Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Health Care Bill is Unconstitutional

The recently passed Health Care Bill violates the US Constitution. If the Government can force people to buy a highly regulated item (health insurance) under the guise of "regulating commerce", then what can they *not* force someone to do? In a year and a half or so Justice Roberts will ask a government lawyer this question, and there will not be any sort of reasonable answer forthcoming.

Just so you don't think this position is heartless, it is important to note that there is a lot that could be done to make access to health insurance easier without violating the founding document of our nation. For enthusiasts of single payer, even that could be achieved within the bounds of the constitution, by using the Federal power to tax. Of course the reason this was not done was that the amount of tax to be levied would have been so high as to make passage of such a bill a political impossibility.

A better solution is to introduce competition into the insurance market. If Health Insurance that qualifies to be sold in any state could be sold in every state, there would be real choice, which would put downward pressure on prices, allowing more people to be covered. Equally importantly, the employer tax credit should be eliminated, and replaced with an individual credit capped at a reasonable amount (i.e. that would not cover so-called "cadillac plans"). That way regular folks could look at different plans, see what was covered, see how much they cost, and decide how much insurance they wanted. A bit of tort reform, some funding for health clinics, and (perhaps most importantly) a shifting of costs back to consumers, and we'd be on our way.

Potato Insurance. Imagine if the potato market worked like the Health Insurance market. You wouldn't buy potatoes at the grocery store. Instead, your employer would provide you with potato insurance. Depending on your company, that would qualify you for a couple of pounds a week, or maybe only ten pounds a year. When you wanted potatoes you would ask for them, never quite knowing how much they cost.

What would that do to the price of potatoes? Of course it would dramatically increase it. The consumer would never notice, after all, just the HR department. Potato farmers might grumble about all the paperwork, but they would enjoy the high prices. Now imagine that everyone was required by law to buy potato insurance. How the farmers would rejoice!

Think about that the next time someone tells you this bill was about "standing up to the insurance companies". Wouldn't you love to be selling something that everyone is required to buy?


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