Well Known Biases

Politics, Economics, and the Law

Tag Archives: Obamacare

Link Roundup – 04/25/13

Milo Yiannopoulos has some concerns about Google Glass.

In the future, robots will grade your college essays.

The IRS can probably read your email without a warrant.

The ATF, not wanting to be left out, would like to know more about you, and find it all out more easily.

UC Irvine law dean Erwin Chemerinsky thinks the only way to eliminate inequality is compulsory public schooling, and the outlaw of private schooling.

The NSA data center in Utah will be able to store a truly mind-boggling amount of data. Data on, you know, all of us… But hey, at least it’ll create jobs.

The EU becomes increasingly intolerant of free speech.

The Federalist Society has begun Executive Branch Review, a website keeping tabs on the acts of regulatory agencies (which, fun fact, produce some 90% of laws).

Jonathan Adler takes issue Rickie Solinger’s accounting of the effect of Roe on abortion statistics.

Lawmakers, having decided that what’s good for you is bad for them, are looking to exempt themselves from the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

In other stupidity, the Obama administration thinks it would be a rather good idea to do the exact thing that eventually brought us the “economic downturn.”

And finally, in a rare bit of good news, a federal magistrate has refused a government request to compel decryption of a hard drive.

 

The Individual Mandate: My 2¢

Firstly, this isn’t a legal analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision. For that, please direct yourself to The Volokh Conspiracy. Go on, go. You can come back here after you’re done.

.   .   .   .

And you’re back. Now don’t you feel smarter?

Good.

So, as you know by now, the Supreme Court upheld almost everything in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in a 5-4 decision. I’ve yet to read the Court’s opinions myself, as they’re quite long, but it seems as though things could probably have gone much worse. Yes, the individual mandate was upheld, but it was construed as a tax. This means that Congress’ power to do whatever the hell it feels like hasn’t been expanded to nearly the degree it would have been had the act been upheld on the basis of the ‘Necessary and Proper’ clause, or God forbid, the Interstate Commerce clause.

So, what then?

This isn’t the End of Democracy™, the Death of the Republic™, or any other such fiery polemics espoused by well-paid pundits. It is unfortunate, but by no means the most unfortunate thing that’s happened in recent memory.

*clears throat, and proceeds in a booming voice*

And ye, the assembled politicians stirred from their Scotch-soaked napping, and they didst see: Health care was eye-watteringly expensive, and insurance companies didn’t want to take on customers who were likely to be a net loss. They were a little concerned with the human suffering, and a lot concerned that said humans would find them somehow accountable. What was to be done, they asked, while dramatically wringing their hands and photogenically weeping for the plight. Discovering the reasons for the expense, and correcting the system would be an enormous task, and more importantly won’t be done before the next election. So that’s out. They could, in their magnanimity, provide public health insurance, but no… that’s some commie horseshit. Well, what if they just forced everyone to buy private health insurance? That was some corporatist horseshit, and that’s exactly the kind of horseshit they loved.

And so it was. Instead of attempting to fix the system, there was simply a demand for all and sundry to buy into it. A band-aid for a gunshot wound.

*becomes less dramatic*

Right then…

I don’t think the ACA is going to fix what its creators and supporters hope it will fix. Simply forcing people to buy insurance, and forcing companies to insure those with preexisting conditions is not going to magically make the American health care system not a huge disaster. A system of socialized medicine, perhaps even one built only for those who were unable to get private insurance, may indeed be some “commie horseshit,” but it would be a fair sight more honest than the end run around of compelling everyone to buy insurance, thereby “taxing” the healthy for the benefit of the sick, and for the even greater benefit of the insurance companies. Health care needs fixed, but this isn’t the way to do it. And now that the law has passed through SCOTUS essentially unscathed, we’ve created interest groups who will fight tooth and nail against any efforts to change or repeal it. We’ve done nothing but made things more complicated.