The president could turn defeat of Mandate by Supreme Court into a victory for single-payer health care
Original Posted By:
Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
Not surprisingly, today's debut Supreme Court argument over the so-called "individual mandate" requiring everyone to buy health insurance revolved around epistemological niceties such as the meaning of a "tax," and the question of whether the issue is ripe for review.
Behind this judicial foreplay is the brute political fact that if the Court decides the individual mandate is an unconstitutional extension of federal authority, the entire law starts unraveling.
But with a bit of political jujitsu, the president could turn any such defeat into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system -- Medicare for all.
The dilemma at the heart of the new law is that it continues to depend on private health insurers, who have to make a profit or at least pay all their costs including marketing and advertising.
Yet the only way private insurers can afford to cover everyone with preexisting health problems, as the new law requires, is to have every American buy health insurance - including young and healthier people who are unlikely to rack up large healthcare costs.
This dilemma is the product of political compromise. You'll remember the Administration couldn't get the votes for a single-payer system such as Medicare for all. It hardly tried. Not a single Republican would even agree to a bill giving Americans the option of buying into it.
But don't expect the Supreme Court to address this dilemma. It lies buried under an avalanche of constitutional argument.
Those who are defending the law in Court say the federal government has authority to compel Americans to buy health insurance under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which gives Washington the power to regulate interstate commerce. They argue our sprawling health insurance system surely extends beyond an individual state.
Those who are opposing the law say a requirement that individuals contract with private insurance companies isn't regulation of interstate commerce. It's coercion of individuals.
Unhappily for Obama and the Democrats, most Americans don't seem to like the individual mandate very much anyway. Many on the political right believe it a threat to individual liberty. Many on the left object to being required to buy something from a private company.
The President and the Democrats could have avoided this dilemma in the first place if they'd insisted on Medicare for all, or at least a public option.
After all, Social Security and Medicare require every working American to "buy" them. The purchase happens automatically in the form of a deduction from everyone's paychecks. But because Social Security and Medicare are government programs financed by payroll taxes they don't feel like mandatory purchases.
Americans don't mind mandates in the form of payroll taxes for Social Security or Medicare. In fact, both programs are so popular even conservative Republicans were heard to shout "don't take away my Medicare!" at rallies opposed to the new health care law.
There's no question payroll taxes are constitutional, because there's no doubt that the federal government can tax people in order to finance particular public benefits. But requiring citizens to buy something from a private company is different because private companies aren't directly accountable to the public. They're accountable to their owners and their purpose is to maximize profits. What if they monopolize the market and charge humongous premiums? (Some already seem to be doing this.)
Even if private health insurers are organized as not-for-profits, there's still a problem of public accountability. What's to prevent top executives from being paid small fortunes? (In more than a few cases this is already happening.)
Moreover, compared to private insurance, Medicare is a great deal. Its administrative costs are only around 3 percent, while the administrative costs of private insurers eat up 30 to 40 percent of premiums. Medicare's costs are even below the 5 percent to 10 percent administrative costs borne by large companies that self-insure, and under the 11 percent costs of private plans under Medicare Advantage, the current private-insurance option under Medicare.
So why not Medicare for all?
Because Republicans have mastered the art of political jujitsu. Their strategy has been to demonize government and seek to privatize everything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars (see Paul Ryan's plan for turning Medicare into vouchers). Then they go to court and argue that any mandatory purchase is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government's authority.
Obama and the Democrats should do the reverse. If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in the new health law, private insurers will swarm Capitol Hill demanding that the law be amended to remove the requirement that they cover people with pre-existing conditions.
When this happens, Obama and the Democrats should say they're willing to remove that requirement - but only if Medicare is available to all, financed by payroll taxes.
If they did this the public will be behind them -- as will the Supreme Court.
COMMENTS Posted: 26 Pending: 0
Hey Mr. Reich or Luxreporter, please also post this article by Reich to Realnewspost:
"How Did Mitt Make So Much Money and Pay So Little in Taxes? "
I think this article will really help the Realnewspost Social network. Thanks.
Even though I was censored, I wanted to post a link to an article about European-style NHS systems. The article is written from the perspective of trying to figure out the pros and cons of each type of NHS system so that the US can, essentially, cherry pick the best parts of each method and come up with a sensible single payer system.
Note: even though there are some negatives listed about NHS systems, this is a positive article and I'm curious to see what you all think. What do you think of their analysis and which parts do you think the US should focus on?
1st, heritage foundation is one of those right-wing LYING machines that have made USA the miserable country that it is today as per the fact that it is 2012 and it still does not have something as essential for well being of Nation as Universal Nationalized Health Care (aka NHS), something that ALL developed Nations have! Given the fact that NHS would give health care to ALL Americans while CUT, repeat CUT, health care spending by 50%, which means CUT the deficits by $1-Trillion per year, something that supposedly these bastards care about and it has been one of their key arguments for not having Government run Universal Socialized Health Care, when again the EXACT opposite is the TRUTH as per the FACT that health care costs are taking on average 9% of GDP in countries with NHS, which is all of the developed World, while in USA with 50Mill+ without have health care, 2Mill+ going bankrupt each year due to health care costs, at least 50,000+ KILLED each year due to being denied health care due to "pre-existing condition" clause, etc. catastrophe health care is taking a deficit BUSTING 18% of GDP!
2nd, every so called point of Heritage foundation and other members of right-wing Cabal against NHS is proven false as detailed here:
In fact you want me, or someone from Physicians for a National Health or from UKs NHS, to destroy the lies of heritage foundation: contact heritage foundation and have them meet me/us on a debate in CSPAN about NHS vs Wall Street run for profit health care in USA.
Finally there is NO problem in having private companies involved in NHS of a country as is the case in Germany, Switzerland, etc, which Heritage refers to, but 2 KEY elements are needed which these countries have:
1- Government rightly regulates what private companies involved in health care charge and pay their top Brass
2- Government ensures health care for ALL
You know this article by Heritage foundation is really amazing example of how these right-wingers say anything they want without any regard to facts. For example at the start it says:
"However, a significant group of public officials, in Congress and in the states, as well as several prominent American health policy experts, are suggesting a very different approach. In contrast to the President's bipartisan approach"
What "President's bipartisan approach" are they talking about!
NOT ONE, not even ONE, Republican member of Congress Voted for the Obama Admins health care reform, in fact Republicans & right-wing Media in further proving what lunatics they are, called Obama Admins tiny steps toward Government run universal health care, to be "ObamaCare" and have promised to overturn this health care reform that is anything but the REAL Government run universal health care which is what Europeans, Canadians, etc. have.
I think they meant that the President tried reaching across the isle to form a program that both parties could get behind, even though the Republicans refused to help with the process.
WOW! You and Heritage WingNuts have a really twisted definition of:
""President's bipartisan approach""
Since again NOT one Republican Voted for Presidents joke of a health care reform, a joke since it is anything but Universal Nationalized health care, given the fact that "a year after its passage the number of American without health care has increased to 51Million rather than going down to ZERO, that health care costs for typical American has gone higher rather than dramatically going lower because this health care reform forces us to buy health care from the same for profit Wall Street owned heath insurance companies that have brought us the current bankrupting health care system in US. "
So if Obama Admin had ZERO Republicans supporting the current joke of a health care reform and then they constantly call it "ObamaCare" and promise to overturn it too, why not then have proposed Universal Single Payer health care as is 100% supported by for example Margaret Thatchers Conservative party in UK.
"So if Obama Admin had ZERO Republicans supporting the current joke of a health care reform and then they constantly call it "ObamaCare" and promise to overturn it too, why not then have proposed Universal Single Payer health care as is 100% supported by for example Margaret Thatchers Conservative party in UK."
Well, if there was barely enough support for "Obamacare", there would be even less for a full single payer system. It would never pass right now and that's why it wasn't proposed. The Democrats saw this as a step in the right direction.
I posted the article because I wanted to hear what you all though about the comparison between European systems and which parts should be combined to form the US NHS system, not have sense go on an unwarranted rant. Does anyone have anything constructive to say?
Do you Republicans have any shame in your lunacy!
I mean did you actullay write:
"Does anyone have anything constructive to say"!!
For this whole article is FULL of one constructive thing to say after another.
Although it is basically stating the reasons why all developed Nations have Universal Nationalized Healthcare (NHS= of one form or another.
To be exact you want every point of the Heritage article shown to be lies and non-sense, then just read this article:
Or better yet, sinc eyou Republicans are incapable of dealing with facts coming from people of this country, since you label every fact presented for NHS to be "Liberal" or "Socialist", then READ THE ARGUMENTS BY THE Conservative parties in Europe, Canada, Japan, Israel, etc. why they are 100% for their NHS. Which in summary are:
"Because Government run Socialized health care gives equal access to health care to ALL while SAVING 50% on cost of health care, which are things you absolutely would want, IF you cared about the country and were not actually its ENEMY."
realPatriot, please avoid my thread. The article promotes NHS that "ALL DEVELOPED NATIONS HAVE", so I posted an article about the slight differences between those programs and asked for your comments. The original post does not touch on that, which is why I asked. Please allow someone with intelligence and insight to respond; you're simply wasting my time.
If you want detailed information about the various NHS systems world wide check out this article:
For a great FAQ on Government run Socialized health care, such as Single Payer NHS, check out:
And as the ultimate proof that Republicans and US Media (aka right-wing Media) as agents of Wall Street gang have been playing an ultimate Con job on American people and damn if this Con Job will killed and is killing 10s and 1000s of Americans due to lack of health care consider the absolute fact that all Conservative parties in Europe, Canada, Israel, etc. are 100% for their NHS.
And then ask why? "Because a real conservative, would want to Conserve money while getting the Job done which is what NHS does because it SAVES 50% on cost of health care while giving health care to all." Which absolute facts are absolute proof that Republicans and right-wing US Media are NO conservatives, but are the true enemy of American people.
It's like banging my head against a wall here. I already have multiple sources that detail the differences between the programs. What I want to know is which parts of each program you would use to form a NHS system in the US?
To be clear, I want the next response to tell me details that the website "Real News Post" would include in its proposal for US NHS.
1. Would there be any privatization? If so, how much and which aspects would be private?
2. Which country's model do you think is best? Germany? Britain? Switzerland?
3. How would we control the mounting costs and inefficiencies that France and others are now experiencing?
Those are questions I have and I'm asking for your input in a good faith attempt to have a civilized discussion on this blog. Please tell me you all know more than just "ALL DEVELOPED NATIONS HAVE NHS"?
Still nothing? So you guys are all fluff and no substance? What a shame, though not a surprise.
Guest, you have been given the asnwers to your questions many times, but somehow it seems like your "head" is incapable of digesting them!
1- Any form of Government run Universal Socialized Healthcare (NHS) is VASTLY better than the current US Model of health care, since NHS gives health care to all while CUT health care spending by 50% and contain its costs from rising more than is good for the Nation, with that said the best in many ways is the British, ISraeli model where every one gets health care for FREE for Taxes they pay and all Health care is run by the Government.
2. For the Billionth time under Government run Universal Socialized Healthcare, health care spending is cut by 50%. And this fact is why all Conservative parties in Europe, Canada, Japan, Israel, etc. are 100% for their NHS. Because again NHS gives equal access to health care to ALL the People of the country while SAVING 50% on cost of health care.
You can read TONS of related information here:
or go to the Web site of the Conservative parties in Europe, Canada, Japan, Israel, etc. and find out why they are 100% for their NHS.
You don't get it, do you?
1. I know your opinion is that any NHS model is better than what is in the US currently.
2. I understand the numbers about 18% vs. 9% of GDP spent on healthcare in the US and other countries, respectively.
However, if you'll re-read my previous post, the one you must have ignored, you'll see that I'm asking more specific questions and it appears than you don't have the answers.
Please, give me your opinion on the three questions I asked above. Those answers are not found in the article you linked or any other article I've seen on this website.
I want your opinions on what aspects of each developed country's healthcare model you would like to see implemented in the US. You do know that they're not all the same model, right?
Lux, just think what TRUE ENEMY of the Nation Republican are, what LYING machine Wall Street owned Media are, that they oppose Universal Nationalized Single Payer Healthcare (NHS) which gives health care to ALL Americans while cut health care spending by 50% (which means cut Deficits by $1-Trillion). Think about that: NHS would reduce health care spending by 50% (which means cut Deficits by $1-Trillion) and Republicans and Wall Street owned Media oppose that while they state "Deficits Deficits Deficits".
WHY? Because most of the $1-Trillion in SAVINGs that NHS would bring the American People (Government) per year, will come out of the pocket of some very Rich & Powerful people, aka 1% or Wall Street gang. So what have these greedy bastards done to stop NHS from coming into existence in this country as it exists in all other developed Nations? They have funded a most right-wing lying machine, aka US Media, from psychos on Talkradio from Rush, to Beck, etc. to such Media outlets as Wall Street Journal, Fox news, CNN, CBS, ABC, etc.
Lux, your argument for how Obama Admin can convert the rejection of the current health care reform, based on the mandate being unconstitutional, which is actually good thing since health care Obama Admin passed is horrible since it mandates us to buy health care from same Wall street companies that have brought us the current bankrupting health care system, would be valid and a very good argument if Obama Admin was not controlled by the same Big Pharma & Big Insurance, aka right-wing Cabal, behind Republicans. After all why did they pass this HORRIBLE health care reform? Why did they not pass same Universal Single Payer Health Care that Margaret Thatchers conservative party in UK, Conservative party in Israel, etc. are 100% for? Which would give FREE health care to all Americans for Taxes we already pay. If they had done that then Republicans & right-wing Media could not say that this is "ObamaCare Socialism" since this would be the same health care as their beloved Israel has, or UK the apex of Capitalism has, etc. and it would be constitutionally Ok since it would be paid by Taxes
What is the difference in someone forcing you to have car insurance if you have a vehicle and forcing you to have health insurance. If one is unconstitutional isn't the other? I don't think there was any way that medicare for all was going to pass. Too many corporations would have lost on a deal like that. It may have been best for Americans but let's face it, that is not the priority of many of our elected officials. I'm just glad we are having a different healthcare conversation.
The main difference is that states force drivers to have liability insurance that covers any damage to other people or property, but not their own. In this case, the liability insurance is to protect other people from you, not protect you from your own illnesses. Collision and comprehensive coverage is an additional premium that is not required by law.
Also, the government doesn't force you to buy a car. No car, no insurance.
As I was writing this, I thought of something interesting. I am a smoker. Akin to the auto liability coverage, should I be required (as a smoker) to purchase insurance that would cover the people around me from the long term effects of second hand smoke?
Every time you Republicans open your mouth you further prove what utter complete lunatics you people are.
This article answers all your right-wing Media repated non-sense.
And quoting from it:
"Supreme court justices should ask Obama Admin why did you pass such a JOKE of a health care reform that mandates people to buy health insurance from same Wall Street owned companies that have brought us the current bankrupting health care system!
Why did you not pass Single Payer health, which is 100% supported by Conservative parties in UK, Israel, etc. so that every American would have health care FREE for Taxes they ALREADY pay and so that health care spending would be CUT by 50%, which means CUT the Deficits by $1-Trillion per year."
I wasn't even trying to be argumentative, just answer the poster's question. Why do you always get so defensive? There was nothing negative in my post, just pointing out the difference between health insurance and car insurance.
Also, I only skimmed the article that you linked, but I didn't see an explanation of the constitutional aspects of car insurance, which is what the original question was about.
The point is this comparing Car insurance mandate to health insurance mandate is one of these psycho non-sense coming out of Republicans aka right-wing Media. I mean what party in the World, what Media in the World, but the Republican lunatics in US and right-wing lying Media in US, compares Auto insurance with Human health insurance. You do not need to have a car, you can take Public transportation, if we had good Public transportation in this country which is another thing we lack compared to rest of developed World, you can Bike, or you can throw your Car away, etc. That is if your Car is in a reck and destroyed and you do not have the money to fix it, so you lose your Car for now, you will get another Carwhen you have Money or you decide to Bike to work as many Millions do, but if you or your family gets injured or sick, then you do not have a choice of saying well I throw my life away, I kill myself or I let my Son or I let my Daughter die because I lack health insurance.
Which is why ALL developed Nations have Government run Socialized health care for ALL.
I was simply answering MsC's question, not trying to promote some Republican agenda.
You are absolutely insane, and I mean that, but lucky for me you loonies don't have a voting majority.
Guest, Every time you Republicans open your mouth you further prove what utter complete lunatics you people are.
To be exact you wrote:
"You are absolutely insane"
What part of what we have written is not ABSOLUTE FACT?
Go ahead, answer this question. By answering it or not answering it you will further prove that you Republicans are utter complete lunatics.
After all, our position is in line with the Conservative parties, repeat for you Republican lunatics, ALL Conservative parties, in Europe, Canada, Israel, etc., in FACT ALL the Conservative parties in the World, given the FACT that all the Conservative parties in the World are 100% for their Universal Nationalized Health care systems (NHS) and ONLY and ONLY you Republicans and the right-wing US Media oppose NHS, which is the ultimate proof as to what what utter complete lunatics you psychos are.
So why ALL Conservative parties, in Europe, Canada, Israel, etc. are 100% for their NHS? Because it SAVES 50% on cost of health care while giving health care to all.
Does it really matter what I say? Even when I'm not writing about Republican principles you call me a lunatic.
To be clear, there are many things on this website that are not "FACTS". For example, the entire post about the fallacy of the housing bubble is incorrect. Now, I know you'll read that statement and start shouting, "Infidel!" from the rooftops, but you simply cannot compare housing prices per square foot and claim that the bubble was a conspiracy.
There are many other points I can make, but we both know you don't want to hear it. I come here for entertainment and nothing else. This website isn't about real news, it's about one child's personal quest for NHS to be implemented in the US. Would you believe that there are some Democrats that don't support NHS? It's true; I know them personally.
If you truly care about rallying people to your cause, you need to start having intelligible debates with visitors and not harassing them for making factual statements. Until then, no one will take you seriously.
Guest, i have to agree with others, that is: " you Republicans are utter complete lunatics"
Since in prior post you wrote:
"You are absolutely insane"
To which TD wrote:
"What part of what we have written is not ABSOLUTE FACT?
Go ahead, answer this question.."
And you did not answer this question at all and instead threw a rant about this site and real estate, etc. That is this article and posts by RN & TD are about how and why NHS is the only way to oprate the health care of a country and that is why all developed nations have Government run socialized heatlh care, in fact ALL Conservative parties, in Europe, Canada, Japan, Israel, etc. are 100% for their NHS.
And then as furether proof of what true lunatics you people are, you wrote:
"this web site is about one child's personal quest for NHS to be implemented"
So are you calling ALL Conservative parties, in Europe, Canada, Japan, Israel, etc. to "one child's personal quest for NHS", because all these Conservative parties, all these developed Nations have NHS.
Now you want other sites in US pushing for NHS, here is a good one:
Physicians for a National Health, here:
Deleted by Admin for being posted to wrong place.
This article is about Single Payer Health Care and not Housing prices.