Federal Judge Strikes Down Health Care Reform Bill

Health care reform legislation lost a significant court battle Monday when a U.S. District Court judge in Florida ruled that the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is void after finding that the portion of the law that requires people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

CNBC reports the judge ruled that the law, which would require people to buy insurance or face a penalty starting in 2014, went too far. The judge wrote:

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”

The White House has said it will appeal the judge’s decision in the case, which represents governors and attorneys general from 26 states. There are other lawsuits regarding the health care bill that have been filed by Virginia and Oklahoma.

It’s believed that the legal battle over the bill will likely go to the Supreme Court.

The judge’s ruling is enforceable only in the territory governed by the federal courts of Florida’s northern district, which includes Pensacola, Gainesville and Tallahassee. However, it does give strength to arguments by those opposing the legislation.

The Florida judge is the fourth court ruling on the bill. Two of the courts upheld the legislation while a third judge in Virginia voided only the section on mandatory coverage.

How do you feel about health care reform and the judge’s decision?

Health Care Law Declared Void by Florida Judge [CNBC]

White House to Pursue Health-Care Appeal After Florida Ruling [Bloomberg]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. cbutler says:

    Im glad. Without going WAY into it, if you think Obamacare is expensive now… wait ’till its free.

    Now pardon we while I walk away because there are going to be a lot of people pisse doff about my comment.

    • cbutler says:

      And yes, the uni-healthcare thing is hella unconstitutional, Im surprised it took this long.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Not necessarily. Unless the SCOTUS changes its stance considerably, then it’s pretty clear that the commerce clause has again and again been found to cover this kind of transaction.

        You’re required to purchase auto insurance, for example.

        • wynterbourne says:

          No, you’re not. You’re only required to purchase auto insurance if you PLAN TO DRIVE. I know a number of people who happily walk, ride bicycles, etc… to work on a daily basis. There is an alternative to purchasing auto insurance if -you- make the decision to use it.

          There’s not for the current healthcare plan.

          • OutPastPluto says:

            Despite the heaps of abuse that the commerce clause suffers, the federal government is not allowed to do anything that strikes it’s fancy. It’s powers are actually supposed to be limited in favor of the states. The fact that your state can get away with something doesn’t mean the federal government can.

            Most people have no clue how our government is supposed to work or how it was originally intended to interact with state and local government. (or they just pretend they have no clue)

        • Zoe9906 says:

          Not at all the same. You have to purchase auto coverage as a condition of the state letting you drive on the road, if you don’t want to you can opt out and not drive.

          Also you aren’t required to purchase insurance covering yourself. The auto insurance you get is to protect other people from you. It’s a bad analogy.

          • pz says:

            Well, obviously the analog to that is that if you opt-out of buying health insurance, you simply won’t be allowed to use hospital emergency rooms.

            Sounds fair.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Not necessarily, given previous rulings by SCOTUS that cite the commerce clause.

            Just because it’s not a PERFECT analogy doesn’t mean it’s useless. The point is that the SCOTUS has ruled several times that mandates are perfectly fine.

            Another key, and probably legally interesting, fact about healthcare is that everyone at some point will need health care/insurance.

            That being said, I think Gonzales v. Raich shows just how broad even the current court feels that the commerce clause is.

            • rjaguar3 says:

              Likewise, everyone, at some point, will need housing. Therefore, the government can, under the commerce clause (as interpreted by DoJ), mandate that people with sufficient means take out a mortgage (Vinson Op. at 48).

              • PhantomPumpkin says:

                How the heck do you get to that? You have other options to satisfy the housing requirement besides owning a home. I think your super source there has a flaw.

                • partofme says:

                  That source looks like the same guy………… that the article is talking about. Seems to me that his reasoning might be useful in this case. As for your objection, there are also alternative ways to pay for one’s health care costs than through an insurance plan.

                • grumpygirl says:

                  It doesn’t have to be a requirement to have a mortgage. It could be rent. Put it this way, is it against federal law to be homeless? Should all homeless people be required to pay a fine to the IRS and/or be placed in federal prison?

        • cspschofield says:

          You are required to buy auto insurance IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE. You don’t have to if you don’t drive. you can even own a car, so long as you don’t take it onto public roads. Obamacare requires you to buy health insurance simply for existing. Big difference.

          As somebody has pointed out, if it is constitutional to require you to buy ANYTHING (just for existing), then it is constitutional for the President to break up a boycott (like the one MKL lead after the Rosa Parks incident) by requiring people to buy what they want to boycott.

          I grant that the healthcare issue is far from clear. I have doubts about every side of the argument that I’ve had any time to research. But the Federal Government does not have the authority to solve the problem in this manner. Or, if it does, there is literally no limit to its authority. And that would not be a good thing.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            If the new law had raised taxes and then granted a tax credit to those with insurance, it would have resulted in the same costs to the uninsured and insured, and would be an ironclad legality. But, the way it is now has the exact same result but somehow isn’t legal?

            I doubt it.

            • partofme says:

              They why did the government do it the way they did, rather than the way that would have left them in a supposed ironclad legal position?

          • GrimJack says:

            Well, how about we say that if you don’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay up-front, you aren’t allowed to receive any care, even emergency care.

            When uninsured people go to the ER, services are rendered regardless. And who pays for it? The taxpayers and (even more) the people that bought insurance. Without all the ‘free’ care that goes on in hospitals, we’d be paying less in premiums.

            Buy insurance or face the consequences. Not mandatory. But don’t expect those of us that pay our premiums to bail out those that refuse to. It’s not like there is a Constitutional right to free healthcare, is there?

        • ShruggingGalt says:

          And don’t forget it’s not the Federal Government that requires you to buy auto insurance. It is each state.

          Auto insurance =/= health insurance. I don’t use my auto insurance to cover oil changes, put new tires on, etc. etc.

        • barty says:

          Which takes an action on your part, driving an automobile, to be enforceable.

          This statute merely required you to be alive, there is no way to opt out without penalty. You can choose not to drive an automobile.

          Also note that the laws you refer to are STATE laws and are usually authorized under the STATE constitutions. If a state wanted to pass an amendment to their constitution making it legal for them to force individuals to buy health insurance, they’d be completely under their rights to do so under the 10th Amendment.

        • Doubts42 says:

          auto insurance really? You are usually much better informed than to compare state and federal requirements when discussing the federal constitution. You can also choose not to drive.
          i am in favor of health care repeal but the fact of the matter is that requiring Americans to purchase a private product is not constitutional.

        • banndndc says:

          the commerce clause has never been found to cover this type of regulation because this type of regulation (requiring the purchase of a private product as a condition of living) has never been tried. it is true that the use of the commerce clause has been pretty broad and rarely struck down but to take that fact (which has always been for economic activity not economic inactivity) and apply it to something that is clearly a different wrinkle without providing a caveat is pretty disingenuous.

        • grumpygirl says:

          Really? I’m not required to purchase auto insurance. If you don’t own a car, you don’t have to have it. With Obamacare, the federal government is forcing me to purchase insurance simply because I’m living and breathing.

      • mac-phisto says:

        i think that’s yet to be determined, don’t you? last i checked, the opinion of anonymous internet commenters had exactly zero sway in SCOTUS rulings.

      • VectorVictor says:

        Not really, but thanks for playing.

        There’s a reason that comment ‘baggery’ such as this is refuted seven-times around here. The lack of BS, save for the occasional troll and comment from an East Indian Company vandal.

    • Vivienne says:

      “Obamacare” is neither expensive, nor free. According to the GAO repealing it, as the republicans wan to do, is what will cost the nation money. Nor is the program free. The people receiving coverage are the ones who will be paying private corporations for the coverage.

      Are you always this uninformed?

      I will however agree with you, this republican healthcare plan should be repealed and we should replace it with a universal healthcare system like every other decent country in the world.

      • 4NIK8 says:

        Yes Vivienne, these people are usually this misinformed. It typically happens when you watch Faux news all day long.

        Good luck waiting for universal health care. Republicans are too easily bribed and Democrats tuck tail and run when faced with any type of adversity.

      • wackydan says:

        Are you also uninformed? You casually leave out the additional millions of Americans that will be given Medicaid, on the individual state’s dime…. When your state taxes go up, look to Obamacare for the blame.

        The GBO originally rated Obamacare deficit neutral…Except that relied on specific cuts in Medicare, and we’ve already seen the politicians dodge those cuts -ie; “docfix” … So Obamacare is now going to add to deficit spending… not save anything.

        • Anonymously says:

          So some politicians are dodging cuts, but you claim Obamacare is now adding to the deficit, instead of the dodging politicians. How does that work?

          • wackydan says:

            When the same politicians that constructed the reform bill, and voted it into law turn around and negate the cuts in the reform bill with the “docfix” then yes you genius,,, it changes the financial outcome of the reform bill. You can’t separate the two.

        • rewind says:

          It was revenue neutral for 10 years…benefits over 6 years. Look at year 11 and tell me that garbage.

          • wackydan says:

            yes… it was supposed to be. Until the same politicians that passed Obamacare, also passed docfix and undid part of what was in the reform bill.

            See how that works?

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Because THAT certainly wouldn’t be unconstitutional.

        Look, you socialists. Feel free to promote your amendments to the constitution for what you want. If 3/4 of the public agree with you, then you are set to go!

        • LadyTL says:

          the problem is even if we can get 3/4ths of the population to agree if the senators won’t vote that way there is very little we can do to make them. Missouri is dealing with that problem right now.

        • Sam McGee says:

          People always yell loudly how they want ‘a la carte’ channel choosing from their cable company, but please, please, please leave all my healthcare choices up to the idiots we all keep sending to Washington. Don’t you see, people, gov’t only provides freedom via military protection. After that they just muck it all up.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Health Care Reform is already costing me money. Anyone with an HSA is already being punished with the new legislation, as is anyone who can only afford prescriptions from Canada.

      • Dragon Tiger says:

        Really? I’m saving money with my HSA, since my HSA deductible is less than the annual difference between my old premium and my new one.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Major changes were made to HSA policies for 2011. Off the top of my head, the highlights are:

          - You can no longer buy OTC drugs and the list of what you can buy with HSA funds has been gutted.
          – The penalty for unauthorized withdrawals (even for items that were eligible when you put the money in) has been doubled.
          – The maximum contributions have not been adjusted for inflation, let alone medical inflation.
          – Preventative care is now covered 100%, which turns HDHP plans into “PPO-light” plans and disproportionately impacts premiums.

          • One-Eyed Jack says:

            OTC drugs are not covered in Flex-Spending plans for 2011, either. We tried the Flex last year, and dropped it for 2011.

          • pinkbunnyslippers says:

            Is FSA the same as/similar to HSA? Because for FSA, OTC drugs ARE STILL COVERED provided you have a prescription for it. Of course that seems absolutely counter-intuitive, seeing as the whole point of OTC drugs is NOT to have a script for them, but I called my dr’s office up and gave him a list of everything I take OTC. Including things like tylenol, zyrtec – basically EVERYTHING, and he created a separate script for each one. It’s a PITA but it is STILL covered and I’m free to use my funds for them.

            • wackydan says:

              FSA’s are getting capped at $2500 as well starting in 2013…. Balls. My cap is now $5100 and we use every penny of it. Obama Care pretty much bones us on the FSA.

      • Kevin says:

        Even FSAs are being rendered impractical. Yes, I can use my pre-tax FSA debit card to buy OTC meds like the ibuprofen I take several times a week for arthritis pain, but I’ll have to see my doctor and get a prescription for the OTC med. It’s cheaper to pay out of pocket for the medicine than it is to see the doctor to get it tax free.

        Thanks to Obamacare for rendering one of the most valuable features of my health insurance unusable!

    • dolemite says:

      You think private health insurance is expensive now…just wait 15-20 years. You’ll be spending 50% of your paycheck for premiums, if you aren’t already. Where I work, if you are a floor worker and have a family, you could put 100% of your paycheck towards the company’s healthcare and still wouldn’t be able to afford it. I felt the new healthcare reform was only good for one thing, and that was disallowing companies to deny people for pre-existing. Everything else about it blew. Should have introduced the public option so insurance co’s had some real competition.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        When I lost my job (~10 years ago) the COBRA premium I was offered was more than my unemployment check.

        I’m guessing in a few years it will be the norm to pay 50% of your paycheck for health insurance. As it is, I’m spending over $1,000/month for health insurance that doesn’t really cover anything. I bet in 10 years, $1,000/month will look like a bargain.

    • El_Red says:

      Funny how Canada spends less per person on healthcare than US, and still manages have a (mostly) free healthcare.

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Funny how there’s a waiting list for the most basic procedures, and so many come to the US rather than wait. I bet they can’t wait til we join them.

        • Egat says:

          [citation needed]

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          Funny how people in the US STILL wait for even the most basic procedures. Funny how basic procedures that aren’t for life-threatening conditions can wait.

        • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

          I’m too tired of this to explain it properly, but basically if you require medical treatment, you can acquire it abroad (such as in the USA) and still have it paid for by the Provincial Government. ‘Murican doctors still get paid, and Uni-Health Care still works.

          Have a nice day.

          • Snoofin says:

            Yeah, and to pay for it the citizens get gouged on gas, milk, and cigarettes. I bet Canadians love paying 7$ a gallon for gas and $5 for a gallon of milk and $12 for a pack of smokes

            • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

              To quote Lazarus Long: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

              The money has to come from somewhere. If I have to pay higher taxes on goods, so be it. That’s the money I’m not spending on private health care right now.

            • White Scorpion says:

              They pay a separate tax for healthcare, very cheap compared to what we pay to insurance companies. The last time I saw the statistics, it was about $20 a month for a single person up to about $200 a month for a family. I don’t know if that’s still correct, but I’m sure someone here is from Canada and can provide the info. Other than this premium (tax), there’s no deductible, co-pay or maximum benefit. Sounds good to me since I’ve had no health insurance at all for the last 21 years.

  2. pokinsmot says:

    I think I will wait and see what SCOTUS says.

    • jeffjohnvol says:

      True. But given that there are a majority of justices that interpret laws and the constitution compared to the others that try to legislate from the bench based on their “feelings”, it doesn’t look good for the bill.

      Its a stupid law anyway. Adding all the different requirements and expect insurance to drop was just plain stupid. They are requirements that are nice to have, but they have to be paid for, and we are the ones that pay it.

      • Conformist138 says:

        I am curious: who should pay? Everyone says “We have to pay for it! We’re left with the bill!” But, really, WHO should pay for it? The fact is, we legally allow companies to pay workers a wage that flat out does not have room to pay for healthcare, but these people get sick just as much as the next guy. Either wages need to go up to give people the means to pay for their own care, or someone has to shell out when people get sick.

        And it’s not just high school-age burger flippers who are paid like that: I work security, a job only legally allowed by people over the age of 18 (ie- adults who need to support themselves), and not one of my co-workers has insurance. None of us can afford it because the company doesn’t feel compelled to pay us enough. As a general idea, I take home $1100/mo, but the absolute cheapest health plan offered is $350/mo. Add in the deductible and co-pays, and it comes out to closer to $450-$500/mo. All for what? I just need to go to the doctor a few times a year and be covered in case of emergency, yet they want over 1/3 of my income.

        Somehow, I think leaving millions of people like me terrified of even a sprained ankle is far far worse than increasing our historically-low taxes a bit. After seeing a lot of young people like myself struggling and fearful, even my conservative parents are for universal healthcare. As mom now tells people, “All our kids want is an affordable doctor and a little security. That’s not really a lot to ask for.”

        • a354174 says:

          At least you work. I respect you for that. Most of the people in your position quit their jobs and apply for welfare.

          • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

            Oh, that’s not a completely fictitious statement at all. I hear about people quitting their jobs to collect welfare ALL THE TIME! Reality check. You don’t get unemployment or welfare if you quit your job. You also don’t get unemployment if you get fired for not doing your job. And, if you want welfare, you have to be looking for a job and show evidence of that.

            I don’t know why people think welfare is more attractive to the jobless than jobs. It’s not like you make as much as you do at your job.

            • veritybrown says:

              Back when my kids were little, the local newspaper did a story on the total cash value of welfare benefits. My husband had a fairly decent job (above minimum wage), but we were still among the “working poor.” Based on the figures in that story, I would have been financially better off to ditch my husband and go on welfare.

            • Kuri says:

              I hear you there. My father was on unemployment for a year and he had to call in every single week to let them know he was looking for a job. We live in Michigan, and he had to take a job in Texas.

          • JJ! says:

            Do you have a source? I’m honestly curious.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          Get a HDHP with an HSA. I smoke have multiple pre-existing conditions and I pay $95/mo. Everything is out of pocket but since I pay cash, my Dr visit is only $35.

          • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

            Hmmm, maybe I’ll look into it again. The last time we checked out supplemental insurance, it was unreachable for us. We have seven in our blended family (we’re the Brady Bunch minus one and Alice) and finding something that covered the entire horde wasn’t do-able. That being said, it has been awhile since I last checked it out, so maybe I’ll go do some research.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            “Get a HDHP with an HSA. I smoke have multiple pre-existing conditions and I pay $95/mo. Everything is out of pocket but since I pay cash, my Dr visit is only $35.”

            It doesn’t work like that everywhere. I have a HDHP/HSA for my family ($5,000 family/$2,500 individual deductible) but it costs ~ $1,000 month. Individual policies still run over $200/month for a $2,500 policy. The only policies I could find that are significantly cheaper all have deductibles over $10,000.

            Doctor appointments still cost (negotiated rate) in the ballpark of $80 – $100, even at the “cheap” clinics.

            If you live in a state with a disproportionate number of adults on Medicaid, or are uninsured, or have kids on SCHIP, you have to deal with insanely high insurance costs. The rest of us are overcharged to make up the difference.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          Thank you – I could’ve written this same post, but with a twist – I have health insurance supplied through my employer. With the high cost for small businesses like the one I work for, our insurance isn’t great (note: I’m not blaming or mad at my boss – she’s doing the best she can and I’m grateful we have it at all). It covers bare bones care only so God forbid I have a major illness of some sort.

          While I make a good salary for the cost of living in my area, there’s no way I can squeeze in premiums for a supplemental plan. I have a mortgage, kids, a car payment (no other debt though, yay!) and other monthly expenses that would prevent me from paying for a supplemental plan that could cover our entire family. We try to keep a (very) small cushion in the savings account but that would poof if I had to pay supplemental healthcare premiums.

          So yeah, we live in mortal fear of experiencing even a minor health crisis. I’m not sure that Obamacare is the solution but we need something, anything.

        • OnePumpChump says:

          You are forgetting the third option: if you are poor you set your own damn broken bones.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “As a general idea, I take home $1100/mo, but the absolute cheapest health plan offered is $350/mo. “

          A lot of the lower level technicians at my company are in the same situation. These are people who have degrees but go out in the field and take soil and water samples. A family policy at my company ($5,000 deductible that doesn’t pay anything until it’s hit) costs around $1,000/month and an individual policy ($2,500 deductible) around $200. As a salaried supervisor who is amongst the higher paid employees at my company, I can barely afford the premiums. They also offer a “buy up plan” which is a PPO with a $1,250 deductible but it costs in the ballpark of $1,500/month.

          Most of our technicians our younger and if they bought into the pool, it would probably bring down costs. But as it is, I work for a small business and the only people who buy into the group plan are those who are over 30 or have existing medical conditions.

          The younger employees would rather save the premium money (they really have no other choice) and if something happens, they can always go to the ER and deal with the financial consequences of bankruptcy or dealing with collections. As it is, I seriously wonder why I even bother spending $12,000/year on insurance that doesn’t cover anything.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Define “legislating from the bench.”

        Does that mean making a ruling you don’t like?

        • jeffjohnvol says:

          “legislating from the bench” means they decide based on what they think is morally appropriate regardless what the law says, be it passed legislation or the constitution. Google it.

          • ARP says:

            A few points/questions:

            Where in the constitution does it say that Corporations are people and deserve 1st Amendment protections?

            Where in the constitution does it say that a Federal Court may involve itself in state re-election matters.

            Scalia said that citizens growing a small amount of pot in a single state affected interstate commerce. Health care doesn’t?

            Where in the constitution does it say that it is acceptable for a government to endorse monotheism?

            No, judicial activism is merely cases you don’t agree with hidden behind some principled sounding title (like intelligent design).

            • partofme says:

              I’ll take the first one. It doesn’t say anything about corporations. But it does say people. Corporations are groups of people, just like many other groups of people (otherwise known as “assemblies”). So, just like it’s reasonable to incorporate, say, the first amendment with the fourteenth amendment to come up with a reasonable prohibition against states infringement on religion, it’s reasonable to incorporate the third and fifth clauses of the first amendment to come up with a reasonable prohibition against infringement on the rights of speech of assemblies of people (especially considering that it’s not well worth assembling if you can’t have any forms of speech). We’ve already established that corporations are a subset of assemblies of people. QED

  3. TasteyCat says:

    In Massachusetts, our insurance costs are 2% higher off the bat because Cigna charges extra for reporting requirements. There is also a $93/month penalty for failure to get insurance for individuals who make more than $32k/year (2.25% on a GDP per capita basis). Now the federal government wants to tack on another 2.5% for the privilege of living in this country, without providing any actual benefit. If you want to actually get insurance not from an employer, there is no remotely affordable option, nor does this plan provide one for anybody it considers too rich who is legally living in this country outside of a prison. If you’re going to mandate insurance, at least make it affordable to be able to purchase it.

    Regardless of this bogus mandate or not, the fact is that the citizens of this country, whether they have insurance or not, are all one medical problem away from bankruptcy. I wouldn’t want to be someone who actually needs insurance and still living here. Europe here I come.

    • Vivienne says:

      Yup. 80/20 insurance is worthless if you end up having to spend a week or more in the hospital and rack up a $100,000 bill. Which is disturbingly easy to do. Most americans would be devastated by the $20,000+ the insurance wouldn’t cover.

      This healthcare plan is nothing more than a republican gift to the private health insurance industry. What we need is a single payer system like the rest of the civilized world has.

      • lupis42 says:

        It’s a gift to the private healthcare industry all-right, but that gift came squarely from Democrats, who opposed any changes that would have allowed individuals to self insure, increased competition between insurance companies, and made it easier for individuals to shop around for healthcare rather than being dependent on their employers.

        Of course, had the Republicans had the majority, they doubtless would have sold us out just as thoroughly.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        Yes, because I’d rather pay the full $100,000 than $20,000.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “Yes, because I’d rather pay the full $100,000 than $20,000.”

          For a lot of people, it doesn’t matter if they owe $100,000 or $20,000 because they’ll wind up in bankruptcy anyways. It hardly seems worth spending money on insurance premiums if you’ll wind up bankrupt after major surgery.

      • Akuma Matata says:

        Single Payer? What gives you the impression our gov would be able to run that effectively? Nothing the fed gov does is particularly efficient or effective. War on Poverty? We still have poverty. War on Drugs? We still have drug use. Medicare? Underfunded by nearly $90T according to Medicare actuaries. Social Security? Underfunded by $17.5T according to their actuaries.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Wars against abstract nouns tend to go badly.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Of course, the biggest problem with these funding issues is we still give tax breaks to the people who can most afford to pay their full taxes. Anyone low on the social ladder who is feverishly searching for deductions and breaks to get a better return is frowned on as somehow trying to cheat the system (and anyone who is poor enough that the gov gives them extra money is a no-good welfare queen), but the biggest corporations and the richest individuals act like we’re gonna drown kittens when the topic of cutting off their breaks comes up. Maybe we wouldn’t be so far behind if people/companies pulling in millions/billions each year were told to stop whining and pay up. We often tax luxury, and these days peace of mind about finances is a major luxury.

          Good god, we have some of the lowest taxes in the industrialized world, and we have the highest healthcare costs. It’s no wonder we can’t keep it going. We are divided into two groups: The people who cannot afford to pay, and the people who just wont.

          • RickN says:

            The bottom 40% pay no income taxes and many, through EIC and other programs, get refunded more money than they paid in. Those “low on the social ladder” have no need to search for deductions to get their tax money back; they already do.

            Those people who do pay the most in taxes, i.e. the ‘evil rich’, do have a good reason to search for deductions so that they came keep more of their money.

          • psm321 says:

            This. I hate the Republican/corp dem strategy of underfunding things with tax cuts for the rich and then saying “see, they’re underfunded!” And those who fall for it when they should know better

        • zantafio says:

          and you think our for profit private healthcare insurances corp. run it efficiently?? Their overhead cost is above 20%!!! You can also find plenty of horror stories on this website about how inefficiently they run their business (and I ‘d also argue, “inhumanely”, see the $.02 horror story this week)

          Any government run single payer system overhead cost is below 6% (France is the champion at 3.4%)

          • Akuma Matata says:

            @zantafio

            You’re preaching to the choir. Insurance companies have a habit of not treating their customers poorly. No argument here. However, it’s because they have a gov’t-enforced monopoly with regulations that set up such huge barriers to entry that new players rarely enter the market. It’s because of gov’t that these insurance companies screw their customers. And why not? They know you have basically nowhere else to go.

        • SteveinOhio says:

          Your comparison to under funded programs really has no relation to how well those programs are run.

          • Akuma Matata says:

            Steve, seriously? If I run a business that can’t seem to turn a profit, or at least break even, how good a job would you think I’m doing? I’m not saying the people who oversee the day-to-day operations of Medicare are doing a bad job, but they’re intrinsically linked to the politicians that set up the funding and make the promises to the American People. As a whole, the system is an utter failure. Simply doubling down on that failure won’t change anything.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Do they sell 80/20 plans that don’t have a maximum out-of-pocket expenditure?

        It’s hard to believe such a plan would exist unless the premiums were so low, you could save them towards future expenses. In reality, for a major hospitalization with $100,000 in medical bills, I really don’t see any difference in owing $100,000 or $20,000 since it will probably end up in bankruptcy either way.

        I have an HSA/HDHP plan ($5,000 family deductible) that I pay around $1,000/month for. The premiums used to be low enough that I could put away money towards future deductibles but it’s so insanely expensive now that my HSA is underfunded.

      • Darury says:

        The law was a gift from Republicans? You mean those same evil bastards who weren’t allowed in the discussions between Democrats and Health Insurance executives? The same ones who were in the minority and couldn’t block any of the changes the Democrats forced through? Wow.. I really underestimated them.

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          Yes, those Republicans. The ones who liked the bill when Mitt Romney implemented it. The ones who’d proposed similar measures in the past, but hated it when the skeeeeery Muzlim SOCIALIST!!11 proposed them. The ones that tried to “love it to death” by proposing crazy amendments like these. Yeah, those bastards.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Europe is great! Everything is free! Check out Greece for some great bennies. Just mind the burning cars and rioters.

  4. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    I don’t disagree the mandate was unconstitutional. I don’t think the baby+bathwater approach was necessary in the ruling. Allowing people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance has nothing to do with the mandate. Only the part where you can’t be denied coverage does.

    Either way, looking forward to single payer now. Trust me, Americans will be clamoring for it as soon as this country is run into the ground by neoliberalists. You don’t have to agree with me, just mark my words.

    • Vivienne says:

      Either way, looking forward to single payer now. Trust me, Americans will be clamoring for it as soon as this country is run into the ground by neocons.

      FTFY.

      • lupis42 says:

        Eff single payer. That way lies the end of major medical research.

        I’d like to see a real market in Healthcare. I want to be able to know the cost of treatment up-front, and make my own decisions about what I’m willing to risk, and how much to pay in. Plus, then I’d be the one bearing the cost of my being overweight/a smoker/a drunk/whatever other vices I might have.

        • jeffjohnvol says:

          Excellent point. It should be law that the doctors office or hospital should tell you what ALL of your out of pocket costs would be (charges – insurance payout) so we can decide for ourselves if we want that extra test. It pisses me off to get a doctor bill for $15 4 weeks later.

        • LHH says:

          There is no market for healthcare and there never will be one. No one wants to cover people with a pre-existing condition. This may not means beans to you now but when you get older it just might.

          • barty says:

            You know why?

            Because it is INSURANCE, not a pre-paid medical plan. Insurance is to protect from the unknown, a pre-existing condition, is well, known in advance.

            Now, I don’t have an issue with companies offering a comprehensive medical care plan, BUT people need to be prepared to pay the cost of it. It seems to me this is what many people are clamoring for, but aren’t wiling to foot the bill and instead think there’s nothing wrong with asking the government to come around to force others to subsidize their expenses.

          • nova3930 says:

            Just like there’s no market for life insurance since every single one of us is guaranteed to die?

        • trellis23 says:

          Spoken like someone who has never been truly sick or injured and had to pay thousands upon thousands in co-pays in addition to the thousands upon thousands you’ve paid to insurance company over the years. And that’s if only if the insurance company doesn’t try to screw you (like they often do) out of coverage altogether.

          • Kevin says:

            Maybe, but why should the rest of the population pay for you because you got sick?

            Life is dangerous and often expensive. You have to prepare accordingly. Not everyone is up to the challenge.

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        What’s the difference? [Wikipedia]

    • banndndc says:

      Unfortunately the Deomcrats screwed up and didn’t put in a severability clause after it went to conference. Some say it was accidental, I think it happened on purpose.

      Im glad the mandate is being struck down, the idea that the govt was claiming it could force us to buy a private product was very scary to me. hope they’ll do something about fixing health care and controlling costs beyond telling people they have to buy it.

    • nutbastard says:

      So I should be able to go without health insurance for most of my life, get some cancer, start paying a few bucks and get full treatment?

      Insurance is something you buy and maintain in case something happens – you don’t get to wreck your car and then buy full coverage, why should you be able to not pay in for long periods of time and only start paying when things go wrong, and force the companies to cover you even though they’ll lose money, driving up costs for honest people who have kept insurance for years and years?

      where is the incentive to buy insurance if you know that you can’t be denied coverage when things go wrong?

  5. DH405 says:

    Where are the Republicans that are so outraged by “Activist Judges” now?

    • Akuma Matata says:

      This isn’t an activist judge. If you can tell me where in the Constitution the gov’t is allowed to regulate inactivity, or that they may compel a person to enter into an agreement to purchase goods or services from another private party, then we can have a real conversation.

      • dcaslin says:

        It’s called the Commerce Clause, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_Clause. If you oppose the lengths its been stretched to, that’s fine, but requiring health insurance is less of a stretch than banning home growth of medicinal marijuana, requiring interstate registration of sex offenders, or blocking discrimination by businesses against black customers.

        • arcticJKL says:

          Unless of course, the company operates in only one state.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          Commerce clause was meant to regulate activity that crossed state lines. That was the original intent.

          While I disagree with the decision, growing marijuana is actively engaging in that market. Such was the logic under which the SCOTUS claimed it fell under the Commerce Clause (they’re half true… the activity did not cross state lines, however) and gov could regulate that activity (they did the same thing with wheat grown on a farm for personal consumption). Not buying health insurance is a decision to NOT engage in that market. So not only is there no activity, the non activity doesn’t cross state lines. On its face the individual mandate doesn’t pass the sniff test for the Commerce Clause.

          • Bladerunner says:

            But it does pass the Article I, Section 8 test: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises”. People aren’t being arrested for not having insurance, they are being taxed more. Completely within the Fed’s ability, and directly affects the “General Welfare”.

            • Akuma Matata says:

              Except that the gov claimed it was a penalty, not a tax. They can’t all of a sudden claim Section 8 powers when they claimed the entire debate the mandate wasn’t a tax.

              • Bladerunner says:

                Yes, they can. It’s called correcting your argument. If they felt they had multiple valid arguments, and didn’t bother using this one, they can start using it if they decide that it’s necessary. In much the same way as if I eat a cookie, and my roommate finds fault, I can lead with “It’s my cookie!” and if he shows that I am in fact wrong on that count, I can then move on to “Well, you still owe me rent, and ate my whole box of Thin mints last week, so you owe me.”

                And a tax penalty is still just part of taxing. Nice attempt at sophistry though.

                And more than that, I would say it’s valid because the Feds already require medical staff to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay…that would seem a violation of the 13th amendment, no? But it’s allowed because medicine is “so important”. Well, if it’s allowed to force these people to treat, it should be allowed just as much to have them paid.

                • Akuma Matata says:

                  Well, the courts have disagreed with you. When the President went on national TV and told the world that you would be assessed a penalty, and not taxed, if you failed to purchase “acceptable” health insurance, he told everyone that it wasn’t a tax, it was a penalty. Now that they’re being challenged in court, they want to change it from a penalty back into a tax in order to try to make their argument legit. It doesn’t work that way.

                  I don’t even understand you’re analogy. If you say it’s a cookie, not a chip, and then to fit your argument you later say it’s a chip and not a cookie, you’ve lied. Either you’ve lied that it’s a cookie, or you’re currently lying that it’s a chip.

                  “I would say it’s valid because the Feds already require medical staff to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay” — So two wrongs make a right? That’s your reasoning?

                  • Bladerunner says:

                    I’m sorry you don’t understand my analogy: I was giving an example of a time when multiple arguments would be valid, and invalidating one argument would not invalidate the whole. Keep in mind the idea of “penalty” is not really in the defense, only that the government has the right to legislate this using the commerce clause.

                    So if they lose the ability to use the commerce clause to justify their actions, my point was that they have others to fall back on, because they are not arresting people, nor are they convicting people of crimes, for not having insurance. They have, if I understand it correctly, simply amended the tax code to include a penalty for not having insurance, just as they have dozens of other weird crap. You’re penalized for withdrawing money form 401(k), for making errors, etc. They put incentives in the tax code, like the incentives to buy green vehicles, or to buy new houses; by what logic that allows incentives could they NOT be allowed to put DISincentives?

                    It’s much the same as the national BAC rules, where states were penalized for not putting the DUI limit to .08…it was clearly the feds interfering with a state dominion, however, they justified it because they are allowed to hold the pursestrings.

              • dangermike says:

                It worked for social security. Trust fund, my ass. It has always been a tax for the purpose of wealth transfer.

        • barty says:

          You do understand that the intent of the commerce clause was to prevent states from passing tariffs on each others’ goods, right?

          What the Democrats and Obama shoved down our throats was without any kind of precedent. This wasn’t just a stretch of the interpretation of the Constitution, it was done in complete ignorance of it, as have many of the far-reaching social programs that have been instituted over the past century. I believe the difference today is that we are finally returning to an era where the several States are willing to take the Federal Government to court for overreaching its powers.

      • DH405 says:

        I could see that.. IF the ruling stuck to the subject of the case. The mandate. The judge went WAY off-script and struck down the whole law.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          He didn’t go off the reservation by striking down the whole law. The judge notes that no less than 14 times the indiv mandate was critical to the success of the law. Taking it out would be taking out the heart of the bill, and therefore the bill dies. The judge did exactly what Congress wanted — all or nothing.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      They are only outraged when the judge disagrees with them. Otherwise, is it really activist judging?

  6. nakkypoo says:

    I’m so glad I moved out of the US last year. My medical coverages costs me $30 per month. There are no deductibles, no co-pays and no silly 80% coverage. I pay my $30 per month and I can go to a doctor or hospital whenever I need to without paying another cent.

    • nakkypoo says:

      I should have mentioned that health insurance is mandatory for anyone earning $70,000 or more per year, and the penalty for not having it is $700 (regardless of income).

      • Rachacha says:

        So those that make $69,999.99 or less are left without mandatory healthcare. Typically, it is teh lower income people who do not have employer provided healthcare and can not afford to purchase their own insurance or pay for a medical bill themselves. Individuals with good paying jobs generally have free or highly subsidized health insurance as part of their employment benefits.

        • EdnaLegume says:

          I’m not genius, but I’m guessing someone making 69,999.99 just doesn’t HAVE TO HAVE ‘mandatory’ health insurance. Not that they can’t obtain it. At $30 a month, sounds like even lower income folks could afford that. Or not should they choose not to.

          What country is this, sign me up!

          • Rachacha says:

            Aaah… I understand. I must have misread that. Individuals making more than 70K are required to have health insurance, either on their own or through employer benefits. Those making less than 70K are eligable for the government’s insurance program.

          • nbs2 says:

            Agreed. I need to know where this is and what their net neutrality policy is. If everything is good, I maybe have my future living options figured out.

        • nakkypoo says:

          Employers don’t provide cover.

          Those earning under $70,000 get their medical needs covered by the government at no cost, or they can buy their own and a portion is paid by the government.
          Those earning more must buy their own, or pay the $700 penalty. The government still pays a portion of the private insurance.

          I don’t qualify for government insurance (since I’m not (yet) a permanent resident) so I have buy my own, for the extremely high price of $30 per month.

    • Maximus Pectoralis says:

      What is your income tax %? I’ve got a feeling that “$30 per month” comes with hidden costs elsewhere and/or strings attached.

      • TasteyCat says:

        I’ve looked into this for Czech Republic. It’s slightly more pricey (closer to $100 a month), but you’re not being hit by huge income taxes to compensate (they have a flat rate 15%, or lower if you’re self employed). Property taxes are also ridiculously low, maybe $10 or $20 a month. Granted, the quality of healthcare in the US is better, but the returns are diminishing. At some point, it’s just not worth it.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      $30 a month?

      I spend over $1,000/month for a policy that pays $0 until I reach our family’s $5,000 deductible. My wife and I were unlucky enough to deal with an unplanned pregnancy (failed vasectomy) that ran over the course of two years, which meant two years worth of deductibles for prenatal care and the delivery. Our total medical spending for 2010 and 2011 will be over $30,000.

      It’s a shitty situation. We would have been better off getting divorced (on paper), so she’d be eligible for my state’s high risk pool.

    • nutbastard says:

      I applaud you voting with your feet instead of trying to undermine the doctrine of this country.

      I support universal health care in any country where the government is authorized by the people to enact it. Since that is not the case in the US, I do not support it here.

  7. Marlin says:

    They way he wrote his decision one could use his same points to say Social Security, among other Gov programs, is also illegal.
    His biggest issue was you are forced to buy insurance so that makes it illegal. I also am forced to buy retirement and disability insurance, known as social security; whether I work or even just run a business.

    • veritybrown says:

      The federal government has taken on many, many powers not allowed to it in the Constitution. We greedy, irresponsible citizens (and our greedy, irresponsible parents and grandparents) have allowed this happen because we bought into the idea of getting something for nothing (which never works out in the long run) and always being taken care of (despite the powerlessness that position ultimately involves).

    • AsFarAsYouKnow says:

      The difference is that Social Security, Medicare, etc., are all “taxes.” The individual mandate is specifically not a tax, but a penalty. If it were a tax like Social Security, none of these challenges would stand a chance.

      • Marlin says:

        Social Security also has a penalty. I am required to have SS or face said penalty just as this says I have to have insurance or face a penalty.
        Both have a Gov required item and if I do not adhere to it there are penalties.
        Don’t believe me, stop paying for SS insurance and see what happens. ;-)

      • pythonspam says:

        What we had before the Affordable Care Act for America WAS taxes – Everytime somebody goes to the Emergency room, but uninsured and not paying out of pocket, that cost was passed on in the form of higher fees for services and budget overrun that some public hospitals have to get help for from government budgets.

    • banndndc says:

      one huge difference is that the mandate requires you to buy a private product.

      • Marlin says:

        No it does not. It requires you to have insurance and does nto care if its private or Gov. That includes medicad/medicare ;)

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      SS is anti-constitutional, that’s why FDR decided the Supreme Court needed more judges. That he, of course, appointed. Voila, SS is constitutional!

    • Abradax says:

      SS is not a product you buy. It was implemented as a tax, congress has the authority to tax.

      The individual mandate is not a tax, it forces you to buy a product from a private entity or pay a fine. A fine is not a tax. While congress has the power to levy fines, they do not have the power to do so for failing to disobey an unconstitutional order.

      Had the law been passed that everyone in the country must pay X amt of their paycheck (as we do with social security) this wouldn’t even be an issue, as it would have been a tax.

      During negotiations and the president’s cheerleading sessions, they pressed the fact that the mandate was NOT a tax.

  8. ScytheNoire says:

    Car insurance is mandatory in most places, as those without it cause huge financial problems to the system. So why shouldn’t health care be mandatory too? Oh, right, because politicians (Republicans in this case) get huge kick backs (lobbyists) from insurance and pharmacy companies to do their bidding. Why lobbying is still legal when it’s just bribery? Such a corrupted system.

    • MacRtst says:

      Really…?

      it’s not a requirement to drive a car.

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      This is an awful argument. You only have to buy car insurance if you own a car – the condition for its purchase is something you choose to exercise. You don’t have a choice in existing. With your argument, the only way I can get out of buying health insurance is to be dead.

      Quite honestly, there is no incentive for a young 30-something in good health like myself to have health insurance. If I work for a private company who doesn’t provide me benefits, I’m forced to buy my own insurance.

      Do I spend the $4000/year on my own, or do I pay a $500 or $1000 (or whatever the fee is) penalty for NOT having insurance, and rest easy knowing that if I have an emergency, I just go to a local hospital and get it taken care of, gratis to me, more or less.

      Quite the incentive to force me into buying insurance…

      • SteveinOhio says:

        People keep saying “You don’t have to have a car.” What does that have to do with requiring auto insurance as a condition of making a free market choice to buy and operate a vehicle? Just because I can opt out of the entire system doesn’t mean government intrusion into the system is fine and dandy.

        How can the side that argues for small government be ok with government requirements for insurance for cars but not for people? Shouldn’t you be free to roll the dice?

      • Abradax says:

        Sigh….

        Auto insurance mandates are state, NOT FEDERAL. The federal government has no authority to tell you that you have to buy a product from a private entity.

        You also do not have to buy car insurance. You can either prove you are financially able to pay for any liability you have, OR you can chose to not drive on public streets.

        Yes, you can own a car and drive it on your own property without insurance.

  9. holycrapitsjeff says:

    Wait….how can they force me to buy car insurance? That must be unconstitutional, too!

    • ALP5050 says:

      Because you are not required to drive a car. It’s a privilege.

    • sufreak says:

      To buy a car is optional.

    • thumpcbd says:

      1. You don’t have to drive a car — it’s a privilege.
      2. You may drive a car on your own property all day without insurance or a license

      • Thalia says:

        You don’t have to have a job, it’s a privilege.

        • lupis42 says:

          But under Obamacare, you have to have health insurance whether you have a job or not.

          • Marlin says:

            false.

            There are exemptions based on several factors, one of those being income. So no job = no required insurance.

            Get your news from other places than fox or other right wing places and you would know that. Or better yet, just read it.

      • arcticJKL says:

        There you have the answer. You are driving on the States roads.

    • lupis42 says:

      Three points: one, the Federal Govt. isn’t forcing you to buy car insurance. States are. See the 9th Amendment.

      Two, buying a car is optional. You are not obligated to buy the insurance as a requirement of being alive.

      Three, I would say that it still is unconstitutional, but because everyone is used to it, nobody wants to rock the boat.

    • wilco says:

      Lupis42 is correct, in part. The health insurance mandate was being imposed by the federal government and was struck down on the grounds that it exceeded Congress’ commerce clause power.
      The requirement to purchase auto insurance is justified by state legislatures under the general police power. These mandates are clearly not prohibited under the federal constitution. Whether any particular state has the authority to impose them, is a matter of their state constitution.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      Let me clarify some of your misconceptions

      1. Car insurance is a state mandate, not a federal one.
      2. States require you to purchase LIABILITY INSURANCE to protect other drivers should you cause them harm. Collision insurance (which protects you should you wreck your car) is still optional.
      3. Driving is a privilege, not a right.
      4. Owning a car is optional.

      Now do you understand how comparing car insurance to health insurance is not the same thing?

      • Griking says:

        So because driving is a privileged and not a right makes it ok to force people to purchase insurance if they want to drive. Got it.

        • Robofish says:

          You got it. You don’t HAVE to drive. There are plenty of other options. Public Transport etc. But since you are on state owned roads when you are operating a vehicle, you have to follow the state rules / laws on said vehicle operation.

          • romoish says:

            Not commenting on the validity of the car insurance = health insurance thing, but in some (most) parts of the country, particularly rural ones, there is no substitute for a vehicle. No buses, no taxis, no subways, no trains. Just vast expanses between homes/jobs/businessness that makes even bikes untenable.

            Your options are 1) get a vehicle or 2) remain at home, unemployed and have someone fetch food for you.

            I know this may come as a shock to some of the more metropolitan of commenters, but it was equally a shock to me when I heard than many people in New York City don’t even have a driver’s license.

            • tsukiotoshi says:

              This was a big issue for me when I was living in Vermont. No public transit, whatsoever. At least where I was it was a student community so we could all carpool pretty easily, but that still requires someone to have a car and car insurance. The closest grocery store was about half an hour (in good weather) in either direction on the state highway. Sure, we had a co-op that would do in a pinch but they didn’t carry a lot of stuff and were easily three times as expensive as the grocery store. I imagine most of the not-students who lived in the town who had jobs had to drive somewhere to get there since the town did not have much in the way of employment.

              So yeah, driving may be a privilege and I certainly see how it can be distinguished from health care, but there are places where not having a car is a big deal.

              • rydogg says:

                “there are places where not having a car is a big deal” –Exactly, nobody is forced (or ‘legally required’) to live in any one particular place. It’s all your choice.

                If you live in a place with no public transportation, it is probably in your own self interest to get a vehicle of some sort but it is aboslutely not a requirement, legally or otherwise. If you don’t like driving and paying for insurance/gas/maintenance, you can equally choose to move to a place that has good public transportation and use those services.

                To put it bluntly, nobody is forcing you to live in Vermont. If you’re there for work, school, family or otherwise, that is 100% your choice.

            • veritybrown says:

              Option 3: Live someplace where you don’t need a vehicle. I live a small rural town in the Midwest, and I know a number of people here who do not have cars. They walk to work and to the grocery store or get a ride from friends who do have vehicles.

              Yes, in most parts of this country, a car is a highly useful possession, to the point that many consider it a “necessity.” But no one is going to FORCE you to buy a car (let alone buy insurance on it) whether you can afford it or not. In the case of this bill, people are being forced to buy health insurance simply by virtue of being alive.

              • AstroPig7 says:

                I wish I didn’t need a car, but Dallas/Fort Worth is too large and mass transit is too scarce for me to go without my own vehicle.

        • SteveinOhio says:

          When did we get the idea that driving was a privilege? The government graciously allows us to own cars and use them? Wrong. The government oversees the building and use of public roadways, but that hardly makes it a privilege to drive anymore than eating at a restaurant is a privilege because they are subject to inspection.

          I’m always amazed that the same people arguing that it’s government overreach to socially insure against catastrophic illness are so willing to cede so many other areas of their lives to the same government.

      • rlkelley says:

        So I should have to see my costs for medical procedures rise because you opt to not have medical insurance and force the hospital to take a right off when they treat you, because they have to treat you.

        Health insurance permits preventative care which will lead to earlier detection of medical issues, lowering the overall cost of treatment. Mandating people have health insurance would significantly reduce the number of uninsured using the ER as a primary care provider, lessening wait times, improving treatment, and lowering cost.

        So tell me why I should not be upset that people do not have basic health coverage.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          Why should insurance even cover annual doctor visits and whatnot? Does your car insurance insure you against oil changes and tire rotations? Insurance is designed to shift a low probability / high cost event from the individual to a company who will take on that risk. The higher the probability of occurance goes, the less efficient insurance becomes.

          We need to get insurance back into its proper role. We need to remove the majority of these state and federal coverage mandates and allow people to pick coverage which suits their own needs. Until the purchaser of care becomes the consumer of care, we will not see costs decrease.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Just to clarify, forcing me to buy insurance at the state level is as legal (or illegal) as forcing it at the federal level. So saying it’s a state law isn’t an argument. The federal government is also within its rights to require me to own car insurance.

        The rest of the arguments stand, however.

        • partofme says:

          This is absolutely fundamentally flawed. The states have ALWAYS been allowed more leeway in their powers than the federal government. There are very specific constitutional restrictions on government powers that have been incorporated through the fourteenth amendment which also restrict state powers. Everything else is fair game. Conversely, unless a power is given to the federal government through the constitution, it does not have it. There is absolutely no “if it’s legal here, it’s legal there” generalization.

        • Pax says:

          Just to clarify, forcing me to buy insurance at the state level is as legal (or illegal) as forcing it at the federal level.

          Not necessarily. That all depends on your State’s Constitution – and those differ from state to state, as well as differing from the Federal level. The Federal Constitution never enters into the equation, as none of your civil rights are intruded upon by such a mandate, and none of the restrictions of the 14th apply.

    • AsFarAsYouKnow says:

      1) Forcing you to buy car insurance is not a federal law, it is a state law, therefore it is a whole different situation.
      2) You are not required to own a car, therefore the decision of whether or not you have to buy car insurance is entirely dependent on your own personal choice. The same cannot be said about the individual mandate. If you are alive, you have to buy insurance. Sure, you could choose to no longer be alive and therefore not have health insurance, but that is not exactly a rational option most people would consider.

  10. only1cashbaker says:

    I think it’s great.

  11. ALP5050 says:

    The decision will be upheld by the supreme court 5-4.

    • Thalia says:

      I’m betting Kennedy will see the overreaching on the severability clause (see my comment below) and it will be unheld in part, reversed in part & remanded.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        I’ll be excited if it’s one of those rulings where every judge has either a concurring or dissenting opinion that says different things so everyone is super confused by what the ruling really is. Or, even better, you have a couple of concurring in part, dissenting in part opinions.

      • SteveinOhio says:

        I tend to agree that they will isolate the provision regarding the mandate. That portion of the decision was foolish. What they do with that is anybody’s guess.

  12. Thalia says:

    The judge clearly overreached in addressing the bill in its entirety.

    He should reread Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, 561 U.S. ___ (2010) which addressed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, that also lacks a severability clause.

    Quoting:

    “Generally speaking, when confronting a constitutional flaw in a statute, we try to limit the solution to the prob­lem,” severing any “problematic portions while leaving the remainder intact.” Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New Eng., 546 U. S. 320, 328–329 (2006). Be­cause “[t]he unconstitutionality of a part of an Act does not necessarily defeat or affect the validity of its remaining provisions,” Champlin Refining Co. v. Corporation Comm’n of Okla., 286 U. S. 210, 234 (1932), the “normal rule” is “that partial, rather than facial, invalidation is the required course,” Brockett v. Spokane Arcades, Inc., 472 U. S. 491, 504 (1985).

    In other words, the judge is a classic activist judge.

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      Absolutely.

      And what most of the idiots celebrating this morning will never admit or remember, is that the must-have mandate was a Republican idea from the early 90s until as recently as 2009 when Grassley was pushing it.

      • lupis42 says:

        Excuse me? I’ll celebrate the end of this law, and I certainly haven’t forgotten that some of it’s worst components are the idea of Republicans, any more than I’ve forgotten that a Republican congress passed the Patriot Act. But that doesn’t excuse the Democrats for passing Obamacare, or renewing the Patriot Act.

        • Maximus Pectoralis says:

          In the words of George W. Bush, “Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists.” What kind of radical are you suggesting that there might possibly be more than two sides to every debate? That not everyone who disagrees with Obama is necessarily a Glenn-Beck-Loving Sarah-Palin-Worshipping Rush-Lumbaugh-Watching Neocon Fascist Fox News Conservative?!

    • Marlin says:

      Theres a reson republicans filled the case in his area.
      Same as why if suing for patents you file in texas court known to be biased as well.

      • Sarge says:

        Actually, the Attorney General for the State of Florida at the time the action was filed was a Democrat.

        • partofme says:

          The only logical conclusion is that Marlin gets information from fox or some unreliable right wing outlet… at least, that’s what his/her other posts would logically conclude.

          • Marlin says:

            Actually if you knew anything you would know that this suit was brought by 26 State AG’s, OVERWHELMING majority of them being republican.

            http://21statelawsuit.com/the-players/

            But hey why let facts get in the way of some good faux outrage, right?

            • arcticJKL says:

              So what your saying is that only republicans care about following the Constitution? Im not sure that is accurate.

              • Marlin says:

                Thats cause programs set up like this, SS, have been ruled legal. The only one ignoring case law is the judge in this case. Unless he thinks the SC has been wrong many times.

                AGAIN this and the case in VA were filed in these areas for a reason. They knew who would get the case and how they would rule. The one in VA was a former Republican politcian.

                • partofme says:

                  Insert tax v fee discussion here. I don’t personally think that such legal nitpicking should be necessary (there should be a better way to generalize the concept of either term). That being said, given the current legal theories, the SS tax and the health insurance mandate fee are very different beasts (according to the US gov’s lead attorney (who’s personal party affiliation is unknown to me)).

            • partofme says:

              The only outrage here is based on your ridiculous claim that any false claim must be a product of Fox rather than a product of any of the other thousand possibilities. For example, I don’t watch Fox. The primary source of my legal info is from SCOTUSblog. They don’t bother too much with listing party affiliations of former state AGs. The remainder of my lack of knowledge on that point is apathy to Florida politics. I do know that the suits that have been brought are majority Republican. None of this picture has anything to do with Fox. You can correct poor information with good information… and that might not result in people hating you.

              • Marlin says:

                Except my information was right and you and the other poster looked like idiots.

                But yea I am sure you are unbiased and just got things mixed up that a Dem filed the suit, not a Republican.

                Hahahhahaha..

                • partofme says:

                  You still don’t get that my post was never about who the AG of Florida was. We’re in different worlds right now. I look like an idiot in your world, because you’re so balled up in your partisan hate that you don’t realize that some people don’t care at all about that… Democrat v. Republican? Who cares. It’s one or the other. It’s just a label that doesn’t mean much. On the other hand, blaming all incorrect information on a specific news outlet – that’s an idiot move since there are many more than two labels to pick from. I could claim that the Democrats are using this law as a conspiracy to give welfare to torture babies, and your blind hate would blame Fox… even though we’ve already established that I don’t watch it and there’s no evidence that Fox has ever proposed that idea. The ENTIRE point was your blanket application of Fox hate, and I don’t care if I have to look like an idiot concerning AGs or torture babies to show it. (And if you read my posts again, I never said anything about who the AG was… nor did I claim I was without bias.) Wait for it……….

                  Hahahahahahahahaha (I shouldn’t do that. It unnecessarily makes you hate me a little bit more when I use your tactics.)

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          Obviously you’ve never been to Pensacola, or any part of Florida that, geographically, should probably be Alabama. People bleed red there (literally and figuratively) – they eat up anything the republicans do and if you even THINK the word liberal they stone you to death.
          I grew up there, and its the most ignorant, back-asswards area of the state – especially considering that many of the residents are low-income (what some would describe as “trailer trash”) and probably NEED legislation like this more than about 80% of the country. Boggles the mind how they can be so hypocritical!

          • drizzt380 says:

            They need it and yet they still want it repealed because they fill it infringes on the rights of Americans?

            Whether they are idiots or not, I’m trying to find out how that is hypocritical. That almost sounds like standing behind their principles there.

          • vioviovioletta says:

            I live in Pensacola and I totally agree. These people are crazy.

        • Marlin says:

          The AG was Bill McCollum, a Republican.

          Not sure where you get yoru “facts”?

      • grumpygirl says:

        Have you even looked into Judge Vinson’s ruling record?

    • Akuma Matata says:

      The gov’t does not have the right to regulate inactivity. You tell me where in the constitution gov can compel you to do anything as a requirement for living here.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        How about submitting to the constitution at all? If you aren’t compelled to do that, then what’s the point of having it?

      • Marlin says:

        And if you read the bill instead of getting your “news” from places like fox or other right wing places and you would know that there are exemptions based on several factors, one of those being income. So no job = no required insurance.

        As such “inactivity” means you are not required to have insurance.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          The inactivity has to do with the health insurance market itself, not inactivity on the whole. Nice try though.

          If they can regulate such inactivity in the health insurance market, what about the car market? What could stop the gov from forcing me to buy a car or any other good? After all, not buying a car affects the market for cars and all other industries attached to it.

          • Marlin says:

            AGAIN you are not forced to buy insurance with certain exemptions. You keep trying to use the car analogy yet it fails as it not even close.
            Let alone Social Security Insurance is forced on all the same as the Health Care bill and the SC has ruled that legal almost a decade ago.

            • Akuma Matata says:

              And if I don’t meet those exemptions, I’m forced to purchase insurance, whether I want to or not. The fact that exemptions exist doesn’t make the mandate for everyone else any less unconstitutional.

              The “force people to buy a car” analogy is accurate. However, you could also swap in housing if you’re so inclined — “People are forced to buy a house (except for certain exemptions) as a requirement for living in this country”. After all, we’ll all need shelter at some point, and not buying a house affects the construction market and everything attached to it.

              I’d like to know why it’s not unconstitutional for the gov to set up Social Security (forcing young people to pay for the elderly’s retirement, a ponzi scheme Bernie would be proud of).

              And just because the SCOTUS upheld Social Security doesn’t mean they’re weren’t activist judges, either.

              • Marlin says:

                Thats my point. SS and MANY other Federal programs have been ruled legal using the same reason. This judge ignored all case law when he made this.

                If this is not legal then neither is SS or other programs. I doubt the SC would vote any other way but to allow this.

                • Akuma Matata says:

                  except SS was decided to be constitutional under the general welfare clause… whereas the indiv mandate was decided to be unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

                  • Marlin says:

                    I’m guessing you are basing that on the 1937 Steward Machine Company v. Davis SC case? I would agree but the SS BEFORE 1939 is very different from what we have today. SS was amended and expanded well beyond what it was in 1937. Look how much it has changed between 1937 and now and you would see many areas fall into the same coverage as the health care bill.

              • rlkelley says:

                Just do me a favor. If you choose not to by insurance, refuse any medical treatment you can not immediately pay for out of pocket. That would solve a lot of cost issues.

              • Bladerunner says:

                Again, “Tax for the general welfare.” The constitution has a lot of wiggle room.

              • Bladerunner says:

                But it means it becomes part of case law, too. So until they overturn their previous decision, the logic remains. It has been said numerous times that interpretations can change…SCOTUS will have to decide if they want to overturn settled case law to overturn this bill.

          • Bladerunner says:

            They already DO penalize you for not buying a car. There is a break on taxes for buying one…same as there is a break on taxes for having insurance.

            • White Scorpion says:

              I bought a car recently and didn’t receive any tax break. What are you talking about?

            • RobSmalls says:

              Is there a penalty for NOT buying a car? I think that is what Mr. Gardner is getting at, and the answer is no, there is not. Tax breaks and penalties are two different things.

        • pinkbunnyslippers says:

          Is your only retort for people who don’t agree with you to claim they’re probably getting their facts from Fox News? Really?

          Quite honestly, if you’re that informed about the healthcare bill and all the ins and outs of it, then I applaud you. Not many people know the intracacies of it, and that in and of itself is what’s so disturbing about it. This country’s government (regardless of party affiliation) wants to pass a bunch of junk that’s incomprehensible to the average person, and add in a bunch of fillers that nobody will read, all under the guise of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Have you read the healthcare bill cover to cover?

          Quite honestly, I pay enough of my wages that I work hard for into a number of collective pools meant for the greater good, and the idea of people not having to contribute into a society and still getting out of it what everyone else does who actually put something into it is infuriating. And why would I pay MORE into a system (buy insurance) than just take the penalty at a much lower cost to me (don’t buy insurance), and know that I’ll STILL get health care regardless.

          So no, I don’t get my feelings or facts from Fox News; I get them from the fact that I am sick and tired of paying into a system that sees fit to reward those who don’t contribute, punish those who work hard, and attempt to extend its reach into every crevice of my life without any sort of restriction on how and when they do it. And I’d venture out on a limb that your opponents feel relatively the same.

      • Conformist138 says:

        oh oh oh! Pick me pick me! I got the answer, teacher: Jury Duty. In fact, it is one of the only mandated duties that comes with being a US citizen (as opposed to taxes, which are based on having an income).

        • Akuma Matata says:

          Ok student — Doesn’t jury duty violate the 13th Amendment? Could you point out to me in the Constitution where the gov has a right to force me to serve on a jury?

        • exit322 says:

          I don’t think citizenship is the requirement in every state for jury duty eligibility. Like in Ohio, voter registration is the pool from which jurors are selected.

        • rydogg says:

          @Conformist138
          Almost a solid argument but you can get around that by not registering to vote (I’m not suggesting you don’t register, just saying there’s options for you). If you are not a registered voter, they cannot call you in for Jury Duty.

          • White Scorpion says:

            In my state, as well as others, jurors are selected from drivers license records.

            • White Scorpion says:

              Forgot to add, it’s required by the laws of the state to serve. However, there are valid excuses for not serving: If your employer states in writing that the business is unable to function if you’re not present. If you have health reasons which prevent you from performing your duty and have a statement from your doctor verifying this. I was called only once for jury duty and I wrote my own letter referencing a medical condition and was excused. Go figure. In the case of a federal jury, that could be a whole other can of worms.

      • zantafio says:

        how about home insurance? It’s a requirement, we all have to pay for it, even if you are a renter, part of you rent pays for it.

        • veritybrown says:

          Since when does the government (state or federal) require people to have home-owner’s insurance? Your BANK may require it, if you have a mortgage. Your LANDLORD may require renter’s insurance. But the government??? Where do you live, pray tell?

        • Akuma Matata says:

          If you actually own your home (as opposed to paying a mortgage every month), you are not required to carry homeowner’s insurance. Mortgage companies require you to carry homeowner’s insurance to protect them in the event their asset burns down or whatever.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      Oh, almost forgot — the writers of Obamacare said no less than 14 times that the individual mandate was an essential part of the bill. That’s why he struck down the entire thing.The judge says as much in his decision. By noting how critical it was to the bill, Congress tells the courts that stripping it out would remove the heart of the bill, and therefore it would die. He gave them what they asked for.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      Oh, almost forgot — the writers of Obamacare said no less than 14 times that the individual mandate was an essential part of the bill. That’s why he struck down the entire thing.The judge says as much in his decision. By noting how critical it was to the bill, Congress tells the courts that stripping it out would remove the heart of the bill, and therefore it would die. He gave them what they asked for.

  13. jeffjohnvol says:

    Yes!!! Even used his own words against him: (paraphrasing): “Mandating insurance will not solve the heathcare crisis no more than mandating a person buying a house would cure homelessness”.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      No, perhaps… but having insurance isn’t based on how good your credit it, or if you’ve saved 20% to put down on your costs, or a stable job there in itself… buying a home is optional; there are other ways around it. (Rent, live with family, hell even a tent) There really is no other way to receive healthcare than to go to a Doctor that will most likely overcharge. Let’s not even go into emergency medical situations.

      Homelessness is not a direct result from the lack of housing. It’s the result of a tanked economy, too little jobs, too high living costs, etc. INCLUDING medical costs. So to compare putting homeless people into housing to fix the housing crisis is not the same.

      At least a homeless person as protections for them; they won’t be able to just borrow money from the bank, at some asinine 15% interest rate… you tell me where my protection is from the hospital running up a $200k bill for an emergency I couldn’t avoid?

      • jeffjohnvol says:

        Its a simple principal. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. My father-in-law died at a young age due to cancer. Who’s to blame? No one. It just happens sometimes. A $200K bill would suck. Thats why you should work hard to make sure you have insurance.

        Problem is everyone wants something for free or without having to work for it. Especially this younger generation. Mommy and Daddy paid for everything, and the kiddos are all upset that insurance will cost them a car payment.

        I agree, it sucks. Prices keep going up and benefits are dropping. Putting mandates on insurance companies in many cases is a GOOD thing, but it will raise costs, and anyone that is confused or upset about that is stupid in my opinion (not pointing finger at you).

        They need more Walmartization of healthcare. Say what you want about “the great Wallmart of China” but they run an efficient business and provide an inexpensive product. The more clinics that open there the better.

        • JJ! says:

          I implore you to consider for just a moment that the amount of hard work you put in no way dictates the amount of cash you get out. You can work as hard as you like, if there are no jobs available which provide for insurance, or you have no ability to go to school to get a degree to enable you to get a higher paying job, you likely won’t be able to afford insurance. Even if you can afford insurance, there’s no saying it will actually be insurance that’s worthwhile.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “Thats why you should work hard to make sure you have insurance.”

          That’s the inherent problem in the American medical system. As long as quality insurance with legal protections (via a group plan) are linked to being employed full time, everybody is at risk.

          If I had to miss a significant amount of work for chemo, I wouldn’t be able to afford my $1,000+ a month premium. If I lost my job entirely, there’s no way I could afford COBRA, and no insurer would give an individual policy to someone who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.

          Even if I could manage to keep working, odds are insurance premiums for the group plan (I work for a small business) would skyrocket at renewal or our company would be dropped entirely.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Your argument is commonly known as the Just World Fallacy. Hard work does not always bring in sufficient money, and striking up the deaths of the misfortunate to bad luck is callous, selfish, and unproductive. If humans had allowed everyone who fell on hard times to perish, then they would not have survived or progressed. I have no problem with refusing aid in times of want to those who will not contribute (as opposed to those who do not contribute), because dead weight only hampers society. However, refusing to help those who can’t is ridiculous, because they will eventually contribute to society again. This is the theoretical point of insurance: you use it when you cannot otherwise afford healthcare.

          I will not argue that care providers generally charge a fair price, because they don’t, and requiring health insurance just to see a general practitioner is patently absurd. However, that fight is even less hopeful than the one Obama originally committed to, so I don’t see a point in debating it at present. As for the Wal-Mart model of healthcare, you’re neglecting the fact that Wal-Mart generally sells crap, which doesn’t work well in terms of medicine.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            “…and requiring health insurance just to see a general practitioner is patently absurd. “

            I think most family doctors would have no problem accepting a patient who pays cash. It’s less overhead for them.

            The problem with paying cash when you don’t have insurance is the possibility that the doctor will identify a condition that will prevent you from becoming insured down the road. If you don’t have insurance and think you might be developing a chronic condition, you’re better off living in misery until you can get on a group plan, and then lying about when it started.

            • jeffjohnvol says:

              Good points, however insurance is partly the enemy as well. If a Dr knows you have insurance, he may run unnecessary tests to get more money. He’s in it to make a buck and I don’t fault him/her for that.

              IMO, they should ban managed healthcare insurance (simple Dr visits) and require everyone have catestrophic insurance for heart attacks etc. Provide protections for the poor, only those 20% higher than the poverty rate and below.

              Why do you think a boob job costs $5K and a tonsellectomy costs $14K? Insurance.

              • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

                “IMO, they should ban managed healthcare insurance (simple Dr visits) and require everyone have catestrophic insurance for heart attacks etc.”

                That’s actually what was coming out of the conservative think tanks in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and the development of HSA/HDHP health plans was the first phase of it. Unfortunately, nothing happened after they were implemented and now Obama is essentially dismantling them.

                In 2014, it’s unlikely that HSA/HDHP plans as currently implemented will even be considered eligible insurance (even at the “Bronze” level) to avoid the tax penalties. The same thing happened in MA, where people were forced to give up their very cheap high deductible plans and in many instances it was still cheaper to pay the penalty and keep their unauthorized $10,000 deductible HDHP policy.

                I’m actually a bit annoyed that Obama is now requiring HDHP plans to cover preventative care at 100%, defeating the entire rationale of even having a high deductible plan that only covers catastrophic illness/injury. I’d rather pay out-of-pocket for my annual physicals, colonoscopies, and my wife’s mammograms than deal with higher premiums. I also don’t mind paying out-of-pocket to take my daughter to the doctor’s when she’s sick. I don’t see any need to insure myself against an $80 visit.

                I want my health insurance to work like my car and homeowner policies. I don’t need State Farm to pay for my oil changes or mow my yard but I want them to cover me if my car is totaled or if my house burns down. With Blue Cross, I only want them to pay for big bills and don’t need them to pay for the little stuff.

                • Akuma Matata says:

                  +100 – insurance has been so screwed up BECAUSE of gov’t and its mandates (not in spite of it) that it’s an insult to real insurance to call health insurance “insurance” at all. It’s more like pre-paid medical care. Until the purchaser of care is reunited with the consumer of care, we will not see any downward pressure on prices.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      You fail to understand that the only way to bring down costs in this backwards corrupt system is to force the companies to cover you. Insurance companies have a monetary incentive for you to NOT NEED your insurance. You pay them, and they only make money if they don’t have to pay you. What sort of a guarantee is that? No wonder we see story after story of people getting dropped from their insurance once they find out they have Cancer – or children are denied coverage from the outset because they *might* have a disease. And heaven forbid you KNOW you are sick before you attempt to get insurance.

      It’s a corrupt system that has no desire to service their consumers, they’re in it for the money, pure and simple. The mandate would fix that, and its the only way I can think of that may actually work.

      • jeffjohnvol says:

        What you speak of is recission and you are right, it should be illegal. Most insurance companies would prefer that this practice be illegal. Most of them do it (I suspect) because the company they compete with does it and they have to do the same to make their rates competitive.

        California made it illegal and it was the right thing to do. One of the few sensible things that crazy state has done.

      • Zowzers says:

        Actually, with forced insurance, rates typically go up. Its an increase in liability to the insurance company, and everyone ends up paying more because of it.

        We saw it when states started forcing people to get car insurance if they owned a car.

        its the concept of “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.

      • lucky13 says:

        “It’s a corrupt system that has no desire to service their consumers, they’re in it for the money, pure and simple. The mandate would fix that, and its the only way I can think of that may actually work.”

        Actually, the mandate only guarantees that the corrupt system would be fully funded in perpetuity – it does nothing to lower costs or lessen the corruption, let alone “fix” anything.

      • dangermike says:

        Forcing them to spend more of their revenue will not force our costs down. It’s simple economics. And that is why both my premiums and deductibles have doubled over the past 2-3.

  14. yaos says:

    I think poor people should not have health care so I agree with this ruling. The fewer poors we have the better off this country will be.

    • jeffjohnvol says:

      Thank you for volunteering to pay for them. I’ll pay for myself, thank you.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        If we allow people to remove themselves from the requirement to pay for others, then they should only be allowed to reap the benefits of their own payments, not the pool the rest of us contributed to. If you don’t have the pool, then why do you have insurance at all? If you start a pool with other like-minded citizens, then you’ll end up paying for someone else, which you have been doing if you had insurance prior to the reform in question. Also, not every poor person is poor because they’re lazy or because they want to be. If you don’t care about the unfortunate, then I’ll keep that in mind should you ever suffer the same misfortune.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          Who says the gov’t is the only entity who can take care of the poor, or even that they should take care of the poor? You think politicians care about the poor? Gov’t wants their vote, and giving them a piece of everyone else’s money is a means to that end.

          • AstroPig7 says:

            It’s difficult to respond to strong cynicism with anything other than the same. Private insurance has proven to be a nightmare, and the only thing that would keep the government from running it better is infighting and immature blockades from sociopaths and corporate lackeys. Unfortunately, these problems have only worsened in the past few years, so I currently see no good avenues for change aside from taking my chances with the government (which is more likely to improve than private insurers).

            • Akuma Matata says:

              Why don’t we experience these same problems with insurance for any other product? You can buy insurance for practically anything, yet health insurance is the one area that has the most problems. Doesn’t that beg the question why? Is it a coincidence that the health care industry is also one of the most gov’t-intervened industries in the US? I think not.

              • AstroPig7 says:

                That’s a selective conclusion. No other type of insurance sees as much use as health insurance. Auto insurance can be avoided by not owning a vehicle. Home insurance can be avoided by not owning a home. Renter’s insurance can be avoided in several ways (one of which is simply ignoring it). However, health insurance is essential to get quality healthcare. There are many other areas in which the government heavily intervenes yet produces no ills similar to the health insurance industry. Why not consider those?

                • Akuma Matata says:

                  “There are many other areas in which the government heavily intervenes yet produces no ills similar to the health insurance industry”
                  such as?

        • jeffjohnvol says:

          I pay for my insurance and pool with those people. What I’m opposed to is me paying for someone else’s insurance that doesn’t pay. People assume insurance is healthcare. Most of those people are either idiots or very confused. Insurance is a protection and payment plan. Its a way to hedge your bets against injury/illness. It is not a cheap way to pay for healthcare.

          I pay for my own INSURANCE. As do the others that are in the same insurance pool as me.

          • AstroPig7 says:

            Then what happens to the people who cannot pay? This question is the entire crux of healthcare reform. The group of people who do not pay is not totally composed of people who will not pay, so what of the misfortunate and the temporarily indigent?

            • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

              “Then what happens to the people who cannot pay? “

              They’ll get stabilizing care at the ER but wont be able to get any follow ups, unless the condition becomes an emergency and then they’ll go back to the ER.

              The hospital will then overcharge patients who have insurance or eventually just shut down their ER.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Apparently you don’t realize that your health insurance premiums cover the cost that hospitals incur when they accept the poor into ER situations and they cannot pay. Hospitals are required by law to treat them even if they do not receive pay for them.

            Even if this law is revoked, nothing changes for you. You still subsidize the poor’s health insurance. It’s always been this way. By enacting this law, those people will be forced to pay premiums, effectively increasing your pool and decreasing your premiums. Why decrease? Because they are already treating these people, but now they pay for it. And health insurers are required by law to have a certain about of premiums go towards services. If not, you get a refund.

      • palfas says:

        Then why don’t you go ahead and pay for everything else that you use your self too.

        Pay for your own roads, bridges, street lights, snow plows, police, fire, everything.

        If you don’t want to pay for any one else, then go live in the mountains. if you want to be a member of this society, it’s going to cost you something (time or money or both), but no one’s going to force you to give more then you can afford.

        Some of us believe that providing everyone health care (which you can obtain through having health insurance) is one of those things that we can and should do as a society. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to live here.

    • trellis23 says:

      I’d laugh, but unfortunately I actually believe this is the biggest reason that so many people are against universal healthcare.

  15. comatose says:

    I think my head will now explode. Thanks, this early in the morning for this gift of info.

  16. Mold says:

    MassCare (RomneyCare) was never designed to provide Health Care…it was to maintain profitability for insurers. Having experience with non-profit providers, I can attest to the much, much lower sums spent on executive bonuses and pay. Universal. If you want out, sign the waiver and pay for everything using your Mom’s credit card.

  17. I-man says:

    I hate the whole health care debate. There’s so much disinformation, ignorance, paranoia, and knee-jerking going on that a ration conversation will never be held. That, and a complete lack of any leadership or a willingness to make tough decisions by our elected officials will eventually sink the whole system, if not the country.

  18. dolemite says:

    Just create the public option that can’t deny anyone, and this will all be resolved.

    Healthcare firm profits be damned.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      right… because the gov’t has proved itself so good at running social security and Medicare/Medicaid that they deserve the entire healthcare system.

  19. Tim says:

    Well, it’s a damn good thing the Republicans have a definitive plan to replace the legislation with something that will provide health care for the same number of people at a lower cost without violating what they think is in the Constitution.

    • dolemite says:

      Yeah..Repubs are really good at obstructionism and criticism, but not so good at ….you know, doing their job and crafting laws.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Democrats – the party of bad ideas.
      Republicans – the party of no ideas.

      Democrat: “I’ve got a sucky idea”
      Republican: “I can make it suck even more”

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      The Republicans actually had some very interesting proposals coming out of their think tanks in the late 90’s. I think HDHP/HSA health plans were a good start but none of the other ideas ever went anywhere and it’s very clear that Obama is intent on dismantling them.

  20. zantafio says:

    The reality check quote of they day:

    “[…] if you want me to be really honest, when we see the U.S. debate on the healthcare reform from Europe, it is astonishing to us. The idea that we have such a violent debate so that the poor are not left on the streets without a cent when they are sick … Excuse me, but we’ve solved this problem more than 50 years ago”, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who by the way is considered by the French to be a bit too on the right of the right in the political spectrum….

    • raybury says:

      Apparently Sarko doesn’t know about Medicaid and CHIP. He must be reading the New York Times.

      The uninsured are not the poor, unless they fail to sign up for it, in which case they’ll be just as bad off under Obamacare plus owe a fine.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        The fine only applies to people who make more than a certain amount ($32000/yr, if I remember correctly). It is not universal.

        • nutbastard says:

          $32k a year is a pittance in a place like San Jose, where crummy studio apartments go for $1000+ a month for rent alone.

          $32k a year is a kings ransom in rural Wyoming.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      He’s got it wrong. The poor are covered just fine. Ask my friend who divorced her husband, moved in with her parents, doesn’t work, and now receives Medicaid which covers her pricey dermatologist visits and her kids’ braces. Which I cannot afford for my kids, BTW, even though my husband makes twice the median salary for our area so we’re not exactly low-income.

      Or my poor-ass cousin who received half a million dollars’ worth of cancer treatment on the public dime (and still managed to lie around listening to talk radio and rail against universal health care. Wha?????)

      And people wonder why the middle class–who get married and get an education before they have kids, who work hard and pay bills and try to be responsible with their money, but who will lose everything they have worked for with one catastrophic diagnosis–are growing increasingly resentful of the welfare class.

      As for Sarkozy, he can take his misinformed French arrogance and shove it.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “He’s got it wrong. The poor are covered just fine. “

        To an extent, I do agree. The poor get Medicaid and their kids go on SCHIP.

        If you’re middle class and/or work for a small business, then health care can be prohibitively expensive. Between 2010 and 2011, between medical bills and health insurance bills, my wife and I will have spent over $30,000. If my wife were to have quit her job or we got divorced, then she could have gone on Medicaid and our current (unplanned due to a failed vasectomy) pregnancy/birth would have been free.

        There are all kinds of perverse incentives when it comes to health care and health insurance. The system seems designed to discourage marriage and working full time, as well as discouraging working and middle class women from having children.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        THIS: I am tired of paying for everyone’s health care, including my own, yet getting far less than they do in benefits.

        But, Sarkozy has a point. Why shouldn’t I get the same health care for my money as senators, government employees, welfare mothers, prisoners, and other bums?

    • DevsAdvocate says:

      Isn’t France running out of money to keep it’s welfare schemes going?

      • exconsumer says:

        Not even close. France’s health care expenses per capita are about half what we spend. And they achieve the same, if not slightly better, health outcomes. The idea that our system saves us money or that we get better care is a total fantasy.

  21. yessongs says:

    Take that Obama!!!

  22. SteveinOhio says:

    At this point, the only man in America who has an opinion that matters about this law is Anthony Kennedy.

  23. romoish says:

    Insurance companies have a financial incentive to not accept sick people. Sick people have the most health care costs. Health insurance is expensive. Health insurance is more expensive (if at all obtainable) if you are sick. Most people who have health insurance get it through their employers.

    How do you make health care affordable for everyone?

    a) What is the free market, no government influence way of this happening?

    • Akuma Matata says:

      Easy – put the people who consume healthcare back in charge of paying for it. Insurance should by definition only cover catastrophic events. The system becomes wildly inefficient once insurance starts insuring against events that have a 100% chance of happening. Once we start making cost-benefit analysis on the amount and type of healthcare we want, then we’ll see pressures start to push costs down in an attempt to draw in more customers while at the same time increasing the quality of care. It has worked with every other good and service we buy and sell each day (including many insurance goods), it can work with healthcare too.

  24. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    I’m a registered Republican and even *I* want a universal, European-style, umbrella healthcare system. I want in on that Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare action that other segments of society already receive. Honestly I think most Americans do too–not this patchwork mess cobbled together by lobbyists. I want us to quick dickin’ around, start from the ground up, and build it right–consistent, transparent, sensible.

    But how on earth do we pull that off against the combined might of the entrenched health care companies and their armies of lobbyists? That’s what I can’t figure.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’m in the same boat. I’m a registered Republican and find our current health system a convoluted mess, with many perverse incentives not to marry, and not to work, and all kinds of market distortions from low reimbursement rates from the government and legal requirements to treat those who can’t/won’t pay but no transparent way to deal with the costs. Tying health insurance to employment and only providing even basic legal protections for group plans make the situation even worse, and inhibits small business development more than any other factor.

      I’d really like to see a mandatory catastrophic coverage for every American via payroll taxes and the option to buy private supplemental insurance.

      • partofme says:

        Have either of you considered a system like India has? My officemate (from India) has been telling me about it. They basically just have a bunch of government-run health care facilities alongside private health-care facilities. He is personally very trusting of the public facilities (which are free and turn no one away), but there are plenty of people with sufficient resources who prefer to stick with their private facilities.

        Starting your own parallel system would have some constitutional issues too, but probably isn’t as difficult as telling absolutely everyone exactly what they can and cannot do (when they already have many practices established). This kind of system would force the government to compete in some way, rather than simply give mandates to consumers and providers. Even though the government providers will have a financial advantage, they will probably have other disadvantages. If India is a worthy example, this wouldn’t lead to the demise of the private health care system, either.

  25. exconsumer says:

    Asinine. If the government can tax you (it can) it can offer a reduction in those taxes should you enroll in healthcare. This is only unconstitutional if you redefine the word to mean something else.

    • SteveinOhio says:

      This is what I don’t understand. If we accept all of the varying tax rates, the credits and deductions, itemized taxes, etc….Why is it a stretch to say you pay lower taxes with health insurance than without? You pay lower taxes if you buy a house (mortgage interest ded.), you pay less in taxes if you make your money on capital gains instead of ordinary wages, you pay higher taxes if you sell stock in less than a year than if you wait a year…

      What’s the difference?

      • evnmorlo says:

        Your examples are of things that the government shouldn’t be allowed to do either, but since the budget is not balanced, it’s difficult to say if renters and wage earners are penalized–their taxes before and after the existence of the subsidies could be the same, unlike Obama’s proposal where those without health care will see an increase.

      • banndndc says:

        insurance is already tax deductible (by businesses). which is why many employers offer it.

        for most of the people who cannot afford health insurance a tax deduction would not help since they dont pay $12,000 a year in taxes.

        one of the reasons why health insurance costs are so high is because most people dont feel the full cost of their insurance (conveniently forgetting the employer contributing part when talking about what they pay) thereby minimizing the normal functioning of a market by having price increases not fully felt. a mandate exacerbates this problem by preventing people from choosing not to pay for a price increase.

  26. crashfrog says:

    Hrm, that’s interesting.

    And precisely where in the Constitution is the judiciary given the explicit power to nullify legislation? You know, since we’re being all Constitutional and shit.

    • exconsumer says:

      While I disagree with this ruling wholeheartedly (like I said, it’s only unconstitutional if you redefine the word), the judiciary has always had the power to overturn legislation. Always always always. It is their job to ensure that passed laws don’t conflict with state and federal constitutions. Think about it. If there was no body to do such a thing, the constitution would be meaningless as a guiding document. There would be nothing to stop a state or national congress from passing a law that violates some part of the constitution.

      • crashfrog says:

        No, not always. The doctrine of judicial review didn’t emerge until several decades after the ratification of the Constitution. Marbury vs. Madison, which is the case where the courts gave themselves that power, was argued in 1803.

        I’m just saying – judicial review of the constitutionality of legislation isn’t present in the Constitution; that’s not a power explicitly given to the courts by the Constitution. It’s a power that the court itself ruled that it had, in 1803. It’s funny that explicit powers matter so much to this judge, right up to the point where they don’t.

        • Thyme for an edit button says:

          You’re right but there is no chance in hell Marbury will be overruled.

        • partofme says:

          You’re right that the idea wasn’t explicitly stated until Marbury, but judicial review is really a simple consequence of the supremacy clause. If all the judges shall be bound by the supremacy of the constitution, then they can’t very well make a ruling that’s unconstitutional just because Congress made another law that says otherwise, can they? The supremacy clause should directly keep Congress from passing unconstitutional laws, but if that fails, the judiciary can certainly claim to try to honor the supremacy clause through judicial review, since they’re bound by the constitution tighter than they’re bound by Congress. This wasn’t stated as judicial review until Marbury, but it’s been there in spirit since day one.

  27. SteveinOhio says:

    I’m an Eisenhower Republican and I’m starting to come around on single-payer. It’s hard to look at a country like France and compare them to us and think that somehow they are the ones who screwed up health care and we did it right. I think you could probably come up with a more innovative system that would preserve some free market principles, but I understand the sentiment that says health should be non-profit, so let’s give it to everybody, have the government pay the bill, and figure out how much that comes to in taxes. I don’t know if it’s best, but it’s certainly simple.

    • exconsumer says:

      Good for you on coming around. If you’re not happy with single payer, Germany and the Swiss (I think) use tight regulation and price controls on an otherwise private healthcare system. If we were to emulate one of those systems, we could still improve our coverage and reduce our costs.

  28. SalParadise says:

    A fantastic decision! Now, if we can just get the same judge to rule on mandatory auto insurance, which I’m also tired of having rammed down my throat by Big Government.

    I’m pretty sure the judge can use the same reasoning: since there’s nothing about autos in the constitution, mandatory auto insurance must be unconstitutional!

    • rjaguar3 says:

      Hate to rehash the same point, but auto insurance mandates are STATE LEGISLATION; the individual mandate is FEDERAL LEGISLATION. State legislation has more leeway with the federal constitution than federal legislation.

  29. Dragon Tiger says:

    Hmmmm… maybe this can go some ways to making my state’s insistence on auto insurance go away, too.

  30. LiquidSunshine says:

    What *I* want to know is why the clipart for this post is of the Rod of Hermes rather than the Rod of Asclepius. The former being the rod representing the god of rats, the plague, and thieves… the latter being the rod of the son of Apollo, the god of light and truth and healing.

    For the record, I think Hermes is pretty cool too (I like rats), but his rod doesn’t really have anything to do with Health Care Reform.

    • Bladerunner says:

      It’s very common in the US. So much so that I’ve had people why the Star of Life (the EMS asterisk with the Rod of Asclepius on it) is “Missing a snake and the wings”.

      The two symbols have been conflated for ages, but specifically since the late 19th century US Army Medical staff started using it, mostly because it looked cooler to the people choosing it, and also because (maybe) it indicated a non-combatant. Once the US military Medical staff began using it, people forgot mostly about the origins of the two symbols, and just used the winged one because it does, after all, look more impressive.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      Nerd alert!!!!!

      (I like nerds)

  31. Pax says:

    I find that I cannot disagree with the Judge’s decision, and the reasoning behind it.

  32. livinginpoverty...nowinsmalltownuppermidwest says:

    I hope that everyone against being forced to buy insurance ( as I am) is also against the law that says all emergency rooms are required to treat people without proof of ability to pay. Conscious or not, no ability to pay, no service. Maybe everyone with insurance would have a tatoo or a chip implanted to prove payment. The rest of you bleed to death in the street.

    • evnmorlo says:

      No problem as long the government stops its unconstitutional persecution of cauterization street vendors.

    • nutbastard says:

      God forbid people pay for the services they utilize. Everything should be free, right?

      TANSTAAFL. Someone has to pay for it. Which is fine by you as long as that person is someone else. Well guess what? That someone else is a person too. Why are you entitled to their money?

      • livinginpoverty...nowinsmalltownuppermidwest says:

        You are also against the law that requires hospitals to treat everyone that comes into the emergency room regardless of their ability to pay? You are agreeing with me?

  33. SteveinOhio says:

    Here’s an idea that I haven’t heard mentioned at all…why not require every medical practice to have a price list posted in their office, and available on a sheet to take home?

    Part of the problem with rising costs is that consumers aren’t able to be properly informed about their decisions because pricing is so stratified and secret. Airlines have had to fight it out on price because of the phenomenon of openly known pricing. If I could run a quick, sortable search for the cheapest MRI in my zip code, wouldn’t that hold down the costs?

    Transparency, particularly in consumer decisions, is a great thing. It would be the food labeling law for health care.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      I agree with you RE: pricing, however, what difference does it make? If you see that an MRI costs $900 because your doc told you, but your insurance is covering it, will that influence your decision on whether or not to have that test? Doubtful.

      We have to end the employer purchasing care for the employee and the special tax breaks it gets. We have to put insurance back in its true role of covering catastrophic events and not covering annual MD visits, etc…and let the consumer of care be reunited with the purchaser of care. Then and only then will there be downward pressure on prices and upward pressure on quality.

  34. TheGreySpectre says:

    Requiring people to buy things has been done before. I’ll be interested to see what happens when the bill goes up to the supreme court (you know it will end up there eventually)

  35. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I am for this ruling. I think it would be great if everyone bought health insurance and I wish I could get coverage (turned down by 3 companies for individual insurance). However, I do not think people should be required to buy from private companies. The lack of a public option is what lost my support.

    • lucky13 says:

      Exactly! The lack of a public option is what makes the mandate unconstitutional.

      Combine Medicare/Medicaid and make it available to everyone – anyone not happy with that is free to pruchase supplemental insurance from private providers at their own cost. Peroblem solved – NEXT!

  36. Hotscot says:

    Why are so many people against universal health care paid by taxes in this country?
    Why on earth wouldn’t anyone want it?

    I had it in Scotland. I had no trouble seeing a doctor. I always received excellent treatment. My taxes there are the same as here in the US.

    The idea that you can go bankrupt because you’re sick is incredulous.

    (There are always anecdotal exceptions but that’s true everywhere.)

  37. chaelyc says:

    I can’t support penalizing the people in this country & specifically this state (MI) who already pay huge penalties for being jobless & broke. As desperate as I am to see some health care reform passed, I can’t support that.

  38. Mandrake says:

    If the health care bill is unconstitutional, then the Constitution needs to be revised like it was meant to be and has been on numerous occasions.