(Fred Weinberg/The Penny Press) – It’s now official. The United States Supreme Court will hear the lawsuit filed by Nevada and 25 other states against what is popularly called “Obamacare.”
The core of the lawsuit hinges on the requirement in the law for every individual to buy health insurance or face a fine. And, those refusing to pay that fine, face prison.
In the long history of this country, we have required people NOT to do plenty of things. Many of them are in the Ten Commandments.
We have NEVER required people to buy a private product. (Before you all tell me about auto insurance, I’m talking about Federal law, not state law.)
Taken to its logical conclusion—and many pundits have—if this law is allowed to stand than the next law could be that every third person has to buy a Chevy Volt because the Federal Government has a vested interest in both the health of General Motors and the so-called “green” benefits of electric cars.
The problem here is that as much as we would like to imbue the Supreme Court with great common sense and wisdom, it is, at its core, a political institution which reads the Washington Post every morning.
No result is certain.
The chances of a 5-4 decision upholding the law are just as good as the reverse.
One thing IS certain.
Putting people into office who will vow to repeal such an idiotic approach to solving a major problem is the only sure way to deal with the problem, court success or not. If you don’t believe that, look at the infamous Kelo decision which said that a city could take your house by eminent domain, and give it to a private developer to increase its tax base
Have you ever wondered how we got to the place where someone could persuade a majority of Congress to pass a law essentially taking over one sixth of the nation’s economy?
Well, a better question would be why is healthcare one-sixth of the nation’s economy?
The government’s foray into healthcare began with Medicare. It is a noble concept. But it allowed, for the first time, the government’s heavy thumb on the scale of free enterprise.
Have you ever wondered why some entrepreneur doesn’t buy a CAT Scan and an MRI machine and run them for $100 a scan 24 hours a day? Someone like, say, Wal-Mart?
Simple. The Medicare reimbursement is between $450 and $900 a scan. What incentive is there to corner the market on scans when the Government guarantees a minimum number for a lot less work?
The government has a reimbursement scale for everything.
The problem is that the people who set those numbers are operating from the mistaken concept that there need to be minimums as opposed to low bids.
If the government set its reimbursement rates based on bids, you might be surprised to find that free markets work.
Ask yourself this question:
Is it a pure coincidence that Pfizer now has a $4 card available for Lipitor with the patent expiring and generics coming on the market? Of course not. But if you read the fine print, the card only works if you are NOT going to be reimbursed by a health plan.
When drug companies and health care providers have to compete for business they will. And that competition cannot help but bring prices down.
The way you solve health care is to get government OUT of the business, not in it.
But that’s not the question which the Supreme Court is about to hear. The Supremes have to look at the narrow question of whether or not the interstate commerce clause gives Congress the authority to mandate that citizens buy a private product. Stripped of the emotion, that’s a difficult argument to handicap.
One also needs to understand that the Supreme Court is not final because it is infallible but rather infallible because it is final. While we have the lazy perspective that the Supremes are there to protect us, that really is not true.
We need to protect ourselves by sending people to Congress and the White House who understand that just because they may prevail at the Supreme Court they still cannot get away with it.
Your job, as a citizen of Nevada, is to grill the Presidential candidates who will be seeking the Republican nomination to a golden toasty brown. If they don’t get it at the retail level of politics, they will simply become GOP versions of Barack Obama. Making them understand how upset we in flyover country are is just as important—perhaps more—than if Obama were also seeking a contested nomination. More importantly, you need to let those people who run for and wish to keep their seats in the Senate and the House how short their careers will be if all they apply to the problem is lip service. And that means all of them.
Just as you cannot depend on the Government to help you in a disaster (ask the folks in New Orleans who had their guns taken from them during Katrina), you cannot depend on the Supreme Court to make a legal decision in your favor.
You have to start much sooner than that. If you need the Supremes to bail you out, then you didn’t do something right in the first place.