Liberals: defend the mandate!

I’m usually open to giving the benefit of the doubt, and am loathe to accept that lofty Supreme Court justices will actually render verdicts solely based on party lines, but it’s not looking good. Not at all!

I’m a generally liberal Obama supporter. I long for universal health care, given a basis similar to social security. But I’m not one to accept a victory at any cost.

I used to be of the persuasion (hope) that Supreme Court Justices should retire when a Democratic President is in office, because that was the surest way to insure personal freedoms were sacrosanct.

But now I’m wondering if the 4-4 deadlock with one swing vote might not be prudent.

I’m all for universal health care, but not at any cost. Do other liberals really believe that attaining this is worth any cost? Do you really not understand that there would be consequences for getting UHC by methods involving overreaching government power?

I’m truly flabbergasted that liberals would give up their basic principles in order to achieve a particular outcome.

Am I alone in this?

I don’t love the idea either, but it’s the only way to make this kind of health care proposal work financially. The federal law and the Massachusetts law require health insurance companies to cover sick people and prevent them from turning away people who get sick or who have health problems when they sign up and they require the insurance companies spend larger percentages of their premium dollars on providing coverage. That means greater costs for the insurance companies, and those costs need to be offset with more money from people who are healthy and don’t use as much health care. Otherwise those people are less likely to get insurance in the first place. Since single payer was absolutely not happening and the Senate wouldn’t support a public option, this was about all that was left. Not long ago this was the Republican version of health care reform.

And there’s no such thing as a swing vote. The idea that there’s one justice who is squarely in the middle is baloney. Kennedy is not as conservative as Scalia and Thomas, but he’s conservative. O’Connor was less so. In any case you may have noticed that today’s verdict didn’t quite go along “party” lines since Roberts voted with Breyer, Ginsburg, Soyomayor and Kagan.

Do we have to defend the mandate or your perception of the mandate, because they look like different things.

I don’t care for the mandate as a matter of constitutional law. But I can live with it, and it won’t bring down the Republic. Unlike Citizens United, which has a better than 50-50 chance of doing so in each election cycle.

And I’m wondering how you achieve universal health coverage without “overreaching government power” because this particular overreach will not result in universal coverage. It’ll cut the number of uninsured significantly, but it’s not going to get close to universal coverage.

And returning to the Supreme Court thing again: so far Obama has only replaced two justices from the liberal wing of the court. If he is re-elected and gets a chance to replace Kennedy, let alone Scalia or one of the other conservative justices, you’ll see an enormous Congressional shitstorm. The idea that there could be five ‘liberal’ justices, or even four and a somewhat left-leaning moderate, will drive a lot of people insane.

:rolleyes: In what possible way did the justices vote “based on party lines” today?

If you’re actually a liberal, then throw out whatever the hell media sources you read today, because they apparently told you that John Roberts is a liberal, which is a straight-up lie. And then apologize and ask that this thread be shut down, since it was started on an obviously fallacious basis.

The mandate itself is necessary. It just sounds scary. You can’t have universal health care if people who do not pay into it still get covered if they have an accident or suffer a catastrophic illness. So here are our choices:

  1. If you don’t have coverage and get sick or have an accident we let you die
  2. We pay for coverage out of the general fund and raise taxes (though many people would come out ahead because their increased taxes would be less than their current insurance).
  3. We mandate that people buy insurance but give them a tax credit to pay for it
  4. We mandate that people buy insurance, help those who can’t afford it, and fine/tax people who do not buy insurance and use that revenue to offset the cost of catastrophic coverage for the uninsured.

That’s about it. To me options 2, 3, and 4 are listed in the order I would prefer, but since conservatives would not support options 2 or 3, and not enough people are insane enough to prefer option 1, we are left with option 4.

Because if only 7 or 8 justices vote along party lines it’s OK? The media pretty much knew how six justices would vote. Kennedy was considered the swing vote, so he could have gone either way and no one would have been surprised. One justice voted differently than expected based on the “party lines”.

I agree with your analysis, but we can go even further. During the early part of one’s life health insurance is likely to be more expensive than the expected benefit, so it makes economic sense to not buy it, and hope. During the latter part of your life you are much more likely to need more medical care than reasonable insurance will cost, and so will buy it. Thus, without a mandate and with the requirement that insurance is written for those with pre-existing conditions it makes sense to wait, and insurance companies lose money. The mandate prevents this.
It is not just theoretical - in California the insurance companies asked for large increases because the only people willing to pay increasing rates were those who got more out if it than even the large amount they paid, so costs ratcheted up as people the insurance companies made money on left the system.

It is no accident that Romney defended the mandate when he was governor, Now it seems Romney is supporting coverage of pre-existing conditions with no mandate which makes him a liar (since on will be needed or taxes will go up for all) or a moroin - and I’m betting liar.

Isn’t this “mandate” all bark and no bite? Meaning isn’t this mandate not really a mandate at all? What is the real penalty? A fine? And what happens if that fine goes unpaid? Isn’t it basically nothing?

How is it overreaching? It’s a tax or at least it could have been structured as a tax (with a credit for buying insurance) if it had been realized how much of a fuss would be kicked up by people pretending that there was something extraordinary about the requirement. The only political problem with the mandate is that the Democrats have not been able to get enough people to realize that the mandate is necessary to pay for the popular features of the law.

I"m not certain what there is to defend. The Supreme Court has stated that it is constitutional, so legally speaking there is no issue with it. Ethically, I have no more problem with this law than I do with state ones that require us to have auto insurance. Given that I believe that healthcare is a basic human right, this is a step in the right direction. It will benefit everyone in the long run except those who are deliberately gaming the system currently and costing all of us a lot of money. If this law allows us time to see the benefits of widespread affordable healthcare, then so be it. Perhaps we NEED a little bit of nanny-stating for a while.

Meh. Just institute universal health care, pay for it out of taxes, and do not prevent people from purchasing whatever private insurance they wish. There would be no personal freedom costs that way, and since universal health care results in better health and longer lives for less personal money and less government money, there would be no additional physical or financial cost. (Have a look at the 2002 World Health Organization stats and compare the USA to Canada).

Too bad the USA has so many people who do not want this. Good luck with your Obamacare – it’s a big step forward, but you have a long way to go to catch up with the first world.

It goes on your permanent record!

No, seriously, the fine is small at first, but it does increase quite a bit over time. If the fine goes unpaid, the IRS is in charge, and they have significant powers to take what they think you owe without a lot of oversight.

What “overreaching government power” are you talking about?

Many felt basing this on the commerce clause would be an overreach expanding the already expansive use of that clause.

Except the court found that to be unconstitutional. What they did find was that under the ability of congress to tax people this easily falls under the purview of the US government and is not an undue expansion of government power.

The government has been taxing you and buying things on your behalf for ages now. The government buys tanks with your money, they buy the FBI and CIA with your money, they buy roads with your money and so on. It is a long list. Buying you insurance with your tax money is not fundamentally different than any of the rest.

Also, this is likely to save you money (or at least save the federal government money) in the long run.

Finally, the notion of the individual mandate being a liberal idea is ridiculous. As was noted in some other thread around here the Heritage Foundation put forward the individual mandate in the 90’s when health care reform was being worked on. The idea was pushed by republicans and, of course, Romneycare in Massachusetts has an individual mandate. You know…the guy running on the republican ticket for president of the United States who now decries the mandate as a bad thing.

Hardly a “liberal” idea. The reality is liberals would have liked to see a single payer system and not this bastardized mess of health care reform.

It seems to me like Marie Antoinette taken to the extreme. Don’t just let them eat cake, but make cake eating mandatory! That will solve the hunger problem. :rolleyes:

If the problem is that health care is so expensive that even moderately rich people can’t afford it, how is forcing poor people to buy it a solution?

I’m all for UHC, but step one is to eliminate the “insurance” companies, which don’t provide insurance at all and are really just leeches on the whole system. This legislation, as far as I can tell, was a giant barrel of pork attempting to appease the voracious insurance industry.

“One war at a time, please.”
-Abraham Lincoln.


No way an idea Heritage pushed in the 90s can suddenly be transmogrified into “liberal” as if by magic.

People who otherwise might have died will live. People who would have suffered needlessly, for want of routine and inexpensive care, will not. I need to defend that?

That’s not what the Marie Antoinette quote was about (and it’s unlikely she ever said it), but we’ll move on.

Considering how controversial the current law is, I don’t know how you think an even larger proposal like this was ever going to happen or how it would’ve passed Constitutional muster.