Friday, September 18, 2009

Unlimited Congress

“As every civics class once taught, the federal government is a government of limited, enumerated powers, with the states retaining broad regulatory authority.” —David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey

Are there any “limits on Congress's power to regulate individual Americans?” David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, two conservative lawyers that often join forces, say in this WSJ op-ed that this is the pressing question that will have to be answered if the plan to ‘mandate’ that individuals buy health insurance coverage is to be seriously considered.

If such a mandate becomes law, the courts will certainly weigh in on this question. Messrs. Rivkin and Casey conclude that “The Supreme Court has never accepted such a proposition, and it is unlikely to accept it now, even in an area as important as health care.”


RD said...

Certainly some uninsured use emergency rooms in lieu of primary care physicians, but the majority are young people who forgo insurance precisely because they do not expect to need much medical care. When they do, these uninsured pay full freight, often at premium rates, thereby actually subsidizing insured Americans.

I guess this guy is unaware of the 2 million medical bankruptcy's, or the 45,000 people that die due to lake of insurance each year.

The guy who wrote that article is an idiot with a political agenda, He makes unfounded legal assumptions by sighting unrelated legal cases handled by the supreme court in past.

It's perfectly fine to be against reform efforts but people like this articles author continually inventing boogey men to do it gets most annoying.

Scott Hinrichs said...

The study that came up with the 45,000 deaths figure has already been challenged for its loose usage of facts. Besides, we already know that hundreds of thousands WITH insurance die each year at the hands of those paid by the insurance companies.

This is no bogeyman. The question of what Congress can force us to do is central to the workings of our republic. It is a question that deserves honest consideration.

RD said...

I referenced the uninsured and death rates cause by access in illustration to their costs to disprove the ridicules assertion that the uninsured save the insured money. I guess I need to try and be more clear in the future.

The question of what Congress can force us to do is central to the workings of our republic. It is a question that deserves honest consideration.

I agree that article doesn't do that. It uses the supreme court striking down anti gun laws, and a regulation on the cultivation of marijuana to support their position.

I would think that given this line in the constitution,
The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
That Taxation to support health care would be perfectly legal as it would be hard to argue that health care isn't part of the General Welfare of this nation.

Now we can argue that a particular tax wouldn't be legal but that has little bearing on the promotion of health care reform itself, it just changes how we would pay for it.

Scott Hinrichs said...

We can certainly disagree about whether an individual mandate is constitutional or not. I believe that it is not. However, I also think the question will ultimately be answered by a Supreme Court ruling if such a provision becomes law.

RD said...

Our nation is best served by having people with many different views and opinions. Yes on this issue we will have to agree to disagree! =p

Charles D said...

It is easy for someone to shoot holes in a study, especially when it is to their benefit to do so. What the study makes clear is that the refusal of our government to assume responsibility for insuring that quality health care is available to every American is killing us. Somehow, that fact - regardless of quibbles over the numbers, statistical methods, etc. - should make us realize that there is something more important than our political and economic ideologies.

Scott Hinrichs said...

"... the refusal of our government to assume responsibility for insuring that quality health care is available to every American is killing us."

I think that's one of the most bizarre arguments I've ever seen in my life. When my Dad was a kid living in Nazi Germany, people made (and believed) similar things about government "responsibility" in all kinds of facets of life, including health care. That certainly worked out well.

RD said...


Relating the push for health care to Nazi Germany is absurd. Its fine to be against reform but that is not a license to jump on the crazy wagon.

I have in recent news seen that the study I cited has grossly exaggerated the numbers. Their are good studies to show a still unacceptable number of deaths. Its fine to be for reform but that is not a license to jump on the crazy wagon.

To myself
Its fine to be for reform but that is not a license to jump on the crazy wagon.

For or against reform, the only way we can all come to a more reasonable understanding is by not letting ourselves float into Glen Beck or Nancy Poloesy land.

Scott Hinrichs said...

RD, I must admit that the tendency for people (on all sides) to compare political opinions with which they disagree to the Nazis or Hitler is engaged in all too easily.

I feel that I have some special insight into the attitudes that produced the Nazi debacle, having spent a lifetime learning at my Dad's knee and having done a lot of personal study to try to make sense of what happened when one of the most advanced nations on the earth engaged in such overwhelmingly pernicious behavior. I have studied how the German government dealt with health care in the 1930s-40s and I see some striking parallels to current events.

However, you are correct in your admonishment. Given what Nazi Germany means in the minds of most people, it is almost always counterproductive to cite it in comparison to current events. Not that no accurate comparison can ever be made; but rarely can anything current be accurately compared with people's perceptions --- the caricatures that exist in their minds --- of Nazi Germany.

For that reason, it is wise for everyone to avoid such comparisons.

RD said...

It's not hard to find correlations between one government or another, The Roman empire from ages past had a senate and ranks very high on the evil'o'meter but to draw the correlation between the US senate and the Roman senate would be disingenuous at best.

And yes I do understand their are several correlations that make a lot of sense... high unemployment, crazy inflation, large groups of disenfranchised citizens, distrusted group of people(rich ones in this case).. etc etc etc.

Yea I am a progressive(nobody is perfect heh), But I really try to look at a problem from the perspective of what is practical. Because of this their are issues that I would be considered conservative.

Often those on the Left wouldn't know the meaning of the word practical. Both sides find all kinds of evidence to support their claims and views, We have been deluged with worse case scenarios for just about ever health system in the world for the last 9 months . Attaching a human face to the issue is important but it doesn't tell you the quality of an argument. I have tried to look at the issue of health care from a cold hearted numbers perspective. Looking at the flat fact numbers that are commonly available about outcomes, costs, satisfaction etc. Also comparing our system to other systems around the world, The adjacent market consequences of different systems. And I try to keep within the political reality of the American political system(for better or worse =/).

And I don't mean to sound admonishing just trying to make my opinion known.