Ready. Aim. Fire. USA! USA! USA!

How many ways can we cripple our own future . . . and how easily are we manipulated into cooperating in our own destruction, believing it to be salvation instead? Ahh . . .

A recent column by Ruth Marcus takes a look at that phenomenon with the antipathy towards the health care mandate, now headed to the Supreme Court.

Even I am surprised by the extent of the negative poll numbers. What doesn’t surprise me is that they are the result of misinformation. When the details of the health care law are polled, they do well. And when the financial benefits to taxpayers are explained . . . . well, the opposition should dissolve, but it doesn’t because the entrenched meme of government overreach has taken deep root.

The Obama administration’s brief defending the constitutionality of the health-care law come early on. “As a class,” the brief advises on Page 7, “the uninsured consumed $116 billion of health-care services in 2008.”

On the next page, the brief drives the point home: “In 2008, people without insurance did not pay for 63 percent of their health-care costs.”

And that $116 billion is of course paid for by those who do have insurance – in higher premiums and in taxes.

An individual mandate was essential to make the plan work. Without that larger pool of premium-payers, there is no feasible way to require insurance companies to cover all applicants and charge the same amount, regardless of their heath status.

. . . “People don’t understand how the mandate works at all and they don’t understand why it’s there,” Kaiser’s polling director, Mollyann Brodie, told me.

Brodie suspects that it’s too late to change minds. “This law as a whole has really become a symbolic issue to people and they really aren’t open to information,” she said.

The Court may very well uphold the mandate. And we should shudder at the consequences to us if the other provisions of the bill are left in place, and the funding mechanisms stripped out.

But Congress and its corporate overlords won’t give up. The flames must continue to be fed, the people must be kept agitated. The rational path must not be taken.

Fire. Aim. Ready. As usual.

LET ME I ADD: An earlier Post story (can’t locate link) reported that employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have risen faster than incomes in every state in the union – while consistenly delivering skimpier benefits. We can certainly look forward to more of this is the mandate is struck down.

13 responses to “Ready. Aim. Fire. USA! USA! USA!

  1. Moe,

    The individual mandate is the only part of the healthcare bill that I actually like, because it is one of the only provisions of the bill that would actually lower overall costs. It does this by circumventing the problem of adverse selection.

    If the individual mandate goes away, the bill collapses because it will raise costs. The cynic in me says that more intelligent Republicans know this, and are therefore making a Constitutional argument that no one can force people to buy a service. I am somewhat sympathetic to this view, but we also force people to pay for a ton of services they don’t always consume like Medicare, Social Security, public schooling, etc.

    My view is that the best policy solution is the one that brings down costs. The healthcare mandate spreads out the risk pool, thereby reducing costs. As such, I support it. At least everyone consumes healthcare.


    • Hey Sean, nice to see you!

      I pretty much agree with your points. I’ve always beleived that our best solution to a horrific problem is Medicare for all, with everyone paying in including the healthy young. Many changes would need to be made – is it every working person? Start at what age? How do we structure rates? Lots of stuff would need to be adjusted, but that would be the easy part. Agreeing to make it happen is the hard part. We could maybe add a requirement to network medical records, like the VA does, so that doctors dons’t have to start from scratch with new patients. And of course, administraative costs would just plummet. Right now Medicare’s admin costs are really low compared to the insurance coompanies.

      And we could fix SS easily too if we’d just bleeding do it. It’s not nearly the threat that health care is. It’d be a much easier fix.

      But ideology seems to be winning. And it we lose the mandate, Elvis help us.


  2. Now comes the thought that SCOTUS will leave it alone and allow it to become a rallying point for anti- O firces come Nov. “Elect me and I will repeal it” will be the war cry.


    • That’s already the rallying cry. Romney has said the very first thing he’ll do in office is repeal it. (spoken like a former CEO who thinks the prez is the boss. Wait till he meets Congress!)


  3. The rhetoric around the health care law and the language used to describe the benefits are so obscure I find them difficult to understand and I’m considered a fairly intellegent person. The benefits need to be put into very simple terms so the least educated can understand them. Then they may be motivated to vote for the person(s) who will do the most to benefit them. Yes Medicare and SS need to be fixed. Medicare is still the most effective and least costly health care insurance…there’s a concept,low cost and effective and SS could do with an overhaul…it won’t take much and it’s fixed. It don’t need major surgery, just a little outpatient care.


  4. The big problem with ObamaCare is the one that people Hazlett like – an unconstitutional demand by the federal government that every American purchase a product or service just because they live in America.

    It does not equate to Medicare, Social Security, public schooling, and such because those are specific taxes placed upon income, whereas the Individual Mandate forces on to purchase a product – a product that, by law is not even able to be traded interstate.

    Try it this way and see how you like it – What if, in order to better provide for the common defense and to reduce government law enforcement costs, the federal government required that all Americans purchase an approved firearm? (Heston’s ghost just got a chubby) – BTW some countries do that already or supply the weapons.

    Or, based upon other rationales, an electric or hybrid vehicle, or…


    • Jonolan,

      I never said I like the mandate because it forces Americans to purchase a product or service. I like the mandate despite this issue, because when you balance the goal of lowering spiraling healthcare costs with the Constitutional issue with the government mandate, only one of them solves the cost problem. The solution is terrible, I know, but it is better than all the others.


      • Sorry, Sean. I didn’t mean to imply that you liked it because because it forces Americans to purchase a product or service, only that you liked it in the first place, irrespective of why.

        As for balancing anything except – possibly – the destruction of the country with the Constitutional issue – the only possible right answer for an American is that the Constitution – in it’s strictest and constructionist interpretation – must win out.

        Or are you so willing to trade your liberty for temporary financial security that you just don’t care?


        • I am an engineer by training, so at the margin I am willing to compromise on ideology in the face of a national emergency. Our country has done so in the past with minimal impact whether it was rationing during WWII or the suspension of habeaus corpus during the Civil War. The alternative to the individual mandate is higher taxes, which aren’t as easy to track given the usual political inefficiency and corruption associated with them.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think the healthcare bill is an abomination that will raise costs for everyone and make it more expensive to hire American employees. I just think the individual mandate is the only component that would actually reduce costs. Otherwise the whole thing dies on arrival.


          • I’m not willing to compromise America’s constitution when we’re talking about things forbidden even by a strict constitutionalist view of our founding legal document. I’m especially not willing to do so for what would be a “perpetual emergency,” unlike WW2 rationing or other specific wartime acts.

            I’m also not sold on just how mandating customers and subsidizing their costs with taxdollars is expected to lower healthcare costs or health insurance costs. Manufactured demand coupled with government funds has, historically, almost always raised costs instead of lowering them.


            • Look at it as a national security issue (yeah, I know, everything is a national security issue) . . . our present path is going to bankrupt the country. A bankrupt country is a vulnerable country. Downward spirals aren’t the American way.

              As I said in the post – failing to fix this means self destruction. If the mandate is a constitutional compromise, so be it. I’ll go with the greater good. (and as you’d say, secure our future from the tyranny of the majority)


  5. I am terribly worried about the fate of this law at the hands of this Supreme Court . And while the is imperfect, so is every law. And it is a start.


  6. The Court will Narrowly go at I’d think….
    One view…..
    ‘A look at the Internal politics on the Supreme’s handling of the Healthcare Case….’


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