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Since the ruling should be any day now, thought why not fire up the MBS crowd in advance, eh?
After doing some research this week, it seems to me that the reform in a nutshell is 1) a bunch of (mostly very popular) provisions that eliminate or restrict practices like underwriting, dropping or denying coverage, or implementing caps, and 2) a sizable expansion of Medicaid.
None of the experts on health care policy I've spoken to, and they represented insurers, doctors and citizens, mentioned anything about death panels or all the seeming smoke and mirrors we've heard about.
As far as the individual mandate, it doesn't pass the smell test for most people and I also have reservations, as it certainly seems like an overreach and potentially slippery slope to have the government mandating the purchase of something.
Something interesting I learned today in the Washington Post though, did you know Pres. George Washington signed a bill into law mandating that adult men in fighting condition buy a gun and ammunition? I didn't, and while it makes perfect sense for that time, it is still the federal government telling people what they have to buy. Also mentioned, a law that required shipowners to buy insurance for their seaman, and requiring seaman to pay into hospital insurance, passed in the 1800s. Neither law was struck down in court.
Also, there is a Supreme Court precedent from 1942, Wickard v. Filburn, in which the court ruled against an Ohio wheat farmer that was told how much wheat he could grow on his farm and threatened with a government penalty for every bushel over that amount, even if the wheat never left his family farm. Apparently the logic was that what you grow on your farm can affect "the market" even if you aren't selling it, because at a minimum it affects your demand for the product and therefore has a minute effect on global demand, and so therefore the government can regulate how productive you can be on your own land. The Supreme Court actually upheld this, 70 years ago, and it has been used as a precedent in further rulings. Some legal scholars think it may play a role in this ruling as well.
I think that Wickard ruling is total BS, and the outcome that would most disturb me is if the Supreme court strikes down the mandate but does so in a way that leaves the Wickard precedent in place. Imo that precedent is even more of a government intrusion than a tax penalty for not having insurance. I mean for fudge's sake, how can the government tell you to grow less produce on your farm if it's to feed your family?
Anyway, those are some of the interesting things I've learned, feel free to share what you've learned, or, more likely, flame away...
"We do do, and we do it at a very, very high level," Lewis said.
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