We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Today’s federal district court decision on a challenge to ObamaCare’s mandated purchase of medical insurance seeks to so expand federal powers as to override all personal decisions about almost anything.
The Commerce Clause in the US Constitution has been expansively interpreted to allow the federal government to classify almost anything as an “economic activity” affecting interstate commerce. There are some guideposts laid out by the Supreme Court, basically that the regulation of economic activity be necessary to implement the regulatory purpose and that it be proper, not invading constitutional state sovereignty.
A federal district judge in Michigan today decided to further expand the federal government’s regulatory authority to “economic decisions.” In the case at hand, the judge says that the ObamaCare mandate to buy insurance is legit as the decision to not buy insurance may affect others who do by possibly shifting costs to the latter. So, even if aspirin will do the job, instead of a visit to the doctor, you are shifting costs to an insurance buyer.
By inventing a new “economic decisions” doctrine, Judge Steeh has gone beyond the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clause doctrines established by the Supreme Court. Only the Supreme Court is authorized to expand its own interpretation of the scope of Congressional power….
If the Supreme Court ever accepts the government’s “economic decision” theory, then there is nothing it cannot mandate in the future in the name of regulating “commerce . . . among the several states.” Congress will then have the general police power that both the Constitution and the Supreme Court has always denied it.
The Michigan court’s decision doesn’t bind the Virginia and Florida district courts currently considering the two biggest challenges to mandate (those brought by 21 states and the National Federation of Independent Business). Moreover, Judge Steeh’s conclusion that this case is fairly easily covered by existing Commerce Clause precedent is at odds with the Virginia judge’s earlier ruling concluding that no previous precedent covers this case. It therefore seems to me unlikely that the latter will follow the Michigan reasoning in his own eventual decision (though he could of course uphold the mandate on other grounds). And of course both this ruling and those that will be eventually issued by the other district courts are subject to review by the US courts of appeals, and ultimately the Supreme Court.
And just what does it mean to have "insurance"? Could I start my own corporation/bank account, put $1,000 in it, pay a $5 monthly "premium", and have it pay all my medical bills? (I'm a healthy person who normally only goes to doctor for CDL physical every 2 years)
We already see the problem in auto insurance. Even though the state requires insurance, we also get to pay "uninsured motorist" as part of our fee. How can that be? EVERYBODY has insurance!
The whole problem with the health care issue is that it is combining many different broken things under the umbrella of being one in the same. Some of these areas include 1) todays actual visit/cost. 2) the doctors liability insurance. 3)the lawyers who want to be involved. 4)Government requirements on the insurance company. 5)the poor person who can't "afford" either the bill (#1) or insurance (market priced or subsidised) 6) the difference between "you have puchased a policy that WILL cover you up to X" and "you have purchased a policy that WOULD cover you to X, but because the system puts no end to our potential costs, we have to keep raising the premium rate." 7)The vast improvement of the system to be able to keep people alive, from premie babies to someone with multiple heart attacks, but it all comes at a cost.
I could go on, but don't wish to bore. This whole Health Care bill thing is not going to end well.
"Could I start my own corporation/bank account, put $1,000 in it, pay a $5 monthly "premium", and have it pay all my medical bills? "
No. There will be a federal registry (what else) of companies allowed to issue health insurance policies.
Any other insurance you have will be in addition to the insurance you will by law be required to purchase from one of those companies.
In fact it may even become illegal to provide any health insurance coverage at all if you're not "certified" by the federal government to do so.
The purpose of the U.S. constitution was to specifically enumerate the narrowly-defined power of the new federal government. If the power of the federal government is infinite (as this judge is saying) then there is no purpose to the constitution.
The federal government has for over 200 years been trying (usually successfully) to wiggle its way around those restrictions and to loosen them through linguistic trickery with the way they're worded.
I'm constantly amazed that people don't realise that, and don't realise that the one thing politicians crave is power, and the expansion of that power as it pertains to what of it they have over others.
North Korea may have hereditary presidents, the US has hereditary congressmen (Kennedy family comes to mind) and with the Bushes for the first time I believe had a father and son as president as well (albeit with an interlude, during which another son was governor of a major state).