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Judge Declares Federal Healthcare Plan (Partly) Unconstitutional 1505

Posted by timothy
from the urge-us-to-go-and-buy dept.
healeyb writes "In a surprise move, US District Judge Henry E. Hudson issued a ruling today that the universal healthcare law that was pushed through by the Obama administration is unconstitutional. Specifically, he invalidated the section of the law that requires all citizens to purchase healthcare insurance, arguing that it does not fall under the purview of Commerce Clause of the Constitution, as has been asserted by the government. The ruling represents the first major setback for President Barack Obama on an issue that will likely end up at the Supreme Court. Two other courts have shot down challenges to the law."
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Judge Declares Federal Healthcare Plan (Partly) Unconstitutional

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:01PM (#34536802) Journal
    The same guy that went after Michael Mann [slashdot.org] and others [slashdot.org] after it was thrown out [slashdot.org]. He's a young Republican with an agenda [wikipedia.org] that he's forcing down everyone's throat since day one. From trying to change the state seal (it has a mammary in it!) to just stating that "Homosexuality is wrong."

    I'm not saying he's right or wrong in this matter (the judge seemed to agree with him) but he's one of those guys [huffingtonpost.com] and he's a state Attorney General for Virginia pushing his conservative agenda to a national level.
    • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:06PM (#34536856) Journal

      Yes but we need those guys. We need the flaming crazies that will go to court and FORCE the judges to look at every little issue and say, "No, stfu," or "Holy hell how did this get to be law?!" We NEED someone to challenge every little thing the government does and make the one balance we have-- the courts-- stand up and tell the executive and legislative branch where to shove it when they overstep their bounds.

      What we don't need is these people becoming judges or congressmen.

      • by sstamps (39313) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:38PM (#34537474) Homepage

        ..or Attorney General. Oh, wait..

      • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:54PM (#34537814)

        That's a nice thought, but they aren't challenging "every little thing" the government does, they only challenge things they don't like, and there aren't a similar number of "flaming crazies" challenging other laws that other americans view as blatantly unconstitutional or imposing on freedom.

        Take "obscenity" laws for instance, blatantly unconstitutional and yet those who oppose such laws aren't running around the streets casually with semi-automatic weapons or making references to "2nd amendment remedies" when things don't go their way.

        If this were a case about a law requiring everyone to purchase a Bible, these same people would be actively supporting the law or at least remaining silent, because that's what they do, they only run their mouths and cry about freedom when it suits their personal causes.

        • by icebike (68054)

          That's a nice thought, but they aren't challenging "every little thing" the government does, they only challenge things they don't like, and there aren't a similar number of "flaming crazies" challenging other laws that other americans view as blatantly unconstitutional or imposing on freedom.

          So what?

          If I don't like a law, and find a legal ground for challenge does that mean I am obligated to challenge every other law?

          Your reasoning here seems sort of daft to me. Of course people are going to only challenge what the don't like. OTHER people will challenge OTHER laws. Some laws receive no challenges because no one is sufficiently upset about them.

          And there are obscenity challenges year in and year out, and the standard has changed over time, by edict of the SCOTUS, who (in case you haven't not

      • by dbIII (701233) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:36PM (#34538598)
        Meanwhile people die because some bastards have been paid off to stop a health care plan that is far less ambitious than the Republicans were pushing under Nixon. You can bet he's not doing it because he's a "flaming crazy" but the only way to show that is to follow the money.
    • by Tetsujin (103070) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:07PM (#34536872) Homepage Journal

      The same guy that went after Michael Mann [slashdot.org] and others [slashdot.org] after it was thrown out [slashdot.org]. He's a young Republican with an agenda [wikipedia.org] that he's forcing down everyone's throat since day one. From trying to change the state seal (it has a mammary in it!) to just stating that "Homosexuality is wrong."

      Damn those activist judges!

    • by melikamp (631205)
      Yet in a bizarre twist, this "young Republican" struck down the part of the law inserted for the benefit of the insurance companies. So the rest of the bill stands and people cannot be turned down due to pre-existing conditions, but they don't have to buy insurance until they are sick. Or am I not getting something?
      • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv D ... neverbox DOT com> on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:12PM (#34538168) Homepage

        Indeed, I half suspected something like this would happen, and as someone as liberal as humanly possible, I am laughing my ass off.

        To recap: We should have had single payer system.

        Instead, insurance companies, looking to make even more money, promised to insure everyone...but only if everyone was forced to buy from them, so that the healthy couldn't skip out on the deal.

        If the latter part of that gets sentence struck down, insurance companies will have to insure anyone who wants it (I.e, who is currently sick) and then, when healthy, the person can just let their insurance lapse, secure in the fact they can just buy more insurance when they need, because insurance companies can no longer deny insurance on any grounds except failure to pay.

        I am fucking rolling on the floor laughing. I mean that literally. I read this an hour ago, and it's taken me that long to stop laughing to comment. I had to make a support call during that, and I had serious difficulty not cracking up during it.

        You just utterly fucked yourself, insurance companies. Oh, man, oh man.

        I hope the teaparty folks take this as a rallying cry, and regardless of how this goes in the court, yell at their congressmen to remove exactly this part of the law.

        • by jpmorgan (517966) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:55PM (#34538834) Homepage

          Except that by default, when a law is unconstitutional it is struck down in its entirety, to prevent such unintended consequences.

          If Congress doesn't want this to happen, they can include a severability clause that says 'hey, we don't mind if this part stands on its own.' But Congress didn't do that. If mandatory insurance falls, so does the entire bill.

          • by BitterOak (537666) on Monday December 13, 2010 @09:52PM (#34542178)

            Except that by default, when a law is unconstitutional it is struck down in its entirety, to prevent such unintended consequences.

            If Congress doesn't want this to happen, they can include a severability clause that says 'hey, we don't mind if this part stands on its own.' But Congress didn't do that. If mandatory insurance falls, so does the entire bill.

            Actually, if you read the ruling [turner.com], you'll see that he addressed the issue of severability and decided not to throw out the entire law, only the mandate part.

        • by Amouth (879122) on Monday December 13, 2010 @05:14PM (#34539118)

          i have issues with the "pre existing conditions" mainly the fact that some times you just can't afford health insurance.. aka where i work now i have coverage - and i have a condition.. if i was to be laid off then my only option would be cobra which is exceptionally expensive (prohibitively so) and hope that i can afford it (i can't) until i can find a job with insurance.. if there is even a day or less of lapse then they say "pre existing condition" and i can't get coverage for it.

          now in hind sight i didn't always need treatments - in fact for years i had coverage and never went to a doctor.. but now my meds cost more than my house (without insurance)..

          i know there is more than one problem here that needs to be solved.. and letting the industry "solve" it just won't happen. there is too much money in it for them to keep things broken.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      That may well be, but IMO this ruling is a good thing, this health care law is nothing but a boon to the insurance industry. I'd like to see the health insurance industry die, and have a sane system like all the other industrialized countries have.

      We have the most expensive health care in the world, but we are not the healthiest people. The insurance industry is an unneeded middleman that is beholden to your employer, not you who actually gets the medical treatments.

      The only thing that gives me pause about

  • Unconstitutional (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark72005 (1233572) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:03PM (#34536820)
    Too bad "unconstitutional" is only defined by which party has the bench packed at the Supreme Court, currently
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      Either we have a Constitution, and it applies, or it does not. Can you tell me, exactly where in the Constitution, Congress has the authority to require people to spend any money on anything, save for taxes?

      If you clamor about the Commerce Clause I'll scream that Health Insurance is NOT interstate commerce, it is specifically NOT interstate. I can't

      • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:32PM (#34537334)

        ...you want universally bad health care for everyone

        No. The OP said nothing like that. Democrats said nothing like that. Nobody but you said anything like that. Claiming people who disagree with you are burning kittens and hate freedom is not an argument.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moridineas (213502)

        Either we have a Constitution, and it applies, or it does not. Can you tell me, exactly where in the Constitution, Congress has the authority to require people to spend any money on anything, save for taxes?

        That would be (amongst others), Article I, Section:

        The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

        But that is besides the point, you want universally bad health care for everyone, so Constitution be damned.

        My problem with this -- what in the health care bill actually improve things? At the small business where I work, our health insurance costs look to be increasing by 20-30% for our next contract. That's even worse than the increases a few years ago! With regards to affordability, d

        • Re:Unconstitutional (Score:5, Informative)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:13PM (#34538178) Journal

          >>>That would be (amongst others), Article I, Section [general welfare clause]

          The author of the Constitution disagrees with you, and being the author he would know better than anyone what he meant. "There is nothing more natural than to start with a general phrase, and then follow it with a qualifying phrase that narrows its focus to a list of particulars." - James Madison. A decade later he wrote: "To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

          In other words the Congress can only exercise the ENUMERATED powers underneath the general welfare clause, not everything under the sun. And if you have doubt of that, simply read amendment 10: "...powers not granted to the US are reserved to the States..." In other words the power to Require Hospital Insurance does not belong to the Congress. It belongs to the 50 State Legislatures.

          • by babblefrog (1013127) on Monday December 13, 2010 @07:13PM (#34540654)
            That's the way it reads to me too, but that's not the way the courts have read it for longer than you and I have been alive. I don't see how they can strike down the health care bill without also striking down Social Security and Medicare and most of the rest of what the Federal government does, and that ain't gonna happen.
      • Re:Unconstitutional (Score:5, Informative)

        by ep32g79 (538056) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:44PM (#34537598)
        Wickard v. Filburn

        "... even if appellee's activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect.'"

        It does not matter if the commerce happens completely within the boundaries of the state, only so long as the activity has an effect on interstate commerce congress can legislate it.
        Now what constitutes effect, how much effect on interstate commerce is necessary for it to land under interstate commerce clause has been argued (see US v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr), But I would say that if arguing on the merits that health insurance does not fall under the interstate commerce clause will ultimately fail. This is why the states are raising contest under the requirement to purchase and not solely on the legislations merits of necessary and proper.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Arker (91948)
          The entire text of the Constitution, as well as the extensive extemporaneous evidence, SCREAMS that this was never intended to be interpreted in anything like this fashion. It's a sophomoric rationale that was invented with a nod and a wink to gut the Constitution then, and it's been used to that affect for decades. You may be right in that the federal judiciary at this point is far too corrupt to ever enforce the law, but that is a different issue entirely.
  • Surprise move? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:04PM (#34536838)
    Oh really? Anyone who at least didn't question the constitutionality of this really (regardless of where you end up standing) needs to get a clue.
    • Re:Surprise move? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mark72005 (1233572) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:11PM (#34536924)
      You don't think it's reasonable to say every citizen must buy a particular product from a small set of private companies, or face onerous tax penalties (and jail time, if unpaid?)
      • You don't think it's reasonable to say every citizen must buy a particular product from a small set of private companies

        You mean like buying the product (service really) of federal law enforcement? Or do you mean like a whole class of citizens being required to pay into a federally run healthcare system (like medicare)? Sure, healthcare reform is constitutional under a very broad interpretation of the commerce clause, but anything that would strike it down would apply equally to medicare.

        ...or face onerous tax penalties (and jail time, if unpaid?)

        This is a myth. There is no way at all to face jail time for not getting health insurance. You can be fined and you can have your wages g

    • Re:Surprise move? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:19PM (#34537052) Journal

      It's surprising when the constitutionality of *ANY* measure the federal government takes is called into question. If we really read the constitution, very, very little of what our government does is authorized. The real question is not whether this bill is unconstitutional, most laws are unconstitutional. The question is why does this law get questioned, when other laws that are just as clearly unconstitutional get a pass?

    • Re:Surprise move? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc (621217) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:19PM (#34537064) Homepage
      I don't question it. I have studied it thoroughly and am very well educated on the issue. You are entirely wrong, are acting emotional and objecting to soemthign becaue you dislike it and therefore are struggling to find SOME kind of insane argument about it being unconstitional. Nope. Sorry. Not everything you hate is unconstitional.

      The clause in question does NOT really criminalize failure to get insurance, it simply requires those that fail to buy a insurance to pay the government cash.

      Just as the government can put a tax on you doing something, they can put a tax on you not doing something. Just as the government can say "we give everyone that have children a tax reduction", that same government can say "We give everyone that buys health care, a tax reduction."

      The only problem here is a bunch of morons are too stupid to think their own argument through. They get caught up in words like 'require' but don't bother to look at what the law actually does.

      The fact that the government choose to use words that sound like they are criminalizing it does not affect the actual content of the law. The fact that you can't find anything at all actually wrong with the law forces you to concentrate on irrelavant crap.

      • Re:Surprise move? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:33PM (#34537360) Journal

        >>>The clause in question does NOT really criminalize failure to get insurance, it simply requires those that fail to buy a insurance to pay the government cash.

        Sounds like a fine to me. Where in the Constitution was Congress given power to interfere with INTRAstate commerce between Me and my Doctor or hospital? Answer: No where. Such interference is specifically limited to the STATE Legislature per amendment 10.

        If you still think your stance is reasonable, consider if the Congress started charging people $1000 extra per year if they failed to buy a solar roof. Or a Microsoft Operating System. Or a General Motors car. Or ..... Still think your stance is reasonable? Once the precedent is set (fines for failure to buy a product) then there's no limit to what the Congress can "nudge" us to buy.

        Anyway I hold to Jefferson and Madison's opinion that the US was meant to have a FEW enumerated powers, while most of the powers remained with the Member States. Just like the modern EU.

        • by gurps_npc (621217)
          The government is NOT interfering with your transaction. They raised your taxes, then gave certain people a tax break if you qualify. You choose NOT to qualify. They have not in any interfered in your transaction.

          As for charging people an extra $1,00 per year if they failed to buy a solar roof... THEY ALREADY DO THAT YOU!

          The fact that you are too stupid to tell the difference between raising everyone's taxes by $1,000 and then offering a $1,000 tax refund for buying a solar roof and instead just stra

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        The clause in question does NOT really criminalize failure to get insurance, it simply requires those that fail to buy a insurance to pay the government cash.

        I think the distinction between unbounded taxation and compulsion can be a false one.

        For example, if the government taxes me at 100% because I don't (for example) want to wear pink pajamas, then I'll be unable to provide adequate care for my children, and they can be taken away. Or it could make me homeless, which coupled with anti-loitering laws coul

      • Re:Surprise move? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:50PM (#34537714)

        What's depressing is that you guys seem to have ended up with the worst of all possible health systems.
        the expense, the inefficiency and the overall terribleness of a private system combined with the expense, the inefficiency and the overall terribleness of a public system.

        Avoiding the advantages of either and getting the disadvantages of both.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:08PM (#34536884)

    The odd aspect of the current plan is that you can be compelled by law, just by dint of being a citizen, to purchase a product from a private company.

    If it was an across-the-board tax for across-the-board health coverage it'd clearly be constitutional. But for some reason we have to keep cutting in a for-profit industry that adds no real value to the process and pretend that's better than having the government pool the cash and disburse it as necessary to doctors.

    They actually found a worse solution than socialism to the problem.

  • ...ask yourself who this is actually a victory for. After all, this was only a ruling against a part of the law, not the entire thing. And this was really the part that was the biggest corporate hand-out of the bill - had a real liberal written it we would have seen a single-payer option instead of forcing people to give more money to large corporations.

    So in other words, if this part goes, and the rest stays, what are we left with? A bunch of smaller corporate hand-outs that don't fix much of anything in a horrendously broken system. Most people will still have the shitty insurance they already have, and they will see their costs continue to rise the same way that they would have if nothing at all had happened.

    So whether it goes away - in part or in entirety - or not, we still have a crappy broken system. Maybe, just maybe - if we are really truly fortunate - this will motive our politicians to actually write a bill that addresses some of the existing problems and then hold an honest discussion on that.

    But I suspect at this rate I (and anyone currently reading this) will be dead before that happens in the US.
    • by jfruhlinger (470035) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:24PM (#34537176) Homepage

      Call it a "corporate handout" if you want, but the logic behind it is this: you can't require private insurers to accept new customers with pre-existing conditions (which the health reform does -- and this is probably its most popular provision) without requiring everyone to buy health insurance. Otherwise, people would just stay uninsured until they got sick, and the whole health insurance industry would collapse. Essentially, this is the only way that you can get a system with universal coverage that is entirely based on private insurance.

      If this provision doesn't hold, you may get your single payer coverage sooner than you think.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:39PM (#34537502)

        Essentially, this is the only way that you can get a system with universal coverage that is entirely based on private insurance.

        Which is precisely the problem here: we do not have a public option. The public option would have represented actual progress on getting universal coverage, and we did not pass it. Instead, we decided to pass yet another bill that enriches large corporations, rather than a bill that would have actually benefited America. This provision should never have even been discussed because it only makes sense if the interests of private insurance companies are a priority.

  • by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:14PM (#34536966) Homepage Journal

    .complaining about activist judges in 3...2... ...no? Really?

    • I don't understand why people continue to trot out this old trope.

      The question is: Is the judge determining, as best he can, whether the constitution grants the government the power to do a specific action; or is he simply substituting his *own personal policy preferences.*

      Simply the fact that he is striking down a law doesn't mean anything. That's part of a judge's job.

          - AJ

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:14PM (#34536982)
    Anyone with a memory better than a gold fish can laugh with me as I recall that insurance mandates were originally the Republican plan. Republicans loved the idea of a mandate, and Democrats hated it.

    Now? The Democrats folded like a cheap suit, gave the Republicans what they had been calling for for 15 years, and suddenly the Republicans hate the idea of a mandate.
  • by fadir (522518) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:19PM (#34537062)

    Next they probably rule that being poor is unconstitutional because you cannot buy enough stuff and therefore damage the economy which seems to be the only important factor in the U.S.

    Meanwhile I realized that the difference between Obama as president and McCain is probably not much more than the color of their skin. They are both spineless idiots that just follow the way that money leads them. I guess the only way to go for you guys is further down the same road that you apparently chose as the only truth: money, money, money. Will be interesting to see where that will lead you to. I presume civil war at some point when the gap between the rich and the poor has reach a level where the masses won't shut up anymore and even tanks and armed forces will be the lesser evil compared to poverty and the lack of a proper future.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:20PM (#34537102) Journal

    If he had simply put a tax increase in the bill to pay for it, it would be totally constitutional. That was not possible from a political PoV, so they came up with the individual mandate.

    IMHO, the fatal flaw with the bill is that it doesn't (as a first step) try the low-cost solutions to fixing our system:

    1. Abolish the anti-trust exemptions for health insurers. Yes. You heard me. I bet you didn't even know that so-called "progressives" are so ready, willing and able to ignore one of the key ideas of the original Progressive Era, circa 1900.

    2. Price transparency. In most states you can't even check to see if you're being ripped off because price lists are secret!

    3. Eliminate provider networks. All insurers must pay the same rates from all providers, and must accept claims from any licensed practitioner.

    4. Uniform, standard billing codes.

    2, 3 and 4 would combine to reveal the regime in ways heretofore unseen, a veritable Wikileak of our current healthcare insanity. It would also help to eliminate over-billing of our current government programs.

    None of these very low cost alternatives got on the table. Instead, not only were the inneficient inscos not punished, they were actually rewarded with the individual mandate! It's just another example of how powerful interests have bought government.

    • by FriendlyPrimate (461389) on Monday December 13, 2010 @06:47PM (#34540382)

      If he had simply put a tax increase in the bill to pay for it, it would be totally constitutional. That was not possible from a political PoV, so they came up with the individual mandate.

      IMHO, the fatal flaw with the bill is that it doesn't (as a first step) try the low-cost solutions to fixing our system:

      1. Abolish the anti-trust exemptions for health insurers. Yes. You heard me. I bet you didn't even know that so-called "progressives" are so ready, willing and able to ignore one of the key ideas of the original Progressive Era, circa 1900.

      2. Price transparency. In most states you can't even check to see if you're being ripped off because price lists are secret!

      3. Eliminate provider networks. All insurers must pay the same rates from all providers, and must accept claims from any licensed practitioner.

      4. Uniform, standard billing codes.

      2, 3 and 4 would combine to reveal the regime in ways heretofore unseen, a veritable Wikileak of our current healthcare insanity. It would also help to eliminate over-billing of our current government programs.

      None of these very low cost alternatives got on the table. Instead, not only were the inneficient inscos not punished, they were actually rewarded with the individual mandate! It's just another example of how powerful interests have bought government.

      Wow....absolutely great post!

      I'll add to #2. IMHO, one of the reasons why healthcare costs so much is because the costs are hidden. Doctors should be required to tell you how much something is going to cost BEFORE ordering a test, prescribing something, etc... They should even be required to tell you how much a doctor's visit is going to cost when you make your appointment. Make the costs as visible as possible, and let us decide if it's worth it. If a cancer treatment costs $100,000 per year, and only has a slim chance of extending our life, tell us that and let us decide. There should be none of this "well figure out how to bill you later". And you get multiple bills in the mail, so you're never even sure you've paid the entire balance because something else could come next week. No other industry operates like this. Imagine if every time you took your car to be fixed, you weren't told how much it was going to cost. Instead, you'd only find out how much it cost after the bills for the service stopped coming in the mail at some point in the future.

  • There's a lot of FUD out there about health insurance. So here's the facts:

    Country A: Health insurance is optional. So only the sick get health insurance. Their premiums are high, because they use their health insurance a lot. The young and uninsured meanwhile, a few of them need to go to the hospital too (broken arms, etc.: anyone can have a health emergency, even the very healthy). However, since the young and uninsured are usually poor, they can't afford the bills. They avoid them. Or declare bankruptcy. The hospital passes the unpaid bills onto the state and feds, and your tax dollars pay to keep the hospital from going bankrupt. Since no self-respecting society can turn away the sick, this already is universal healthcare, just paid for in the stupidest most expensive way possible. As well as destroying young people's credit and encouraging them to freeload and act irresponsibly.

    Country B: Health insurance is mandatory. So everyone pays premiums. The premiums are low, because only a small percentage of the insured population actually use the insurance. The young need insurance because they can get sick too, and no, it is not wrong to be using some of the money of the young to treat the older and sick. This is called morality in most societies: you care for the elderly and sick in your society. Only in an immoral society are you encouraged to not care for your elders and your weak.

    So why is the USA stuck in Country A status? Because insurance companies are making money hand over fist in the broken system, and don't want to lose their profits. They pay for FUD propaganda about government death panels, massive expense increases, etc., the naive and foolish believe the FUD, and the naive and foolish wind up supporting a system that hurts their health.

    And then there is the criticism of quality of healthcare between country A and country B. And it is true: crisis care in country A is superior to crisis care in country B. Why? Because crisis care, like heart attacks, is expensive, therefore generating revenues. See, country A is all about making money, not taking care of your health. Meanwhile, country B actually delivers a genuine higher quality healthcare, at a lower cost, because the emphasis is on preventative care: making sure you get screened, diagnosed, and put on a diet/ pills so you don't even get that heart attack in the first place... but that approach doesn't make as much money, see? It has to be about making money, not taking care of you?

    Look: car insurance is mandatory in the USA. If you understand the logic behind that, you understand why health insurance should be mandatory, and not some evil socialist plot to destroy America, blah blah blah, FUD and propaganda paid for by health corporations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by emacs_abuser (140283)

      You hit the nail on the head.

      The judge is an idiot.

      He's in a country where the hospitals are REQUIRED to treat the sick, regardless of their insurance status.

      A law requiring insurance is only logical, and fair.

    • by Arker (91948)

      Having lived under both systems I dont think you are too far off, as far as you go, although there are salient disadvantages to to your B system you dont mention, they dont change the equation so radically as to make what you write garbage.

      However like everyone else you insist on ignoring the possibility of a system C, a free-market in health care. This is a "non-starter" politically because no wealthy PACs would get a free ride on it, of course, so I understand why they dont want to talk about it, but for

    • The problem is that in neither Country A nor Country B is what you are talking about actually insurance. What you are talking about is a program whereby when you need medical care, someone else pays the cost. That someone else is everybody else, so basically, you are reccommending a program whereby all medical costs are shared out among the whole population. Of course this is the source of most of the problems with healthcare in the U.S., the end user has no incentive to control costs because either A: some
  • by nickovs (115935) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:38PM (#34537464)

    It is worth noting that while this judge says that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, two other Federal judges (one in Michigan [nytimes.com], and one from a different case in Virginia [nytimes.com]) have said that it is just fine. This will doubtless go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

  • The Right to Choose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alphastrike (1938886) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:46PM (#34537628)

    Quoting Judge Hudson, "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

    The problem with his perspective, is that the eventual goal of universal healthcare is aimed at prevention. Not matter how incomplete the current health care bill is, the eventual goal is to decrease high cost of health care associated with late complications of TREATABLE diseases.

    If you are sick right now in this country and you walk into an emergency room, they are obligated to treat you. You can't not be turned down for care if you can't not pay, so long as the care is necessary. So if you can't pay and you have no insurance, somebody's gotta suck up the cost. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists arn't going to work full time jobs for free. Guess who has to pay? The taxpayers, through government giving hospitals checks so they don't go bankrupt.

    Now take Billy Bob, he is a 40 y/o truck driver, smokes 1 pack a day. He has no health insurance, so he doesn't see a doctor. No one tells him to quit smoking. He has hypertension, but he doesn't get treated because he feels fine and doesn't see a doctor. At Age 50 he develops diabetes, he feels crappy from time to time but he doesn't see a doctor(no insurance) At Age 58 he has an heart attack, get sent to the ER. They find he can't be cathed, and has to go through a bypass procedure. Except he is also is in chronic renal failure from chronic diabetes and hypertension. To save his life they do a bypass and his kidney is shot for good. He stays in the ICU for 2 weeks sick as a dog after his surgery, because
    he has COPD and his lungs won't work. Then he gets to go home but is living on dialysis. At age 60 he has a big head bleed from all the anticoagulants he takes for his heart. He goes back to the hospital and slow waste away after a Tracheostomy and PEG(Percutaneous endoscopic gastrotomy or feeding tube.) He dies six weeks later in a nursing home from pneumonia.

    Was his care good? Absolutely, top notch care, they did everything right. Except for the last 2 years his life sucked, and he died a miserable death. What's his cost of care? It's probably more than Billy Bob ever made in his entire life. And taxpayers are paying for it.

    So what's the alternative? Billy Bob has insurance, he sees a doctor. He can't quit smoking but at least he start taking his blood pressure pills and his diabetes pills. His first heart attack comes at age 68 but he is not as sick so his bypass goes much smoother. He get scared and finally quit smoking. Great, that's a lot more years on his life, that he can enjoy. A lot more years where he is contributing to society by driving a truck. And as a Tax payer...I like the fact that ten years of blood pressure pill and insulin still cost a hell of a lot less than Emergency Bypass+ICU+Diaysis+Trach PEG and nursing home. I think if Billy Bob had to pick, he'd pick this route as well.

    That is why everyone should have insurance. Now the other alternative is stop paying for Emergency Care. Grandma has an appendicitis? No insurance...let her die. You wife get shot in a drive by? No insurance...bleed to death. Your kid came out with some rare genetic disease that's gonna cost tens of thousands to fix? No insurance...good luck. You can crawl to the doorsteps of the ER, and they'll shut the door on you if you can't pay.

    But are we ready for this kind of society? I don't think we are...yet.

    So since I am a taxpayer, and I have to pay for people who can't pay...I rather pay less. So what is wrong with universal health care? Every dumb idiot out there who isn't covered and seeing a doctor, is making me pay more out of my pocket. Because when they are sick enough, they all come to the hospital.

    I disagree with Judge Hudson, it's not about an individual's right to choose to participate. It's about if I have to pay taxes, I like to pay less.

  • by melted (227442) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:56PM (#34537874) Homepage

    What really needed to be done is:
    1. Single payer system for basic healthcare. You can't have surgeons and insurance company execs who drive Ferraris and reduced healthcare cost at the same time. No pain - no gain, something's gotta give. In the system where the normal pricing rules don't work (because prices aren't even advertised, and you won't bargain anyway when it's your health or life that's on the line), someone has to have the authority to fight the more extravagant examples of creative pricing (i.e. pharmaceuticals that cost 1/10th the price once you cross either of the borders)
    2. All premium services (i.e. shit you wouldn't die from if denied care) require separate insurance, with stiff premiums.
    3. A separate, progressive, mandatory federal income tax for healthcare (and yes, I know it would hit me disproportionally, since I make quite a bit).
    4. To reduce the tax burden, reduce Pentagon budget by 4/5ths or more and get out of fucking Afghanistan. Winning there is _not possible_. If we're so into spending money we don't have, let's at least spend it on things that matter.
    5. Put the Congress and the Senate on the same insurance plans as what their constituents have. Not gold-plated, diamond encrusted Cadillac plans they pay $0 for right now. Make them feel the pain of the common man.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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