Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Is the Hudson ruling good news for health reform?

By Ezra Klein

District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee, has, as expected, ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. So why are health reformers so unexpectedly pleased?

There are two reasons, but first, let's put this into context. Hudson's ruling is the third from a district court so far. Previously, Judge Norman Moon found the mandate constitutional, and so too did Judge George Steeh. Both Steeh and Norman were Clinton appointees, which is to say that so far, the rulings are proceeding along predictably partisan lines.

Hudson ruled against the government, but he didn't stop it (you can read the full opinion here). He refused the plaintiff's request for an injunction against the legislation's continued implementation. The construction of the bill's infrastructure will continue. And second, he refused to overrule anything but the individual mandate itself.

The real danger to health-care reform is not that the individual mandate will be struck down by the courts. That'd be a problem, but there are a variety of ways to restructure the individual mandate such that it doesn't penalize anyone for deciding not to do something (which is the core of the conservative's legal argument against the provision). Here's one suggestion from Paul Starr, for instance. The danger is that, in striking down the individual mandate, the court would also strike down the rest of the bill. In fact, that's exactly what the plaintiff has asked Hudson to do.

Hudson pointedly refused. "The Court will sever only Section 1501 [the individual mandate] and directly-dependent provisions which make specific reference to 1501." That last clause has made a lot of pro-reform legal analysts very happy. Go to the text of the health-care law and run a search for "1501." It appears exactly twice in the bill: In the table of contents, and in the title of the section. There do not appear to be other sections that make "specific reference" to the provision, even if you could argue that they are "directly dependent" on the provision. The attachment of the "specific reference" language appears to sharply limit the scope of the court's action.

Hudson will not have the last word on this. Anthony Kennedy will. The disagreements between the various courts virtually ensure that the Supreme Court will eventually take up the case. But right now, the range of opinions stretch from "the law is fine" to "the individual mandate is not fine, but the rest of the law is." That could create problems for the legislation if the mandate is repealed and Republicans block any attempts at a fix, but it's a far cry from a world in which the Supreme Court strikes down the whole of the health-care law.

By Ezra Klein  | December 13, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lunch break
Next: Cutting off your policies to spite your opponents

Comments

Thus speaks Pollyanna. Methinks the young blogger should pay closer attention the machinations of the Roberts court, and indeed, the GOP-stacked judiciary as a whole.

Posted by: scarlota | December 13, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

What about the mandate to buy into Social Security and Medicare. Can't I opt out of those if I can opt out of buying health care?

Posted by: will12 | December 13, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse


When this challenge to the HC Reform Law reaches the SC, the ‘mandate’ HAS to be struck down. The proper way the ‘mandate’ should have been implemented is as a TAX. Congress has this power granted by the Constitution. To use the ‘interstate commerce clause’ would stretch that allowed power to abomination levels from the ‘elasticity’ that has been allowed in the past.


So buck up SC Justices and (unanimously) have Congress redo the mandate as a proper TAX and don’t destroy the little balance of power that still exists between the Federal and State Governments in our USA.


Posted by: bcarte1 | December 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Reform is simple. Ditch the mandate and hand out vouchers. A voucher covers:

1) 100% coverage at the local crappy county hospital, with all its long lines of indigents (but hey, at least it's coverage).

OR

2) Defrays the cost of a private healthcare plan.

This way, both public and private options co-exist and everyone is covered.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

will12 asks: "What about the mandate to buy into Social Security and Medicare. Can't I opt out of those if I can opt out of buying health care?"

You can opt out of Medicare participation, or opt out of Part B alone and thereby avoid the premiums for Medicare Part B. However, there is a penalty for those who later attempt to opt in. Congress should have used this or a similar mechanism to avoid the issue of Constitutionality of the individual mandate, and now perhaps Congress will.

Posted by: dwells3 | December 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

will12 asks: "What about the mandate to buy into Social Security and Medicare. Can't I opt out of those if I can opt out of buying health care?"

You can opt out of Medicare participation, or opt out of Part B alone and thereby avoid the premiums for Medicare Part B. However, there is a penalty for those who later attempt to opt in. Congress should have used this or a similar mechanism to avoid the issue of Constitutionality of the individual mandate, and now perhaps Congress will.

Posted by: dwells3 | December 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

First of all, there is no "mandate". As an analogy, I offer this:
Currently, I can get an income tax exemption if I buy a mortgage from a bank. That is not a mandate that I must buy a mortgage, but I will have to pay more income tax.
HCR is no different. I can get a tax exemption if I buy a health insurance policy from an insurance company. That is not a mandate that I buy a policy, but I will have to pay more tax.

Posted by: denim39 | December 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

will12 asks: "What about the mandate to buy into Social Security and Medicare. Can't I opt out of those if I can opt out of buying health care?"

You can opt out of Medicare participation, or opt out of Part B alone and thereby avoid the premiums for Medicare Part B. However, there is a penalty for those who later attempt to opt in. Congress should have used this or a similar mechanism to avoid the issue of Constitutionality of the individual mandate, and now perhaps Congress will.

Posted by: dwells3 | December 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

In this country we spend somewhere between 17 and 19% of our GNP on health care and the other so-called advanced economies spend somewhere between 8 an 11% of their GNPs on health care. For spending roughly twice as much as other countries we broadly achieve the same results. Can anyone say the word inefficient. If we want real health care reform that cuts costs, we need to look at how other countries have contained their health care costs and model out health care system after things that work. Did we. NO Sad.

Posted by: jeffreed | December 13, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

So when is congress going to give up their "Gold Plated Life-time health and pension Benefits" We The Small People" are forced to pay for?

Come on Teeparty, let's start marching on Washington D.C.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

This is an easy one... The only way they can make the deal legal is to charge EVERYONE equally. In other words, single payer.

But, unless you are an idiot you understand that was the plan all along.

Posted by: aserwin | December 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

knjincvc: "So when is congress going to give up their "Gold Plated Life-time health and pension Benefits" We The Small People" are forced to pay for? Come on Teeparty, let's start marching on Washington D.C."

The Tea Party can't march on Washington today, they are too busy collecting their Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Posted by: gposner | December 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Reform is simple. Ditch the mandate and hand out vouchers"

Exactly, Medicare is a voucher system that reimburses healthcare goods and services provided by the doctor, hospital and pharmacy of the patient's choice. Private health insurers spend a lot of money to keep congressmen from remembering that fact.

Posted by: beowulf_ | December 13, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Klein is too optimistic. The Roberts court will undoubtedly find that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and there is no possibility that the present Congress will allow the bill to be amended to meet the court's objections. That means that the most popular features of the bill - the end of recission, of denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and of caps on coverage - will also go. Of course, it could be worse. The entire bill could be thrown out. And the class war the Republicans started back when they nominated Barry Goldwater will continue.

Posted by: sjj1231 | December 13, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

What frosts me is the list of 150 organizations that are exempted from this bill.

Posted by: judester | December 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Uh, the administration themselves admitted that without the mandate, the fake unenforceable reforms like pre-existing conditions have to be invalidated, too. Only the good parts - Medicaid expansion, subsidies, etc., will remain. You can't reform the US private health care system - you can only replace it.

Posted by: michaelh81 | December 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Those who think interstate commerce does not apply to health care should think twice. The hospital may be part of a private chain operating in many states. Most medical supplies likely originate from out of state suppliers. Almost guaranteed that your medicine was manufactured not just out of state but possibly outside the USA. At Florida hospital here in Orlando Xrays will be read by an Radiologist in another state. The emergency room physician may be employed by a multi-state PA. Likely most implantable devices whether a stent, knee, hip, pacemaker etc will be manufactured in another state. Health care is heavily involved in interstate commerce.

Posted by: chucko2 | December 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Medicare is not a voucher system. A voucher system will let people see how much the services they are purchasing cost, and let them save money by buying cheaper things. Medicare is a system of predefined health care plans, which offer the consumer very little ability to save money by not paying for things they don't want, by not being able to save money by opting out of extreme end of life care. If one person wants $1M to be spent on their last week, we all have to pay for it. Hence, it is the most expensive government program, in the entire history of the world.

Posted by: staticvars | December 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

TYhe only univeral would be tax supported national healthcare and if the individual choice to insurance company policies are removed all those unable to afford it will opt out an it will be just like before...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | December 13, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Sigh! The REAL solution to Health Care is...
"SINGLE PAYER".

Alas ... too many Health Insurance, Pharmaceutical CEO's and together with Beck/Hannity/Palin/Limbaugh/Boehner/McConnell/Rove, John Birch and KKK types who can't stand a Black President, especially if he is a Democrat ------

So just get used to living (if you can) like when I remember as a WASP child down in Alabama, a white MD telling me that the reason so few blacks had Appendicitis was that they couldn't afford it!

Posted by: lufrank1 | December 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The insurance companies will be very unhappy if the Supreme Court rules the 'mandate" unconstitutional. They are looking at millions of new premium payers to boost their profits.

Posted by: sfspec | December 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
George W. Bush has nothing to do with the decision of "We the People", who didn't want Obamacare passed to begin with and don't want it now. "We the People" believe that our constitution protects us from being forced by government fiat into buying anything. Judge Hudson simply confirmed our belief and understanding of the protections guaranteed by the US Constitution.
GET IT!

Posted by: rteske | December 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Can I just opt out of paying taxes? The tea partiers say they are unconstitutional too. Let's just revert back to frontier survivalism entirely. This whole civilization thing is just too advanced for this country.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I understand the logic behind the mandate, but I also see the Constitutional problems behind it. Ironically, it was thrown in to make the universal coverage more palatable to insurance companies. Without it, they are required to cover pre-existing conditions, but people are not required to get insurance until they actual have a condition worth covering. This is a financial disaster for insurance companies.

The courts will not throw out all of HCR. The regulation of industry is perfectly legal. The subsidies are typical for government. The extension of coverage is also well precedented. All that the courts will do is make it impossible for insurers to cover every one. Initially, this will be a huge blow for private insurance and may do exactly the opposite of what Cucinnelli et al. want to do for the insurance industry.

By striking a blow against Obama, they have sucker punched their own Wall Street allies.

Posted by: AxelDC | December 13, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Face it, this action will travel the long road of numerous court actions and be settled in the distant future by the Supreme Court, then it'll go back to a gridlocked Congress still wrangling with our tax plans.

This story has bionic legs and may end as a major Hollywood film in the scifi category.

Posted by: forbidden_essays | December 13, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Face it, this action will travel the long road of numerous court actions and be settled in the distant future by the Supreme Court, then it'll go back to a gridlocked Congress still wrangling with our tax plans.

This story has bionic legs and may end as a major Hollywood film in the scifi category.

Posted by: forbidden_essays | December 13, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The healthcare bill was not passed with a severability clause, meaning if any of the bill is found to be unconstitutional, the whole bill must be thrown out.

Posted by: giantsfan | December 13, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse


Leftist journolist hack Ezra Klein spreads disinformation and left wing agitprop, as usual.

Fire Klein.

Posted by: screwjob23 | December 13, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Paul Starr's option to "opt out" is a good idea. I prefer it perhaps to my own . . . anyone who doesn't buy in pays retail to medical providers, and the debt does not get written off or passed to local charity. It remains a debt of the sick person, non-dischargable in bankruptcy to the same extent that student loans are non-dischargable. Allow diversion to Medicaid in proper circumstances, but if you can afford to pay for insurance (with subsidies if eligible), you pay. Otherwise, suffer the consequences.

Posted by: Smeeveo | December 13, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

This is great news for the 40,000 or so Americans that die every year due to lack of health care. Now they can die and not feel guilty for living.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | December 13, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

This is great news for the 40,000 or so Americans that die every year due to lack of health care. Now they can die and not feel guilty for living.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | December 13, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ezra Klein, for calming me down -- somewhat.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | December 13, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at the college-age infants in England to see where our society is headed when we want the government to take care of us.

Posted by: Loeff | December 13, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Obamacare is so complex that the courts can not agree? Repeal the law or fix the problems.

Posted by: alscoins | December 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Another pathetic article from Klein. Hudson was very critical of Sibelius and the White House and their arguments.

The Judge only ruled out 1501 because, in reality, that was all that Virginia was asking for. The complete rejection of the bill was never going to happen. The Judge determined that, because the bill had been rushed to the floor on Christmas Eve and passed in haste, it was impossible to determine what effect the removal of 1501 would have on other sections of the bill. He quite properly allowed the rest of the bill to remain intact.

The Judge also pointed out the lying tactics of the administration by trying to call 1501 a tax when it was clearly stated as a penalty. (Sibelius tried to fool the Judge and call it a "penalty tax" lol)

Klein states that the Judge refused to halt the implementation of the bill. This is deceptive as the Judge clearly ruled that he trusted the White House to implement only those parts that he had not declared invalid. In light of his previous comments about the honesty of this administration I think the Judge erred.

Kleins sunny disposition on this matter hides a deep seated dissapointment. As this is likely to be upheld in the Supreme Court it will mean the end of Obamacare, and Klein knows it.

As the new Congress will not allow any ammendments to this farcical bill, there is no possibility of ammending the single largest revenue component. Therefore the bill cannot be financed and will die its final death in January 2013 when President Romney/Gingrich/Palin/(whomever) signs it into the obscurity it deserves.

Posted by: mckenna7 | December 13, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

If the Supreme Court takes the political position of ruling the mandate to require individuals to purchase health insurance unconstitutional, duh. We then go back and pass the public option--although certainly not with the Republicans in control of the House. It is a matter of time as there will be more death panels a la Arizona where people are allowed to die because the state is withdrawing care as a cost saving measure. Tell me, can anyonte live with that? Maybe a few Tea Partiers can but I can't live with that.

Posted by: yenta1 | December 13, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that this activist judge can determine that HC Reform doesn't conform to the requirements of the Commerce Clause as set forth in the US Constitution. If it doesn't why does it as it pertains to auto insurance? Is this just another instance where a republican appointed judge is aligning himself with his party affiliation and trying to adjudicate some rationale on a topic that John Q. Public is less informed? This to subject people, yet again, to negative information regarding this enacted law. It's pretty pathetic that integrity is just about all but gone in even the judicial system here. All lawsuits regarding HCR will end up in SCOTUS where we have yet another broken institution. There is one judge on the court who has lied in his confirmation hearings under oath. Being under oath in a court of law is fundamental, but when you have someone lie under oath in a confirmation hearing for the very highest of positions in the judiciary, it reeks of a lack of ethics. If there are no ethics nor integrity to be found in the judiciary then just about any decision rendered is as worthless as the paper it was written on.

Posted by: ewjazzed | December 13, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

rteske wrote:

"George W. Bush has nothing to do with the decision of "We the People", who didn't want Obamacare passed to begin with and don't want it now."

Given that an even stronger version of this health care plan was a very public centerpiece of Obama's campaign, if "We the people" didn't want it, then why did "We the people" elect him? Or are you talking about some other "We the people" than the American electorate?

Posted by: chaos1 | December 13, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Another pathetic article from Klein. Hudson was very critical of Sibelius and the White House and their arguments.

The Judge only ruled out 1501 because, in reality, that was all that Virginia was asking for. The complete rejection of the bill was never going to happen. The Judge determined that, because the bill had been rushed to the floor on Christmas Eve and passed in haste, it was impossible to determine what effect the removal of 1501 would have on other sections of the bill. He quite properly allowed the rest of the bill to remain intact.

The Judge also pointed out the lying tactics of the administration by trying to call 1501 a tax when it was clearly stated as a penalty. (Sibelius tried to fool the Judge and call it a "penalty tax" lol)

Klein states that the Judge refused to halt the implementation of the bill. This is deceptive as the Judge clearly ruled that he trusted the White House to implement only those parts that he had not declared invalid. In light of his previous comments about the honesty of this administration I think the Judge erred.

Kleins sunny disposition on this matter hides a deep seated dissapointment. As this is likely to be upheld in the Supreme Court it will mean the end of Obamacare, and Klein knows it.

As the new Congress will not allow any ammendments to this farcical bill, there is no possibility of ammending the single largest revenue component. Therefore the bill cannot be financed and will die its final death in January 2013 when President Romney/Gingrich/Palin/(whomever) signs it into the obscurity it deserves.

Posted by: mckenna7 | December 13, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

As noted Congress has the power to tax. Not having insurance will result in a fine\fee being imposed on those without insurance. Are Republicans now arguing that a fine or fee isn't a tax? So, imposing a tax is exactly how the current law was implemented.

Posted by: grp00 | December 13, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The problem REALLY is somewhat different. Without an individual mandate, the health insurers can walk away or sue to have the deal with Obama and Reid enforced. By-bye coverage for pre-existing conditionn. The two issues are linked together from the start.

It was health insurers, not Nancy Pelosi. who first offered to cover pre-existing conditions in return for a universal mandate - for somewhat obvious reasons.

The left keeps telling us that pre-existing conditions is a sinister plot by the insurance industry.

We've all heard them. You've heard them. Do they also believe that greed is the sole reason we can't buy fire insurance on a burning house. Or car insurance after driving off a cliff.

Do they have a clue what insurance even is?

It's not just that health insurers are forced to cover (in principle), burning houses. The insurers are also forbidden to charge a higher premium for a significantly higher risk. Naked greed, of course.

The fire analogy seems to be the most easily understood. I'll ask the reader: if Congress mandates that we can buy fire insurance on burning houses -- AND that burning houses may not be charged more than non-burning burning ones. Umm, who pays for that? It won't be the insurance industry.

It will be paid by higher premiums for you and me, our employers and our families.

There is nobody else.

The mandate is like Obama/Reid/Pelosi holding a gun to the head of every insurance company in America, forcing those insurers to charge higher premiums to .... you.

Polls say a majority of Americans support mandated coverage on pre-existing conditions. No kidding. We'd probably support fire insurance on burning houses. .

It doesn't really matter. The Congressional Pander Bears will deliver anything we want, often using taxpayer dollars to buy voyes.

Where does that lead us? So far, the top 2% of income now subsidizes 1/3 of the entire middle-class tax burden.

From the other side, we (the middle class), just to pay our own way, would require a middle-class tax increase of 53%.

Orwell warned us about this. He called it Newspeak

Welcome to "1984."


Posted by: LibertyIssues | December 13, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Many of the folks miss the entire point of the problem. The problem is the expansion of the federal government. It is already way too big. The Feds have already trampled on the states in direct conflict with the constitution. Usually they blackmail the states into doing their bidding, by stating if you don't follow this law we will withhold your highway funds, or your school lunch funds or whatever. Since local govt. are for the most part greedy and don't understand that this money isn't free, they will kiss the feds shoes to get their share. WE need to reduce the Federal Govt. it is not efficent or effective. IT tramples on the basic rights of Americans with in your face nonsense. Every idiot law they pass takes a freedom away from some other American. Time for it to stop. You folks who laugh at the tea party (of which I am not a part), need to understand why it took off like it did. It is to stop and contain the federal govt. nonsense growth.

Posted by: texian1 | December 13, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The ruling in untenable. The individual mandante is to facilitate the elimination of restrictions on pre-existing conditions. If it stands, then you can wait until you are sick to get insurance--that is the insurance industry's nightmare and violates all principles of insurance. The mandate was the trade for outlawing pre-existing condition exclusions--the insurance industry is likely to be against this decision and might file amicus briefs.

Posted by: samkaplan@hotmail.com | December 13, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

The ruling in untenable. The individual mandante is to facilitate the elimination of restrictions on pre-existing conditions. If it stands, then you can wait until you are sick to get insurance--that is the insurance industry's nightmare and violates all principles of insurance. The mandate was the trade for outlawing pre-existing condition exclusions--the insurance industry is likely to be against this decision and might file amicus briefs.

Posted by: samkaplan@hotmail.com | December 13, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

The mandate is just a sop to the industry. If it is struck out the insurance companies will complain. But the only people that would be worried is their allies, the Republicans and Joe Lieberman. The Insurance industry claims that it would lose out if not everybody is forced in. So let them get their Republican allies to propose the fix. Dems would have to do nothing.

The provision was a Republican position adopted by Obama and was unopposed by Republicans until Obama said OK. Democrats have no obligation to guarantee profitability to the industry.

This should be a non-issue even if the Supremes rule the provision out. The Republicans don't have the horses to do a repeal over a veto. So why sweat the small stuff?

Posted by: MarkofLewiston1 | December 13, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

"Without an individual mandate, the health insurers can walk away or sue to have the deal with Obama and Reid enforced."

I don't think they can just walk away, since the remaining provisions of the law may still be on the books, including the proscription against declining coverage due to preexisting conditions. The insurance companies can of course go out of business.

Strange. With insurance industry lobbyists literally writing every line of that bill, they forgot to put in anything that said "and if we don't get all those forced customers you promised us, then all bets are off."

I can hear their lawyers in court now, arguing that the failure to link the mandate to the ban on preexisting conditions was an unintentional oversight on the industry's part; that the intention is clear because that was the industry's intention, and the bill is after all the industry's bill. Maazel tov.

What will happen? Premiums will go up, of course. They always do, but this time they will go way, way up. Many fewer policies will be sold, and the margin will be scant. Assuming the Supremes support this latest ruling, you are watching the death throes of the American insurance-based health care system.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 13, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The Interstate Commerce Clause was put into the Constitution for one purpose -- to prevent the states from erecting trade barriers against other states.

Unfortunately, it was completely corrupted by Roosevelt's judicial appointees to allow the federal government to basically due whatever in the hell it wants.

I am not confident that the federal courts will ultimately deal with this in a responsible manner.

I am more confident in state nullification of federal laws. For example, 5 states have already passed laws stating that the federal government has NO authority whatsoever to regulate the manufacture and sale of firearms within their borders, because this is NOT interstate commerce. Virginia has passed such a law regarding mandatory purchases of health insurance. Most of the states in the west have legalize medical marijuana. So long as the pot is grown and sold within a state's borders it is also NOT interstate commerce.

Long-term we need a constitutional amendment which clarifies the Interstate Commerce Clause to restore it's original intent.

Posted by: jwpegler | December 13, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

This is a highly partisan Supreme Court. They'll probably uphold that Virginia opinion, and then the Republicans will refuse to pass any fixes. We know that Obama lacks any spine, so I think we can say goodbye to his health care "achievement."

Posted by: MagicDog1 | December 13, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Like most Congressmen, I haven't read the health care bill. But if the judge only struck down the individual mandate and not the corresponding provisions against pre-existing conditions, there is little reason for progressives to worry about "fixing" the individual mandate. This turnout is their wet dream.

The individual mandate is to protect private health insurance companies who can't afford to offer care without pre-existing conditions unless pretty much everyone is required to pay for coverage. If judges strike down the mandate without the pre-existing conditions provisions, then the private health insurance industry will go out of business because nobody will be able to pay the rates they'll require to cover freeriders. And when the private health insurance industry goes out of business, single payer is a definite contender to take its place.

So, cheer this ruling all you like conservatives. It puts your favorite private health insurance system right on the chopping block, in a way that Congressional Democrats would never have been able to do.

The only question left is how quickly will Obama negotiate all that leverage away?

Posted by: agaudio | December 14, 2010 4:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey, teabaggers! The individual mandate is a simple insurance tactic that ensures that a population group has a certain level of risk. In fact, it's the exact counter-point to "fire insurance for burning houses".

If you're against the individual mandate, then you're FOR DEATH PANELS, not by government bureaucrats, but by employees who work for a private company that DEMANDS a profit every quarter so their Wall Street bosses don't drive down the CEO's stock price.

So tell me, do you want your kids insured by a company whose goal is to take as much money from you as it can and find any excuse to keep its payout as low as possible? And once you're on the "pre-existing condition" list (which is industry-wide BTW) you will NEVER BE ABLE TO BUY INSURANCE AGAIN.

Pro-life? Yeah, right.

Posted by: Froomkin_fan | December 14, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Actually, there are more than 151 references to the section. The "section" of the PPACA amends the tax code, so one has to check for references to the amended tax code.

Also, Moon's opinion embraces many of the points made in Hudson's opinion, so there really isn't a huge gap in the judicial logic.

Just sayin'

Posted by: rmgregory | December 14, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"As expected?" Expected by whom? I ask Mr. Klein to highlight articles from liberals who expected this verdict. For each one he finds, I will produce twenty in which liberals laughed at legal challenges to HCR.

Posted by: 4Civility | December 15, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company