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Thoughts on the health care ruling - Phil's Rambling Rants
June 28th, 2012
07:09 pm

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Thoughts on the health care ruling
So, after months, no, years of increasingly vitriolic rhetoric and weeks of a feeling of impending doom, the Supreme Court finally ruled on the Affordable Care Act.  I've never been very enthusiastic about the ACA; instead of really fixing the health care problem by really breaking the health insurance money machine in favor of a public system, the Democrats adopted a pure Republican plan, apparently assuming that they would get Republican support.  The Republicans, of course, being far more concerned with opposing anything Democrats try to accomplish, immediately decided that their basic concept of health care reform was horrible, un-American, and evil.  But as poor as the ACA is, it is the biggest improvement in the mess we call a health care system in my lifetime.

I find that the main points of the ruling -- that the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the power to mandate that individuals purchase a product, but that the power to tax does give them the authority to impose a tax on people who don't -- to be about the best solution that could be found in this mess.  I do think the individual mandate is quite a stretch of the Commerce Clause, but I do think it passes muster under the taxing authority.  I would be happier about it if the politicians had just called it a tax from the beginning -- but then, I believe that we do have to have taxes, and that it is not only allowable, but fundamentally absolutely essential, for taxes to be used with intent to encourage behavior that benefits society as a whole.

I have to praise Chief Justice Roberts for a decision that I actually think is right, in spite of the expectations of the right wing.  I'm concerned about the commentary that says that he did it to protect the integrity of the Court, rather than to make the right decision in this case -- if the Court does not make right decisions, it has no integrity to protect.

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From:catsittingstill
Date:June 29th, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
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I'm relieved (and somewhat surprised) about the decision and astonished that Roberts cast the deciding vote--he didn't strike me as having been chosen to do the right thing.

But yay anyway.

I'm not sure I understand the "integrity of the court" stuff unless it means that, since Citizens United, people have begun to consider the drawbacks of handing so much power to distort democracy over to a small group of people who can't tell the difference between people and corporations or between money and speech.
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From:shockwave77598
Date:June 29th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
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My personal opinion is that a real healthcare system should provide some basic healthcare for everyone for free. No cost. This includes immunization and some 500$ a year medical coverage, be it for an illness or whatever.

I watched from afar as a friend in Florida got Pnuemonia and come a hairs width from death, simply because she had no coverage. All she needed was five dollar's worth of a common antibiotic. But she needed a prescription for that. And without coverage, no doctor would see her. She ended up in the ER at 10^5 times the cost, which the taxpayers and people with insurance get to pick up. All because she couldn't get a stinking dollup of meds because she wasn't insured...

ACA isn't socialized medicine. Making taxpayers cover the cost of ER care for uninsured people at 10000 times the cost? THAT is socialized medicine, and that's what we have today! Let's make it so people can get help without resorting to an ER, and you'll bring the costs down. You'll also make it so you actually can use the ER if you are in a real emergency, getting the nonemergency folks out of it.
From:markiv1111
Date:June 29th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
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I always enjoy your writing(s) on tigers and other large cats, but posts like this remind me of how incisive a thinker you actually are. I have nothing to add. By the way, I dreamed about you (and several other people I know) last night. I think your role was just to walk in the door and have everybody respond happily to your arrival (which, come to think of it, is far more realistic than dreamlike).

Nate
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