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"It’s always a bit strange to hear people with government-funded single-payer health plans describe the need for other Americans to be free from health insurance. But after the aggressive battery of questions from the court’s conservatives this morning, it’s clear that we can only be truly free when the young are released from the obligation to subsidize the old and the ailing. Justice Samuel Alito appears to be particularly concerned about the young, healthy person who “on average consumes about $854 in health services each year” being saddled with helping pay for the sick or infirm—even though, one day that will describe all of us. Or as Justice Antonin Scalia later puts it: “These people are not stupid. They're going to buy insurance later. They're young and need the money now.” (Does this mean that if you are young and you pay for insurance, Scalia finds you “stupid”?)

Freedom also seems to mean freedom from the obligation to treat those who show up at hospitals without health insurance, even if it means letting them bleed out on the curb. When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tries to explain to Justice Scalia that the health care market is unique because “getting health care service … [is] a result of the social norms to which we've obligated ourselves so that people get health care.” Scalia’s response is a curt: “Well, don't obligate yourself to that.”

Freedom is the freedom not to rescue. Justice Kennedy explains “the reason [the individual mandate] is concerning is because it requires the individual to do an affirmative act. In the law of torts, our tradition, our law has been that you don't have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger. The blind man is walking in front of a car and you do not have a duty to stop him, absent some relation between you. And there is some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that's generally the rule.”
Frank Even's profile photoStefan Leitner's profile photoBecky Montgomery's profile photoBob Lovett's profile photo
Obviously freedom is the ability not to give a shit about anyone except yourself.
An interesting parallel between the blind man getting hit by the car, and the poor man dying in the hospital. Not one I'd considered before, though it's certainly an interesting point.
It really is a catch 22.

If we don't require people to have health insurance, but we require that they are treated when in need of healthcare, where does the money come from if the person being treated doesn't have money, or health insurance? Does the ER at the hospital have to eat it? The taxpayers in subsidies to the hospital? Or require the insurance, which raises everyone's rates and we all help each other out? The alternative is not to require the ER to provide health care to the uninsured. Then watch a person die on the sidewalk?

What is the right answer to you?
Regardless of how this shakes out, I will never be convinced that we (as a society) do not have an obligation, and we as individuals do not have an obligation to "rescue" our fellow person when he/she is in trouble. The is a very liberal view, especially from one such as me, who encourages personal responsibility and does not favor handouts in any form.

The bottom line is that those truly in trouble/danger deserve help from an evolved society.
The opposite thinking would have a person sued for not having the forethought to get his gun permit and carry a weapon to stop the gunman in the cafeteria shooting people. So, he just sat there under the table and survived while the rest died. How rude to NOT have a weapon...
Bob Lai
The paradox is this: the logical choice, the one with the least risk, is not necessarily the best choice.

Consider two brothers walking by a river. One brother falls in, and is overmatched by the rushing water. The other brother, though not a capable swimmer, can either dive in and try to rescue his brother (there is no other help nearby) ... thus preserving both of them as part of the genetic pool; or he can be selfish, justify staying on shore, and cut the genetic pool by one-half.

Once you start making excuses as to why someone doesn't need help, that you have no obligation to help, it's a short journey to being a nation of sociopaths.
I guess the equivalent would be that infrastructure, such as roads etc, come from taxes.
But we don't require everyone to pay taxes and we don't require them all to pay the same amount.
Someone earning some trivial amount - or nothing at all - pays no tax. And yet they can still make use of roads, and paths, and all the other things that government (local and at higher levels) provides with tax dollars .
So you take money out from pay in a similar manner for basic health. A rich man pays more than a modest man, a poor man still gets health cover even though he is unable to contribute.

This does not mean that you don't necessarily have private health insurance, or extra forms of voluntary systems, if for example you want something that's not a health requirement - cosmetic surgery, for example, because you don't like the shape of your nose. Or somewhere with a private room for your extended stay.

But at the very least, it means that something like Health, which is listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is something that everyone has access to.
To me this has always been a very straightforward issue - I don't want to live in a society that is so callous, so uncaring towards its weakest members. I recognize that not everyone agrees with me, but I admit to being baffled as to why. If I have to lose a bit of my net financial worth in order to see such caring happen (which of course I do - this care isn't free) then I'm perfectly prepared to do so, as I think doing so is part of being a good citizen, a good neighbor if you will.

To me its not about freedom, it's about responsibility. And as I taught my kids for years, you can't have the former if you're not willing to live up to the latter.
+Ninja On Rye In this case though it is up to the insurance provider to decide what is important. Easy with an obvious example like cosmetic surgery, but more difficult with many other conditions.

A complaint of many about today's current coverage, and the companies are known to try to deny before approve just about anything.
There will be a grey area, +Anthony Russo, true. Hopefully the bar gets set high enough that squabbling has minimal effect.
In other words, doctors define cases as in or out, not insurance companies.
Well put +Doug Smith but it's the details that get tricky on this. Most everyone says to help the poor guy bleeding to death at the ER. It's when the less obvious examples come up that it gets complicated. The lower middle class guy with chronic back pain? Treatable maybe, but also livable without treatment. Where is the line, and how blurry is it?
+Ninja On Rye But what of the doctor who will treat anything since it gets him paid. A plastic surgeon can say it is needed since that is how he gets money.

It's never a good idea financially to let the ones that benefit make the decision. It is also not a good idea to let the ones with no stake in it, make the decision. What is the good idea?
+Anthony Russo I see you have never lived with chronic pain. I do not know how "livable" mine would be without my medication. But I get your point. This issue has become so complicated that no one really knows where the boundaries are. Personally, I would be for a system where we all pay into an insurance pool and each has minimal care, with the option to buy more if desired and able to afford. I also know that this would involve a complete overhaul of how we think about healthcare. In the meantime, I believe that all should have care for emergencies, as defined by the situation. This should be paid for be agreement between doctors and the government.
Very well said +Bob Lai . And for me, being born and having grown up in a country where universal health care was provided and was well received and utilized, where I never heard of a "homeless person" until I moved to the States, where I see people take their uninsured family members to the emergency room, over and over to "free load" on the hospital's practice of "nobody will be turned away" - even though this person has company offered healthcare for herself and the whole family, but she is not willing to dole out the extra $26/biweekly because she rather wants a bigger Flat screen TV for her family - this issue of striking down a law by a President based on the premise of "freedom to chose" is just ludicrous to me.

I for one, will probably have to return back to my country in my old age...because THIS country here will certainly not look after me when I am old and become sick and I most certainly will not be able to afford health insurance because insurers will have driven the cost of health insurance into the stratosphere by then.

Just my humble opinion about this.
Complete Agree +Anthony Russo the devil is in the details. And if the debate was over those details then I'd be less likely to jump into these discussions, as I'm OK with a reasonably wide range of "final details", so long as the basics are covered.

Unfortunately the debate in America has NEVER been about the details, it's always been at the black and white, "should we even have universal coverage" level. That is what I find so amazing, absurd and more than a little depressing. I truly believe that America has lost its way, lost its soul if you will, and I think this is a good example of that.
+Ninja On Rye I think it's also listed as the first right in our own Declaration . . . the right to . . . LIFE! What does that mean if there is no support for staying alive?
I think most of it comes down to "it's my money and I should have the right to determine, absolutely, where it goes"
Part of the problems with the 'details' is a need in over-all health care reform of looking at whole health. Preventative care saves money in the long-run, so to me the guy in front of the ER and the chronic back pain guy deserve the same treatment.. as that guy with chronic back pain is better off treated early, before he gets to the point later on that he does need the ER or can no longer work. Part of the problem in the US is that our medical system focuses on treating existing conditions, where as countries like Germany, Switzerland and the UK are including complementary/preventative medicine in their healthcare systems.
I think we have two choices this election: e pluribus unum "Out of many, one" Our motto and a good one: we each have the other's back. Or: "I've got mine, to h--- with you!" (The Republican Budget)
Interesting, +Lisa I. Smith I was just reading recently about how preventative health care does not in fact save money in the long run.
+Lisa I. Smith The Affordable Care Act has been the law for two years. It has a provision for preventive care, especially no co-pays for flu shots and mammograms. It has been estimated that billions of dollars has already been saved by the simple stupid thing: because so many fewer people got the flu! I mean, it's so reasonable.
Excellent points made by all. I agree with you all and disagree with you all. I am one that looks at things from all sides and sees the pros and the cons. It makes it more complicated to pick an answer and stick with it on situations like this but I try to have faith in our society to do what is right, as often as that is proven to not be the case.
Addressing the justices' skepticism, there is actually a large body of law that we seem to think is just fine that does exactly what the justices are skeptical about: Maritime Law. In that body of law, if you go by someone whose boat is sinking and you don't help them, you can be sued. (Actually, that would be what Emergency Rooms are dealing with now.) But, the other side of that is Selvage Laws (sp?) which means when you DO help on the sea, you can sue for financial gain. In other words, there is some incentive for you to help. My guess is that we could do that in the health care system by giving incentives to people for joining a gym (and attending), etc.

The weird thing about the young not having insurance is that––when the young need health care––maybe they don't need it as often as an elderly person but when they do, it's EXPENSIVE. The reason driver's liability insurance is higher for the young is they get into accidents statistically more often. Just walk into a hospital while they are dealing with a car accident and the word "traumatic" just takes on new meaning. Moreover, the young are likely to get pregnant. And the least among us (more than 50% of children live under the poverty line in the U.S.) are the most needy of health care of all and they have no say in the matter if their parents don't get them immunized.

Pretending that this is about the Constitution and not politics as usual is the part of all this that is absurd.
>>Pretending that this is about the Constitution and not politics as usual is the part of all this that is absurd.

Also, that maritime law raises an interesting question. What if you do not trust the people on the sinking boat? A setup to get onto boat? We all know the scam of a disabled motorist that is a setup to get your car stolen. On the sea is this more applicable since you are required to help?
+Jeffrey Raskin I don't believe health insurance and auto insurance are the same for two reasons:

1 - Driving is a privilege and not a right. You don't have to drive a car to live. You do have to be healed when injured though, or helped when sick.

2 - Auto insurance (liability) is to cover someone else in the case you cause an accident. Health insurance is only to protect yourself in case of injury or sickness. If you don't want to protect yourself, then that is fine, but requiring you to be covered for damage you may cause to others makes sense.
An argument could be made, +Jeffrey Raskin , that they do not require you to buy an automobile in the first place.
If you lose your freedom to choose, does that mean you still have a 'life'?
Actually, that went a little deeper than I first intended.
This was when I grew up in Germany +Grizzly Joe ....unfortunately, this was also before "Capitalism" became the "sport dejour" there as well. Or immigrants flooded the country trying to get into the generous welfare system there. While I still don't see any homeless people when I go home...I do see that our welfare system has been overwhelmed and cut backs have been made to the point where it is not that far off from the US system anymore. But in general, Germany is still a country where hunger, sickness and poverty is not the norm....such as it is becoming here.
+Anthony Russo My father was a maritime lawyer and he actually had a case like that: someone had set up a scam so as to try to sue the boats that didn't help. Turns out people on the water know their maritime law! And the scam only "caught" one "fish." The people who had helped the scammers during the weeks before had told the Coast Guard (apparently, this is what you are supposed to do, like calling the police when you get in a car accident) and so the scammers got caught as scammers.
+Jeffrey Raskin The point is that the government can require you to buy insurance. It does not burden anyone's freedom. Exactly!

WHAT THE H*** IS SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE PREMIUMS!!!! Man I am really hating this political year.
+Jeffrey Raskin I see your point, but you still have the option to not drive, and hence not buy the insurance. You do not have that option with mandated health insurance.

That would be the difference.
After reading a few comments here, I took a look at Maritime (Admiralty) "Law" as it relates to rescues. First of all, Maritime law is only "law" as adopted by each nation. Otherwise, it is just convention. In several places, it states that it is the "duty" of each vessel to assist other vessels in peril, but prescribes no penalties for failure to assist. I guess this is where the "you can be sued" come in. Of course, you can assist and still be sued, so that is a wash.

However, that real truth is that none of this can be admitted as precedent for what action the Supreme Court should take in the matter at hand.
Obamacare going to end up killing alot of people , doctors going to stop seeing patients over it and your medicare will be controlled by the government
The medicare in Australia is controlled by the government and it's working out pretty fine +Justin Mahan
If things go according to plan hopefully we'll get dental in there soon.
We need to balance two things, on the one hand, it is morally reprehensible that people should not have access to health care when they need it most and on the other what are the limits to the government to implement this. I am of the opinion that there should be more immigration in order to offset the aging baby boomer who are going to put a dent in S.S and medicare.
Also, the healthcare should be handled by the States rather than the Feds. in Fact, an even better plan would be to have health-care
co-ops or make these insurance companies non-profit.
Frank M
I already pay for the uninsured. The ER has to treat them, whether they can pay or not. Those expenses get relayed back to me.
Any insurance works on the premise that more money is being put in than is taken out. That means that people who don't need the services have to put in their share, eventually they'll need the services and the funds are there, because they and "everyone else" has provided them.

I'd be all for a rule that pretty much says "if you have a job and make money, part of that has to go to health insurance".

Sure, legally it's a nightmare with Federal rules vs. State laws and all that. Realistically I think it comes down to the question of "why should I pay for anyone else but me", "you can't tell me what I have to do to keep society running", and totally ignoring that sooner or later, you'll have to pay for it. In this case, possibly with your own life or quality of life. But go ahead, stay selfish :P

Disclaimer: "I" and "you" are meant as a generalization and not towards the original poster or any commenters ;)
I believe it's human nature to gather together in societies, giving up a bit of freedom to gain some protection, for instance against illness. From that standpoint it strikes me as very weird to hear several influential members of society argue that society should in fact NOT require you to give up any freedom. Will we ever hear people like Justice Scalia argue that no one should be forced to pay for the Police, the Fire Brigade or the Military?
Addition: Or Courts for that matter. Aren't we giving up freedom to pay for the judicial system?
+Ninja On Rye Strange concept! Would have been smarter to issue heavy fines if your house caught on fire while you weren't paying the fee.
+Ninja On Rye But even in those places where fire protection is optional, they will still spare no expense to rescue people from an unprotected building. Your argument would be more relevant if the unprotected were left to die...
My argument was merely refuting the specific claim that you are required to pay for the fire brigade, not a direct tie to health insurance, +George Hilbert
+Ninja On Rye yup, sometimes people over argue an issue and dilute it. It would have been better for them to stay with mandatory payments for roads, and services that cannot be opted out of.
I just have to chime in applaud everyone for having such a civil debate. This is why I enjoy reading What's Hot on G+. I would never have thought so many people care about their fellow citizens. It is clear by everyone's comment that no one (outside of the political arena) is treating this lightly.
I agree, +Stephen Holst . That too is why I love G+.

I read this article, and I honestly do feel it is about freedom and the expanse of government. It's not that I feel that healthcare reform is not needed, but just that this is not the way to do it. Our government should never be able to compel someone to engage in economic activity, no matter what the issue or benefits. On the other hand, if you go with the idea that they will engage in it at some point, I have a novel idea: How about requiring them to pay their obligations?

It is a choice to not carry insurance, and though it may not be a choice when you get ill, you should have to pay for that choice you made, not have the costs spread to the rest of the insured who chose to have that coverage.

The healthcare law does nothing really. Currently I, who carry insurance, pay for those who do not and need treatment through higher rates. With the bill as is, I will pay for them with higher taxes (or less subsidies). All the bill does is force those who do not need insurance at this stage in their life to participate to spread the costs further, and this is my problem - government forcing participation in an economic decision.

An easier solution would have been a $50/month tax on everyone, providing catastrophic coverage to all, and then giving me my money back if I have my own policy. But that would have been a tax, which was political suicide, so they went with a "penalty".

So yes, it's about freedom, and I'm sorry, sometimes that means not forcing me to help my neighbor. Because sometimes my neighbor makes bad choices, and it is not my responsibility to pay for the effects of those choices.
And while the broccoli example may seem trivial, once the government has a financial stake in our health, what is to stop them for requiring everyone to eat less red meat (red meat tax) and more vegetables (vegetable tax subsidy)? Or to require everyone to exercise 5 hours a week? This would save them money (huge amounts). And if this mandate passes, there really is nothing they could not do or force upon us because it will justify everything as being an economic factor.

There has to be limits, and this mandate exceeds those limits.
+Donald Hume Actually, I think the argument is being made that if I chose not to eat broccoli it wouldn't impact the economics of the broccoli you purchase. The same is not true for healthcare. Or am I misunderstanding it too?
+Stephen Holst Actually, my argument was more in line in what the government could force us to do, such as eat broccoli. But the economic example that was used in the SC does apply. By not eating broccoli I am in fact affecting the market, since I am affecting demand. If the gov't mandated that I must eat broccoli, the price should come down once supply catches up.

Though personally I don't like the broccoli example in this context. A better example would be a piece of electronics, as higher production rates to result in cheaper components (just ask Apple). So my decision not to buy an iPad does affect the market, just as a healthy person's decision to not buy insurance also affects the market.

And your supposition is that the healthy person won't pay his bill when he does need service, which affects everyone else. So the problem to me is not insurance, but people paying their obligations.
If you do not have insurance, you cannot be turned away from a hospital if it is a medical emergency (going to the ER). They are required by law to provide you with care to get you stable, regardless of your ability to pay.
+Bill Wehnert No argument, and I agree no one should be turned away. But everyone has an ability to pay, it's just a matter of how soon. So how about the gov't provide 0% loans to those that can't pay their bill (which would reimburse the hospital, and they could do it at "medicare" rates), under the condition that they sign up for a catastrophic health plan and repay the loan at very low repayment terms (say over 20 years).

That would lower everyone's health insurance and put the burden on those that are receiving the "product" at a more reasonable rate.
+Donald Hume I agree that heart of the issue is getting people to pay their obligation. And there is a part of me that has the same fear that you have as far as it being a slippery slope.

But the government isn't requiring everyone to pay into the healthcare system to simply bring down the cost. They are arguing that the necessity to utilize the healthcare system is unavoidable - everyone WILL use it at some point in their life. They only way this would apply in another scenario is if broccoli, or a piece of electronics or whatever was absolutely going to be used by everyone at some point in their life.

Having everyone pay into the system will bring down the cost. Requiring everyone to pay into is only because everyone will be using it at some point. At least that's how I hear it.
+Stephen Holst I agree that everyone will use it at some point in their life, but that would also apply to food, shelter, clothing, roads, and a multitude of other things. This is still no reason to compel action into the market. I would argue that food and shelter are more basic needs than healthcare, yet there is no compulsion into these markets - we are expected to provide these for ourselves.

The problem is the cost, which could be solved without compelling action. Like I've said, I don't argue that there is a problem, just that an over-reach of government is not the way to solve it. And if the mandate is found constitutional, there really is nothing our government could not compel us to do, and that is not a road I want to go down. I hope all Americans would feel the same way.
+Donald Hume But the economics of volume would only bring it down so much. If there are still people out there using the system without paying into there is no other way to cover their cost then to spread it out among those who are paying into the system. Or deny them the service which I think many of us are saying is not a moral option.
+Stephen Holst Your thoughts on the economics of volume would not hold. What would end up happening is that the government would then have to ration health care because with everyone being covered, there would not be a) enough health care providers to deal with all of the extra and often times unnecessary visits and b) with all of the claims for limited resources (transplants, dialysis, etc). So, we then come to a panel that would need to be created to determine who gets the treatment they need versus the cost. I personally don't want to have some government entity deciding if I or a family member is worth allowing to live.
Excellent discussion, btw, +Stephen Holst . And that is the main problem - people out there using the system without paying into it. This would be similar to me going to the grocery store and walking out with a couple bags of groceries without paying for them. Why is that considered stealing, while using the healthcare system, with no intention of paying, is not? And the bigger problem is that is not what this bill corrects - it puts the burden on the young and healthy who do not use the system at all.

Again, not saying we shouldn't have some sort of system, just not a system that extends the reach of the Federal gov't this far (which is way too far).
+Bill Wehnert That is an excellent point, and for those that doubt this, it already happens in the insurance industry with a lot less load on the system. Not to mention the incentive for all businesses to drop their coverage, as it is far cheaper to pay the fine than to pay their portion of employee's coverage. This bill has the potential to completely cripple our government and explode the debt, which cannot handle any additional load.

My problem is not with the concept of "universal coverage", it is with the implementation, and this is not the way to go for many, many reasons.
"And that is the main problem - people out there using the system without paying into it."

Actually, quite a few of us would not define that as the main problem. There are other examples where who pays and who benefits doesn't match up perfectly. Public education is one. Much of public education is payed for through property taxes, but not everyone who owns a house avails themselves of public education and not everyone who does have kids in public education pays (at least directly) property taxes.

Still, public education is recognized by many as a public good - that is, I benefit from a more educated citizenry even if its indirectly. Likewise, I benefit from a healthier citizenry.

So just as I don't mind taxes going to public schools, I don't mind the idea of taxes going to public health benefits.
Also, there's this idea (which has also been running through the last dozen or so comments) that if someone doesn't have insurance they "made a bad choice". Health insurance isn't a "choice" for everyone, for some it is simply prohibitively expensive.

It's easy to set up the typical strawman of "young guy, thought he'd live forever, didn't get insurance even though he could afford it, got hit by a truck - what do we do?" Reality is frequently very different from that.
+Donald Hume thanks. You too. And your analogy is way better than the broccoli one. To take it one step further after you left the grocery store the owner would announce to everyone else shopping that we are picking up your bill.

I don't think the burden will ever be totally fair in its distribution. But right now the burden is by those of us who have healthcare and then we are also discriminated by the same organizations that take our money.

Can you tell I'm typing on my phone now?
+Doug Smith Yes, and look how well public education works. But the difference is that the government does not force anyone to buy a house, and if they don't they must pay a fine. This bill is forcing a portion of the population into a market. Not to mention that property taxes also go for city services, such as fire, police, etc.

As I said in an earlier statement, if they'd set it up so that it was a tax, which was paid for by employees and employers (who don't provide insurance), similar to SS, and provided a minimal policy to everyone, with subsidies on our tax returns for low income and for those that have company provided insurance, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. But picking and choosing the way they did, with the "penalty", was a horrid way to go and is a huge over-reach into personal freedoms. And if we continue to let them erode our freedoms, this will not be an America I want to leave my children.
+Stephen Holst Your comments are getting shorter. And I like your point - though that cost is already being spread into prices (all stores price in a theft component to recoup their losses). So yes, it is the same thing on a larger scale.

The fact is, the government mandates that hospitals treat the uninsured and that no one can be turned away, then to solve the problem they try to take away personal freedoms. The problem is that healthcare is too expensive, and this bill does NOTHING to solve that. Something must be done, but does it need to take away our freedoms, extend the reach of government, and throw additional debt into an overloaded system?
+Donald Hume- failures in the public education system are not because the paying and benefiting people are not identical, which is what you sited as the main problem in public healthcare. So while we agree that public education isn't functioning well, that wasn't really my point. My point was that having public education that is available to all children has perceived value by most Americans even though the people who benefit and the people who pay are not precisely identical.

And I think my argument only gets stronger when you consider the fire department. We pay for that whether we ever personally benefit from it or not. When the fire department saves a house down the street I don't worry about how much that family paid in taxes versus how much I paid - I'm thankful we have a fire department and recognize that it provides a communal benefit.

My belief is that universal healthcare is similar. Even if I would have had healthcare anyway, I benefit from a healthier society that comes from universal healthcare. I benefit in all sorts of second hand ways, just as I benefited when my neighbor's house didn't burn down.

As I said way earlier in this thread, I'm open to a lot of ideas about how exactly to implement universal healthcare. The system we have right now isn't in place because anyone thought it was "best", it's in place because it was the only one that Dems have managed to force through, and it took investing a LOT of Obama's political capital to do so.

Which is my basic point - our biggest problem isn't how to do it, our biggest problem is that too many Americans think its unnecessary or downright "wrong".
+Donald Hume. What do you mean it does nothing to fight the high cost of healthcare? Doesn't the fact that people will be given the opportunity to utilize more affordable preventive care help? I though I heard something about how this bill would help turn the industry from quantity to quality care. 
+Doug Smith Failures in the public education system do provide an example of how efficient government is, and should give us an indication of what will happen when government takes over health care, which is obvious that is the way the Dems want it to go. So that becomes critical - no matter how badly you may feel it is beneficial to society in general, if it brings down our economy it will not be a benefit.

And your second to last paragraph states everything that is a problem with this bill. It was rammed thru, and it is clearly not the best. So just because it is needed doesn't mean we have to take something that tramples our freedoms and cripples government spending. While I agree that our political system needs some major overhaul and is a huge barrier to passing better legislation, that is no excuse to ram thru a bill that could potentially be devastating to our freedoms and our economy.

While it will be painful, it is important enough to get right. Something that affects 18% of our GDP needs to be bipartisan and more importantly, not extend the reach of the Federal government into our lives by trampling on the Constitution.
+Stephen Holst This bill does nothing to curb the cost curve of health care. That is why people don't buy policies - they are too expensive, because the cost of health care is rising too quickly. A lot of people confuse health insurance with health care - and they are different and separate things. This bill spreads the cost to the healthy to make it profitable for the health insurance industry, but does nothing to curb health care costs.

And no, there is nothing that pushes the industry from quantity to quality care, unless you expect the panels to do that (highly doubtful a bureaucratic panel will be efficient, let alone improve quality). In fact, it pushes it more to quantity, since it extends the limits of Medicaid, which is a large part of the cost problem as it is.
+Donald Hume yeah you are probably right but at least this seems like a step in the right direction of at least sharing the burden more fairly and ending some discriminatory practices. It's a complex issue. There's no doubt about that. 
+Stephen Holst Yes, it is very complex, and it's a very personal issue as it involves health and personal finance. Just seems to me that Dems want this to go thru because they got it thru Congress - that's it. No matter what's in it, what damage it may cause the country or how far it goes against our Constitution.

Just because you want national healthcare and this got thru Congress is no reason to throw our Constitution out the window. It just appalls me to see people so easily throw our hard-earned freedoms to the ground for the sake of "winning", or because health care is important. Can't we just take the time and get it right?
Ironically it's not national healthcare. If it was then they could just make it a tax instead of a mandate and there would be nothing unconstitutional about it.

What I don't understand is that the law still allows every to pick their own health insurance provide if they want. Or just opt out too. Yet somehow that addition freedom makes it less desirable. 
+Stephen Holst And yes, that is another problem I have with it. If it was just a tax paid by employees and employers alike (like SS), with rebates to those under a certain threshold and for those with company provided insurance, I would have had very few problems with it.

As far as "keeping your current insurance", that is a scam, and another huge issue I have. My company pays approx. $12k per year of my health insurance. The "penalty" is about $2k. What company won't eventually drop their healthcare and just pay the penalty, saving $10k per employee? In which case our gov't controls all health insurance (single provider), and we have no choice. Oh, and this is where our debt gets.....well, I'd say out of control, but it's too late for that. Let's just say we'd make Greece look like they are financially stable. And then there'd be some serious rationing to control costs.

Our government is HORRIBLE at predicting unintended consequences, though I'm not so sure these issues were unintended. They wanted single payer, couldn't get it thru, and passed something that will force us into that.

And yet they are marching in front of SCOTUS saying "but everyone will have health care"........makes me sad.
ok +Donald Hume I'm going to have to question your logic on that one. I don't see why my employer would suddenly chose to stop providing me one of my many benefits just because others were required or an alternative 'penalty' would save them money on their bottom line? It's not like they are required to provide the health plan that they currently do.

Does the government force your company to pay $12k towards your health plan or do they offer that as incentive to you? If they stopped providing that incentive would you possible look for employment elsewhere?

You've predicted just one possible outcome. There are many others as well.

And didn't we already discuss that having more paying participants in the healthcare system would reduce premiums? If so, your plan would possibly be cheaper for you employer.
+Stephen Holst First, more participants doesn't necessarily reduce premiums. The reason for the additional healthy participants is to remove pre-existing condition limitations and to remove lifetime limits. Having everyone in the pool is the only way to remove pre-existing limits (if everyone is in the pool there is no such thing as pre-existing).

And yes, company provided healthcare is a perk, but do you honestly believe that all companies will not see the bottom line, and since it is now "national", there is no need to provide that perk? Good companies will eliminate health insurance and kick the money back as increased wages, but they'll save a fortune on administrative costs. Not so good companies will kick only a portion back, saving a portion for themselves as savings along with administrative costs, and bad companies will just eliminate it and not kick it back. But over time, it will happen. The penalty is just too low. Why else do you think they made the penalty $2k when that doesn't come close to buying any policy in existence today?
+Donald Hume I've enjoyed this discussion but I think now we are both just speculating about the future. And that could go on forever! LOL feel free to send me an email if you want.
Yes, we are speculating, but at least it's reasoned speculation. :o)

I too have enjoyed the discussion. Always nice to discuss opposing points of view in a well thought out discourse. Seems a bit rare in these political times.
+Jeffrey Raskin Ok, let's use gym memberships.....or whatever you like. The point is that once this is precedence, there is no limit to what Congress could do to force a consumer into a market. You call it silly, I call it over-reach.
+Jeffrey Raskin I know why the mandate is there, and I also know it was a concession to the insurance industry to remove pre-existing condition and lifetime limits. Why do you think insurance companies wanted it so badly?

But that doesn't mean it's a slippery slope argument. If Congress has the authority to regulate inactivity, then there really is nothing they can't do or regulate. Obesity is a large part of our healthcare problem. What is to stop Congress from increasing broccoli usage or decreasing the consumption of red meat?

In the final analysis, it doesn't matter if they ever take it further or not. It is an erosion of our freedoms that has been going on too long, and it needs to stop. If they are allowed to justify everything under the Commerce Clause, then nothing is safe.

Read my earlier posts in this thread - I am not against universal health coverage, only the way they are trying to ram it thru. Honestly, I don't know how any American could be for our government taking further control over our lives.
+Jeffrey Raskin You're saying there are no guarantees of freedom in our Constitution? Our Federal government has specific, delineated powers under our Constitution. All other powers were reserved for the States. This is why we are a democratic republic, and not a democracy. How far that power extends depends on how you interpret the Constitution. The fact is, our Federal government was designed to have "limited" powers. Everything added since then has been because of liberal interpretation and "New Deal" politics.

Though it may not specifically state anything about health care, in no way can it be interpreted to give the Federal government the power to regulate inactivity. The four liberals on the bench should be ashamed.

And no, the erosion of freedom is a legal issue, not a political issue. You apparently don't understand what the Constitution was designed to protect against.
+Jeffrey Raskin It is also scary. Like "The Selection." These are supposed to be objective observers of the law: they are judges not supposed to be politicians. <Sigh>
+Jeffrey Raskin Obviously Kennedy hasn't tried to get any legislation passed about ANYTHING lately! ;')
+Jeffrey Raskin So why don't they "require" a single-payer system so that the rest of the law is "Constitutional." ;') Wouldn't that be a fun conclusion? If they can decide who is going to be President, they can do anything!
+Jeffrey Raskin I seem to recall reading somewhere about Americans having certain inalienable rights . . . something about the right to . . . life? Wasn't it?
Sure, like owning a big company that uses up probably millions of dollars of America's resources but you pay less tax than your secretary. I get it now. Thanks. ;') (Getting to be like that novel: was in Animal Farm? justice = inequality, etc.)
Yes, +Jeffrey Raskin , there is. It specifically states what powers Congress has, and then states that everything else is under the power of the states. And nowhere does it state that they can force someone to spend money on a product. And get off the broccoli thing already, it's a simile. He also mentioned health club memberships, which I expect to happen if this passes, once congress realized that forcing health club memberships will save them a fortune in health care costs.

And if you want to know what is depressing and pathetic, was the four liberal justices actually supporting the government's case and helping them with their argument. Not one tough question from the bunch. Pathetic.
+Joshua Yungner I would argue that it's not so much that conservatives don't care or are always against protecting individual freedoms and liberties, it's that sadly many in leadership in the GOP don't evince those views. And, often, I would hesitate to call them conservatives since they are inconsistent on policy as well as solutions.
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