Be Very Scared If the Supreme Court of the United States Upholds Obamacare

It was almost exactly two years ago I asked the question whether Obamacare was constitutional and it seems we might finally find out the answer.  The Supreme Court of the United States is allowing 6 hours over the next couple days to answer 4 very specific issues that will ultimately decide the fate of the individual mandate and probably Obamacare as a whole.

The issue that most people care about is whether the Federal Government can force citizens to purchase health insurance or get penalized for failing to do so.  I think most people forget/never knew that the Federal government is one of enumerated powers and as such they aren’t free to do whatever the hell they feel like.  As such, the government is going to fit in the mandate under either the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution.

The Commerce Clause states:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes

The Necessary and Proper Clause states:

The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Why I think EVERYONE Should be Scared if Obamacare is Ruled Constitutional

I was reading one of my favorite sites, The Cato Institute, when I saw an article that originally appeared in the New York Times written by Michael D. Tanner titled, The Supreme ObamaCare Question. Mr. Tanner being a much more talented writer than myself put my fears succulently and perfectly.

Mr. Tanner’s response, in part, to the Commerce Clause argument:

The Obama administration is seeking to extend Congress’s power to inactivity. Congress would not only have the power to regulate how you do something or to prohibit you from doing it, Congress now could require you to do something.

In a bit of Orwellian logic, the administration argues that by not doing something, you actually are doing something

***

The crucial concern here is what lawyers call a “limiting principle.” If the court upholds the government’s power to force you to buy health insurance, is there any limit to this power? Is there anything the government can’t require you to do?

Mr. Tanner’s response, in part, to the Necessary and Proper Clause argument:

The argument here is that health care is an important problem facing this country, and the administration’s preferred remedy for that problem can’t be carried out without the individual mandate. The mandate, therefore, is a “necessary and proper” way to accomplish its larger goals.

Again, this would open the door to unlimited government power. If the government has the authority to enact any law it deems necessary to doing whatever it wants to do, the Constitution essentially becomes meaningless.

Sometimes the examples that come from these types of arguments are silly like whether Congress can mandate Broccali but sometimes they are very real.  What if Congress only allowed the use of GM Cars? It obviously affects interstate commerce and maybe it is necessary since it is a major US Company.

The question is not whether something should be done about the healthcare costs in the United States…the question is whether the Federal Government is allowed by the Constitution of the United States to control our non-decisions. 

31 Responses to Be Very Scared If the Supreme Court of the United States Upholds Obamacare

  1. Em says:

    If the Supreme Court finds this mandate constitutional I will lose what little faith in our government I still hold. The president wants to drive us to socialism, Congress acts like little children and neither care about the American people. If the Judicial branch finds it constitutional it will only be because those appointed to the supreme court favor the presidents agenda not because its actually constitutional. Here’s hoping corruption hasn’t completely taken over our government.

    • C The Writer says:

      You know what’s corrupt?

      Trying to take away women’s rights over their own bodies.

      Now why does that sound familiar…?

      • Em says:

        C, That has absolutely nothing to do with this post so why bring up old things. You were the one who asked me to stop that convo back when it was going on so don’t try to start it again out of no where

        • C says:

          You don’t want people controlling what you do, which is why you oppose this initiative.

          Women don’t want Christian wackjobs telling them they have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

          If you want to keep your rights, you need to let others have theirs, too. You can’t have it all your way, with your freedoms intact while other people’s go to shit.

          • Evan says:

            Why does someone have to be a Christian Wackjob to be pro-life? Oh because you generalize worse than someone is who is homophobic and racist which is ironic since you are a minority who seems to be bi? All pro-lifers are crazy Christians and all rich people suck lol. I rescind my apology you are a Crazy F’in Bitch lol.

            For the record I am pro-choice because of the liberties and freedom that I hold so dear.

            • C The Writer says:

              Being Christian and pro life are a choice. My ethnicity and sexual orientation are NOT. Fail.

              Also, Christians are privileged in this country, and sadly, so are anti choice (NOT pro life, as they could give a shit if women die from illegal abortions) losers.

              You think I’m a crazy bitch? Coming from you, that’s a compliment. If you thought I was great, I’d worry about myself!

              And I’m a PERSON OF COLOR, not a MINOR-ity. I am not smaller or less because I’m not white, thanks.

              And if I seem to be bi, you seem to be straight. My orientation is not up for question because it’s not het.

              And yes, rich people, a lot of them, are pretty damn horrible. But congrats, you’re getting the act down quite nicely. You’ll make a very fitting rich person someday.

          • Em says:

            C, still has nothing to do with the post. I oppose this mandate because it is unconstitutional. If it were up for review in another country I wouldn’t care unless their constitution was being violated. I am against abortion because it is murder and the murder of the most innocent of our species is inexcusable. That human beings right to life is more important than a woman’s right to kill it. The 2 topics have nothing to do with one another. and on that I end my discussion on this topic with you forever.

    • Joe Morgan says:

      I’ve already lost faith since this whole discussion seems to revolve around what a single man (Kennedy) will decide. This is nowhere near a 5-4 decision.

  2. I think you’re missing the key point: by not doing something (i.e. purchase health insurance), you are doing something to others – making them pay for your medical care (if you are injured, hospitals are required by Federal law to treat you, they can’t just send you away if you can’t pay. So hospitals transfer the cost of non-paying patients to paying patients by charging a higher price.

    I agree with you 100% that the government should not force us to do anything we don’t want. But I don’t want to pay higher prices, so should we just exempt hospitals from treating those who can’t pay? That would solve almost every healthcare issue currently existing – right?

    • StackingCash says:

      It seems like we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The 1%ers rather let people die because they are lazy and poor where the OWS would rather have a socialistic society. I dunno anymore. Catch 22 I guess.

      • Evan says:

        @StackingCash,

        But will the government forcing us to have private health care really fix anything? Yes, the system is broken but the Federal Gov’t is just putting a bandaid on it.

    • Evan says:

      RC,

      I am not missing the key point, I get the argument I am just asking where does this slippery slide end?

      Me not going to the gym is going to lead me to get fatter, should the Federal government make me work out?

      I do not have the answer. I am the first to admit that, but I know in my heart that the Federal Government doesn’t either.

      • The reason the government doesn’t have the answer is because they are the problem. However, they created the problem by having social programs such as Medicare and safety nets for the poor.

        There is a belief that there is an inherent need for these programs, and so the slippery slope ends when the programs end and the market is regulated by the government.

        The government can play market maker and it has done okay doing so in many circumstances – many states require car insurance to drive, for example.

        In the court today, you mentioned how justices asked whether the government could compel people to own cell phones for roadside assistance. But there isn’t a need to because the government has never compelled anyone to help people on the side of the road.

  3. Look on the bright side, if it does pass and Obama is still president, people will realize what a turd this law is.

  4. I don’t know, as a Canadian this “Obamacare” thing doesn’t seem so bad to me. I can also guarantee he is not “socialist” in any context other than the USA. In Canada, or most EU countries he would still be quite right-of-centre.

    • C The Writer says:

      I honestly don’t see anything bad about being required to have health insurance. It would protect a lot of people.

      I think many people living in poverty will be grateful to have it, and there are good things about it.

      It seems like the only people complaining are rich assholes who could care less because hey, they have THEIR health care.

      Unfortunately the author of this blog is a middle class white man who has more than quite a few Americans, and he, unfortunately, is one of the people I find myself clashing against, and with good reason. Why do I read his blog? Well, you get a shot to protect yourself from disease. Reading his blog is my shot to protect myself from the dirtbags I actually come across.

      • @C The Writer: This will overall decrease the quality of health care. It will increase the costs for the ones who do pay (not just those “rich” folk). It will enrich the health care providers since everyone MUST have insurance.

        You should be reading this blog to learn something (what a concept). Reading because he’s a “dirtbag” yields nothing positive, and closed minded. Basically wasting your time, which it seems like you have a lot of.

        • C says:

          It actually does yield something positive. A dull knife doesn’t make a very good weapon; a nicely sharpened one does. If I try to pretend people like this don’t exist, then I have no way to defend myself when they inevitably come for me.

      • The Wife says:

        You are one angry person aren’t you C…if the government can force businesses to supply health care then why doesn’t the government FORCE you to go to the gym? That’s healthy right? Or how about FORCE you to not drink soda? How does that sound? Wine and alcohol are bad for you…we should cut that out too…Let’s see how the people in poverty feel when the rights they want get taken away. Then maybe they will think twice about allowing the government to make decisions for them. Then maybe it won’t just be the “rich assholes” complaining. Get a clue girl!

        • C says:

          Question: Is “The Wife” your name, or do you actually have a life and identity apart from being this man’s wife?

          Anyway, there is the point that when people don’t have health care, rich people have to pay anyway, when their insurance goes up.

          I think your understanding of the situation is a bit skewed, much like your husband’s.

          And whether I’m angry or not is immaterial, nothing to do with this discussion. That said, with the world we’re in, if you aren’t angry, you’re either living in extreme privilege or complete oblivion. Hmm, now who can I think of that’s like THAT?

          • The Wife says:

            I can happily refer to myself as “The Wife”. I guess that’s one of the joys of being married…..but that’s besides the point.
            I feel sorry for you…that’s all I will say further. Life is too short to be anything but happy and the one great thing about this country is that everyone has the opportunity to take control of their own life. Once we start giving up the liberty of making choices ourselves then we are in trouble. It’s not just about healthcare…it’s about what will come next if we start being told what to do by our government. Open your eyes to something bigger than yourself and you’d see it. Good luck with that…

          • Evan says:

            Your anger clouds your judgement young padawan. It does matter.

            The reason she puts The Wife is because that is how I lovingly refer to her. I feel sorry that you don’t have someone that provides you with a Nickname.

            Lastly, you didn’t answer her main concerns (you skirt them much like you do having any responsibility in your own life). Where does the limit end? If eating fruits and Veges are good for me, can President Obama proclaim an Executive Order that I have to eat strawberries.

            The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court asked this today:
            Roberts said motorists may need “emergency services” on the highway, including from the police or ambulance. Even so, the government could not require everyone to buy a cellphone, he said.

    • Evan says:

      My Univ $,

      You are right every Country will have different right and left (never given that thought and it is probably a pretty profound one)…but that is not the question here. It isn’t whether it is good policy (I don’t think it is) or whether it is bad policy. The question here is it Constitutional. Our Federal Gov’t has enumerated powers.

  5. chikusho says:

    This is silly. The government can already force you to pay taxes, go to war, or hold you at an undisclosed location for an undecided amount of time without charging you with anything or even giving you a trial, and making sure everyone gets health care is the non constitutional act you rile against?
    “Forcing” everyone to buy health insurance might be the wrong way to phrase or go about it, but either paying for it with taxes or forcing employers to provide a health insurance of good quality is something that should be a human right if anything.

    • Evan says:

      Paying taxes and war are specific powers given to the Federal Gov’t. I am very AGAINST the gov’t holding a citizen anywhere in violation of the 4th Amendment (Non US Citizens I can justify…kinda).

      I do have a problem with the Federal Gov’t getting bigger!

  6. Universal Healthcare is important b/c illness doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor. The poor shouldn’t have to die just b/c they don’t have the money to treat their illness.

    We need to institute penalties for those who don’t take care of themselves and make them pay more, while rewarding those who do take care of themselves.

    If I could save $1,000 a year on health care, and had to lose 6lbs to do so, I would do it in a heart beat!

  7. What I don’t understand is this: If it’s unconstitutional to tell citizens they have to buy health insurance, why is Medicare legal? All those FICA premiums you pay throughout your working life are paying into what is really health insurance.

    And for that matter, if the government can’t require you to buy health insurance, how come it can require you to buy auto insurance?

    About the “force you to eat broccoli” or “force you not to drink soda” red herring: by this logic the government should be constrained from mandating the use of pasteurization and from “forcing” people not to use meth and heroine.

    Red herrings and attacks ad hominem (such as the “you disagree with me because you must be an ‘angry’ pathetic soul”) are logical fallacies, by the way. They’re flaws in logical thinking.

    To persuade someone effectively, it’s best to stick to the subject, not allowing yourself to be derailed by personal attacks or silly distractions. An audience’s response to a flawed rhetorical strategy is to suspect a speaker’s thinking is flawed — far from convincing your opponent and the rest of your audience of the rightness of your position, fallacious argument convinces only that your overall stance is probably wrong.

    • Evan says:

      “If it’s unconstitutional to tell citizens they have to buy health insurance, why is Medicare legal?”

      I believe this is the difference between ObamaCare how it is written today and a single payor system.

      “And for that matter, if the government can’t require you to buy health insurance, how come it can require you to buy auto insurance?”
      - There is a difference between the Federal Gov’t and the State Gov’t mandating things. There are no Federal Mandates to buy auto insurance.

      “by this logic the government should be constrained from mandating the use of pasteurization and from “forcing” people not to use meth and heroine.”
      - It was a HUGE stretch for the federal gov’t to get involved in the “drug war” and most are surprised they did it through not the commerce clause but the tax act. They said it was legal to have Heroin if you had a Federal Stamp but they don’t give them out so it is illegal.

      I don’t think this is a Red Herring argument since our Court system is based on precedence. If this is held legal where does it stop?

      This is such a heated topic because most people can agree that the system we have is broken…that being said I rarely can be convinced that the gov’t is the answer rather than the problem.

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