–Can you be forced to buy insurance?

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.

Washington (CNN) — A federal judge in Florida has ruled unconstitutional the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama, setting up what is likely to be a contentious Supreme Court challenge over the legislation in coming months.
Monday’s sweeping ruling came in the most closely watched of the two dozen separate challenges to the law. Florida, along with 25 other states, filed a lawsuit last spring seeking to dismiss a law critics labeled “Obamacare.”

Message to Republicans: Be careful what you wish for. Despite what the Tea Party and the polls may tell you, voters probably will not like having their benefits taken from them. And if this ruling is upheld, it opens the door to a single payer system, which you supposedly hate.

The issue was whether the government could force people to purchase insurance from a private company. So, one thing puzzles me: My state requires all drivers to have insurance. Is this too, unconstitutional?

Any lawyers out there who would like to comment?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

31 thoughts on “–Can you be forced to buy insurance?

  1. Rodger, a lot of people on the right do think that drivers’ licenses are unconstitutional, just like gun licenses, and fishing licenses. πŸ™‚


  2. Come on Rodger, you can do better than just comparing the health-care mandate with auto insurance. Not everyone has to buy auto insurance (only those drive cars do). Moreover, the point of auto insurance is to protect others from your damage, not yourself from your damage.


    1. To consider auto driving one of those optional activities, we can do without, is disingenuous. The vast majority of people drive because they need to.

      Do you drive? Could you do without it? If so, why spend all that money on something you could do without? And if you drive, you are required to buy insurance; I don’t care who it protects; you’re required to buy it.

      Anyway, I favor the single payer system, such as we use for fire protection (hats off to Kevin Carney), Medicare, police protection, public schools, the army, highway building and everything else the government pays for. I’m not sure why medical insurance for those under 65 must be handled differently from medical insurance for those over 65.


      1. Legal issues aside, Rodger you are being disingenuous. Do you know anyone who lives in NYC? How many have a car? How many need a car? Same goes for many cities. NYC is the best example by far though.

        People buy cars for many reasons. Why buy diamonds, why buy active mutual funds, why buy big houses, why buy expensive dinners?

        I also favor a single payer system.

        Which brings me to my last point. You logic is seriously off. This is like a religious issue with you. 90+% of the people in this country had health insurance. The complaint wasn’t over their benefits or service, the complaint is over cost. This doesn’t bill doesn’t address cost and only a small percentage of people would have any benefits taken away if it went away.

        LASTLY, no serious GOPer is suggesting repeal and do nothing. If this goes away then there will be a tremendous pressure to redo it in a a better form. IF they don’t do that they will be punished. Just as the DEM’s were punished for cramming this down our throats.


        1. Single-payer is the only thing really makes sense to achieve universal coverage “affordably,” as the president said at the get-go, although he did not understand why it is “affordable” for government to do it, that is, because it is not about affordability.


  3. Any government can do whatever they choose to do. Citizens gave them that privilege long ago. Just read the books of Samuel to find out how things turn for people when they turn to an institution to make decisions for them.


  4. In most Western countries, the US included, fire brigades were originally funded and staffed by insurance companies. A policy holder would be issued a plaque to put outside their home. If you home was on fire, your insurance company responded. This was deemed to be problematic and at some point (I understand this occurred around the time of the US civil war) we switched to a single payer system of fire insurance. It’s been so successful we no longer think of it as insurance, but rather as a government service. Is this unconstitutional?


    1. Kevin,

      Good analogy. The single payer system, aka “fire department” works pretty well. So does another single payer system, aka police department. Then there are all the other single payer systems — road building, army, public schools etc., etc. etc. But there are government haters who tell us they would like to opt out — but would they?

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  5. Well, with auto insurance you may choose not to drive. With forced “sickness” insurance, you cannot opt out. Besides, some folks actually want to be in charge of their own lives, as opposed to turning their health over to the medical machine. Also, not everyone is an atheist as you are, some trust their God given ability to think for themselves; if you can even imagine such a thing.


    1. Tomorrow, when my rabbi visits, I’ll ask him about my atheism. He might also have some words about how optional driving really is in today’s world.

      I assume you have no health insurance, nor want any, because you don’t want to turn your health over to the “medical machine.”

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


      1. First, be sure your Rabbi lives in Manhattan. Most people there don’t have cars and don’t drive, because they don’t need to, and they get along quite well.


        1. You make the perfect, right-wing, “screw-the-minority” point. As long as “most-people” are happy, why worry about the others?

          I’ve been in Manhattan traffic jams. Wonder who owns all those cars. Tourists?

          Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  6. Matt,

    Yep, 90% of Americans have health insurance. In America, that leaves 30 million people without health insurance. They can’t afford it or have pre-existing conditions, so can’t get it. Don’t you consider that to be a significant problem?

    Ever drive in N.Y.? Lots of cars. All require insurance. Many people in N.Y. need a car, else they wouldn’t go through the agony of driving in that madhouse.

    Then there are the people who live in suburbs and rural communities, where public transportation is not a realistic option.

    Cost and coverage are intertwined. Theoretically, people who have preexisting conditions could find insurance, if they were willing to pay outrageous premiums. Under the new plan, they will find insurance at more manageable premiums. Further, people who are too poor to pay for insurance, will now find coverage.

    Anyway, I pray the Republicans will come up with a better way to cover the 30 million uninsured who now use emergency rooms as their primary coverage. So what are they waiting for? What is their plan? They want to scrap the entire health care program. What is their proposed substitute? Or do they want to scrap this first, then run around trying to think of something better?

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


    1. Listen Rodger this is not a subjective argument. You make no sense and are not being serious. You state: “voters probably will not like having their benefits taken from them” List for us what benefits will go away and what voters you are talking about. At best it is 10% of the population. Of that 10% a huge chunk are 20 somethings who never need health care.

      I’ll leave the NYC thing alone. I hope you don’t believe your own argument. No one I know (all upper, upper,upper middle class people (actually wealthy by Obama standards)) own a car in NYC. I am talking about people that work for major law firms and investment houses.

      So in Roger’s world you just dismiss the 60% or whatever the figure is that want this changed in favor of the 10% who “may” lose some sort of benefit. Here is a hint..don’t go into politics.

      “What is their plan” WTF Rodger. It took me 5 seconds to find a small list of proposals. Scroll down: http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare

      During the actual debate period there were several GOP plans that did not receive the light of day from the DEMs. I am not saying this to say the GOP is necessarily better. They will need to prove that.

      HOWEVER, you are just making stuff up. This isn’t serious analysis.


      1. Here is 290 pages for you to pretend never existed. Your whole last paragraph is flat out wrong. DO you actually follow this topic or do you just like to rail against the GOP and repeat mindless talking points? It is hard to believe the former Rodger.

        This includes such crazy “right wing” ideas as tort reform, etc.

        Click to access RepublicanAlternative3962_9.pdf


      2. 10% of the population is 30 million people. Not significant, those people?

        “20 somethings who never need health care.” Are you serious?

        “No one I know . . . owns a car in NYC” Great bit of research. Those traffic jams must come from horses. And what about outside NYC?

        “60% . . . want this changed. I presume they all have insurance.

        I love the proposals you offered. I’ll quote the main ones here:

        Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.

        Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.

        Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.

        Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

        Let’s examine:
        1. If you can’t afford health insurance what does buying across state lines accomplish?

        2. Same as #1. Those 10% you refer to are struggling to buy food, let alone insurance, or they have pre-existing conditions. I assume your parents pay for your insurance.

        3. What tools? Why are state governments better equipped than the federal government to provide insurance? Do you mean a single state payer system?

        4. This is a phony issue, as described at http://virginiabeach.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/tort-reform-is-wrong-way-to-try-and-reduce-health-care-costs.aspx?googleid=288064.

        There are no ideas here. Just a set of political talking points.


  7. Most constitutional scholars are with you Rodger, and not with judge Vinson.

    Here’s another example that strikes close to home at the moment – if you don’t shovel your walk within 24 hours (or something like that, depending on your hometown), you are required to pay to have a private contractor come and shovel it for you. Constitutional? George Washington required all males to purchase guns. Constitutional?

    This opposition to the law has nothing to do with whether the government has the right impose this requirement in order to facilitate commerce. It has to do with the fact that some people lost, and they are doing everything they can to punish those who won. I would bet that more than 90% of those complaining have health insurance. They perhaps speak of principle. The institutions and laws of a country should do more than serve a set of principles, they should serve the needs of the people, despite Mr. Scalia’s sometime interpretation to the contrary.


  8. Matt,

    I don’t like to rail against the GOP. In fact, I’ve voted Republican more often than Democrat. I admit I never have read the 290 pages, but since you undoubtedly have, why don’t you summarize it for everyone.

    As for the phony tort reform issue, you might read this: http://virginiabeach.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/tort-reform-is-wrong-way-to-try-and-reduce-health-care-costs.aspx?googleid=288064.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  9. Rodger, the burden is on you my friend. This isn’t my blog and I’m not offering my opinions dressed up as logic for the world. The truth is this is a complicated issue and the Dems aren’t angels and the GOP aren’t devils on it.

    Here is what you wrote: “Message to Republicans: Be careful what you wish for. Despite what the Tea Party and the polls may tell you, voters probably will not like having their benefits taken from them.”

    Then when I point out your obvious problem with math you go all bleeding heart. For purposes of your point I don’t care if the 10%/x million die, it is still a minute number compared to those who want the change. Stop moving the goalposts.

    Why won’t YOU tell us all the BENEFITS that will be LOST. Give us the stats on pre-existing conditions that preclude insurance Rodger. Tell us how many Americans get turned away from ER rooms. Tell me how many 25 and under kids use major medical care. Tell us why there are 8 million + people in NYC and 1 million cars but everyone NEEDS a car. Even if we assumed every single car was a NEEDED one (cough) you would still be outrageously wrong (unless everyone has 6 kids in Manhattan and no one had 2 cars…cough). Traffic isn’t evidence of NEED nor is ownership. Nice logic.

    I don’t care about your alleged voting record. You basically call the GOP bullies over and over and have no substance. Then you have the nerve to outright lie about their proposals and aren’t even aware of their existence.

    Oh yeah, thanks for the powerful evidence against tort reform from the Injury Blog Network. Stockbrokers claim they earn their fees also. FYI, I don’t claim Tort Reform is some magic bullet. It is just one of many things that wasn’t even addressed because of the Trial Atty lobby.


    1. Matt says, “For purposes of your point I don’t care if the 10%/x million die, it is still a minute number compared to those who want the change.”

      Matt doesn’t care if 30 million people die. To him, it’s a small number. I think that beautifully expresses the attitude of the right wingers. Thanks Matt.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  10. Your welcome Rodger. Actually I think I just pointed out your dishonesty and inability to handle a pointed criticism. Nice touch.

    Because I am feeling generous, here is some information on those millions and, millions of people with pre-existing conditions that can’t get insurance. The famed High Risk pools in the plan. You know, the one that now has a whopping 10,000 enrollees rather than the hundreds of thousands predicted. 300,000+ were supposed to need this according to people like you. Now after a heavy push we are up to 10,000. Bravo.

    “The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) was created as part of the nation’s new health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act. The PCIP program was designed to make health insurance available to you if you have been denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. PCIP provides a new health coverage option for you if you have been uninsured for at least six months, you have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of your health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing here legally. PCIP is a transitional program until 2014.”

    Read more:



  11. Feb 2, 2011. On a vote of 47 to 51, the Senate defeated a GOP effort to repeal President Obama’s health-care overhaul.

    The right will keep trying, as this law is as big as the civil rights law or the Social Security law, and as the days and months go by, it will become harder and harder to overcome — and Obama will get the credit. These are desperate days for the right.

    My prediction, based on no facts: Eventually this will segue into a Medicare clone, single-payer system.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  12. Clever article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/02/AR2011020203149.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions.

    It makes a tongue-in-cheek “prediction” that the Republican fight against “Obamacare” will result in a single-payer system, in essence, Medicare for everyone. I’ve made that very same prediction in this post, and I didn’t have my tongue in my cheek.

    I see nothing wrong, and everything right, with Medicare for everyone.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  13. Tom,

    I agree that a single payer system ala Medicare for all, is best. When a state adopts a single payer system, it must find a way to pay for it. Taxes are the obvious option. If the federal government adopts Medicare for all, it will not need to increase taxes, since taxes do not pay for federal spending.

    That’s why it’s a shame that Vermont is forced to do what the federal government should do.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  14. I just thought of another one – death. Most jurisdictions require you to be cremated or appropriately buried at your cost. You aren’t allowed to be thrown out in the ditch for the birds and varmints to dispose of. They are requiring you to purchase something and you certainly can’t choose NOT to participate πŸ™‚



  15. The car insurance required is liability only. Collision and comprehensice coverage is optional. And you can’t buy “insurance” coverage for an accident that you’ve already had.

    Health insurance, and especially Obamacare, is different on both points. “Comprehensive” is required, not optional, and the “insurance” must cover pre-existing conditions, i.e., accindents that have already happened.

    Calling it “insurance” is misleading, under those conditions. It is pre-paid, socialized care, not anything risk-rlated.

    I could support a requirement for catastrophic coverage – low cost, high deductible. It would be a more efficient and transparent way of spreading the cost of care for those who cannot afford it. Completely analogous to liability insurance for autos and homes.


    1. John, that wasn’t the constitutional issue.

      The issue was, can the government force people to buy insurance from private companies? The fact that auto insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing claims is not relevant to the constitutional issue.

      In any event, the whole problem could be solved the same way Medicare Part D solves it. If you don’t pay when you are eligible, you will pay more if you apply later. I don’t know why the government didn’t handle it that way.

      Actually, I don’t know why the government doesn’t pay for the whole thing, and be done with all the caveats. A Monetarily Sovereign government can afford it better than its citizens can.

      “. . . low cost, high deductible” . . . “for catastrophic coverage” is fine if you can afford the deductible and if you only have catastrophes. But for low income people, who have everyday illnesses, or can’t even afford checkups, it’s worthless.

      There are many poor people in America. Affordable health care is something the government should and could provide, and makes sense for America, both morally and financially.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


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