Or as Reagan famously said, "Trust but verify."
At this link you can find the 3 health care cases that were heard since monday. Also, all of the other cases the court has heard are posted.
I've listened to the arguements and read the transcripts.
There are really 3 cases that were heard.
First on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, second on what authority the congress has for the mandate (taxing or commerce clause), and the third was a discussion on whether IF the mandate is found unconstitutional what should be done with the rest of the 2700 pages.
In the first case, The govt claims that A. congress has the right to issue the mandate under the Taxing power B. under the commerce clause, the govt has the authority to regulate a markety, becasue we will all at one point or another need healthcare - we are all automatically "in the market" when we are born and can therefore be regulated i.e. forced to buy insurance under penalty.
The states claim that A. the text of the bill specifically refers to the mandate as a "penalty" and not a tax and so doesn't fall under the congress' tax authority - and if it is a tax it is a direct tax which is unlawful - and that never before has the Govt been able to tax someone for Not doing something and the rationale is not special to healthcare there is no bright line that can be drawn between the rational to force many to buy insurance becasue to not do so would drive cost up for those who do.. can be done in any market. B. That the bill attempts to regulate health insurance industry and not the health care industry - and so the congress is attempting to create a market that it can then regulate. B. The congress' expressed reason for creating the minimum coverage mandate and the community ratings is to offset the negative economic impact of congress' own mandates on the insurance industry to cover pre-existing conditions. So, the govt argues that without the mandate the scheme will collapse (death spiral is the terms from the congressional history)- so the states argue that this is ridiculous that the govt would for the first time in history use a direct mandate - the state wisely I think uses the govt's own arguements sillyness against them.
In the case of what to do IF the mandate is found unconstitutional the Govt pleads that if the mandate is invalidated then the court shoudl also remove only the community ratings and pre-existing conditions sections. The states argue that the mandate, community ratings etc. are the heart of this bill, that most of the other sections were attached to the bill to either win a vote or because it was the next train leaving the station - but the heart and core of the bill is the mandate and it is so interconnected that to find the mandate unconstitutional it would be best to find the whole law invalid and allow congress to start again with a clean slate.
A 3rd arguement from another party argued for just removign the mandate and allowing the pre-existing conditions and community rated exchanges to remain.
I've missed alot of stuff here becasue i'm just riffing it back from memory. But it's very interesting and so I encourage everyone to go an listen to these arguements.
The govt actually at one point argues that this mandate is an advancement of Liberty, it gives liberty to those who have health issues and can't have a full life without coverage.. it gives them liberty to have health care. The states argue that is a very funny concept of advancing liberty - forcing everyone to buy a product so that the few can have it more cheaply. Mr. Clement did an excellent job.... The solicitor general is everything I might imaging a lawyer that Obama would appoint would be. In fact all of the govt's lawers and those argueing in tandem were horrible. Give it a listen your self and don't parrot some blurb some website throws out. ;p
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