The individual mandate was originally a Republican idea, and they introduced two health care bills that included an individual mandate. Romneycare includes it. Ironically, Barack Obama in 2008 was opposed to it. But when Obama changed his mind, the Republicans suddenly became against it.
So the Republicans are desperately fighting to repeal the individual mandate. Ironically, some people believe that if the Supreme Court rules against it, that will help the Democrats win in the upcoming election.
It is enough to make your head spin. The Republicans are trying to repeal something that was their idea, and by repealing it will hurt their election chances.
My question for the week: Under the US Constitution I have a right to navigate the waters of the US, but the Federal government mandates I purchase a fire extinguisher and life jackets for my little boat, even though I don’t smoke and can swim.
What is the legal difference between the US Coast guard mandating I have life saving safety equipment on my boat, and mandating I have life saving health insurance?
JAMESM- The difference as I see it is, they didn’t mandate that you buy a boat in the first place. The safety regulations only apply if you own a boat, which is your choice. This law mandates in essence, that you must buy a boat and the safety equipment to go with it. Just like cars, you don’t have to buy one, but if you do, you must have insurance, seat belts, etc.
Now I fully understand the reasoning behind the mandate. The only way prices can go down is if everyone healthy or not participates. Then all the statistics change in favor of lowering risk and prices should drop. The issue I have is they just bungled the law. If they had said there will be an individual mandate and all persons will be required to be TAXED, perhaps like a payroll tax similar to SS or medicare, then this would’nt be at the SCOTUS level. But they didn’t, they chose to call it a penalty and originally said it was absolutley not a tax. You cannot penalize, ie. charge a crime, for not participating in a market. (if you don’t want to buy a boat, they can’t force you to participate in the regulations of it) The Gov does however have the ability to regulate, for public good, and tax, for public need.
They scewed up. They’ll need to redo it. I’m guessing the court will not strike down all of the law, just the mandate part.
Thats how I see it.
Psgt – Kennedy and Roberts both planted the seed to upholding the mandate, when they each said (paraphrase) that the health market is unique. Everyone already participates in it and it represents 18% of the total economy, so clearly Congress should have the jurisdiction to regulate it.
I think they planted that seed so that if they choose to uphold it they can word the ruling to make it clear it is NOT a precedent for other markets or products.
The reality is that everyone is in the health market, everyone uses the services, and the Congress absolutely should be able to impact how those services are paid for and consumed. The analogy that the mandate is forcing you to buy a private product like a car or boat is inaccurate – you can choose NOT to buy a car or a boat. You cannot choose whether to get sick or need medical care, and you can’t choose to never be injured by someone else’s action.
Arthanyel – I agree with your analogy, but we could apply that to many different areas. For instance, everyone will die, but there is no law saying you must pre-make buriel arrangements. When you don’t your family can’t be held liable and the public pays, so should there be a penalty for those that do not make buriel arrangements by the time of their 18th birthday?
To me its a slippery slope. If they had just called it a tax and everyone, in varying amounts contributes to that healthcare tax then I wouldn’t have an issue. I am also reluctant to say to a 20 something in perfect health that they MUST pay for insurance only because it makes it cheaper for the rest of us even though they might not use it for another 30 years. Maybe they will, maybe they get hit by a bus, die instantly and never use it.
I understand why we need it, but they just didn’t create it in the best possible way. And I know why they chose not to call it a tax, because voters would have percieved it during an recession as a negative.
PSgt – I don’t know that I can agree with “many different areas” since it is hard to identify another area with a similar impact on the economy. Interestingly the question of burial coverage is the closest thing since everyone will die eventually. Of course having the public cover a cremation is a one time event for a very small dollar amount, not 18% of the entire economy.
I agree that another soluton would have been better – say, single payer health insurance or a public option. Either would have been better. I find it both ironic and hypocritical that the only reason a mandate was in the ACA is because of an attempt to get REPUBLICAN support (since it was a REPUBLICAN idea). Had it not been for the Republicans, the Democrats would absolutely have passed at least a “public option” which would address everyone being covered.
So i don’t like the mandate either but I don’t think its unconstitutional. i do think it is a special case and that as Kennedy and Roberts have alluded, the fact it is permissable for health care does NOT mean that it translates to ANY other market.
And lets face it – health care “insurance” isnt a free market, any more than oil is a truly free market. They are both things that touch the lives of every single America, that we have to buy, and that are dominbated by a small set of semi-monopolies that can do anything they like – and that means they should be properly regulated.
About the difference between healthcare and a safety belt: Am I to understand that the more vital an item is to success, the *less* the govt is allowed to regulate it? Doesn’t that sound backward? Because everyone has shoes (99.99%), does that mean the government cannot regulate shoe safety?
Also, the argument is vacuous in other ways. Why do libertarians (the ones I know) support the seatbelt mandate? Because it reduces communal (ER) health costs. Yet when it comes to health insurance mandate, they chose not to apply the same reasoning.
Dan, It’s just that you can choose to be in a car or could still choose to walk instead. There should be a difference between regulating a thing once you choose to do it and requiring you do a thing in the first place and then regulating it. Thats all I’m saying.
Patriot, try being without a car in a rural area, and left to walk or take public transportation of which there is little or none. For most Americans, a car is pretty much mandatory, if not for getting to work, then looking for a job since none of the bluebloods running this country seems to favor a guaranteed minimum income. And no President since, surprisingly (or not), Richard Nixon! He proposed it and a Democratic Congress voted it down. How’s THAT for irony (even though it might be slightly off-topic)?