Obamacare is Unconstitutional: Will the Supreme Court Agree?

Posted on June 28, 2012


The Supreme Court is due to rule today on the so-called “Obamacare” health-care mandate.  I am not really interested in listening to what the politicians have to say about it (isn’t listening to anything politicians have to say lately like trying to mediate a preschool riot?).  I am kind of interested in the impact the ruling may have on the US economy, but that should not be the driving force behind the decision.  The decision should be based on the law, and I’m no legal scholar, but I just don’t see how it can possibly be constitutional to mandate that everyone purchase a commercial product of any kind, no matter how well-intentioned or useful.   I can see why I have to buy auto insurance if I own a car, but owning the car is a choice and a responsibility.  Owning a body is not a choice, it’s our means of existence.

But let’s look at the effects of the program so far.  Not only is Obamacare probably unconstitutional, it’s not particularly helpful.

Witness the burdens placed on doctors, who were already being driven out of private practice by administrative red tape, debts incurred by their lengthy and expensive education, and other costs like malpractice insurance.   According to doctors struggling with finances, Obamacare won’t solve these problems, and in some cases will make them worse.  Can’t have a health-care system without doctors.

Then there is the impact of Obamacare on insurers.  Business is about profit, and insurers are not in the business of handing out free money to everyone.  Insurance is about playing the odds and distributing risk, and accepting all comers raises the risk – and expense – for the entire group.  Take on more risk than the group can cover, and the company goes under.  The upshot is that many insurers are getting out of certain markets entirely, because they can’t cover Obamacare requirements with any hope of controlling their own business destiny.  So is it any surprise that we have higher premiums and fewer choices?  This is exactly why, in practical terms, universal healthcare cannot be a commercial proposition.

As far as the economy goes, experts far better versed than I are arguing the effects of keeping or ditching Obamacare.  But it’s clear that the universal mandate will dramatically increase costs in both the government and private sectors, and this, in a country where we have the highest per capita healthcare costs of most other industrialized nations.

And that’s the real problem:  our ridiculous costs per capita.  The behavior of insurance companies – upping premiums unexpectedly, dropping patients when they get sick, finding excuses not to provide coverage for which premiums were paid – is a huge problem, but simply waving a magic wand and ordering people to buy coverage and insurance companies to accept all comers does nothing – nothing – to rein in our skyrocketing costs.  What the government should do is identify the sources and causes of our runaway costs, then take steps to reduce or eliminate those costs (hint: more bureaucracy never brought costs down, nor has it ever increased efficiency).  How are all of the other industrialized nations providing care at lower per capita costs?  It seems we have a thing or two to learn.  Get costs under control, and more employers and more individuals will be able to buy insurance.

And if the government still insists on universal coverage, then do it the legal way.  When the government wants to force its citizens to cough up their cash, they don’t issue an order to patronize some extortionate business.  They use this thing called a “tax.”  But then, that would never fly…


Originally published at The Color of Lila.