Universal Health Care

This is bound to do wonders for the economy:

Mr. Baucus would create a nationwide marketplace, a “health insurance exchange,” where people could compare and buy insurance policies. The options would include private insurance policies and a new public plan similar to Medicare. Insurers could no longer deny coverage to people who had been sick. Congress would also limit insurers’ ability to charge higher premiums because of a person’s age or prior illness.

People would have a duty to obtain coverage when affordable options were available to all through employers or through the insurance exchange. This obligation “would be enforced, possibly through the tax system,” the plan says.

Enforced through the tax system, eh?  Well, at least that’s probably constitutional.  Either way, there’s no word on how they plan to pay for what is bound to be an enormously expensive program.  To me this is the worst of both worlds.  There will be no incentive to control health care costs with a system like this, and costs will spiral out of control.

7 thoughts on “Universal Health Care”

  1. I am not sure how this can be constitutional simply because it uses the tax code as enforcement.

    I would think as a free person, I would have the right to not have insurance, or to be self insured. I grant it may not be smart, but we have the right to be stupid so to speak.

    I will also grant that I do not feel I have the right to force some else to save me from my being stupid, so if I chose to not have insurance…it is my responsibility.

    But then there is the problem……responsibility!

    Bottom line…..this will be a major mess with all the love and compassion of the IRS/BATF/etc can deliver! I bet we will have a lot fewer Canadians coming here for medical reasons…

  2. “Insurers could no longer deny coverage to people who had been sick.”

    Sounds like a great idea, that way I don’t have waste money on insurance until I get sick. (/sarcasm/)

  3. Well, I think it’s a legitimate debate as to how far the federal government can use its powers to tax and spend to accomplish things that are outside of its scope of power. But generally, the courts have found that Congress is allowed to use its taxing and spending powers pretty broadly.

  4. That doesn’t sound even remotely Constitutional to me. It’s one thing to give tax breaks to encourage certain behavior (e.g. allowing you to deduct your health care premiums). It’s another thing to charge you a tax for not having health coverage. At that point, it’s just a fine.

    In my opinion, the biggest problem with the way health care is that government has intruded into it so much already. The various states have meddled so much into what the companies have to cover, that they have to charge a ridiculous amount of money to pay for it. A lot more people could get coverage if they could get policies that only cover likely risks and/or easily treated risks(e.g. broken bones, acerations, etc.). But even if they could get that, too many people seem to think that EVERY possible medical procedure should be covered.

    Basically, there are far too many things that people don’t need to have that are covered. Birth control pills would be the first thing that comes to mind. Very few women actually need birth control pills. Those that do, don’t generally need them for the birth control aspect. Since you can easily avoid getting pregnant by just not having sex, I don’t see why everyone else needs to pay more in health insurance costs to subsidize that.

  5. The constitution only limits congress’ powers power to tax such that “direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union.” If Congress wants to prescribe a different income tax rates to people who fail to carry health insurance, I don’t see that the constitution limits that. It’s an exercise of Congress’ taxing power.

    Does that make it good public policy? I don’t think so. But not all ideas which are bad are unconstitutional.

  6. Laughing dog is right. Health insurance is far higher in those states where it is highly regulated. NJ is a perfect example.

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