Health Care Ruling -- Good News for Reform Backers

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Range Rover, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. (Dec. 13) -- Supporters of the Affordable Care Act should take a great deal of comfort from Judge Henry Hudson's decision today.

    Yes, Judge Hudson did strike down one provision of the landmark health care law, but his opinion is so poorly reasoned, so bereft of legal analysis and so inconsistent with precedent that it has no chance of convincing the Supreme Court to strike down this law. If this is the best that opponents of health reform have to offer, than the act's supporters have nothing to fear.

    Indeed, Judge Hudson's decision striking down just one small part of the Affordable Care Act -- the requirement that nearly all Americans either carry insurance or pay slightly more income taxes -- places him on a collision course with the views of one of the Supreme Court's most conservative members: Justice Antonin Scalia.

    The Constitution doesn't just give Congress sweeping authority to regulate the national economy, it also empowers Congress to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" its authority to enact economic regulation. As Justice Scalia explains, this means that "where Congress has the authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective."

    The act eliminates one of the insurance industry's most abhorrent practices -- denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions -- but this ban cannot function if patients are free to enter and exit the insurance market at will. If patients can wait until they get sick to buy insurance, they will drain all the money out of an insurance plan that they have not previously paid into, leaving nothing left for the rest of the plan's consumers.

    Nor is this fear just idle conjecture. Seven states enacted a pre-existing-conditions law without also passing an insurance coverage requirement, and all seven states saw their health insurance premiums spiral out of control. In some of these states, the individual insurance market collapsed, leaving many people without any insurance options whatsoever.

    There is a way out of this trap, however. Massachusetts enacted a minimum coverage provision in 2006 to go along with its pre-existing-conditions provision, and the results were both striking and immediate. Massachusetts' premiums rapidly dropped by 40 percent.

    In other words, because the only way to make the pre-existing-conditions law effective is to also require participation in the insurance market, that requirement easily passes Scalia's test.

    Yet, somewhat astoundingly, Judge Hudson did not once reference Scalia's clear rule. Nor did he even mention one of many other Supreme Court cases establishing that Congress "possesses every power needed" to make its laws effective. Instead, Hudson simply waves this rule away with a single cryptic statement that the Affordable Care Act doesn't fit within "the letter and spirit of the Constitution."

    Maybe Hudson missed the day in law school when every lawyer is taught that a lower-court judge cannot ignore the Supreme Court's command. At the very least, a judge has a duty to actually explain his legal reasoning and to cite cases supporting his decision. Judge Hudson, however, provides no explanation for why he's apparently not bound by precedent governing a key constitutional provision.

    In the end, there is a simple explanation for why he couldn't provide such an explanation: The law clearly does not support his position. Fifteen judges have now heard cases challenging the Affordable Care Act, and 14 of those cases have been dismissed -- many of them on the grounds that a federal court shouldn't even be hearing these challenges in the first place. Judge Hudson is an extreme outlier, and his disregard for precedent is unlikely to win too many supporters on higher courts.

    One thing, however, is very clear from his opinion. Opponents of health reform have finally shown their cards -- and revealed themselves to have an exceptionally weak hand. If Henry Hudson's folly represents the best case against health reform, then the Affordable Care Act will be just fine.
  2. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    can you please post the source for your articles? or did you write that yourself? i dont read them unless they're from a reputable source. thanks for helping me save time.
  3. The writer

    Ian Millhiser

    Ian Millhiser is a constitutional attorney and a policy analyst with the Center for American Progress. He’s written for several publications, including The Guardian, The American Prospect, Huffington Post, and the Duke Law Journal

    Ian previously held the open government portfolio for CAP’s Doing What Works project, and was a Legal Research Analyst with ThinkProgress during the nomination and confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. He also clerked for Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and has worked as an attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center’s Federal Rights Project, as assistant director for communications with the American Constitution Society, and as a Teach For America corps member in the Mississippi Delta.

    He received a B.A. in philosophy from Kenyon College and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke University, where he served as senior note editor on the Duke Law Journal and was elected to the Order of the Coif. His writings have appeared in a diversity of legal and mainstream publications, including The Guardian, AOLNews, The American Prospect, Politico, Huffington Post, and the Duke Law Journal. He has been a guest on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazerra, and Fox Business television, and many radio stations including NPR and the BBC.

  4. Arnie


    Well, he's flat out wrong on at least one thing:

    Despite being dominated by not-for-profit health plans, Massachusetts had the highest family coverage premiums in the nation - an average of $13,788 - in 2008, the most recent year for which figures were available, according to the Kaiser foundation. That included employer contributions of $10,425 and $3,363 from employees.

    •Health care costs continue to rise much faster than the national average. Since 2006, total state health care spending has increased by 28 percent. Insurance premiums have increased by 8–10 percent per year, nearly double the national average.
  5. Arnie


    Now there' an unbiased group

    Executive Committee
    John Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer

    (Prior to founding the Center in 2003, Podesta served as White House Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton)

    Sarah Rosen Wartell, Executive VP

    Sarah served in the White House in the Clinton administration, after spending the first term at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As deputy assistant to the president for economic policy and deputy director of the National Economic Council, she advised the president on banking, government insurance and financial markets, housing and community development, consumer protection, pensions, bankruptcy, e-commerce, and a host of other economic policy issues.

    Jennifer Palmieri, Senior VP for Communications

    Prior to joining the Center, Palmieri was the national press secretary for the 2004 Edwards for President campaign. She held the position of national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee during the 2002 election cycle, and is an eight-year veteran of the Clinton White House

    Neera Tanden, Chief Operating Officer

    Neera Tanden has most recently served as senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, advising Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and working on the president’s health reform team to pass the bill

    Winnie Stachelberg, Senior VP for External Affairs

    Prior to joining the Center, Stachelberg spent 11 years with the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay civil rights organization. She most recently served as the first vice president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

    Laura Nichols, Senior Fellow

    Nichols spent eight years as advisor, strategist, and spokesperson for former House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO). In those roles, she served as Mr. Gephardt's spokesperson and was responsible for developing and managing communications strategies on a wide variety of policy issues for House Democrats. Ms. Nichols also served as press secretary to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and former U.S. House Representative Vic Fazio (D-CA). She began her career in politics as the Iowa press secretary in 1988 for Gephardt's presidential campaign.
  6. You know when the WH has to use the left wing blogoshpere "car insurance" analogy to defend Obamacare, they've run dry of any real legal arguments.

    From the WH blog:
  7. I noticed you conveniently left this part out

    "A large portion of those costs can be traced to the Boston area, where world-class medical centers perform expensive operations that elsewhere are handled for less money at community hospitals."
  8. You also left this part out.

    The national average is 13,375 ,Mass is 13,788....Wow!!!!!!! What a huge difference for a state that has 98 % of the people covered and world class expensive medical facilities and doctors :eek:

    "The foundation yesterday released a national survey showing the cost of family health premiums reached $13,375 in 2009, up 5 percent nationally in a year when inflation fell by 1 percent."
  9. Arnie


    And you ignored this part.....twice. :D

    Quote from Ian Millhiser:

    Massachusetts' premiums rapidly dropped by 40 percent.
    #10     Dec 14, 2010