onset_dwelling2


About the author

Jamie Moses

Jamie Moses founded Artvoice in 1990

34 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • It seems the opponents of  the Affordable Care Act are either extreme partisans or totally ignorant of the reality of the law.  Most fall into the latter, they have been confused by the very effective misinformation campaign waged by the right.

    • When liberals are defending the massive expansion of corporations at the expense of the working class, and conservatives are trying to defend a free-loader status quo, I would say no one knows what’s in the law or what the implications will be.

      Here are the essential bits to me: the court voted 5-4 that the commerce clause doesn’t allow Congress to create commerce, only regulate it. That’s good. They also voted 5-4 that Congress can tax the absense of an action. Previously, taxable events were one’s of commission – they could tax you when you do something (smoke, make money, buy something, die). Or, they could give you a tax rebate when you do something (have kids, pay a mortgage, put in an efficient water heater). But they have stayed out of taxing not doing things. This is an expansion of the “nudge.” I am personally less happy about the implications of that.

      I am disappointed by the ruling because I feel like it entrenches insurance comapnies that add no value to the system and are only a parasitic slice of profit. My wife, who works in health care, says that its a step towards single payer because as insurance companies get richer (like banks) the average citizen will get angrier. Maybe so, though Dems will be in a tough policy place denoucing it, then, as they reinforced the system.

      I would love to be a fly on the wall when Obama and Roberts get ina  room together. Obama voted against Roberts to be confirmed. Roberts messed up Obama’s oath of office. Now he’s handed him a second term. History will write books about those two together. 

      • Liberals hoped for single payer, the only reasonable and cost effective way to deliver health care.  I agree about the entrenched insurance companies, Obama was much too accomodating, shoul have fought harder for the public option. I work for one of the regions largest health care systems, I have over 30 years in facilities and engineering and I am responsible for a good size piece of the budget process. We are under constant pressure to do more with less and find ways to operate more efficently. I report to the COO, he and the CEO both advocate for single payer, they are certainly not liberals but recognize the limitations and high costs incurred under the present system.

        • There are options beyond “the current system” and “single payer”, you know.

          •  When people start to realize that healthcare and access to healthcare
            is a Right of the People, the conversation can start to move forward. 
            The ACA is a start, but doesn’t do enough.   If you are in the category of people that say the tax aspect applies to people that are not doing something, as you said Brian, then what you are failing to realize is that we ALL use healthcare in our lifetimes.  I’d like to meet one person who never used any part of the healthcare system in their life.  I promise you, that person has a short life.  Seeing as how most people are born in hospitals.  For that matter, here at Roswell I see Mennonites all the time.  And they eschew modern everything. The argument that you can not use healthcare in your lifetime is just patently false.

          • The thing they are being taxed for not doing is buying health insurance. Health insurance is different than healthcare, and our country’s confusion of the two is half the problem.

          • I never heard one from the opposition in the ACA debate, which is part of the problem of how we got here.

  • Ignorant of law is to have Congressional intent clearly say this is not a tax and then to vote to uphold the law as justifiable as a tax.  Legislative intent is supposed to be part of the court’s review.  Roberts clearly was looking to thread the needle…why, I have no idea.

    And I’m sick those who say the court is partisan because of the Conservatives.  When is the last time one of  the liberal four voted in a way that people would say is out of character?  They shouldn’t waste time even hearing cases because it’s obvious there mind is made up purely based on partisan, political considerations.

    I think expanding coverage is a good thing and stopping free loaders makes sense.  But I can’t get over the continued erosion of liberty, that Obama will force me to buy health insurance but won’t do his job and secure the borders….which means the all taxpaying citizens will be forced to subsidize the illegals in the emergency room, correct?’

    Mitt ain’t my favorite but I can’t take four more years of this………..

    • Tell me, do you have health insurance now? And what does health insurance have to do with the border (and please describe to me in detail exactly how Obama isn’t “doing his job and securing the borders” any more or less than any Republican or Democratic predecessor? Has he dismantled the fence? Has he disbanded the Border Patrol? I am asking you for a specific, credible fact to illustrate your charge about Obama supposedly letting Mexicans and Central Americans into the country through the Southern border. 

      • Obama is deporting more people than any administration in history, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good racist rant against illegal aliens.  They are to blame for everything!

        •  Love how you run to the racist rant.  The point was Obama immediately said he would no longer work with Arizona once the Supreme Court upheld once piece of that immigration law while striking down the rest.   The court ruled immigration enforcement is the federal government’s responsibility so enforce it.  And are you saying that illegals do not take resources out of our social services and health care systems?

          Issuing an Executive Order that is probably not legal that saying you will not deport those who are here illegally if they were brought here by their parents, etc. etc. might make sense if such a law were passed by Congress. 

          It appears Obama and his acolytes like you believe the ends justify the means on policy with no respect for individual liberty.

          •  And Alan, you’re a lawyer so know about legislative intent. I see you chose not to address that.  Obama and Congress clearly say this is not a tax and the Court upholds legality under ability to tax, ignoring legislative intent. 

          • Maybe you should read the opinion. It’s linked to, above. Roberts covers it.  The legislative intent was to impose a penalty. Roberts and the court interpret that to be a tax. If you can conceive of a way in which it isn’t, I’m all ears. 

          • Tony, I’ll address the legislative intent for you.  Since you mentioned the Conservatives on the Court, I’m sure you may have heard of the concept of textualism – which legal scholar and judicial conservative Justice Scalia is perhaps the poster-boy for.  Scalia would take great issue with your statement that “Legislative intent is supposed to be part of the court’s review.” In fact he would say court’s should ignore legislative intent – that intent at all times is immaterial to interpretation and rather courts should look to the actual words of the statute and apply the meaning derived therefrom.  A problem, he would say, with looking to legislative intent is that members of the court looking for the intent of a multi-member legislature could cherry-pick the intent of the legislator who best fits the Justice’s own interpretation.  While words do have many meanings and may be interpreted differently by different justices – as may have occurred yesterday – textualists would argue that words are more precise than determining intent.  And note the intent that we speak of is the intent of the legislature, not the bill’s writer.

            Granted you have two other notable interpretive approaches – originalism (a cousin of textualism) and Breyer’s purposes and consequences approach.  Under the purposes and consequences approach a judge would look to legislative intent as a guide, but more to determine the broader purpose of the statute. 

            Figuring out the legislative intent of 535 individuals (plus in your view every person in the administration that worked on it) is a tough thing to do.  Figuring out what their intent was on every single sentence in a lengthy act is quite tougher.  It’s probably best the court doesn’t take that approach. With any law.

          • There is absolutely no connection between health care reform and immigration policy.  The fact that you have somehow connected the two issues leads me to believe that you are obsessed with the issue.  Illegal immigration is not a major problem in this country, but it is a great issue to distract people.

            I have no idea why you think the two Supreme Court cases have any connection to each other either.

          •  I’m not connecting the two as matter of policies.  I’m talking about the actual responsibilities of the federal government and living up to those.  I’m referencing an approach endorsed by you and others that says if you think a policy is right for the  country, you can use any means necessary to advance that cause, regardless of the long-term impact on liberty and the constitution.  You are smart enough to recognize my point but you want to obscure it.

          • When did I ever endorse an “any means necessary” approach to health care?

            The problem here is conflating the individual mandate to something that will harm “liberty and the constitution”.  This is a bit dramatic.

            However, I would simply prefer a single payer system – Medicare expanded to all.  This would involve a tax increase to be sure.  This may be cleaner on a Constitutional basis.

  • “The mandate was, ironically, a precondition set by the insurance industry, without which they would not be able to economically justify offering insurance to people with pre-existing conditions at no penalty.”

    It’s only ironic if you ignore the fact that they’re being handed millions of new customers who are now forced to buy their products.

    Also, this: 
    “Yet the refusal to purchase insurance isn’t illegal – it isn’t a crime. It is merely a choice,”

    is legalese dissembling at best, dishonest at worst. Try to not pay your taxes, Alan, let’s see what happens. If you don’t buy insurance, your tax refund will go down. If your tax refund was going to be zero, they’ll garnish your wages. And see what happens if you find a way around that.

    Yeah, it’s a choice between living outside Leavenworth or inside.

    “In the olden days, “personal responsibility” was a conservative talking point.  Now, we’re essentially codifying it through Obamacare – you’re responsible to get coverage, or for the consequences if you don’t.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that the Federal government forcing us to do something has anything at all to do with “personal” responsibility? Isn’t that sort of the exact opposite of personal? Sorry, you’re reaching on this one.

    I’d like to see any honest evidence you have regarding how it’ll make our healthcare more affordable. Everything I’ve seen contradicts that little problem, unless it’s just parroting CBO numbers (which by law have to go by what Congress claims in their predictions – we know those are always spot on right?). I mean, if we’re going to say “RomneyCare is the model”… then we might want to note Mass is paying more than ever…

    • Healthcare will be more affordable because no longer will the general public be required to subsidize losses providers incur offering mandated treatment to people unable or unwilling to pay. It will be more affordable because of volume – the pool of people buying insurance will grow, and at least in New York, the exchange has already been set up. 

      As to “legalese dissembling”, you should tell it to Justice Roberts, who wrote in the decision, 

      In distinguishing penalties from taxes, this Court has explained that “if the concept of penalty means anything, it means punishment for an unlawful act or omission.” United States v. Reorganized CF&I Fabricators of Utah,Inc., 518 U. S. 213, 224 (1996); see also United States v. La Franca, 282 U. S. 568, 572 (1931) (“[A] penalty, as the word is here used, is an exaction imposed by statute as punishment for an unlawful act”). While the individual mandate clearly aims to induce the purchase of health insurance, it need not be read to declare that failing to do so is unlawful. Neither the Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS. The Government agrees with that reading, confirming that if someone chooses to pay rather than obtain health insurance, they have fully complied with the law. Brief for United States 60-61; Tr. of Oral Arg. 49-50 (Mar. 26, 2012).Indeed, it is estimated that four million people each year will choose to pay the IRS rather than buy insurance. See Congressional Budget Office, supra, at 71. We would expect Congress to be troubled by that prospect if such conduct were unlawful. That Congress apparently regards such extensive failure to comply with the mandate as tolerable suggests that Congress did not think it was creating four million outlaws. It suggests instead that the shared responsibility payment merely imposes a tax citizens may lawfully choose to pay in lieu of buying health insurance…….Once we recognize that Congress may regulate a particular decision under the Commerce Clause, the Federal Government can bring its full weight to bear. Congress may simply command individuals to do as it directs. An individual who disobeys may be subjected to criminal sanctions. Those sanctions can include not only fines and imprisonment, but all the attendant consequences of being branded a criminal: deprivation of otherwise protected civil rights, such as the right to bear arms or vote in elections; loss of employment opportunities; social stigma; and severe disabilities in other controversies, such as custody or immigration disputes.By contrast, Congress’s authority under the taxing power is limited to requiring an individual to pay money into the Federal Treasury, no more. If a tax is properly paid, the Government has no power to compel or punish individuals subject to it. We do not make light of the severe burden that taxation—especially taxation motivated by a regulatory purpose—can impose. But imposition of a tax nonetheless leaves an individual with a lawful choice to do or not do a certain act, so long as he is willing to pay a tax levied on that choice.The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

      Hopefully, that clears that up. As for “personal responsibility”, yes, the law requires you to personally be responsible for handling your health insurance affairs. It requires you to either be insured, or to pay a fine if you’re not.  That way, it’s guaranteed that the health care provider will be compensated for rendering services to you. Personal responsibility. 

      • If you have to do it or pay a fine (enforceable, in the end, by guys with guns), it’s not exactly a choice, now is it?

        You are a meager suburbanite lawyer, I hardly expect your dissembling to be able to compete with the Chief Dissembler in the land. How telling is it that even a meager suburbanite lawyer can talk people into anything he wants.All research not connected to CBO numbers demonstrates the cost curve will not be heading down. I guess we’ll see in a couple years. I have decades of evidence on my side, you have Obama’s word that it’ll be cheaper.

          •  You have the choice to die by hanging or firing squad.   If I prefer to live, it’s not really much of choice.

          • Yes, because a mandate to buy HEALTH INSURANCE IS EXACTLY LIKE BEING EXECUTED.

            If you weren’t joking with that, it could possibly be the silliest comment, ever.

          • How about I don’t like vegetables but I’m given the choice of carrots or peas? And even though I don’t  want either the gov’t says I must pick.  Your comment that “or” gives me a choice between two things  is technically accurate but liberty means I should be able to choose neither. 

          • Yet now, when uninsured people seek treatment at the emergency room, and my taxes – and yours – go to subsidize the extremely high cost of ER primary care treatment, the Republicans – and Romney – have absolutely nothing to say about that government-mandated confiscation of my money – and, by extension, an assault on my “liberty”. 

            This statute makes sure that people don’t freeload the system. Used to be personal responsibility was a conservative tenet. I’m glad to see that the Democrats have now co-opted that, along with all the other good ideas that the Republicans have shed in their 20-year plunge into regional relevance and fundamental irrationality. 

  • Gotta love the Fox News graphic.  Whereas the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional under the federal government’s powers of taxation, Fox spun that into, “Supreme Court Rules Individual Mandate Will Become a Tax”.

    Now the simple-minded mouth breathers that watch that channel will think an entirely new tax is on its way.  Why not?  They already think that Obama raised their taxes to give more welfare to poor people!  Well played, Fox News.

  • 1.     
     Medicaid? 
    If you are a single male forget it. 
    You don’t qualify now and you won’t qualify in the future.  You are out of luck unless you have
    kids.  If you don’t believe me look it up.

    2.     
    Insurance companies – Do you think they are
    going to take money out of their pockets to cover the new patients with pre
    existing conditions.  Of course not!  They will simple reduce the number of items they
    cover i.e. no long cover transplants, or new expensive medical procedures and
    of course they will probably reduce the percentage of their contribution
    forcing the insured to now pay a 50% co-pay instead of a 20% co-pay.

    3.     
    How exactly is this tax going to work.  Who is going to collect it?  The federal government, the state government
    or is a new agency going to send you a bill if you don’t buy insurance.  And if you don’t pay that tax bill are they
    going to continue to add fines and penalties like they currently do with unpaid
    taxes.

    4.     
    Nothing in the law address the millions of
    illegals who currently use the emergency rooms for everything from having
    babies to the flu.  The millions will
    continue to tax our system as they are off our payroll records and off our tax
    records.  So those billions of dollars
    will continue to be needed in addition to the trillions projected to implement
    this new bill.

    Just a few questions people should be asking.

  • Under the precedent of this case, would someone kindly point out for me an activity which the Federal Government cannot compel me to perform by simply imposing on me a “tax” if I fail to do it?

    •  Exactly and great point.  The anger isn’t about this particular issue it’s about a taking away liberty, even if one can argue in this case it’s for the greater good.  What’s next?

    • Marry
      Procreate
      Give to charity
      Invest
      Work from home
      Take a client to lunch
      Own a house