including guest guest legal advice) will tell more - will they all be with Ezra? Now there's 80+ comments for me to check below...

Mar. 29 2012 11:09 AM

In order:

1. It was not Madison who wrote the decision Marlbury -
it was Chief Justice Marshal.
(Why is this domain the wreck of "progressive" flacks like Mr. Klein?)

2. Mr. Lehrer: the Congress is cosmically unable to legislate "free" services, be they private or public, they can only pass a law requiring someone besides the recipient (and ultimately not for long) foot the bill; only "grifters" offer things for "free". (Likewise the government can pay only with tax receipts or counterfeit.

3. To your "when the people really disapprove of legislative actions, they vote the rascals out -
MIKE CHECK - MIKE CHECK
?"What do you thing the results of the 2010 midterm elections were about?"

4.(and this should be read with #3) The legislation was formulated in a deceptive and confusing manner, the wording was word-shopped almost one phrase at a time and the realities of what the president (of the United States) and his allies were disguised but nonetheless repugnant. Again Mr Lehrer, you beclown yourself, why didn't they just pass the "mandate" as an express "tax" and include the usual language allowing for sever-ability if that is what its proponents intended??

Mar. 29 2012 11:08 AM
dr dave from Manhattan

Will the Justices answer the question: Does for profit health insurance need to exist?

Mar. 29 2012 11:05 AM

RichardUWS ~

To "Tim the psychotic caller":

Maybe, just maybe...that kid making $20k/year is only making $20k and living in the projects, buying groceries with food stamps because the school in his neighborhood is SH*T, his father was locked-up for selling grass to support his family because he couldn't get a job and maybe because the so-called minimum wage is not an actual LIVING wage.

Have you actually visited someone at an NYC housing project??? The smell of piss in the elevator alone, would motivate you to get the hell out ASAP. No one LIKES living like that!!!

Geezus!!

Mar. 29 2012 11:05 AM

I was surprised at the shallowness of the justices' arguments against the individual mandate. And disappointed that the counter argument from the Solicitor General was so ineffective. It showed an amazing lack of knowledge and understanding of health care as it impacts the lives of American citizens and the economy. I was also astonished that Scalia made fun of the entire law and the idea that he should actually read it -- and that the audience seemed to agree. What else does he have to do? So he's going to strike down a law he hasn't read? Evidently his mind was made up before the arguments even started. This would be the third time the court has made a partisan decision that intruded on and negatively impacted our lives -- Bush v Gore (however it turned out should have been determined by the vote count not 9 people); Citizens United; and now striking down the Affordable Health Care Act. I just wish the case for the law had been more forceful -- though it might not have made a difference based on the reasoning displayed by the court over the three days of arguments.

Mar. 29 2012 10:59 AM

I love the levity with which those with access to healthcare have toward an issue that disallows 47 million people from access the same necessary care.

Mar. 29 2012 10:52 AM
Ben Boer from NJ

@Jake S

I agree that our generation gets depicted in the worst, most inaccurate way. However, I've heard far too many younger, healthier people talk of ignoring the shared responsibility requirement because it would be cheaper to pay the penalty than it would be to buy health insurance. It really is a shame that an entire generation is characterized by those who do choose to freeload.

Mar. 29 2012 10:48 AM
Chris Garvey from Ron

Ron Paul says:
But in many cases, insured individuals aren’t much better off either. In comparison to the exorbitant insurance premiums they pay, the medical care they receive is often very poor.

Additionally, due to the government-enforced monopolies of HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) and pharmaceutical companies, many patients will never even hear about some of the most effective and non-invasive treatment methods. These natural and inexpensive ways of regaining one’s health are being suppressed by the FDA and the medical establishment not because of safety concerns (they’ve been around for hundreds of years), but because they cannot be patented and would therefore cut into the pharmaceutical industry’s profits.

The current system is most definitely broken, and it must eventually be abolished if we want to regain both our health and our freedom.

But Obamacare is the worst possible answer. All it does is perpetuate a flawed system by forcing everyone to become a client of insurance companies, even those who don’t want to or need to participate.

Mar. 29 2012 10:41 AM
Cristina from Brooklyn

And what about the argument that if people are required to purchase insurance under this bill then many employers may choose to no longer offer insurance and thus compel individuals to seek private plans, which I imagine would be more expensive since companies, especially the large ones, receive discounted rates for covering all or most of their employees.

Mar. 29 2012 10:41 AM
Ben Boer from NJ

The court can hear the case because the shared responsibility requirement involves a penalty, not a tax. The shared responsibility requirement is constitutional because, like it or not, we are all a part of the healthcare market because we all need medical attention at one point or another. There is a clear limiting principal in the fact that healthcare and health insurance are unique, intertwined markets. The discussion of severability is irrelevant because the shared responsibility requirement is constitutional. Finally, it's absolutely ridiculous for the states to argue Medicaid expansion is coercion.

Did I mention the question at hand on Tuesday was the constitutionality of the SHARED RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENT. The term individual mandate is a partisan, Frank Luntz type rewording that we need to stop perpetuating.

Mar. 29 2012 10:41 AM
rich mcbride from Murray Hill

We have to buy auto insurance. This court gave us GWB, the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, Citizens United, and corporate power...with no remorse...why wouldn't they take away health care for the poor and unlucky? They were appointed to do just that...

Mar. 29 2012 10:41 AM
Jake S from Manhattan

I am sick and tired of people like the last caller bashing my generation as people who would be content to sit on our butts and collect public assistance. Does pride mean nothing to him? Does he really think we aspire to be on the dole? I don't think he's talked to a young person in the last decade or so, and I think he's forgotten what it was like to be young. I was underemployed for a year, getting help from my parents, and I could have lived comfortable like that. I looked for a job because it doesn't feel good to be getting extra help and not being productive.

By the way, an annual income of $20,000 for a single person in New York State is too much to qualify for food stamps.

Mar. 29 2012 10:40 AM
sophia

Vt has coverage for anyone who wants it WITHOUT a mandate and WITH a requirement that the sickest citizen can not be charged more than 20% more than the healthiest.

The mandate is unnecessary. It is nothing but an insurance company kick-back and the Obama admin is getting what it deserves for passing a plan originated by the Heritage Foundation

Mar. 29 2012 10:39 AM

RichardUWS ~

'Cause that would impinge that dude's racist predisposition.

Mar. 29 2012 10:38 AM
Ken

I get more and more disgusted with this the more we talk about it. We're really going to let 30-50 million people go without health care because a bunch of rich people don't want their money to help the poor? I say scrap the whole damn system - let the supreme court strike down the whole law, then go back to the drawing board and come up with a single payer system that the rest of the civilized world realized long ago is the right thing to do.

Mar. 29 2012 10:38 AM
Bernard from Bernard

The comparison to broccoli is ridiculous. Health care is unique in the sense that when you need it, it will be the ONLY thing that will satisfy your situation. Broccoli, on the other hand, is one of MANY things that would satisfy your nutritional requirement. What broccoli gives you can also be gotten from other green vegetables.

Mar. 29 2012 10:38 AM
Jim

@Katie Kennedy

They couldnt make you eat? Tell that to the forcibly tube fed (i.e. Terri Schivo and incarcerated hunger strikers).

Mar. 29 2012 10:37 AM
Fred

Why was Justice Scalia wrong, given the comments made, that exercise be required by Congress or that certain diets be followed since these life-style issues adversely impact on health costs. Similarly, if I lead a healthy life style, why should I pay for those who don't?

Mar. 29 2012 10:37 AM
Martin Niehaus from Brooklyn

I have lived in countries in the third world as well as the first, and have had experience in most of the various forms of health care, including the UK's virtual social medicine system (where everyone pays their share and Doctors are respected and still earn a good living), and Africa's almost non-existent public medical care system (where the only way to receive good care is to go private, and you avoid having to go to a public hospital due to the standard of care), and what I find most perplexing is that this issue, which is essentially a "for the greater good" issue for human beings and citizens, is such a divisive issue? Especially the Broccoli issue. Is the American citizenship's faith in their government really that low that they BELIEVE that if this health care issue passes, that their OWN government will ABUSE THIS power to mandate the purchasing of health insurance or compliance in national health care to mandate the purchasing of other "products"? What I understand from this is that there is so little trust in elected officials not to abuse this power in the future, that the people will not even let a basic human right be observed in what is essentially the largest democracy in the world.. Really?

Mar. 29 2012 10:37 AM
Linda

We don't want only sick people insured because the healthy ones will even out the risk. But look at Medicare. Only old people. We should spread out the risk by opening up Medicare to all ages.

Mar. 29 2012 10:36 AM

But why can't someone choose to not have insurance and pay the bill for care? People should be allowed to do that as they purchase anything. What really needs to happen is that costs should be more transparent. Try to figure out what it really costs vs. what they're charging. Having a single payer or having everyone have insurance will NOT make that better.

Mar. 29 2012 10:35 AM
Nick from UWS

Whadday mean, WE ELECT THOSE PEOPLE? What kind of nonsense is that? We didn't elect ANY of those Supreme Court judges, who are deciding this issue for us right now, and has taken it completely out of our hands. Once again, decisions affecting US society are being put in the hands of paid-off puppets for corporate America.

Mar. 29 2012 10:35 AM
John from nyc

Isn't the height of hubris when Scalia asks do you expect the justices or their clerks to read the 1000+ pages of this law.

Mar. 29 2012 10:35 AM
Chris from Croton

To say elections serve as a limiting principle is unworkable. When politicians stray from the Constitution, which they swear to uphold, the Supreme Court must step in to protect citizens from their representatives. Elections come too infrequently to provide sufficient protection.

Mar. 29 2012 10:35 AM
Caeser from Greenpoint

If the mandate is unconstitutional, doesn't that mean that the laws that force employers to purchase health care for employees is unconstitutional as well? After all corporations are people too.

Mar. 29 2012 10:34 AM
Anthony from New Jersey

Well, someone needs to point out, that if 50 million people can not afford to buy broccoli than Congress may just have to step in and regulate the "food Market"

Mar. 29 2012 10:34 AM
Chris Garvey from more freedom

There is only one solution that will lead to true health and true freedom: making health care more affordable. Ron Paul believes that only true free market competition will put pressure on the providers and force them to lower their costs to remain in business. Additionally, Ron Paul wants to change the tax code to allow individual Americans to fully deduct all health care costs from their taxes.

Through these measures and the elimination of government-sponsored health care monopolies a much larger number of people will be able to finally access affordable health care, either by paying for medical insurance or by covering their medical expenses, which are now much lower, out of their own pocket.

As for the poor and the severely ill who can neither obtain insurance nor pay for the medical care they need, Ron Paul offers the following solution in his book “The Revolution: A Manifesto“:

In the days before Medicare and Medicaid, the poor and elderly were admitted to hospitals at the same rate they are now, and received good care. Before those programs came into existence, every physician understood that he or she had a responsibility towards the less fortunate and free medical care was the norm. Hardly anyone is aware of this today, since it doesn’t fit into the typical, by the script story of government rescuing us from a predatory private sector.

Mar. 29 2012 10:34 AM
john from office

The hoodie becomes a joke when it becomes a prop, used by race baiters and hucksters to stir up the "community".

African Americans are represented by horrible "leaders". The least educated lead. Remember Sister Soldier, Jesse "I have a scheme" Jackson, Al "Brawley" Sharpton. All rape their people for profit.

Mar. 29 2012 10:34 AM
Karen from NYC

As to limits:

Gore v. Bush was limited by the Ct to its facts;

The General Motors bankruptcy proceeded as an asset sale, not a reorganization, due to the "national emergency" requiring a fast disposition of the case. The judge expressly limited the case to its facts.

Couldn't the SG have argued that the scope of the problem (trillions), its nature (health care) and its potential effects -- i.e., not merely to cost everyone money for others' care, but also to prevent people from buying into the market due to costs and exclusions and thus cause their death -- create a very narrow exception or limiting principle to whatever general commerce clause limit here might otherwise be preventing a mandate?

Mar. 29 2012 10:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

In Israel everyone, including unemployed and welfare recipients, MUST pay into one of the 4 "Sick FUNDS." They are called funds rather than insurance. Failure to pay can and sometime does lead to imprisonment if you go to the hospital without coverage and then don't pay the hospital bill. You can go to prison for debt, especially failure to pay child support, in ISrael as most law in Israel is British Common Law. But Israel started as democratic socialist country, like India, but has been drifting in our direction over the last 3 decades.

Mar. 29 2012 10:33 AM
Hoshiar Abdollah from Kingston, Ontario

The arugments of the conservative Justices was most absurd legal arugment I have heard for many reason including the the highly unlikelhood of Congress and President to mandate purchase of cell phone etc. Secondly almost everybody will use medical services in their lifetime. As you know it is illegal to provide these services for patients in the ER. Thirdly if I do not have a cell phone or not eat certain vegetable I will harm my self and not other. It is atsonishing that US is the only Western democracy that continue to deny significant number of it is population basic health care and fall back on bogus consistutional argument to defeat a Heritage Foundation (less than ideal) partial solution for this problem.

Mar. 29 2012 10:32 AM
JM from Manhattan

these right wing conservatives will force us back to 19th century America in a 21st century world.. I say let them do it .. They and their children will... suffer. he world will turn away from the US and they can have their guns and bibles to see them thru their self fulfilling prophecy...

Scalia's arguments are facetious. He spins them at the behest of the factions that under wite him.
We already are told by the government to purchase health insurance (Medicare taken out of our paychecks, and retirement insurance (Social Security.. this has already been decided with the social security act that we have decided to provide these benefits) The right wing is hoping to use this trojan horse
decision process to attack social security and medicare which they have been gunning for since the 30's

Mar. 29 2012 10:32 AM
Rich P from Long Island

With regard to the Broccoli "analogy", if one does not eat, one dies. That's a pretty persuasive incentive to purchase food. The ACA penalty on the non insured is a motivation for them that would otherwise not exist.

Mar. 29 2012 10:32 AM
Lee from Manhattan

Why not look to taxing banks and big investment houses to underwrite healthcare? They profit on the backs of American citizens and produce nothing but money. That's where we need to look. All this talk that slices and dices healthcare reform distracts from the main issue.

The least a country should guarantee its citizens is good health care.

Mar. 29 2012 10:31 AM
Katie Kennedy

If they could make me buy broccoli, THEY COULDN'T MAKE ME EAT IT!

Mar. 29 2012 10:31 AM

Ask the dude who called in saying 21-year-olds will sit back making $20K a year eating from Food Stamps, living in public housing and using free health care why he doesn't do that, and if he doesn't want to live that way, how is he different from them.

Mar. 29 2012 10:30 AM
bernie from bklyn

the last caller is absolutely correct- there are no incentives to get a real job if you live in the projects and this just makes it worse. ezra klein is another one of brian's guests that is an obvious book-smart liberal who's never really worked a day in his life and has studied poor people but never was one or lived with them.

Mar. 29 2012 10:30 AM
the_hme from Jersey City, NJ

I heard that oral arguments have no relevance in the decision that some justices have already made, but instead only help to ask questions that will trigger answer that may influence those justices who still don't have a decision. Furthermore, I think that if we don't want to die of a preventable disease, we should all want health care, and if the government can help create competition, then maybe we will be able to afford it. I would rather use my money to buy the insurance, then give the gov a tax fee.

Mar. 29 2012 10:28 AM
Alma from Brooklyn

Obama used the Swiss healthcare system as a model. There it is obligatory for everyone to purchase health insurance. It is only in this way that it is sustainable.Switzerland in this way has great medical services, no long waiting lines and the economy is doing very well. Every single person will need medical attention some point in their lives. In Switzerland young people just pay much less than older people, and there are plenty of options to choose from. It is similar to car insurance, if you have a car or rent a car you need to get car insurance, and if you are a human being you need to get health insurance. Other wise the medical system will get increasingly more expensive and unaffordable. We should stop thinking as individuals and start thinking as a society.

Mar. 29 2012 10:28 AM

I wouldn't mind buying "insurance®" if it were actually INSURANCE.

Mar. 29 2012 10:28 AM
Sagient from Britain

AMERICANS DO NOT DESERVE HEALTH CARE...

HAHA... Loosers

Mar. 29 2012 10:28 AM
Jim

It is not the job of the Supreme Court to fix bad legislation. If the bill was easy to understand and not full of thousands of pages of potential landmines and exemption, then perhaps it could be upheld. But it does not fit these criteria. It is not the job of the Supreme Court to pull it apart and figure out what really makes for a good law and good policy.

And, as dboy keeps saying -- we don't need insurance. We need healthcare! And this bill is not about healthcare.

Mar. 29 2012 10:27 AM
Karen from NYC

Please explain the constitutional ground for distinguishing between a single payer plan (which we can do) and the mandate (which the Court appears ready to say we can't do). Is it that one is based in the government's ability to tax, while the other involves the regulation of a private market? We can set up a national program distributing broccoli to which all have to pay taxes, but not make them buy on a private market?

Please explain. Ginsberg and Breyer both raised the issue, but I didn't understand the answer.

Mar. 29 2012 10:27 AM

Caller Tim you are right...but it is falling on deaf ears. Let the experts tell you why you are wrong.

Mar. 29 2012 10:27 AM

Who is this caller called "Tim"?

Mar. 29 2012 10:27 AM
As Applied from Unequal protection

Muslims, who regard insurance as gambling and sinful, are reportedly exempt. So Sharia law provides an exemption.
But as now applied, the Catholic anti-abortion doctrine does not warrant an exemption.

Mar. 29 2012 10:26 AM

centuries sure...millenia hahaha.

Mar. 29 2012 10:24 AM

Okay...

I don't want to be forced to purchase a sh*t "insurance™" product. But, is the Obama secret "evil" plan such that I'm suppose to support this nonsense now for a unforeseen "single payer" payoff, sometime in the undefined future??

Mar. 29 2012 10:24 AM
Cristina Cocheo from Brooklyn

As someone currently uninsured and unemployed, I'm gratefully receiving unemployment insurance, however I am not eligible for medicaid because single people without dependents must make under $1000/month to qualify. So my question is, under this bill, would I be required to purchase health insurance with my meager weekly unemployment benefits that just barely cover my rent, transportation and food? Cobra, which I was offered when my prior employment contract ended 6months ago, is beyond unaffordable.

Also, doesn't the government require all people who drive to purchase at least liability insurance? Isn't auto-insurance far more analogous to requiring people purchase health care than, say, cell phones? Why do people even go there?

Thanks!

Mar. 29 2012 10:23 AM

enough of the broccoli stuff Brian...

Mar. 29 2012 10:23 AM
Edward from NJ

The Solicitor General's oral argument performance is largely irrelevant. If all the bloggers and columnists of the world have better, more compelling arguments, why didn't they file amicus briefs of their own. Anyway, the real arguments are going on among the members of the Supreme Court right now.

Mar. 29 2012 10:20 AM
John from NYC

The guest's comment that congress is its own limit -- they will not vote for something absurd, is frightening. We know that occasionally it will, and that is what the constitution is there to protect us from.

To deny this role of the constitution is to open the door to tyranny, eventually, from either the left of the right.

Mar. 29 2012 10:20 AM
susan from nyc

I wouldn't mind paying for health insurance ONLY IF it included alternative and eastern medicine.

Mar. 29 2012 10:20 AM
Asaf Soof from Union Sq

The government does force us to buy stuff all the time. We are forced to pay for roads, electric grid, submarines, army, elected officials salaries and much more. It is paid with taxes. Health care is a basic right in a country of our quality and basic health care (not only emergency health care) should be provided to all, just like Sweden, UK and Israel. The problem in this country is that we moved from race to class prejudice. Republicans, and the rich want to keep the lower classes to be held back by medical trouble, believing it keeps them and their off-springs ahead.

Mar. 29 2012 10:20 AM
Latisha from Brooklyn

It might be silly, but why is this broccolli thing such a far fetched comparison? Isn't this what Bloomberg is trying to do in NYC with regulating food, foodstamps, etc. Perhaps it is not a bad idea, but to say the government wouldnt intrude further into our lives is rediculous. Even as we discuss this, Obama has allowed the NSA to tap *all* electronic communication, even of US citizens.

Mar. 29 2012 10:19 AM
Cory

The limiting principle is the one Charles Fried specified: A specific recognized liberty interest. Congress can make you buy broccoli. It can't make you eat it. Congress can make you buy health care insurance. It's can't make you have you have your appendix taken out. It can make you buy insurance that provides contraception, it can't make you use contraception.

If 40% of dead people went unburied and just rotted on the street, the government sure could make you buy burial insurance.

Mar. 29 2012 10:18 AM
Linda from Brooklyn

This is the biggest boondoggle for the private profit making insurance companies, and if it goes through will institutionalize the role of private insurance in your healthcare. It will be very difficult to take the profits out of healthcare after. I believe we all have a right to healthcare, but the private insurance companies don't have a right to profit from it -this law will give them the right.

Mar. 29 2012 10:18 AM
Pearse

If the ACA is found to be unconstitutional, because the government is forcing you to buy it, could Social Security be unconstitutional?

Mar. 29 2012 10:18 AM
Mike in Manhattan from Manhattan

I am amused by the press calling the testimony on the healthcare act a "marathon." By reckining it looks like about 2 hours a day of actual testimony over three days.
Where I work, that is called slacking off.

Mar. 29 2012 10:18 AM
Chris from YKT

Chris Garvey: You don't really want to throw the whole thing out. There are some very good components to this. But it doesn't solve all the problems, nor will a single payer system solve them.

dboy: name calling is not nice nor needed.

Mar. 29 2012 10:18 AM
Molly from New YOrk City

Don't tax payers buy wars?

Mar. 29 2012 10:18 AM
Marjorie

How about the limiting principle:
The government can force you to engage in commerce if:
a. the commerce is for an essential service and
b. if failure to engage in such commerce materially or significantly impacts others who must be part of that market

Healthcare fits these criteria--everyone is a user of the service by virtue of being a human being, and failure of universal participation in insurance certainly materially impacts the cost of the goods and services for all others.

Mar. 29 2012 10:17 AM
rich from brooklyn

They should put down the whole law.

Most Americans, on a very simple level feel this mandate is not right, never mind the legal technicalities.

If i was an Obama advisor i would be hoping that the whole law is wiped out, once that is done Obama is on his way to a 2nd term, for sure. Rich

Mar. 29 2012 10:17 AM
Bonnie from Staten Island

In the first five minutes of your program I have heard at least three reasons and prior "examples in the law" that provide better responses than most of the "logic" in the Court from Monday to Wednesday. The nation's lawyer was pathetic -- but so were the Conservative Judges.

The Conservative Justices on the Court seem to live in La-La land where no one gets sick and everyone else has to pay their bill. The Judges are going to strike this down: 5 to 4 -- the only question is the extent. Nauseating -- OMG -- I think I need an emergency room -- Do I have insurance?

Mar. 29 2012 10:16 AM
Bob from SI

Here is another requirement that government could force on us.Life Insurance, as a parent of five children it is a responsible thing for me to have life insurance. If i didn't my children would be dependent on the state. The government could require all parents to have life insurance

Mar. 29 2012 10:16 AM
The Truth from Becky

I am glad John and Martin think that the "hoodie" reference is a joke!That just adds clarity to the problem and proves that ignorance abounds in the USA.

Mar. 29 2012 10:16 AM
Jim

Brian stop with the Broccoli nonsense. The solicitor general was unable to make a legal argument as to why these comparisons were not relevant.

That is how the process works. Arguments are supposed to be made. Your team (you are clearly biased here) failed to do its job. Maybe, just, maybe its because it really is the same thing -- and that once you are forced to buy one thing, the law will require that the floodgates are open.

Mar. 29 2012 10:16 AM

did you say we elect the officials and they do what we want...are you cuckoo for cocoa puffs?
the other examples they gave were meant to be extreme...but making people buy health care is extreme too...

Mar. 29 2012 10:15 AM
Latisha from Brooklyn

what is the point of this guest? Alternative views, anyone? THis program is getting less and less releveant.

Mar. 29 2012 10:15 AM
Tom from UWS

The large difference between health care insurance and exercise, broccoli, etc , is that health care insurance is not readily available to all. The law in question hopes to make it available to more.

Mar. 29 2012 10:15 AM
antonio from bayside

option a) Add the public option.

option b) If all fails, scrap it all and start with a single payer.

option c) Everyone moves to vermont. There moving to a single payer.

Mar. 29 2012 10:14 AM

john from office ~

The depth of you idiocy is stunning.

Mar. 29 2012 10:14 AM
Carl from Paterson, New Jersey

Limiting principle or needless diversion? These "horribles," such as the government forcing people to eat broccoli, reminds me of what right wing nuts said about same-sex marriage being the first step on a slippery slope to incest and bestiality.

Who knew the Supreme Court was going to try a pickpocket's trick of diverting attention? But, then again, the GOP does this constantly of late.

Mar. 29 2012 10:14 AM
Carmel from forest hills

This is not a general law. It applies only to this issue. Why, then, should the Government supply the limiting principle? It would still end up in court if they tried to do this with broccoli. It is a straw argument, and everyone seems to be participating in it.

Mar. 29 2012 10:14 AM
Joel from Nyack, NY

If a state can mandate that we buy auto insurance why can't the Federal government mandate that we buy health insurance?

Mar. 29 2012 10:14 AM
David from West Hempstead

The limiting principle, if you insist on one, is that there is no such thing as "inactivity" in the health care market.

Mar. 29 2012 10:14 AM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Throw the whole thing out.
http://www.wnyc.org/people/richard-epstein/

Mar. 29 2012 10:13 AM
Jose from bronx

This is not a constitutional case, it's people in power showing Americans that they are of no importance and significance to them.

AMERICANS do not deserve Health coverage.

People like the Brother of Koch Industries are flexing their muscles.

Mar. 29 2012 10:13 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@john from office-

Bravo, LOL.
Yea, Brian, what's up with that???!!!!

Mar. 29 2012 10:13 AM
Jim

Did the growing number of corporate exemptions come up during the arguments? If corporations are people, why are they not also all required to pay?

Mar. 29 2012 10:12 AM
Ken

As most reasonable people realize, this exercise is 100% political. If the exact same plan had been passed by a republican, there would be no uproar and no court case. I'd go so far as to say if the exact same plan had been passed by a *white* democrat, there would be far less controversy drummed up by the opposition.

Mar. 29 2012 10:12 AM
john from office

Thankfully you got in a swipe at the 2nd amendment, good hoodie moment Brian!

Mar. 29 2012 10:11 AM
Jim

Seems like a fair trade. The right can buy the insurance that they don't want and the left buy the guns that they don't want.

Mar. 29 2012 10:10 AM
john from office

Brian, I have been waiting for you to do the show in a hoodie!!! Where are your priorities!

Mar. 29 2012 10:06 AM
Emil from queens

sure looks like the conservative activist court is hell bent on saving the American people from having health coverage or access to medical care when needed.

Ay min...

Mar. 29 2012 09:42 AM

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