Posts tagged: health care
WASHINGTON — A conservative-leaning appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care law, as the Supreme Court prepares to consider this week whether to resolve conflicting rulings over the law’s requirement that all Americans buy health care insurance.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a split opinion upholding the lower court’s ruling that found Congress did not overstep its authority in requiring people to have insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes, beginning in 2014. The requirement is the most controversial requirement of Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement and the focus of conflicting opinions from judges across the country. The Supreme Court could decide as early as Thursday during a closed meeting of the justices whether to accept appeals from some of those earlier rulings.
The suit in Washington was brought by the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. It claimed that the insurance mandate is unconstitutional because it forces Americans to buy a product for the rest of their lives and that it violates the religious freedom of those who choose not to have insurance because they rely on God to protect them from harm. But the court ruled that Congress had the power to pass the requirement to ensure that all Americans can have health care coverage, even if it infringes on individual liberty.
“That a direct requirement for most Americans to purchase any product or service seems an intrusive exercise of legislative power surely explains why Congress has not used this authority before – but that seems to us a political judgment rather than a recognition of constitutional limitations,” Judge Laurence Silberman, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan wrote in the court’s opinion. Silberman was joined by Judge Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee. But, they added, “The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a former aide to President George W. Bush who appointed him to the bench, disagreed with the conclusion without taking a position on the merits of the law. He wrote a lengthy opinion arguing the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to review the health care mandate until after it takes effect in 2014.
The federal appeals court in Cincinnati also upheld the law. The federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down the core requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty, while upholding the rest of the law.
And like Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion, an appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled it was premature to decide the law’s constitutionality. This aspect of the court challenges issue involves a federal law aimed at preventing lawsuits from tying up tax collection. Kavanaugh and the Richmond court held that taxpayers must begin paying the penalty for not purchasing insurance before they can challenge it in court.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed the suit in Washington, said the group is considering whether to ask the full appeals court to hear the case or make a request directly to the Supreme Court. “We still remain confident that Obamacare and the individual mandate, which forces Americans to purchase health insurance, is the wrong prescription for America and ultimately will be struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Sekulow said.
The White House said Tuesday it is confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the law, as the DC circuit did. Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter said in a White House blog post that opponents who say the individual mandate provision exceeded Congress’ power to regulate commerce “are simply wrong.”
“People who make a decision to forego health insurance do not opt out of the health care market,” she wrote. “Their action is not felt by themselves alone. Instead, when they become ill or injured and cannot pay their bills, their costs are shifted to others. Those costs – $43 billion in 2008 alone – are borne by doctors, hospitals, insured individuals, taxpayers and small businesses throughout the nation.”
The liberal interest group Constitutional Accountability Center said the ruling from a solid conservative like Silberman, as the Supreme Court prepares to take up the issue, is a “devastating blow” to opponents of the law.
“With two prominent conservatives, this panel was thought to be a dream come true for conservative challengers of the act,” said the center’s president, Doug Kendall. “Today that dream became a nightmare, as the panel unanimously rejected the challenges to the act, disagreeing only about why those challenges failed.”
We are also the only country where you go bankrupt due to medical costs.
I would like to point out that the author of this comment is 17. So I’m sure she’s paid quite a bit in taxes, no? Whatever she’s paid, she wants them back.
As for me, I would love for my tax dollars to pay for those who can’t afford health care or dental care. I prefer that versus paying for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq. I would love to pay for higher education for my fellow citizens in this country instead of paying for further weapons development and deployment by private contractors.
You point to the military as a specific example as a government program that’s somehow A-ok. Did you know that your tax dollars completely subsidize the medical and dental care of military members, their families and veterans? The best access to medical care I have ever had was when I was in the military.
Being healthy is a privilege? Well, here’s where you’re getting closer to correct, though not for the reasons you think. There’s many, many people who work hard, yet can’t afford treatment of any kind because they don’t make enough money. There’s a direct correlation between health, quality of live, and income level. The more cash money you have, the more likely you are to be healthy and able to have access to medical and dental care. So only the privileged are assured of being healthy.
Thomas Jefferson compared individual heath to a society’s liberty, writing, “Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society.” Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed in you, I imagine.
However, Karl Marx would not be shocked by your callousness. Marx wrote, “Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.” It’s probably folks with similar beliefs to yours that inspired Marx.
You’re only 17. You have time to for your bubble to burst. And it’s fairly likely it will.
If you currently have access to safe water and [mostly] safe food, are able to drive from point A to point B on decent highways and freeways, have avoided dying (or just getting lost) while driving thanks to stop lights and street signs, go to a public school, plan to attend a state university, have banks that you can trust to put your money in without the bank closing and your money going with it, have ever used any sort of public transportation, fly on airplanes without dying in a plane crash due to a known and completely avoidable mechanical issue, don’t have to worry about Grandma living with you in her old age because her income is supplemented by social security, have avoided dying from plague and preventable communicable diseases thanks to public clinics and mandatory vaccines…hey, guess what! You’ve benefited from government services! And no amount of hard work, determination, and mad money-making skillz on your part could have magically made those services available to you!
I just get tired of these arguments from people who have no idea what the government does for them or all the ways they benefit. Because they are so accustomed to the comfort, safety, and freedom the government provides them (and no, I’m not talking about from the military), they completely take it for granted that these things are available to them. They think these things exist in a vacuum, or that if the government disappeared, these services would magically be available to them via the free market…even though there are plenty of examples of countries without a strong government presence where the free market has failed to provide these services—especially not in any way that is even close to being universal or serving anyone beyond a very, very small, ultra-wealthy elite—and virtually no examples where the free market has. (If you know an example, I welcome you to share them.)
I would love to say this is just the ignorance of a 17-year-old girl, but unfortunately, it isn’t. I’ve heard people twice or thrice her age make similar comments—people who are old enough to know better, but who live a sheltered enough existence, they’ve never had to consider seriously what a world without these government services would look like, or even what sort of biases on their end are inherent to make such claims possible. It is, almost exclusively, a bunch of people who have lived their entire lives in these sheltered, upper middle class, white bread communities where they don’t know anyone who actually struggles from paycheck to paycheck, and therefore assumes the problem of the underclass is laziness, even though most of the people who struggle (there’s a reason they’re called the working class) work far harder than anyone in the upper middle class, what with their cushy, air conditioned offices and 8-hour workdays. They think they shouldn’t have to give back to their communities at all, unless maybe they go to church, and then, they should only give back to the “deserving” communities, which as best as I can tell, generally means people who go to their church, arts programs they enjoy and children with cancer. It’s a bunch of judgmental assholes sitting on their pile of money and privilege, thinking they are so far above it all, because they “work hard,” even though the fact of the matter is, they have never worked half as hard as most poor people work just to stay afloat. Of course, they don’t know that, because they don’t know anyone who isn’t like them. They assume that because they started out in families with money, with parents who went to college, with the expectation that they would go to college and someday make money too, with the safety net of their parents’ money to fall back on if they ever get into any sort of trouble, that this somehow makes them the virtuous class. It’s a fucking joke to anyone who’s ever lived in any other community.
^commentary for the win