Freedom's hinge

Health-care ruling will reopen or close door to individual liberty

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Even in the Age of Hyperbole, it’s difficult to overstate the weight and consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court’s impending ruling on the federal health-care law.

With all the new ways we can observe, share and debate the progress of the case – and with everything that’s riding on it – June’s decision will arguably be the most-anticipated court decree in American history.

Decree may be the most apt word, too. One justice – Anthony Kennedy – may decide the case for all of us if he is, as expected, the swing vote. Commentator Charles Krauthammer called Kennedy potentially “the reigning monarch of the United States; he’ll decide one way or the other what our future is going to be and what our Constitution is going to look like.”

And if the justices don’t overturn the law requiring all who are able to buy health insurance to do so, what won’t the government be able to command us to do?

Indeed, conservative justices wondered precisely that during oral arguments this week. Once having produced a fiduciary and policy interest and a constitutional authority to compel us to buy health insurance, the conservative justices asked, could the government not think it wise for everyone to have burial insurance (since it sometimes costs the government when folks don’t) or to buy broccoli or to have cell phones? And on and on and on?

“What is left?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia. “If the government can do this, what else can it not do?”

The answer is clear: A government that can order its citizens to buy one thing in the public interest can force them to buy other things as well. All that is required is a sufficiently enlightened and patriarchal government, and an emasculated Constitution.

At such a point, citizens cease being citizens and become subjects.

As Justice Kennedy remarked in court Tuesday, the individual mandate to buy health insurance “changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.”

“It is not an exaggeration,” writes the Wall Street Journal, “to say that the Supreme Court’s answers may constitute a hinge in the history of American liberty and limited and enumerated government. The justices must decide if those principles still mean something.”

And in saying that one’s choice not to purchase health insurance is an affirmative act capable of being regulated by the government, the Wall Street Journal writes, “the government is claiming it can create commerce so it has something to regulate.”

We’ve heard of such things before, but always in countries where citizens are unprotected by a U.S.-like Constitution.

The question now is, how long will we be thusly protected? Until June?

The political implications are nearly as momentous as the societal ones. This law is Barack Obama’s signature achievement – and this week, CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin said the case “looks like a train wreck for the Obama administration, and it may also be a plane wreck.” How an adverse ruling in June might affect Obama’s supporters and opponents is anyone’s guess.

One thing is certain in all of this: It’s clear our liberties are hanging by a thread, particularly if they hinge on one Supreme Court justice.

How that should affect November’s election is also clear. If you’re a fan of freedom, you now know for sure which way to go.

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carcraft
28478
Points
carcraft 03/29/12 - 04:35 am
6
3
Well one thing we do

Well one thing we do know-Obama lies-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao5V66m5FaA

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 03/29/12 - 05:28 am
6
7
Here's a game for the kiddies

Here's a game for the kiddies today! let's play guess who wrote this dissenting column. carcraft you and copperhead are excused.

"It fell to the court’s liberals — the so-called “judicial activists,” remember? — to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government’s elected branches.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that some of the issues raised by opponents of the law were about “the merits of the bill,” a proper concern of Congress, not the courts. And in arguing for restraint, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked what was wrong with leaving as much discretion as possible “in the hands of the people who should be fixing this, not us.” It was nice to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship.

The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others — often taxpayers — have to pay for.

Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed, single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own proposal.

The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system. Justice Anthony Kennedy even hinted that it might be more “honest” if government simply used “the tax power to raise revenue and to just have a national health service, single-payer.” Remember those words.

One of the most astonishing arguments came from Roberts, who spoke with alarm that people would be required to purchase coverage for issues they might never confront. He specifically cited “pediatric services” and “maternity services.”

Well, yes, men pay to cover maternity services while women pay for treating prostate problems. It’s called health insurance. Would it be better to segregate the insurance market along gender lines?

The court’s right-wing justices seemed to forget that the best argument for the individual mandate was made in 1989 by a respected conservative, the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler.

“If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street,” Butler said, “Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance. If we find that he has spent his money on other things rather than insurance, we may be angry but we will not deny him services — even if that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab. A mandate on individuals recognizes this implicit contract.”

Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to reject the sense of solidarity that Butler embraced. When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli explained that “we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care,” Scalia replied coolly: “Well, don’t obligate yourself to that.” Does this mean letting Butler’s uninsured guy die?

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick called attention to this exchange and was eloquent in describing its meaning. “This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms,” Lithwick wrote. “It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another . . . the freedom to ignore the injured” and to “walk away from those in peril.”

This is what conservative justices will do if they strike down or cripple the health-care law. And a court that gave us Bush v. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology."

Thumbs up will be given to those who have the ability to think for themselves and guess correctly. Good luck! :)

seenitB4
97594
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seenitB4 03/29/12 - 05:36 am
1
4
RA.....Gov howard Dean was

RA.....Gov howard Dean was just on Good Morning Joe & said,.....having a mandate to pay isn't really necessary in his opinion....
maybe if that part was thrown out.....many parts of the law could be saved. jmo

Swampman
46
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Swampman 03/29/12 - 05:59 am
9
0
"The answer is clear: A

"The answer is clear: A government that can order its citizens to buy one thing in the public interest can force them to buy other things as well. All that is required is a sufficiently enlightened and patriarchal government, and an emasculated Constitution."

The meaning of this paragraph is clear only if the reader understands that the phrase "sufficiently enlightened" is used ironically. Also, the word "paternalistic" rather than "patriarchal" would better convey the author's point.

Frankly I do not entirely disagree with the slippery slope argument being used to oppose the individual mandate. Kennedy makes a good point, as Retired Army notes: a tax-funded single payer system is more legally and intellectually honest. The individual mandate was a compromise intended to placate the insurance industry patrons, for all the good it did us.

justthefacts
25062
Points
justthefacts 03/29/12 - 08:22 am
5
1
If the mandate is

If the mandate is unconstitutional, it's unconstitutional regardless of the political party supporting it. And, I guess you could blame Clinton for not including it in his proposal in 1993. He opposed it because the Republicans proposed it. It's how our system works now.

Little Lamb
49080
Points
Little Lamb 03/29/12 - 08:47 am
5
4
No, soapy. You are not

No, soapy. You are not forced to buy automobile liability insurance. You only have to have it if you drive an automobile. You can opt out by not driving. Anyway, the requirement to have automobile liability insurance is a state mandate, not federal. The question before the Supreme Court is about federal mandates.

You are not forced to have a driver's license if you don't intend to drive.

carcraft
28478
Points
carcraft 03/29/12 - 10:22 am
2
3
TEchfan-Why was Obama opposed

TEchfan-Why was Obama opposed to the individual mandate (ie. when he ran against Clinton) and why was Obama for it when he rammed it down our throats? Oh never mind.. If Obama can change his mind over 18 months why can't conservatives change there minds over 22 years? Are really trying to tell us Obama threw a sop to conservatives with his health care mandate?

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/29/12 - 02:34 pm
3
1
Obama went with the mandate

Obama went with the mandate because he thought the republicans would go for it since it was their idea. Obama would prefer a single payer, and his liberals supporters would want the same. It would be in the category as Medicare and Social Security, so it would be upheld by the courts- however it won't pass any of the houses.

Soapy: Just like little lamb said- you can avoid driving, take a bus, ride a bike and that would eliminate everything you mentioned; gas, insurance, registration, tags- everything that goes with it.

The question is, how can people avoid health care? The argument is that young and even poor people that forgo insurance because they don't want to pay for expensive health care premiums due to the fact they rarely get sick, and they just can't afford it. So an uninsured person becomes injured, say through a mountain bike accident, or falling down stairs, automobile crash- whatever you want to make up- and they end up in a hospital. Extensive care, surgery, staying in the hospital- there are all sorts of costs, expensive costs. Very expensive.

So what do we do as a society? Not help the person until they find a way of paying? People will die if that happens. Someone will have to pay for their care if they cannot, and if we decide as a society decide people need to be treated- we need to realize that costs money. And it will be passed onto those who already have health care insurance. Higher premiums, less benefits, higher co-pay are the effects of that. That's what we are doing now, the cost is being passed onto those who are already paying insurance.

The idea of the mandate is that everyone will have insurance and that will drive down costs because the pool of resources is bigger, and preventive care that is cheap will allow people to be healthier and avoid costly since access will be there.

This mandate will be ruled unconstitutional, which makes everything else of Obama care void- it won't work.

When that happens- what do we do as a nation? Who has the solution to our health care problem, which is a huge problem. Check out the biggest reason for bankruptcy for middle class. Look at what the biggest problems to solving our debt problem. It's a health care related.

carcraft
28478
Points
carcraft 03/29/12 - 04:19 pm
0
2
Tparty- Obama went with the

Tparty- Obama went with the mandate because that was the only way he could make numbers work to pay for his health care reform. When NO REPUBLICANS VOTED FOR IT EXCEPT ONE OBAMA MAY HAVE GOTTEN A CLUE . This is pure claptrap from the left.

carcraft
28478
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carcraft 03/29/12 - 04:32 pm
0
2
Tparty- We may need some

Tparty- We may need some tweeking of the health care system but this wasn't it. A hugh slobbering Bureaurcratic monster layered with mind numbing levels of rules and regulations intertwinging with alread exisiting bureaucratic behmoths. The cost of Obama care has already doubled and still hasn't gone into effect. Regulators in Washington were going to tell you wether what yuo were doing was a "religious "activity. If you worked in a Church it was religious, If you worked in the Church but for a social out reach of the Church such as a food pantry it was not a religious activity. On and on this would go.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/29/12 - 04:49 pm
1
0
Carcraft: Yes, the mandate

Carcraft: Yes, the mandate was the way to make the numbers work, the way for health insurance companies would be able to payout when someone gets really sick, by accepting people with pre-existing conditions (to include children) and to solve other problems people have with their insurance companies. I said that with "This mandate will be ruled unconstitutional, which makes everything else of Obamacare void- it won't work."

However the IDEA came from the Heritage Foundation, which is a conservative think tank. It's the place Newt got a lot of ideas from, and gave ideas too. The mandate is something Romney implemented in his state.

So yes, the mandate is a conservative idea that everyone is to buy a plan from a private company (not socialism- just another type of force). Liberals for the most part want a single payer system which is single insurance pool ran by the government (is socialism).

carcraft
28478
Points
carcraft 03/29/12 - 06:32 pm
0
1
Tparty- That was 22 years

Tparty- That was 22 years ago. Vanilla Ice (ICe ICE Ice baby) was a good idea then. The federal government in regulation of health care is a problem. I have shown a few of the problems. You have yet to deal with one of the issues. 1) Ever increasing costs. The estimated cost has already doubled and the law hasn't gone into ull effect yet. 2) Over burdening arbitray federal regulations. 3) The way it was set up we would end p with a one payer system anyway. Many would opt out and pay the fine becoming more of a burden on the already over burdened government coverage and reducing the companies that could compete with the government.
All that being said the Supreme court hasn't ruled yet. The Supremes may well uphold Obama care!

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/29/12 - 07:25 pm
2
1
"That was 22 years ago" Does

"That was 22 years ago"

Does that mean Ronald Reagan and his ideas are no longer relevant?

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/29/12 - 07:32 pm
1
2
Carcraft: As far as it

Carcraft: As far as it costing more- before I go on- I am not sure a mandate is right- but something needs to be done. Anyways, you're wrong about the cost.

The PPACA spends $50 billion less than the estimate that was given a year ago. In other words, this estimate says the bill is more, not less, fiscally responsible than was previously reported. Another thing: this estimate is looking at a different timeframe than the original estimates. The CBO’s first pass at the bill looked at 2010-2019. But years have passed, and so now they’re looking at 2012-2021. That means they have two fewer years of implementation, when the bill costs almost nothing, and two more years of operation, when it costs substantially more.

But it also means that the included cuts and taxes, which grow with time, are larger. That’s why, when House Republicans wanted to repeal health reform in 2011, the estimated increase in the deficit was $230 billion, rather than the $130 billion that would have been expected from the 2010-2019 analysis. As you extend the analysis, the bill both costs more and saves more, and the savings grow more quickly than the costs.

It's crazy- but it's how it is. I'm still not a supporter of PPACA but those are the estimates.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 03/29/12 - 08:39 pm
1
1
"No, soapy. You are not
Unpublished

"No, soapy. You are not forced to buy automobile liability insurance. You only have to have it if you drive an automobile. You can opt out by not driving. Anyway, the requirement to have automobile liability insurance is a state mandate, not federal. The question before the Supreme Court is about federal mandates."

Then explain Social Security - try opting out of that. Of course there is president for the government making you buy into something with which you may or may not agree. Just let me know and I'll give you about 150 other examples. Its not new - only if you're a republican.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 03/29/12 - 08:49 pm
2
0
"Freedom's hinge" Seriously
Unpublished

"Freedom's hinge"

Seriously ?? The freedom of our nation hangs upon whether or not the Supreme's Court's decision about whether or not the Affordable Health Care Act (or parts thereof) are constitutional or unconstitutional ??. Come on guys, be for real. If I had that much lack of faith in our country I think I'd move (hint hint ACES)

carcraft
28478
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carcraft 03/29/12 - 09:21 pm
0
2
Tparty- The estimated cost

Tparty- The estimated cost (when this was passed) two years ago was $ 900 billion for 10 years scord by the CBO. The latests estimate based on more knowledge is $1.7 TRILLION. The law won't go into full effect for 2 more years. The law was front loaded to appear to cost less than it will.

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 03/29/12 - 09:25 pm
0
2
I'm now on Medicare. Yippee.

I'm now on Medicare. Yippee. That's a negative other than I'm no longer having to pay thousands of dollars a year to make certain my medical needs are taken care of . Note, I was paying to make certain my medical needs were taken care of. Now I get to maybe, kinda of hope they will be taken care of. Obamacare, I get to worry that at my age, they might not be taken care of, never mind every one of my ancestors has lived very long lives and even have produced during those extra long lives. Nope, Obam says something about taking a pain pill.

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