Friday, August 12, 2011

healthcare ruling: what can gov't compel?

the analysts are starting to weigh in on today's healthcare ruling that declared the "individual mandate" that people buy health insurance unconstitutional.

when you consider all the things the government at all levels compels people to do, this seems a little specious:

"Paul Clement, arguing for the States, said the case turns on 'whether or not the federal government can compel an individual to engage in commerce.'

Today the Court agreed with Clement and targeted the limits of Congress, saying the case was about whether the government can issue a mandate 'that Americans purchase and maintain health insurance from a private company for the entirety of their lives.'"

but the act didn't say that anyone had to purchase insurance from any particular company for any stated period. it just compels people to have some kind of insurance.

that wouldn't be so bad, if there was any regulatory muscle in the act vis a vis what the insurance companies were allowed to charge for what services. it doesn't restrain costs, or allow the government to negotiate on drug prices. it just forces the healthy uninsured to ante up (although it subsidizes the low-income people).

we have a seriously fucked system, and if the public wasn't so clueless about policy -- basing everything on how a proposals makes them feel instead of on the merits -- we'd demand a system that covered basic wellness services and provided a compassionate level of healthcare access to all. not unlimited service on demand, but humane and decent treatment of all, regardless of ability to pay.

the GOP pushes hard with the emotional appeal against obama on the basis of race -- the TP hates obama so it's not hard to demonize any program or government program that can be tagged to his sorry ass. the fact is, though, that even the TP loves their medicare benefits, they just don't see it as a government giveaway program (it never is, if they benefit).

so as a result, we get nothing. the GOP has no plan to replace this thing called obamacare with anything substantially different. when they get through with the program, what do you think will be left? something remarkably similar, i'd be willing to wager. they can demagogue healthcare all they want, but if they don't deliver, or try to eviscerate medicare, they'll be on their asses again. and don't bet on a next generation rockstar democrat to be the same kind of pushover stooge as obama. there's gonna be a ruthless and ambitious politician out there who won't be timid about demagoguery as this current wimp.

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