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Monday, November 14, 2011

Battle Over Health Care Law Reaches Supreme Court

The nine justices of the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. (AP)

The nine justices of the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. (AP)

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will take up the constitutional fight over the President’s embattled health care law. Justices will likely ask the Obama administration, if the government can require Americans to buy health care, what’s next and where does that authority end? As one lower court put it, could the government also compel people to buy broccoli?

In the last year and a half, more than 25 cases have challenged the health care law with limited success. No appeals court has ruled against the entire health care law, and of the 12 appellate court judges who have reviewed the case, only three have decided that requiring all Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional.


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  • Andrew

    The new health care law does NOT mandate that people to buy health insurance – that’s an inaccurate, but politically convenient, portrayal – but your taxes will be higher if you don’t.  Similarly, if you don’t get a mortgage, invest in an IRA, get married or have children, your taxes are higher, yet no one is calling those unconstitutional mandates.  If the healthcare law is ruled an unconstitutional mandate and thrown out, mustn’t these other tax items be discarded as well?

  • J Frog

    Who will subsidize whom?  Will the healthy subsidize the unhealthy or will the insured subsidize the uninsured?  Either way, when you are “subsidizing”, you are undercutting any cost controls because a vast group will have no “skin” in the game.  Controlling cost is the problem.

  • Tim

    The answer will most likely be that the Supreme Court will decide in favor of Corporate America. Business is priority. This will be a bail out to the insurance industry for Obama as they financially backed him in 2008. Its business as usual.
    Why are people’s health so bad in America compared to other countries?One only need to look at the Standard American Diet(SAD) of overprocessed, fragmented, chemicalized garbage which is passed off as “food”.Americans are overfed and undernourished. People are nutrient starved from all this packaged, dead GMO ladened “so called food”.Diseases of deficiency are rampart across the land.
    If this Obama Health Care law is upheld, you are well on your way to the Police State they are envisioning for all. Corporate fascism.
    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.  George Orwell

  • Steve

    This from Ron Paul who the mainstream media wishes would go away.All those running for high office are all “team players” who will do what they are told and parrot what the rich and powerful wish. Outsiders like Ron Paul need to go away and shut up.
    “When the government has the power to make medical decisions for us, we, in essence, accept that the state owns our bodies.”

  • Eddy Luttmer

    As long as we are entitled to care when we show up at the emergency room, a means to pay is the obligation of responsible individuals. You can’t have it both ways and sustain it. However, obligating me to purchase insurance from private companies so that 20% of my premium payment can go towards administrative costs and profit might exceed the government’s authority.

    Constitutionality aside, when will we have equitable tax treatment of health insurance premiums and expenses. Currently people without employer sponsored plans pay for health insurance with after tax dollars, typically adding 20% to the cost ($4,320 extra in taxes for a family plan) ; to add to the insult, we also do not have the luxury of Flexible Spending Accounts. With high deductibles, copays and coinsurance payments, the tax imposes another 20% surcharge which many avoid through participation in Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings accounts. It is high time this inequity in tax treatment be corrected.

  • Clara

    Too much emphasis put on treatments, where the money is to be had. Little in preventative measures which yield better health to the individual but also little monetary value to the death care system in general. There is no money in healthy people.
    The whole system is based on parasitism. Either play the game of capitalism or get out of the way.
    Be a good patriotic and eat your junk food, get sick, pop all the drugs the medicine man sells you and don’t complain. Be that apathetic, ignorant citizen that many of you are.  

     “Nothing offends patients more than to be asked to change their habits of life. Their desire is to be able to break every known law of health; then when they are called upon to pay the penalty, the expect complete absolution in a bottle or two of medicine. They are content to be patched up sufficiently to continue their practice of self-indulgence in various forms.”              …Dr. Alexander Bryce…
    “Two-thirds of these diseases, (heart disease and diabetes) would be eliminated if we consumed a healthier diet and exercised more”.   ~ Dr. Meir Stampfer M.D.,  Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

  • Andrew D

    It isn’t Obama’s mandate. Calling it such is pandering to the right, and we already have Fox News for that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Edward-Boughton/1379995701 Edward Boughton

    I do think this is uncostitutional, but easily fixed by making it a Tax.


    I propose that we set up a Heath Tax, which simply provides
    everyone Catastrophic Coverage.  This
    simple insurance covers you for anything not your fault. Good for ALL for Us.  This Lets you keep your existing coverage, or
    purchase Riders for unhealthy behavior. 
    Good for the Insurance Industry. 
    Creating an cost incentive being healthier, Good for the Health of the
    nation, reducing our ridicules $3-trillion dollar bill for what we have
    now.  I believe in 2yrs we can get it down
    to $2-trillion



    You would have to pay $1000 to $1200 a year per person as
    part of our taxes.

    And to follow all medical recommendations (primarily
    checkups, or quit smoking, to retain coverage for its effects)


    Covered for ALL Catastrophic coverage – THAT IS NOT YOUR
    FAULT or the CDC deems to need to be covered (vaccinations


    If you smoke, skateboard, do drugs or do anything that would
    lead to additional care then you will have to buy it (you don’t have to, but
    then you are not covered for it)  This
    will offset the costs to the Insurance Company/Heath Care, and it will make
    people responsible for their health and help curb unhealthily acts


    Would have to cover you for ALL health issues related to
    your job, so if you work in an office, they may only need to cover you for
    paper cuts, but if you work in a coal mine, then they would have to cover you
    for almost anything.


    In sort, no overlapping coverage, and everyone pays JUST
    their fair share.  And everyone is
    covered for what matters and makes us all responsible.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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