“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Healthcare ruling expected in minutes

The SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare might come as early as 9:15 this morning, or like within 3 minutes of typing this sentence. The lynch pin of Obamacare lies with the funding mandate through which all the rest of the bill is funded. The constitutional question before the court is whether the federal government can compel citizens at the point of a gun, to engage in interstate commerce. (Article 1 Section 8 Clause 3 of the Constitution gives the federal government authority to regulate commerce among the states.)

If that mandate is ruled unconstitutional, the the funding mechanism of the rest of the bill goes away and the whole thing crumbles. The question is what happens to the popular parts of Obamacare such as allowing children up to 26 to be covered on parents' policies and the pre-existing condition mandate? These are wildly popular with people who need them, but they cost the insurance industry tons of money to fund. So how to not throw these parts out with the bathwater that is Obamacare?

The only answer is to tell every current policy holder up front that their premiums will necessarily go up significantly if these things are preserved by law. If the American people want their neighbors to enjoy these coverages, then we have to be prepared to pay for them in higher premiums. The other thing to offset some of these costs is to immediately allow interstate shopping of policies rather than restricting people to in-state only policies. The competition alone would reduce significantly the costs of policies.

Either way the ruling goes today, the media will be afire with punditry and spin so pay attention and don't believe everything you hear.

UPDATE: It passed with disappointing support from John Roberts and refreshing dissent from Kennedy.


Michael said...

Television sources, online news sources, and of course all Social Media is falling into chaos with different opinions. Care to give a prediction of what happens to the Nation from here? Overall economy? Any effect on the deficit?

Ed said...

Well, as with any government-managed program, the costs will inflate geometrically if not exponentially. Government doesn't do anything well, not one thing. This is no different.

I'm less concerned about the nuts and bolts of this particular healthcare law than I am about what I see as a breathtaking overreach by congress as it forces citizens to engage in directed commerce. If the government has the power to force you to buy a healthcare policy, what's to stop it from forcing you to buy a pair of sensible shoes because like being without health insurance, being barefoot is undesirable. It's a matter of freedom for me, not the particulars of this law.