Health care and the Supreme Court

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 8:46 PM | comments: 0

The Supreme Court is spending some time talking about the 2010 health care reform law, affectionately referred to as "Obamacare" by people that still don't understand that Congress and its endless committees ultimately write legislation, not presidents. After two years, I still tend to believe most of what I did then, that there were some provisions of the law that were long overdue, and others that were questionable.

The primary focus of the court seems to be whether or not you can legislate that everyone buy something from private entities, namely insurance. This is the part I had the hardest time with as well, and it's actually really exciting to hear the court talking about it. You don't hear politicians talking about it in a scholarly context. It will be really interesting to see what they decide.

What I really can't stand about the Republican presidential candidates (who are making the same mistakes they did two years ago, as I look back at my post), is that they're on this "repeal Obamacare" nonsense. It's nonsense because voters are apparently too stupid to understand that presidents don't repeal laws any more than they create laws, and also because there are enough good things in the law that you don't do the baby-bathwater thing. I am frustrated to no end with insurance companies who arbitrarily stop paying for stuff or make it impossible to get what you are entitled to, and the law offers some solid consumer protections that should remain in place. No part of that is more true than the part that prohibits denying care for pre-existing conditions.

And that's apparently one of the things that the court is going to address, whether or not the provisions of the law can be separated so that any part found to be unconstitutional can be repealed without throwing out the whole thing.

One thing that I have flip-flopped on a bit, in relation to the requirement to buy insurance, is subsidizing insurance for those who can't afford it. That's a tough call, because children don't get a say on the family they're born into. At the same time, with the hope that military spending is drastically reduced, it feels like we are in a dire position to reduce spending overall. The timing isn't good to spend more.

In any case, it's cool to see this being debated by the court. Few things they hear have as wide an impact as this.


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