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Government Medicine The Courts United States

Healthcare Law Appealed To Supreme Court 1019

26 states and a small business group have filed separate appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to strike down Obama's 2010 healthcare law. In August, an appeals court in Atlanta ruled that the individual insurance requirement was unconstitutional, making it almost certain that the bill would go to the Supreme Court. From the article: "The Obama administration earlier this week said it decided against asking the full U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit to review the August ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that found the insurance requirement unconstitutional. That decision cleared the way for the administration to go to the Supreme Court. The administration has said it believes the law will be upheld in court while opponents say it represents an unconstitutional encroachment of federal power."
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Healthcare Law Appealed To Supreme Court

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  • Ridiculous argument (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:51PM (#37542474) Journal

    It's clearly established that the US government can force you to pay a tax for services you never use. The health care law is less restrictive than that. It still forces you to pay, but you can choose the entity you pay. If the government can force you to buy something from a single source, then it certainly should be able to force you to buy something from one of many sources.

    However, I have no reason to believe that the Supreme Court will come to the obvious and logical conclusion here. That's not their job. Their job is to provide legal cover for the corporate agenda.

  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:55PM (#37542540) Journal
    I heard on NPR today that while 2% of the latest increases in health insurance costs could be attributed to the ACA, the other 98% of the increases were a combination of insurance companies pre-emptively raising rates in case health care costs went up further in the future, and actual increases in current health care costs that had nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
  • by reebmmm ( 939463 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:12PM (#37542876)

    It's also not really a choice NOT to participate in modern, American healthcare.

    One of the proposed "fixes" originally was only to "require" insurance of people that partake of the healthcare system which is, at some level, everyone born in the United States. In other words, if you've never or will never use any healthcare, you'd be freed of the obligation. There are lots of practical problems with this, including, what to do with "free riders" or protestors that show up to a hospital, clinic, etc. when they're already sick or in need of healthcare.

    And when people tried to posit scenarios of someone who would never need U.S. healthcare, you get politicians like Rep. Steve King citing babies discarded in dumpsters. []

    The fact is, everyone participates in the current healthcare system even if they don't want to. Even those that affirmatively try to avoid the system could wind up there nevertheless via an ambulance and a 911 call. Allowing certain people to NOT participate is highly inequitable and without any rationale basis.

    All of that said, this result of the ACA is largely the Republicans' and insurance companies' fault. The more sweeping, Democratic vision would not have had the same problems and would not be unconstitutional on these grounds.

  • by Above ( 100351 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:22PM (#37543052)

    I've long thought the best thing for health care in this country would be for the law to be struck down. Too many people in this down economy already like provisions of it (no pre-existing conditions, keeping kids on your insurance longer). Were it to be unconstitutional I think there would be a large swell of folks pushing for them to find some way to re-establish the law and make it constitutional.

    Single payer becomes the obvious choice. It may be that the way to single payer is to lose in the Supreme Court.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:33PM (#37543292)

    I have been in single payer nations, never saw such thing. Are you paid by the insurers or are you their lackey for free?

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:51PM (#37543638) Homepage

    Funny that you mention the pre-existing conditions bit - that is what drove the requirement for everybody to have insurance or pay a tax.

    It is a compromise:

    1. Insurance companies are forced to sell insurance to everybody whether they want to or not.
    2. People are forced to buy insurance, whether they want to or not.

    You can't really have the one without the other. Insurers would either go out of business, or policies would become far more unaffordable than they already are.

    There is no way the courts would strike this down. If they did insurers would just start denying pre-existing conditions again, and then fight that out in the courts for another 5 years while people die untreated in hospitals. One way or another they'd find a loophole since anything else would be financial suicide.

  • by Beyond_GoodandEvil ( 769135 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:53PM (#37543668) Homepage
    To that end, it seems pretty obvious that the founders of the United States cared enough about the health of it's citizens.
    You know what is pretty obvious? What James Madison(the guy credited w/ writing the Constitution) had to say about that particular clause. "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions." So no, he didn't think that general welfare should be used to let Congress do what ever it wanted.
  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:01PM (#37543804)

    Please, tell me: which one of the many different governments in Somalia [] has implemented a Libertarian society?

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:21PM (#37544170)

    It's constitutional. I'm not sure where you got the idea that the health care overhaul legislation isn't constitutional. The Federal government has the right to regulate commerce. And, the reason why the costs have been spiraling out of control is that nobody truly opts out of health insurance. Eventually they do get sick at which point the doctors and hospitals turn the costs over to taxpayers or insurance companies.

    At this point only a very small section of the law is even in question and it's unlikely that Kennedy is going to side with the folks claiming that it's unconstitutional.

    Absolute worst case scenario is that it's thrown out in court and replaced with either Medicare for everybody or single payer, both of which are way beyond any challenge. The GOP just doesn't seem to understand that it's challenging the compromise that it was given and most of the other options are less palatable to them.

    Beyond that, if this really is that obviously unconstitutional they shouldn't have been pushing for it in the past.

  • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @04:33PM (#37545460)

    Actually, it does - how else do you expect to promote the general welfare without the government paying for services, which requires taxation.

    The 'necessary and proper' clause was the last item in a carefully enumerated list of powers.

    Headed, again, by General Welfare, making it's second appearance in the Constitution. And if you're going the "it's a strict list of enumerated powers" route, keep in mind that means that huge parts of the military, intelligence and law enforcement branches are unconstitutional, as Congress "only" has the authority to fund an Army and a Navy.

    This isn't even a new argument, all this was debated and settled in the Irrelevant Papers.

    FTFY, unless you can point out in the Constitution where it specifies that the Federalist Papers define what the Constitution actually means.

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