So, as you might be aware, Obamacare is in a bit of trouble because it’s …you know…blatantly unconstitutional. Apparently it's not just crazy conspiracy theorist tea partiers who believe that, judging by the Supreme Court. Here is an extensive highlight reel of what happened in the biggest day of arguments, about the constitutionality of the individual mandate, packaged in easy to chew, bite sized chunks.
CLIP 1: Verilli, The guy arguing for Obamacare starts off on a miserable note, stuttering, pausing, coughing and reaching for a drink of water. An awkward way to start to say the least. It’s hard to defend the indefensible, you know.
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CLIP 2: Alito asks why the government wouldn’t also be able to mandate burial insurance if the Obamacare mandate stands. Everyone needs a casket or to get cremated, so why not?
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CLIP 3: Kagan argues that since we know most people will need health insurance, the government can mandate that people buy it. The anti-Obamacare side responds, saying this gives Congress power to regulate anyone with any statistical connection with a problem.
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CLIP 4: Kennedy says that since Obamacare is a further reach than anything else in history, the government has a high burden to try and justify it.
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CLIP 5: This is probably the most encouraging clip if you want Obamacare overturned. Justice Kennedy is likely the swing vote. He accuses the government of trying to fundamentally change the entire relationship of government and the individual.
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CLIP 6: If clip 5 is the most encouraging clip, this is the second most. Kennedy asks if there are any limits under the commerce clause. In other words, can the government make you buy anything if this thing goes through?
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Clip 7: If clip 5 and 6 are the most encouraging—this is the most worrisome. Here is Kennedy seemingly entertaining the idea that the health care market actually IS unique. Therefore, maybe it’s worth making an exception for it. My biggest worry is that Kennedy is looking for a way to say “I’ll let you have the individual mandate this time, but I won’t let you get away with this stuff again.”
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CLIP 8: Scalia asks a question that should never have to be asked: can you create commerce just to regulate it? Any sensible person would say no. The Obama administration says not buying insurance, still includes you in the insurance market. This is nothing but legalistic insanity via justification.
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CLIP 9: Great stuff from Scalia. “Could you define the market that everyone has to buy food, therefore everyone has to buy broccoli?” The response to all of these questions seems to be – “Of course that very similar situation is ridiculous, but Obamacare slightly differs, so it’s okay.”
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CLIP 10: Scalia fundamentally destroys the entire concept of the argument. Bottom line—whether it’s a good idea or not, it violates the Constitution. The government is supposed to have limited powers. If the government can do this, what can’t it do?
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CLIP 11: The government tries to argue that this isn’t really unprecedented, because the court has upheld the commerce clause before. Scalia points out that all of his examples actually involved commerce. You’ll notice a pattern here. The crux of this entire case is that conservatives believe if you don’t buy health insurance, you’re not participating in the health insurance market. Liberals believe if you don’t buy health insurance, you are participating in the health insurance market. I’ll leave it up to you to rule on which one of those sounds right.
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CLIP 12: Sotomayor argues that this is just like tax credits on solar panels.
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CLIP 13: The government argues that people without insurance are screwing those people who have it. The truth is, most of those people are young and healthy. Alito points that out with stats—the average person in this group will pay $5800 for insurance, and will only use $850 of actual health services. That’s just handing money to insurance companies.
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CLIP 14: The government is faced with a tough argument: you’re forcing people to buy insurance for things they can’t possibly use. For example, some people will never have use for pediatric or maternity care. Yet, the government tells them they must be covered for it.
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CLIP 15: In a moment of apparent dementia, the government claims that the similar plan in Massachusetts has actually worked. In reality, since it’s passage there have been almost $9 billion in extra costs, with the state of Massachusetts only paying about $400 million of it. Wait times are the highest in the nation, costs have been increasing at about 6% per year, and all of this cost in quality and dollars has led to less than 5% of the state gaining coverage. Oh yeah, and 5 times as many people wait until they get sick, buy coverage, get treated, and then cancel the coverage afterwards.
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CLIP 16: This is one of my favorite points. Over and over again the liberal argument revolved around “cost shifting.” If I don’t buy health insurance, then I’ll go to the hospital and everyone else will have to pick up the tab. But, why will everyone else have to pick up the tab? Because of other government rulesrequiring them to do so. So the government is the CAUSE of the cost shifting in the first place. The liberal justices go to great lengths to say that they can’t force people to buy cars for example. But, if the congress separately passed a bill that said everyone must have access to a car when they really need it---they could. At least under the argument you’re about to hear destroyed.
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CLIP 17: This one is a little longer, but it’s interesting. If you don’t buy a car, that has ramifications on others. Dealership owners, workers, etc. But, no one would argue that not buying a car puts you in the car buyer market.
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CLIP 18: Even if Obamacare was the best thing ever, it is still unconstitutional. Even if there was a wonder drug that cured every disease—you couldn’t force people to take it. The point about foreign nations is brilliant. And…stick around for the Kagan cut off, right as he is about to put her away.
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