Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

That Constitutionality Thang

I had the devil's own time tracking down the text of section 1501 of the Affordable Health Care Act - the basis for rulings of unconstitionality in Virginia and Florida.

Finally, though, I got part of it here.


Quote from link:

Section 1501 of the ACA reads as follows:  
(a) REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE.— An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month.  
(1) IN GENERAL.—If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) for 1 or more months during any calendar year beginning after 2013, then, except as provided in subsection (d), there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual in the amount determined under subsection (c).  
(2) INCLUSION WITH RETURN.—Any penalty imposed by this section with respect to any month shall be included with a taxpayer’s return under chapter 1 for the taxable year which includes such month.  
The remainder of the provision spells out, in great detail, (a) a series of exemptions from the requirement, (b) the means by which the charge (whether we call it a “penalty” or a “tax”) is calculated, and (c) what qualifies as “minimum essential coverage.”  

At AB, Beverly Mann dismisses some of Florida Judge Vinson's reasoning as sophistry.  At first, I agreed.  But sophistry, like hypocrisy, requires a certain level of self-awareness that Regressives seem to lack. 

OTOH, the judges comment, re: tea (which I take as a wink to his peeps) whether sophist or not, is fatuous. 

". . . a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain. . ."  

Despite his word game, the government isn't forcing anyone to do anything.  You have a choice: participate, or pay a tax penalty.  Look at it the other way around and participation is a tax break.  Congress certainly has the power to levy taxes, and tax breaks to encourage targeted investments or expenditures are endemic to the U.S. tax system.  

The problem is, when this goes to the Supreme Court, it will be a court known for right wing judicial over-reach, so they will probably confirm the Va and/or Fla rulings.  

What this really highlights is that the right way to go at it is single-payer:  every citizen is enrolled, and there is no premium.  It's payed with taxes, and Congress has the power to tax.  I'm pretty sure it's in the Constitution, somewhere.

The problem is that there is too much vested interest and power in for-profit companies to allow the rational thing to happen.

Health care coverage is one area where there can be no free market solution.  The goals of health insurance companies and their customers are 180 degrees out of phase.  Profit comes from raising premiums and denying coverage - both detrimental to the customer.  And there is virtually no opportunity for competitive advantage in a business that is essentially a bookkeeping exercise.

It's so simple, yet impossible.  


No comments: