Dec 13 2010
01:22 pm

Judge rules on Virginia lawsuit, says individual health care mandate is unconstitutional

I don't know about that, but it's immoral without a public option. On the other hand, if this stands (two other courts have disagreed) it means the health insurance companies lose their handout. On the other other hand, it also means pundits and Dem apologists can no longer call it "universal" health care. Any plan that doesn't require universal buy in won't work to spread the cost and insure everybody.

TVA Ted's picture

The Judge in Florida will agree with this opinion

and you'll be off to the court of appeals in Atlanta and in Richmond, ending up with the Supreme Court sometime in early 2012.

Our federal government is the problem, not the solution.

Our local government is the problem, not the solution.

Burchette is not yet Obama, but he's heading in that direction, but I don't think he'll involve Mike Ragsdale or Tommy Schumpert in any issues going forward.

rikki's picture

Finally someone talking about

Finally someone talking about solutions to this tough problem! Hooray, Ted.

michael kaplan's picture

could signify the end of

could signify the end of medicare and mandatory auto insurance.

EricLykins's picture

Since the law was signed by a

Since the law was signed by a man who was not born on American soil, none of this ever happened anyway.

Somebody's picture

It's not a handout to

It's not a handout to insurance companies. Mandating participation by all is the yin to the yang of mandating affordable coverage for all. The math doesn't work if healthy people don't contribute, just as it doesn't work if sick people can't have affordable coverage. Having one mandate without the other causes the system not to function.

Without those mandates, you have the current system, the one where young and healthy people don't participate and older and sicker people can't participate, and the people in between lament that they don't feel secure enough to opt out and fear that should they get sick, they'll be dropped out.

jmcnair's picture

Follow the money. Always follow the money.

Just another activist (and capitalist) BPublican judge.


Pam Strickland's picture

Without a public option

Without a public option people like me still have the same problem -- private insurance is unaffordable. I'm about to price myself out of Interfaith because I'm likely to make to much money with the next contract I take on. That means that my niche of the economy is good, but it means that I may be in trouble when it comes to health coverage.

I have a couple of options, and I'm going to be exploring them over the next few weeks. But it's scary because one of my medications is easily $400 a month. Another is probably close to that, I haven't priced it in a while. The rest are generic these days so I can live with them. But the last time I checked on an individual insurance policy it was in the $700 range -- with lots of deductibles.

I confess that I haven't gone to far into the details since the health care bill passed, in part because nobody seemed to know any answers and my income didn't look like it was going to rise too fast. And I felt better about my options before this court ruling came down. Now things will be a bit crazy until some kind of clarity is available, I'm afraid.

Rich H's picture

The Morality of Needs verses Rights

There is a need for some type of health care reform. Since companies started offering free health insurance to new employees to get around the Nixon wage/price controls, costs have skyrocketed. In essence, we created a large pool of money for health care professionals (and trial lawyers) to dip into.

And they did.

We have a moral responsibility to take care of the people around us who are less fortunate than we are. That's why we give.

But moral requirements and personal needs do not meet the standard for defining rights. In other words, just because I have a need doesn't give me the right to demand that somebody else meet that need.

That's the problem with the individual mandate. It takes a need and uses it to create a right. It goes further, and mandates that individuals must participate. While comparison's to car insurance are easy, they are also inaccurate in that I can choose not to drive and then legally not pay for the insurance. There is no opting out of the Health Care plan without penalty, and that's why the reform is unconstitutional.

If you want to make a serious attempt at dealing with the problems with health care, first you have to accurately define the problem. What percentage of the population wants insurance and can't get it? 10%? Deal with that first, then try to address some of the other issues facing health care delivery.

By the way, having spent a considerable amount of time dealing with hospitals, rehab, specialists, etc over the past year, I can tell you that while there are some areas that need improvement, our health care system is not broken. I'm still fighting with insurance companies over some of the bills, but never once was I worried that Luke wouldn't get the best care available, regardless of insurance.

fischbobber's picture

Since companies started

Since companies started offering free health insurance to new employees to get around the Nixon wage/price controls, costs have skyrocketed.

Please tell me that you did not really expect this absolute fabrication to fly by without question.

Show some documentation please or prepare yourself to be assailed at the airing of the grievances.

rikki's picture

It's not a complete

It's not a complete fabrication. World War II wage freezes are the origin of employer-paid health care; he just got the date a bit wrong.

rikki's picture

There is no opting out of the

There is no opting out of the Health Care plan without penalty, and that's why the reform is unconstitutional.

If it's unconstitutional, it is unconstitutional because the federal government lacks the power to create a national health-care system, not because of an individual right. It's an issue of state vs. federal power. A person's ability to opt out is irrelevant, much like you have no choice if you get drafted to go to war.

Somebody's picture

The problem with your

The problem with your comparison to auto insurance is the part about opting not to drive. People generally don't opt not to live (with obvious exceptions). People cannot with any certainty opt not to get sick. Combine those facts with the fact that most of us value our own lives at or near infinity, and you come up with our current predicament.

When someone opts not to buy health insurance, they are not like someone who is opting not to drive and thus reasonably opting not to buy auto insurance. They are like an uninsured driver. They might be an uninsured driver who has a fantastic accident-free driving record, but they are nonetheless tooling down the road risking an accident that could quickly cost more money than they currently have. The person with no health insurance might be young and healthy, but they are risking injury or sickness that will require treatment they cannot afford. In both cases they are gambling with other people's money. In the present system, the uninsured sick can still get healthcare. It is just generally not the best care, and probably not sought or provided in the most efficient, cost-effective manner. The result is that they get less than optimal care, and everyone else pays a bigger, less-than-optimal bill for it.

This is one of those cases where the assertion of a personal freedom is not the clear-cut thing that is being claimed. The person opting not to buy health insurance is not simply opting not to engage in a type of commerce. He is, instead, opting not to engage in a type of commerce until circumstances require the help of others to pay his bill. This even applies to the young, healthy person who delays purchasing health insurance until he reaches middle age, and never required medical attention he could not pay for in cash. That person is just successfully delaying paying into the system until he had reason to believe that he is more likely to require more out of it than he pays in. He is, in effect, seeking to steal from everyone else who did pay into the system while they were young and healthy.

The simple fact is this: no one can reasonably opt out of the healthcare system. By virtue of being alive in this country, an individual can be expected at one time or another to interact with the healthcare system, and to seek care based not on what he can afford, but on what he actually needs. The only way to not participate would be to make it common practice to deny all care without advance confirmation of insurance or cash to pay for the care, or to have people who wish to opt out to assertively agree not to seek or accept care for which they cannot pay. Since neither of those things will ever happen, the freedom to opt not to engage in healthcare commerce is nothing more than a fiction.

rikki's picture

out of line

Only the Supreme Court can make decisions precisely opposite of precedent. And rule on cases where they have ethical conflicts. This guy must be angling to be Jeb's first appointee.

EricLykins's picture

"I'm reading to learn." Jeb

"I'm reading to learn." Jeb Bush.

Not in Tucker Carlson's wettest dream. It's Herman Cain. Be the sixth person in the world to see his "imminent" campaign commercial after winning the RedState runoff. The people have spoken.

The first link is to where I mentioned Jeb twice last summer without saying why. And I still can't figure out how to spend less than a whole summer unspinning 180 seconds of sweet smelling horseshit. He could come from nowhere and run the table if a labor party splits off from Democrats.

Meanwhile, the big D money (which has been waiting, at our President's request, in the wings for two years) says that Malcolm Gladwell can suck it.

EricLykins's picture

it is time to shuffle funds

it is time to shuffle funds into a progressive infrastructure that will take on the tasks that the president can’t or won’t take on.

Read more: (link...)

Anna Burger


Factchecker's picture

Repug activist judges just plain bad

TPM sez the ruling was botched.

Factchecker's picture

...first you have to

...first you have to accurately define the problem. What percentage of the population wants insurance and can't get it? 10%? Deal with that first, then try to address some of the other issues facing health care delivery.

That's exactly your side's strategy. Trim down the debate to a tiny sliver that represents squat and is too divisive to get beyond. And on that 10%, I think you need to multiply that by several times.

We've got the GOP's plan, dude, "personal responsibility" and all that jazz. Take credit for it!

Pam Strickland's picture

In Tennessee it's one in

In Tennessee it's one in three adults who don't have insurance. That's a long way from 10 percent. I think it would be fair to say that it's one in three Americans.

EricLykins's picture

Once again, the individual

Once again, the individual mandate first came from Republicans.

Its earliest appearances in legislation were in the Republican alternatives to the Clinton health-care bill, where it was co-sponsored by such GOP stalwarts as Bob Dole, Orrin G. Hatch and Charles E. Grassley. Later on, it was the centerpiece of then-Gov. Mitt Romney's health-reform plan in Massachusetts, and then it was included in the Wyden-Bennett bill, which many Republicans signed on to.

because they know that

If Republicans succeed in taking it off the table, they may sign the death warrant for private insurers in America: Eventually, rising cost pressures will force more aggressive reforms than even Obama has proposed, and if conservative judges have made the private market unfixable by removing the most effective way to deal with adverse selection problems, the only alternative will be the very constitutional, but decidedly non-conservative, single-payer path.

WhitesCreek's picture

Health care is barreling

Health care is barreling toward the day when it will eat 20% of the GDP, almost twice the next most expensive country, France, which has the best health care in the world. Ours, though the most expensive by far, is at the lowest rung in the industrialized world. Give us a plan that that gives us care on the top rung at half the cost we have now. That's all we ask. This cures the deficit problem and one of the major reasons jobs are being sent off shore.

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