Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Mandate Goes to the Supremes

Yesterday's oral argument at the Supreme Court on the Constitutionality of the individual mandate is worth listening to in its entirety.  I realize I'm going to piss my father off for all time, but the investment of the two hours required to take this all in is something that anyone interested in the healthcare debate really ought to make.  Irrespective of one's ideological bent (and concomitant favorites among the Justices), it is hard to come away not admiring the probing questions of the Justices--on both sides of the issue.

The news spin is that the government did not carry the day, that the Solicitor General did not acquit himself well, but that the lawyer for the States (contesting the Administration's view on the individual mandate) did.  Oral argument is however, only one part of what the Justices use to make their decisions.  That said, the Administration had better pray that their written briefs work out better than oral argument did.

To restate my view on the mandate:  I do not believe that it is Constitutional.  But if it is, and if we as a society continue to desire that 1) people will not be financially ruined by catastrophic medical problems and that 2) people with pre-existing conditions will not be left out of the insurance market, I don't see how we can retain a private insurance market without one.


"The Hammer" said...

I don't think it takes a constitutional scholar to conclude that the mandate is unconstitutional. The commerce clause has been perverted and twisted to do things it was never intended to do. It's there to prevent individual States from going to economic war with each other, not to regulate a diner is Spencer, Iowa just because they serve French's mustard processed in Frankfurt, Kentucky. The justices took apart the SG's argument so quickly and so astutely it was almost embarrassing. Furthermore, if the mandate is upheld there is absolutely no limits on federal government power at all, for anything. The rule will be; if it's in your best interest, as determined by me, I can force you to do it.
Clearly with all its advantages and they are many, our health delivery system needs to be reformed, if for no other reason than there are too many freeloaders. We should take a free market approach while keeping in mind nothing is free, somebody pays. But if a single-payer system is instituted, then fine, but everybody is in the pool. NOBODY is exempt. Not Nancy Pelosi, not Harry Reid, not Alex Baldwin, not Spike Lee, not the President himself: NOBODY IS EXEMPT! No private health care at all, everybody stands in line.

Ken Adams said...

The kinds of questions asked by the Supreme Court justices in this argument are exactly those that should have been debated on the House and Senate floors. Unfortunately, our Legislative branch has abrogated its duty to legislate within the bounds of the Constitution. Time to throw all the bums out, they aren't doing the job for which we pay them so handsomely.

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