Comments about ‘In our opinion: Editorial: Additional impacts of health care law’

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Published: Sunday, March 25 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Moderate
Salt Lake City, UT

"Obamacare" was offered as a solution to the rising costs of health care as part of the nation's budget. If the Court strikes down the individual mandate or if Republicans repeal it, a new solution will be required.

Maybe you prefer controlling costs by nationalizing health care. Or maybe you prefer that hospitals turn away the sick to die on the curb. The nation cannot afford to stick its head in the sand and pretend that health care costs aren't rising.

Beverly
Eden, UT

Long ago we socialized policing, fire protection, and more recently emergency medical response to health care in the form of paramedics. Our government does a good job of protecting us when we need the police or assistance in an emergency. Do you think the police officers and fire personnel in your community are bad employees of our government? Good government is not driven by greed. The problems created by attempting to make policing, fire protection, and emergency response to medical emergency are clear. The same problems that hurt privatizing policing and prisons in America are the identical problems that face national health care. The rich get substantially better service than the poor. When profit is the motive, greed gets in the way. Like too big to fail banks, the drug industry and health insurance industry will do everything possible to block making America's health care available, on an equal basis, for all of us.
The next time you have a health care problem evaluate how your insurance company treats your claim. Is their concern based on your health or their bottom line?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Does the Constituion give Congress the authority to involve itself in health-care? If so, where?

Each duty of Congress is enumerated. Six of the seventeen enumerated duties deal with the military. Of the remaining eleven authorized duties, none deal with health-care.

The solution is simple. Strike down the law because it gives the Federal Government authority to do things that the people have not delegated to the Federal Government. Use that same criteria on every law until the Federal Government does only those things delegated to it by the people.

Adequate provisions exist to handle all other matters. The 10th Amendment requires that the States and the People handle everything not delegated to the Federal Government.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The American Bar Association polled its constitutional lawyers, asking whether they though the Court would uphold the law. 85% said they would. Many Court opinions give ample precedent for this conclusion (see Wickard v Fillburn or Gonzales v Raich for examples), they rule that congress has authority under the commerce clause to regulate activities that are only tangentially related to interstate commerce. See also the opinion of Judge Lawrence Silberman, who upheld the law. Judge Silberman, appointed by Ronald Reagan, is one of the most conservative appellate judges.

The only time the Court has overruled congress on their use of the commerce clause is when congress tried to use it to regulate activity which not commerce in any way. The Court has also ruled on several occasions that congress can use spending as means of compelling the states to comply with legislation, as long as the states are free to reject the spending.

Based on this, the Court will uphold the law, unless the five Republicans on the Court just want to hand President Obama a political defeat. But they would have to overrule a lot of precedents to get there.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Those who object to the individual mandate strike me as the ultimate freeloaders. They know they will have healthcare when they are in an emergency, whether they can pay for it or not. They simply expect all of the rest of us to pay for it.

Even if the folks who object to the individual mandate make sure that they, themselves, have coverage, they still want to enforce the system where the uninsured individual gets his emergency care at everyone else's expense. The more rational view is that we all require healthcare at some time in our lives, and as a society we will not deny it to a person who is too short-sighted to plan for that eventuality. We will require the person to buy health insurance, just as we require drivers to carry car insurance. The only rational alternative is to start barring the uninsured from our emergency rooms, unless they have large enough wallets to pay for it themselves. That is not a society I would like to live in.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

I appreciate the intent of the current health care law. The system is broken, coverage for those with pre-existing or the poor is a critical issue. The Republicans unwillingness to deal with either of these issues is what opened the door to a law I do feel over reached. It is most unfortunate that those we elected to deal with these issues for us choose to punt on the issue and have the adults in government, the Supreme Court, do the right thing.

There is plenty that could be done, now, that would deliver impact, now. Congress could work on the issues of delivery cost. They could enable insurance co-ops to help provide affordable options. They could fix via tort reform the risk to charities so that charitable healthcare organizations didn't live under the shadow of law suites. The list goes on.

No, none of these would fix the "big" problems we have, but we would be making small changes that add up in the aggregate. It would be something, rather than the nothing both parties are offering today.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

The first thing the Court is going to rule on is whether the mandate and associated penalties for not purchasing insurance is a tax or a fee. If the Court determines it is a tax, then the case will not be decided until Obamacare becomes fully implemented, in 2013 or 2014. Challenges to tax law cannot be heard until the tax is paid.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

The individual mandate does not seek to regulate commerce. Not buying insurance is clearly not commerce.

Governments seeking to impose socialism on their people(and it must always be imposed for no rational people would accept it) always seek nationalized health care for one reason: It makes the entire population dependent upon their government for their very lives. You simply cannot control people who don't need you.

The constitution gives the power of the purse to the House of Representatives. All bills that raise revenue and bills that spend revenue must (no option here) originate in the House. Obama Care (there is nothing affordable about the "Affordable Care Act") originated in the Senate and the House was not allowed to alter it in any way.

Obama Care violates the rights of the people.
Obama Care violated the constitution in many many ways.
Obama Care did not and does not enjoy the support of the people.

All legitimate governments govern with the consent of the people. Obama Care (and the entire Obama administration for that matter) are illegitimate.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

let's be clear... Pelosi and the other Democrats who created this montrosity (Obamacare) know the individual mandate is unconstitutional and will be thrown out - which is what they want because that will collapse the healthcare system faster. Tear it all down man!
I guess it makes misguided people feel good to support healthcare for all but the cold hard truth is that this Country is the brokest nation in history. Debt and deficits as far as the eye can see. Wait until interest payments on the debt exceed half of revenue and then healthcare will be the least of your worries. We're not far from that as Boy genius Tim Geitner has most of our debt in short term instruments that are going to have to roll over in the next few years.
I wish someone could please explain why this has to be done at a national level (where it's unconstitutional btw)What exactly is the purpose of States? What s wrong with block granting money to States?

goatesnotes
Kamas, UT

Two years ago at the East Room signing ceremony in a celebratory mood, and caught in an off-mike (that was actually on) moment, VP Joe Biden said to the President, "This is a big [expletive deleted] deal."

For more reasons than one can count, Mr. Vice President, you said a mouthful.

For what President Obama later called "my greatest achievement as President" it is amazing how muted the proponents have become now that they are staring down the barrel of a SCOTUS challenge.

In the meantime, we all await the judgment day while uncertainty remains the watchword for the nation.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

Mike Richards is right. This battle is about much more than health care. It is about saving this Country from left wing welfare statism.

The Fathers carefully crafted a constitution that limited the power of the federal government. The Fathers would be appalled to see how the left has turned the constitution on its head in an effort to turn America into a welfare state.

Unless a power is expressly enumerated in the constitution, the government does not have it. The irrefutable fact is that the constitution does not even come close to mentioning health care or any other entitlement program. Thus, the government has no power to establish these ill-conceived programs.

Jeromeo
Salt Lake City, UT

Irony of ironies. i moved back to Utah in 2009 after over thirty years of California residency... for my health. The Healthcare System in California has, with a few exceptions, hit rock bottom in both quality of care and support systems. Utah, on the other hand, has achieved a pinnacle in quality care. The state can boast the finest of healthcare providers and a support structure second to none in this nation. it saved my life. In a perfect world, all states could provide such a high level of quality care and share the same strong tenants of responsible social action. In many countries including Canada and throughout Europe, universal health care is a reality and certainly not a question of Constitutionality. If a national system designed to improve overall quality and value of service can help bring the rest of the country up to Utah's high performance levels, I'm all for it.

There are both heroes and villains in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Technologies, and Service Provider industries. Yes, it all seems to come down to money, who's paying and who's receiving. What about who receives quality healthcare? Only the wealthy?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Moderate" you have been lied to, and you have foolishly believed the lies. Obamacare does not control costs by nationalizing healthcare, if anything it has and will make health insurance more expensive. Obamacare was designed to create more dependance on government for a person's needs. If the goal was to provide national healthcare, they would have taken steps to take over the care providers, not the insurance company. They are going after the middleman to get to the person who provides the service to the public. Also, in the healthcare bill there were new taxes and regulations placed on businesses that manufacture medical devices and drugs. Those new taxes and regulations will INCREASE the cost of care.

Next, you have the cuts to Medicaid, that will either cost our seniors more or else make it so that Doctors charge everybody else more, either way, it will raise costs.

You should also consider that currently what you are worried about was resolved over 30 years ago by Reagan.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Redshirt - I hear what you are saying, but it doesn't change the fact that this country has the most expensive healthcare system in the world per capita and yet covers fewer citizens as a percentage of the western world. It is providing an excellent product, but at a price that is out of control, making it unaffordable for too many. Even before "Obamacare", companies were scaling back coverage. When I started my career, there was no employee contribution part. Today, that part has risen into the hundreds.

So while I will completely agree that "Romney/Obamacare" may not be the right answer, it is the only option put forward to date. The right side of the isle has only put for negative propositions - repealing coverage. When someone comes up with an option, we can debate it on its merits. But so far, only crickets.

That status quo of a demand based pricing model for medical services is so contrary to the what medicine was to be about. It is shameful that we are advocating a return to a system where only those with means will have access. Don't assume employers are going to bail us out on this.

A1994
Centerville, UT

If you have to pass a bill on Christmas Eve with a bare majority of the Senate (using a procedure created by the Senate that is normally used in budgetary issues) you probably don't have a good bill. If the Speaker of the House ever says, "We have to pass the bill so we know what is in it" then you probably don't have a good bill.

Where is the tort reform? People are so concerned about the greedy insurance companies. What about the greedy trial lawyers? Where is the cap on their lawsuits? Why not reform existing regulations so insurance companies have to compete and drive down the cost of insurance?

This bill is a power grab. It has nothing to do with getting people quality health insurance. The CBO has just said it is going to cost almost TWICE as much as Obama said it would. This is a great, big, huge, federal power grab wrapped in a lie.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:A1994

The recent CBO evaluation of healthcare:

In 2010, the CBO analyzed cost projections, which go up over time as more provisions of the law are implemented. In that report, the gross cost to the government for coverage was projected at $938 billion. That figure -- again, the gross cost -- DID NOT take into account REVENUE offsets such as new taxes on the wealthy and penalties paid by individuals and employers who don’t opt into insurance. Those payments bring down the law’s net cost.

The CBO’s latest report updates those figures, but it looks at different years. The new gross estimate is $1.762 trillion. But it looks at costs over 11 years -- 2012-2022 -- whereas the earlier report’s figure was for 10 years. And it’s important to note that the timespan of 2012 through 2022 covers nine years when the law is fully implemented (and thus its costs are greater).

Finally, when comparing NET figures from the CBO -- the projection for those eight years is actually less. The CBO estimated it at $784 billion in 2010 and revised that to $768 billion in 2012.

Obama offered to negotiate with Republicans on tort reform in his STOU. Did Republicans take him up on that offer? Apparently not.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

re Mike Richards
Does the Constituion give Congress the authority to involve itself in health-care? If so, where?

------

US Constitution: Article 1 Section 8

1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, to pay for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

The problem with your “commerce clause” argument is that Obamacare says you MUST purchase a product so we can regulate you! Big problem!

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "UtahBlueDevil" the reason why it is the most expensive is the simple fact that the US has the best, most responsive medical systems in the world. The countries that have the closest response times and similar medical devices and procedures available spend nearly the same percent GDP that the US spends. Take a look at the system in Switzerland, they are the closest to the US in available procedures, response time, and devices available, and they don't compare to the US in response time to a medical need.

So, to sumarize what you are saying is this. You want to get rid of the "Cadillac" healthcare system we have in favor of a cheaper "Geo Metro" version.

To "Truthseeker" you seem to have missed out on the latest CBO projections. Using your numbers, what you are saying is that 2 years of Obamacare is going to cost $800 billion, and we still don't have the cost estimate for 10 full years of Obamacare. Can you tell us why we should want a healthcare plan that will cost more than fighting 2 wars?

Utah Businessman
Sandy, UT

Those on the left are absolutely right about one thing--our health care system is broken. However, AFA is making it worse rather than better.

Until about 40 years ago, health care costs were low enough so that almost all Americans could easily afford them, along with insurance to cover them for the occasional onerous cost (e.g. serious illness). The system broke when we departed from the principles of personal responsibility and accountability. We stopped taking personal responsibility the costs--depending, instead, on two innocent sounding but insidious "evils"--employer-provided "full-coverage" health insurance and government programs. The next logical step was that we stopped holding providers accountable for costs, as now "someone else" was paying the bills. The NEXT logical step was, with essentially nobody caring what the costs were, costs skyrocketed. Just one of many examples--between 1970 and 2005, the average cost of a day in a SLC hospital multiplied over 100 times--from less than $100 to about $10,000. During that period, salaries and wages AND essentially all of our living expenses (other than health care) multiplied just 5-10 times.

The answer is not European-style programs--it is a return to basic American principles.

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