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 Universal Health Care 
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casskid wrote:
What Democratic policies explicitly lead to unemployment? Surely you cant blame greater regulation for job loss.


Like I agree that the Dems will probably get blamed for this, but it seems more like they were handed a unsustainable economy and get to take the heat for it.


First and foremost, uncertainty... Few businesses are growing right now (except the govt. of course) despite the slight improvement in the economy. Businesses are in survival mode, not growth mode, and that is in large part because so many people are uncertain which direction this country is going in (or terrified of where they think it is going)...


March 25th, 2010, 8:04 pm
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I probably ought to post this picture more often just to piss LIAB off:
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March 25th, 2010, 10:56 pm
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Like I agree that the Dems will probably get blamed for this, but it seems more like they were handed a unsustainable economy and get to take the heat for it.


The problems with the US economy go far, far back and both Democrats and Republicans are to blame.

I just can't see the Democrats keeping the congress and the presidency when a fourth of the country is out of work.


March 26th, 2010, 5:05 am
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Hey, LIAB, read this:

http://www.aolnews.com/healthcare/artic ... d/19406480

Quote:
Myth 1: This is a universal health care bill.

Fact: The bill is neither universal health care nor universal health insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office:
Total uninsured in 2019 with no bill: 54 million.
Total uninsured in 2019 with Senate bill: 24 million.
Myth 2: Insurance companies hate this bill.

Fact: This bill is almost identical to the plan written by AHIP, the insurance company trade association, in 2009. The original Senate Finance Committee bill was authored by a former WellPoint vice president. Since Congress released the first of its health care bills on Oct. 30, health care stocks have risen 28.35 percent.

Myth 3: The bill will significantly bring down insurance premiums for most Americans.

Fact: The bill will not bring down premiums significantly, and certainly not the $2,500 per year that President Barack Obama promised during his campaign.
Annual premiums in 2016: status quo / with bill:
Small group market, single: $7,800 / $7,800
Small group market, family: $19,300 / $19,200
Large group market, single: $7,400 / $7,300
Large group market, family: $21,100 / $21,300
Individual market, single: $5,500 / $5,800
Individual market, family: $13,100 / $15,200
(The cost of premiums in the individual market goes up somewhat due to subsidies and mandates of better coverage. The CBO assumes that cost of individual policies goes down 7 to 10 percent, and that people will buy more generous policies.)

Myth 4: The bill will make health care affordable for middle class Americans.

Fact: The bill will impose a financial hardship on middle class Americans who will be forced to buy a product they can't afford to use. A family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After taxes and basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income -- out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to up to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.

Myth 5: This plan is similar to the Massachusetts plan, which makes health care affordable.

Fact: Many Massachusetts residents forgo health care because they can't afford it. A 2009 study by the state of Massachusetts found that:
21 percent of residents forgo medical treatment because they can't afford it, including 12 percent of children
18 percent have health insurance but can't afford to use it
Myth 6: This bill provides health care to 31 million people who are currently uninsured.

Fact: This bill will mandate that millions of people who are currently uninsured purchase insurance from private companies, or the IRS will collect up to 2 percent of their annual income in penalties. Some will be assisted with government subsidies.

Myth 7: You can keep the insurance you have if you like it.

Fact: The excise tax will result in employers switching to plans with higher co-pays and fewer covered services. Older, less healthy employees with employer-based health care will be forced to pay much more in out-of-pocket expenses than they do now.

Myth 8: The "excise tax" will encourage employers to reduce the scope of health care benefits, and they will pass the savings on to employees in the form of higher wages.

Fact: There is insufficient evidence that employers pass savings from reduced benefits on to employees.

Myth 9: This bill employs nearly every cost control idea available to bring down costs.

Fact: This bill does not bring down costs and leaves out nearly every key cost control measure, including:
Public option ($25 billion to $110 billion)
Medicare buy-in
Drug re-importation ($19 billion)
Medicare drug price negotiation ($300 billion)
Shorter pathway to generic biologics ($71 billion)
Myth 10: The bill will require big companies like Wal-Mart to provide insurance for their employees.

Fact: The bill was written so that most Wal-Mart employees will qualify for subsidies, and taxpayers will pick up a large portion of the cost of their coverage.

Myth 11: The bill "bends the cost curve" on health care.

Fact: "Bends the cost curve" is a misleading and trivial claim, as the U.S. would still spend far more for care than other advanced countries.
In 2009, health care costs were 17.3 percent of GDP
Annual cost of health care in 2019, status quo: $4,670.6 billion (20.8 percent of GDP)
Annual cost of health care in 2019, Senate bill: $4,693.5 billion (20.9 percent of GDP)

Myth 12: The bill will provide immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition.

Fact: Access to the "high-risk pool" is limited, and the pool is underfunded. Only those who have been uninsured for more than six months will qualify for the high-risk pool. Only 0.7 percent of those without insurance now will get coverage, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report estimates it will run out of funding by 2011 or 2012.

Myth 13: The bill prohibits dropping people in individual plans from coverage when they get sick.

Fact: The bill does not empower a regulatory body to keep people from being dropped when they're sick. There are already many states that have laws on the books prohibiting people from being dropped when they're sick, but without an enforcement mechanism, there is little to hold the insurance companies in check.

Myth 14: The bill ensures consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to challenge new insurance plan decisions.

Fact: The "internal appeals process" is in the hands of the insurance companies themselves, and the "external" one is up to each state.

Ensuring that consumers have access to "internal appeals" simply means the insurance companies have to review their own decisions. And it is the responsibility of each state to provide an "external appeals process," as there is neither funding nor a regulatory mechanism for enforcement at the federal level.

Myth 15: This bill will stop insurance companies from hiking rates 30 to 40 percent per year.

Fact: This bill does not limit insurance company rate hikes. Private insurers continue to be exempt from anti-trust laws and are free to raise rates without fear of competition in many areas of the country.

Myth 16: When the bill passes, people will begin receiving benefits under this bill immediately.

Fact: Most provisions in this bill, such as an end to the ban on pre-existing conditions for adults, do not take effect until 2014.

Six months from the date of passage, children could not be excluded from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, though insurance companies could charge more to cover them. Children would also be allowed to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. There will be an elimination of lifetime coverage limits, a high-risk pool for those who have been uninsured for more than six months, and community health centers will start receiving money.

Myth 17: The bill creates a pathway for single payer.

Fact: Bernie Sanders' provision in the Senate bill does not start until 2017, and does not cover the Department of Labor, so no, it doesn't create a pathway for single payer.

Obama told Dennis Kucinich that the Ohio representative's amendment is similar to Bernie Sanders' provision in the Senate bill, and creates a pathway to single payer. Since the waiver does not start until 2017, and does not cover the Department of Labor, it is nearly impossible to see how it gets around the ERISA laws that stand in the way of any practical state single-payer system.

Myth 18: The bill will end medical bankruptcy and provide all Americans with peace of mind.

Fact: Most people with medical bankruptcies already have insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses will continue to be a burden on the middle class.
In 2009, 1.5 million Americans declared bankruptcy.
Of those, 62 percent were medically related.
Three-quarters of those had health insurance.
The Obama bill leaves 24 million without insurance.
The maximum yearly out-of-pocket limit for a family will be $11,900 on top of premiums.
A family with serious medical problems that last for a few years could easily be financially crushed by medical costs.
Real health care reform is needed. But this bill falls short of that on many levels.


So, as I expected, a bill written by the insurance companies for the insurance companies.


March 26th, 2010, 4:10 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Uh oh
National Review wrote:
Where’s the Administration’s Cost Estimate? [James C. Capretta]

The chief actuary for Medicare has released a memorandum providing cost estimates for the final health legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president.

Amazingly, the HHS secretary tried to suggest that the memo confirms that the legislation will produce the favorable results that the legislation’s backers have touted for months.

That’s nothing but spin. In truth, the memo is another devastating indictment of the bill. It contradicts several key assertions by made by the bill’s proponents, including the president.

For starters, the actuary says that the legislation will increase health care costs, not reduce them — by about $300 billion over a decade. Yes, that’s over a very large base of spending (more than $35 trillion). But the president and his team have talked incessantly of painlessly cutting $700 billion or more of wasteful spending. Nothing in the bill comes close to making that happen. Overall health spending will continue to rise very rapidly after the bill is implemented.

The actuary also says that the financial incentives in the bill will lead many employers to stop offering coverage altogether. That means about 14 million people with job-based insurance today will lose it. Moreover, he estimates that the cuts in Medicare Advantage will reduce enrollment by 7 million people. So much for keeping the Democrats’ other mantra of “keeping the coverage you have today.”

The memo says the Medicare cuts will total nearly $600 billion through 2019, and that they will almost certainly jeopardize access to care for seniors by driving scores of institutions into financial distress.

Employers will pay taxes totaling $87 billion over a decade for not offering qualified coverage, and individuals who don’t sign up with approved insurance will pay another $33 billion in fines over the same period.

The various taxes and fees on insurers and producers of drugs and devices will largely get passed on to consumers, says the memo. In other words, these taxes will hit the middle class hard and drive their premiums up, not down.

The actuary says the new long-term care insurance program created in the bill faces “a significant risk of failure” due to adverse selection — meaning that the program will attract the kind of enrollment that will require higher costs than can be covered by the premiums collected. That, however, did not stop the Democrats from double-counting the program’s $70 billion in premiums as an offset for the massive health entitlement program. So not only did the bill use a budget gimmick to hide the costs of the health expansion, it also set taxpayers up for another bailout when the long-term care program runs aground.

By longstanding practice, the administration uses the health care cost estimates produced by the chief actuary when putting together the president’s annual budget submission in February and an update in mid-summer.

But the estimates that the actuary has produced for the health bill so clearly contradict what the president has said the bill will do that the administration is in an awkward position, to say the least. So awkward in fact that the administration has stamped every memo put out by the actuary during the entire health debate with this disclaimer: “The statements, estimates, and other information provided in this memorandum are those of the Office of the Actuary and do not represent an official position of the Department of Health and Human Services or the Administration.”

Which raises the question: If the actuary isn’t producing the administration’s health care cost projections, who is?

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April 27th, 2010, 2:44 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Whelp... looks like my belief was correct that the budget stuff was total BS and that this would end up costing us TONS more money. More directly, I said that companies would drop healthcare and make it cheaper for people to get the national artificially low plan instead.

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April 27th, 2010, 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Isn't the National Review considered Right-leaning? If so, without any reference to their research I'd imagine you'd have to take what they say with a grain of salt (and if it were the other way (left-leaning) you'd still have to take it with that same grain on salt :wink: )

That being said, I wonder if this will be on AC360 and/or O'Reilly anytime soon.....could be an interesting "discussion"

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April 27th, 2010, 3:34 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Wags, you can read the entire report from the actuary in a 38 page PDF file here:
http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_PPACA_as_Enacted.pdf
I'm sure liberals and conservatives will interpret what it says in different ways.

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April 27th, 2010, 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
TheRealWags wrote:
Isn't the National Review considered Right-leaning? If so, without any reference to their research I'd imagine you'd have to take what they say with a grain of salt (and if it were the other way (left-leaning) you'd still have to take it with that same grain on salt :wink: )

That being said, I wonder if this will be on AC360 and/or O'Reilly anytime soon.....could be an interesting "discussion"

How about this from the New York Times? It references the same report and mentions the same $300B+ increase. That leads me to believe it's legit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/health/policy/24health.html

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April 27th, 2010, 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Um...oops? :oops:
Quote:
Question: When is less than $1 trillion actually more than $1 trillion?


Answer: When the White House and Congress are estimating health care costs.

It's no surprise that the Congressional Budget Office now says the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill passed by Democrats and signed by President Obama likely will cost at least $115 billion more. Those are projected future costs that Congress will have to vote on.

Most of the additional spending would go to community health centers, Indian health care and other programs that require annual approval by Congress. The new law authorizes that spending, but it can't control what a future Congress will do.

About $10 billion to $20 billion of it would be needed by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Health and Human Services to implement the law, CBO says. The law included only $1 billion for implementation.

Even though only about $50 billion of the $115 billion had not been identified by CBO already, Republicans jumped on Tuesday's report as evidence that the health bill's real cost had been hidden.

"These revelations widen the serious credibility gap President Obama is facing," House Minority Leader John Boehner said.

"The lesson learned here is don't trust what Washington's saying on ObamaCare," added Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

No subterfuge, the White House responded. The $115 billion can't be included in the true cost of the bill until it's voted on -- at which point it will be paid for, preserving the estimated $143 billion in 10-year savings.

(Posted by Richard Wolf)

http://content.usatoday.com/communities ... trillion/1

CBO wrote:
Discretionary Spending in the Final Health Care Legislation
Today CBO provided some additional information about the potential effects of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, Public Law 111-148), on discretionary spending (that is, spending that is funded through the annual appropriation process). This information updates and expands upon the analysis of potential discretionary spending under PPACA that CBO issued on March 15, 2010. By their nature all such potential effects on discretionary spending are subject to future appropriation actions, which could result in greater or smaller costs than the sums authorized by the legislation.

CBO does not have a comprehensive estimate of all of the potential discretionary costs associated with PPACA, but we can provide information on the major components of such costs. Those discretionary costs fall into three general categories:

The costs that will be incurred by federal agencies to implement the new policies established by PPACA, such as administrative expenses for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service for carrying out key requirements of the legislation.
Explicit authorizations for future appropriations for a variety of grant and other program spending for which the act identifies the specific funding levels it envisions for one or more years. (Such cases include provisions where a specified funding level is authorized for an initial year along with the authorization of such sums as may be necessary for continued funding in subsequent years.)
Explicit authorizations for future appropriations for a variety of grant and other program spending for which no specific funding levels are identified in the legislation. That type of provision generally includes legislative language that authorizes the appropriation of “such sums as may be necessary,” often for a particular period of time.
CBO estimates that total authorized costs in the first two categories probably exceed $115 billion over the 2010-2019 period. We do not have an estimate of the potential costs of authorizations in the third category.

CBO previously issued an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of PPACA, in combination with the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), which amended it. (Direct spending effects are those that do not require subsequent appropriation action.) CBO estimated that those two laws, in combination, would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues.

http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=835


Ok, where are the ObamaCare supporters at now? Please justify this extra expense and please, please tell us how this is going to save us money?
Looks like the Reps will be getting the White House back in 2012 :wink:

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May 12th, 2010, 10:46 am
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Wait for it... wait for it...

A resounding "TOLD YOU SO!!!!"

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May 12th, 2010, 11:08 am
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Well, it isn't exactly rocket science to know that creating a huge new entitlement program won't cost a massive amount of money. Unfortunately, once all is said and done, the health care bill will cost far, far more than they are even admitting at this point. One of the problems, which hasn't been factored in yet, is that companies will stop providing health insurance because it will be cheaper to just pay the fine. This will add billions, if not trillions, to the government's cost of the program. But, I suspect they knew this all along. Once that happens, there will be increased demands for the public option, which will be the next step toward a complete government takeover of the entire health care industry. The writing has been on the wall if people would only open their eyes.

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May 12th, 2010, 11:55 am
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
slybri19 wrote:
Well, it isn't exactly rocket science to know that creating a huge new entitlement program won't cost a massive amount of money. Unfortunately, once all is said and done, the health care bill will cost far, far more than they are even admitting at this point. One of the problems, which hasn't been factored in yet, is that companies will stop providing health insurance because it will be cheaper to just pay the fine. This will add billions, if not trillions, to the government's cost of the program. But, I suspect they knew this all along. Once that happens, there will be increased demands for the public option, which will be the next step toward a complete government takeover of the entire health care industry. The writing has been on the wall if people would only open their eyes.



I agree, and its completely obvious, yet Congress disingenuously pretends that it isn't the case. IMO the "fine" provision was nothing more than a slick way to "TAX" the employers and get them to pay for PART of this huge entitlement program without it looking like they're taxing anyone to the average dumbass 8th grade educated American.

People like Blueskies claim that this bill is doing nothing and just a bill for the insurance companies, but this is the classic "foot in the door" technique. The govt. already has some procedure limits/cost/spending provisions in the bill, and they're already getting new clients by way of employers canceling their old insurance. They will continue to squeeze private insurance companies through cost and control until they are forced to go out of business.

It certainly appears that "equality" for this regime is bringing down the quality of life for everyone to the level of the impoverished. If we end up doing anything else we have to apologize to some country for it... ](*,)


May 24th, 2010, 2:23 pm
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
Quote:
What Would Happen if the Supreme Court Struck Down Health Care Reform?
By Megan McArdle
(Megan McArdle is the business and economics editor for The Atlantic. She has worked at three start-ups, a consulting firm, an investment bank, a disaster recovery firm at Ground Zero, and the Economist. )


This weekend, I had a conversation with someone non-crazy who thinks there is a not-insignificant chance that the Supreme Court will overturn health care reform, or at least the individual mandate (it's not clear what happens to the rest of the law if the mandate goes down; there's some possibility that this would invalidate the entire law). Mind you, this person was not suggesting that the chances were, say, 85%; more like 25%.

But in a case like this, 25% is a big chance. So we spent a bit of time speculating about what would happen next.
We know what happens if the court simply invalidates the mandate: you get New York State, where the cost of insurance spirals out of control, until the few remaining people in the individual market are so sick that the death spiral bottoms out. Adverse selection does have its limits, which is why, even before lemon laws, there was a market (however imperfect) for used cars.

What happens after that? That would leave politicians deciding whether to repeal the most popular features, or end individual health insurance as we know it. Fun choice. My guess is that we'd get some weird hybrid model of corporate and state-sponsored insurance--but the state sponsored insurance would probably itself be overwhelmed by adverse selection, or (if we simply funded universal coverage out of tax dollars), by employers dumping their employees onto the public plan. But I have no idea where the money would come from.

But what if the whole thing goes? I don't see a way forward for anything that current progressives think of as health care reform; it basically precludes the Netherlands model, and possibly most of the other European models, though I have to think more about the latter before I'm sure. But there's a strong possibility that any ruling that eliminated the individual mandate would make anything but single payer or a national health service illegal. Ironically, a conservative court might push health policy to the left.

Or maybe a better way to put it is that it would polarize the choices: incremental tweaks, or single payer. (I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that our legislators would not pursue the folly of guaranteed issue and community rating without a mandate). Where would it go?

Not, I think, in the direction of single payer. The bill would be staggering. Yes, yes, I know you want to raise taxes to pay for it, but the price tag would still give American voters sticker shock. You'd never get it through the Senate unless the composition of that august body radically changed.

My hope is that in this unlikely event, it would open the way for something more like what I've proposed: catastrophic income insurance for everyone (i.e., the government will cover health care costs above some fairly high percentage of your income), with less support for first-dollar coverage.

But that's a pretty wan hope. And unless these lawsuits clear the court systems before 2014, the dislocations would be massive.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... orm/57185/

Copyright © 2010 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... nal/57185/


Speaking of the SCOTUS ruling on this, has anyone heard of any updates on it??? Seems to me they've had plenty of time to at least start looking at it, especially considering that I heard just this morning they'll probably start looking at the infamous AZ Immigrant Law soon. WTH??? Wasn't this HC debacle passed just a bit before the AZ law? and yet another reason to not trust our Govt or those in DC.

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May 26th, 2010, 11:47 am
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Post Re: Universal Health Care
TheRealWags wrote:
Quote:
What Would Happen if the Supreme Court Struck Down Health Care Reform?
By Megan McArdle
(Megan McArdle is the business and economics editor for The Atlantic. She has worked at three start-ups, a consulting firm, an investment bank, a disaster recovery firm at Ground Zero, and the Economist. )


This weekend, I had a conversation with someone non-crazy who thinks there is a not-insignificant chance that the Supreme Court will overturn health care reform, or at least the individual mandate (it's not clear what happens to the rest of the law if the mandate goes down; there's some possibility that this would invalidate the entire law). Mind you, this person was not suggesting that the chances were, say, 85%; more like 25%.

But in a case like this, 25% is a big chance. So we spent a bit of time speculating about what would happen next.
We know what happens if the court simply invalidates the mandate: you get New York State, where the cost of insurance spirals out of control, until the few remaining people in the individual market are so sick that the death spiral bottoms out. Adverse selection does have its limits, which is why, even before lemon laws, there was a market (however imperfect) for used cars.

What happens after that? That would leave politicians deciding whether to repeal the most popular features, or end individual health insurance as we know it. Fun choice. My guess is that we'd get some weird hybrid model of corporate and state-sponsored insurance--but the state sponsored insurance would probably itself be overwhelmed by adverse selection, or (if we simply funded universal coverage out of tax dollars), by employers dumping their employees onto the public plan. But I have no idea where the money would come from.

But what if the whole thing goes? I don't see a way forward for anything that current progressives think of as health care reform; it basically precludes the Netherlands model, and possibly most of the other European models, though I have to think more about the latter before I'm sure. But there's a strong possibility that any ruling that eliminated the individual mandate would make anything but single payer or a national health service illegal. Ironically, a conservative court might push health policy to the left.

Or maybe a better way to put it is that it would polarize the choices: incremental tweaks, or single payer. (I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that our legislators would not pursue the folly of guaranteed issue and community rating without a mandate). Where would it go?

Not, I think, in the direction of single payer. The bill would be staggering. Yes, yes, I know you want to raise taxes to pay for it, but the price tag would still give American voters sticker shock. You'd never get it through the Senate unless the composition of that august body radically changed.

My hope is that in this unlikely event, it would open the way for something more like what I've proposed: catastrophic income insurance for everyone (i.e., the government will cover health care costs above some fairly high percentage of your income), with less support for first-dollar coverage.

But that's a pretty wan hope. And unless these lawsuits clear the court systems before 2014, the dislocations would be massive.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... orm/57185/

Copyright © 2010 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... nal/57185/


Speaking of the SCOTUS ruling on this, has anyone heard of any updates on it??? Seems to me they've had plenty of time to at least start looking at it, especially considering that I heard just this morning they'll probably start looking at the infamous AZ Immigrant Law soon. WTH??? Wasn't this HC debacle passed just a bit before the AZ law? and yet another reason to not trust our Govt or those in DC.


The Sup. Ct. doesn't usually issue their rulings for a couple of months after the case is over.


May 26th, 2010, 1:00 pm
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