| The health care reform legislation is legal:
A federal judge in Michigan on Thursday dismissed one of more than 15 legal challenges to the new health care law, becoming the first to rule that the law is constitutional.
Two other cases with higher profiles, one in Florida and one in Virginia, are headed toward hearings on the issues that were decided in Michigan. The central question, which may ultimately fall to the Supreme Court, is whether the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to require citizens to obtain a commercial product, namely health insurance....
Judge George C. Steeh of Federal District Court in Detroit ruled that choosing not to obtain insurance qualified as an example of "activities that substantially affect interstate commerce." That is the standard set by the Supreme Court for Congress's compliance with the Commerce Clause.
That is, not buying insurance puts a financial burden on taxpayers and other insurance purchasers across the country. The uninsured will still need medical care; taxpayers and the insured will pick up the tab.
Illya Somin takes a stab at shooting down the decision:
The problem with this reasoning is that those who choose not to buy health insurance aren't necessarily therefore going to buy the same services in other ways later. Some will, but some won't. It depends on whether or not they get sick, how severe (and how treatable their illnesses are), whether if they do get sick, they can get assistance from charity, and many other factors. In addition, some people might be able to maintain their health simply by buying services that aren't usually covered by insurance anyway, such as numerous low-cost medicines available in drug stores and the like. In such cases, they aren't really participating in the same market as insurance purchasers.
W-e-e-e-l-l, not quite. For starters, unless non-insurance-buyers are some kind of genetic Supermenschen, they, as a group, will experience sudden and catastrophic injury or illness at the same rate that insurance buyers do - at best. Of course, that's only considering the statistical case. In reality, the uninsured are much more likely to rack up higher long-term medical costs because they are much less likely to seek out preventative or early medical care.
But, more simply, everyone gets sick and dies eventually. No one "maintains their health." Healthcare is inevitable for all.
And ridding health care of the individual mandate and keeping the regulation on insurers will create a total clusterf*ck. Why would anyone buy insurance until they're sick? But maybe that's the way to go: insurance costs will spiral out of control and the industry will die. And then we can go to a single-payer system. In the meantime, it'd suck to be us. Wheee!
So, under the commerce clause of the Constitution and Congress' power "to tax and spend providing for the general welfare," the bill is legal. For now. The radically conservative SCOTUS, as always, looms.