by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
April 02, 2012 08:18 PM | 1615 views | 2 2 comments | 73 73 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The MDJ editorialized on Sunday, April 01, 2012, that it hoped the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, would be overturned. The unsigned opinion stated that liberals typically favor large government and would probably seem fine with the enhancement of federal power if the law was upheld. I wonder where the voice of the MDJ has been up to now on the activist opinion by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in Gonzales vs. Raich (2005). Angel Raich had a medically documented need for using marijuana and acted within California law that permitted homegrown use for medicinal purposes. When law enforcement agents seized her plants, she sued for injunctive relief arguing, among other things, that the federal government had exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause. Justice Scalia did not seem to think so and found that Congress could regulate an exclusively intrastate activity if its failure to do so (in this instance) would undercut the federal Controlled Substance Act.

It was President Ronald Reagan who was successful in getting legislation mandating that hospitals getting federal funds treat anyone at the emergency room. This caused the insurance rates to go up among those who are fortunate enough to have it. Then Governor Mitt Romney decided to do something about it when he successfully pushed through an insurance mandate in Massachusetts. His argument was that it was time for the free-riders to pay, the people who chose not to carry health insurance because they felt they had no need for it. Republicans going back to Nixon, to include Newt Gingrich, were okay with the mandate. Today Romney and Newt, among the supporters, condemn it using the most disingenuous arguments. I guess it makes a difference which party is in power at any given time to determine one's position.

Those opposed to the mandate scream about the "obvious" violation of the Commerce Clause. It took a real stretch for Scalia to uphold a federal law that was in direct conflict with a state statute that dealt with strictly intrastate activity. I wonder what the effect on interstate commerce is on those who don't change jobs because they need to keep their health insurance and would lose it if they moved, or would be unable to afford a policy if a family member had a preexisting condition. How much money that those with insurance pay to subsidize those without gets diverted from potential interstate commerce spending of goods and services? How many very productive people have "insurance handcuffs" that keep them from changing jobs or starting their own business?

It would be interesting for the MDJ to opine on a solution to the American healthcare system. The ObamaCare law that we got was very different than the one he originally proposed, and no Republican put any serious plan forward that could have been debated. It was all about defeating the president. Perhaps their strategy will work, and the Supreme Court will toss the whole law. Health insurance costs have been spiraling northward for more than 25 years. Without the mandate, portability, and elimination of the preexisting conditions exclusion, we should see rates increase even more.

For those so opposed to ObamaCare for one reason or another, I am reminded of the curse of the Greek Gods: Be careful of what you wish for; it might come true.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Diane B.
April 04, 2012
Apparently all they wish for is the defeat of Obama, at any cost. What I wish is that we end up with a single-payer plan that leaves out the insurance companies altogether. My health insurance company makes billions in profits, pays its CEO one of the largest salaries in the U.S.(supposedly his salary alone several years ago accounted for $1 out of every $700 spent on healthcare), and low-balls payments to doctors. Compare the salary of an insurance executive to that of the head of Medicare. I plan to change providers at the next open enrollment.
EM Buckner
April 04, 2012
As usual, we can count on the Agitator for thoughtful analysis and commentary. Wish the MDJ would give this guy a real column--twice a week in print (Tuesdays and Sundays) would be my suggestion.
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