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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Individual Mandate: Government Overreach Or Interstate Commerce?

A police officer stands in front of the Supreme Court on the eve of oral arguments on President Obama's health care legislation on Sunday. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

A police officer stands in front of the Supreme Court on the eve of oral arguments on President Obama's health care legislation on Sunday. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

On day two of legal arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama’s 2010 health care reform law, the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether the law overreaches by requiring that everyone have or buy health insurance.

The Obama administration argues that health care is something everyone will eventually need and requiring the uninsured to pay a penalty for not having it falls within the federal government’s powers to regulate interstate commerce and collect taxes.

The 26 states and a private business organization suing to overturn the law claim the law wrongly compels people to buy something whether they use it or not.

Guest:

  • N.C. Aizenman, reporter at the Washington Post

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Eayelton

    The Government may not force Americans to buy any product; however, we are forced to pay for those that receive emergency services. We are already paying for those who do not have insurance. The “system” we have now is hiking up healthcosts. Why are we okay with allowing people to live off free services. Make everyone pay into healthcare.

    Those that can afford health insurance claim they don’t want to pay for others who can’t pay for health insurance, yet they already are paying. Low and no income folks are saying they don’t want to be forced to buy healthcare. Healthcare reform is for YOU.

    My regret is that the money we pay for healthcare, does not go directly to healthcare, but instead creates an entire industry of profit-driven insurance companies . If our money went directly into healthcare, “administrative” costs of healthcare

    • Jon

      I totally agree with you. But to come to such conclusions requires basic empathy as well as the desire to just *think*. Seems that people with these basic life skills are in too-short of supply.

  • American Osterich

    I wonder how many of those who don’t have insurance by choice realize they are subsidizing those of us who do have insurance.  They pay a higher cost for every visit because they pay the list  price where my insurance has negotiated a discount for treatment and drugs.  In addition we all pay more state and federal taxes to cover more serious illnesses suffered by non insured or government insured because basic care or preventive care was minimal or not available to avoid the more costly advanced illnesses.

  • Zack Schefman

    Why is no one comparing this debate to the to mandate to purchase car insurance? In the state of Michigan I am required to purchase no-fault insurance why is that any different than healthcare? Though buying a car is a voluntary action one could argue that going to hospital is also such. I can choose to try and take remove my own appendix in my backyard, though it may not go that well.
    So, I ask again; why is this any different than mandatory car insurance?

    • Hearmeknocking

      Exactly ! I should not be forced to buy anything from a government agency. I dont want auto insurance. Driving IS NOT A PRIVLIGE. It is a neccessity in todays reality. Not some antiquated imaginery thought in a Supreme Court Judges mind.
      If I am forced to buy auto insurance, then I can be forced to buy health care insuranfe.
      Health care needs to be removed from the greed of the profits of insurance companies. My health is not based on someones owning a ten million dollar home. But in todays America it is! So change IS something we can believe in.

  • Vanessa

    Isn’t it true that this law provides a subsidy for those who truly cannot afford to buy it? 
    Also, requiring everyone to have insurance is far different from requiring them to buy broccoli, which has no future monetary consequences.Those who don’t want to buy health insurance while they are young and healthy or feel they don’t want or need it will reach a point where they do need it and at that point will be the beneficiaries of others who have paid into the system for years.

  • Sandy Lynch

    Comparing health insurance and “death insurance’ is spurious.  Death can only happen once per person: the cost of even the most elaborate treatment is limited.  An individual’s need for health care, however, is unpredictable: that’s why it’s so difficult! 

  • Ed

    So for this mandate to be upheld by the law, I heard that over 16,000 new IRS agents would be hired to make sure the “law” is obeyed and penalties collected promptly.
    This is to be paid via one’s 1040 in April and to file a tax form one needs a social security number.
    This reminds me of something I read several years ago which Colin Powell said.

    The conversation was about locating some missing Russian scientists. Powell responded with the following:

    “Finding the Russian scientists may be a problem being that Russia does not have a Social Security System, as here in America, that allows us to MONITOR, TRACK DOWN and CAPTURE an American citizen.”
    Colin Powell on Fox News Sunday June 17 2001

  • Antoine

    The question that should be debated here is why American so sick?Why are they the sickest on earth?Could it be their Standard American diet(SAD) of overprocessed, chemicalized, GMO ladened, dead and stale ingredients making up what is labeled “food”.American are overfed and undernourished. They eat too much, drink and smoke too much and are lazy. Besides many are ignorant of how the body functions.Science illiterates to put it plainly.So you expect me, who eats well, rarely is sick, takes NO medications, avoid doctors and the hospital at any costs to pay into a system so others can continue to maintain their bad habits of a poor diet and lifestyle.I should be rewards for taking care of myself, not made to obtain health insurance so others can abuse themselves to run to the doctor for some drug.I don’t think so, Mr Obama. I don’t need you or your creeping Police State in my life.

  • Russell

    Thanks Antoine for your comments.
    I would like to add to it.

    The country is full of those who are overweight and obese. Heart disease and cancers are rampant. Diabetes, kidney and liver disease.How did these people get this way? Acts of God. It just happened out of the blue. No.They were consuming this SAD diet I am speaking of.One only need to read about the poor eating habits of Americans for the past 20-40 years. Overfed and undernourished.People practicing bad habits then rushing off to the emergency room, their doctor, a hospital for some “treatment” because they are too ignorant to follow good habits.Much of this fault goes to our leaders and the educational system.Learning how to eat properly and take care of oneself should begin in school.But how can it, when their are vending machines selling sodas, sugar ladened snacks and basically junk food.That is the real crime. Indoctrinating the youth from an early age to become “brand” conscious. Disease is a BUSINESS in America and its BIG.Rather than tackling the root of the problem we allow it to continue so the medical industrial complex can move in to “treat” the symptoms.Don’t advocate prevention, treat it. There’s money in treatments.The debate should be about how to lessen the rampant diseases across the country?The only exercise some people get is–shovelling food into their stomach, digging their grave with their teeth, sidestepping the results of wrong living and running for the physicians.

  • Russell

    As a retired physician, I can honestly say that unless you are in a serious accident, YOUR BEST CHANCE OF LIVING TO A RIPE OLD AGE IS TO AVOID DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS AND LEARN NUTRITION, HERBAL MEDICINE AND OTHER FORMS OF NATURAL MEDICINE [i.e. PREVENTION]. Almost all drugs are toxic and are designed only to treat symptoms and not to cure anyone. Most surgery is unnecessary. In short, our mainstream medical system is hopelessly inept and/or corrupt. THE TREATMENT OF CANCER AND DEGENERATIVE DISEASES IS A NATIONAL SCANDAL. The sooneryou learn this, the better off you will be.
    Dr. Allan Greenberg on 12/24/2002

    “All appointments to the FDA are carefully screened to be certain that the appointee will be controlled by the drug companies. An FDA memo admitted that they would never permit an independent researcher to come up with a cure for cancer that it would have to come through a drug company. Many cancer cures have come and gone since 1906. None has received any publicity in the national media. Curing cancer is far removed from the plans of the drug companies as the sale of chemotherapy drugs is so lucrative.”   –Dr. James Howenstine

  • Clara

    Too much emphasis on treatments and little on prevention.

    Treatments = big steady profits.Prevention = not so good for the stock holders at Big Pharma.

  • Liberty

    You, yourself in a motor vehicle are a liability to other motor vehicles, therefore you have to purchase insurance. The way you opt out, is simply don’t drive, ride a bus, ride a bike. How do you opt out of a individual mandate for healthcare? You don’t. You have no choice. Also if you notice auto mobile insurance companies are allowed to compete across state lines, this in the long run drives down the cost right? Its called free market economics when you compete for the best cheapest product who wins? The consumer. A federal mandate, allows no competition in the private sector and will eventually end up in rationing. REPEAL FULLY!

  • Lou

    At this time, 20% of your genes are patented. Someone else owns you.This insurance mandate(law) is just another attempt to own and control more of your life. You are nothing but a number in America. Tow the line, shut up, consume beyond your means and remain in debt.
    Who Owns You? 20% of the Genes in Your Body are Patentedhttp://singularityhub.com/2010/08/11/who-owns-you-20-of-the-genes-in-your-body-are-patented-video/

  • Lou

    Just another way for the corporations to get your money from you.One more tax, fee, penalty or whatever you wish to label it. Look at the dozens of taxes which people are subject to on a daily basis.The bureaucrats and ruling class are always scheming ways to part your money from you, whether willingly or by some law, decree, edict or stealth.
    Its business as usual in capitalism. Its requires markets to sell their wares or they die. Parasitism at its finest.

  • Barky

    Both major parties claim they want less government, however in the end they both create more government bureaucracy. Endless laws annually across the country. Every time you turn another, you are in violation of one of their laws. Most of this is nothing more than job creation schemes.I saw posted here or elsewhere a quotation from the Roman senator and historian Tacitus.”The more corrupt the state, the more numerous its laws.”
    What is a mandate? By definition its a law among other things. Who does Congress truly represent? The working class or the ruling class?Who is influenced by the special interests and lobbyists?The answer is clear

  • Edna_rangolan2000

    General public will rather run up hospitals and other medical facilities in health cost then make health insurance payment. This is a true statement within in itself.

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