After the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this past year, many states’ attorneys general mounted a legal assault on it, arguing that the federal government does not have the authority to mandate individuals to purchase insurance coverage if they have none.
Judge Henry Hudson, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced yesterday that he would have a decision ready by the end of the year that would determine the fate of the most crucial provisions of the health care reform legislation. The argument on the side of those who oppose the law is that there exists no constitutional government authority to purchase a commodity (health care insurance).
The argument of those who support it is that under the commerce clause of the Constitution, that health care is a market, that everyone gets it regardless of insurance coverage. Therefore, Congress has the right to pass a law that requires us to have it.
We all get health care, it’s question of when and how we pay for it. If you don’t have insurance, and you have a heart attack, you go to the hospital, where you get care, regardless of your ability to pay. If you don’t have insurance, your bill is going to be sky high. If you have assets, you have to pay it (meaning that you’re screwed and you might lose your home) and if you don’t, the hospital ends up paying it (meaning that the hospital is screwed). Either way, the cost is going to be absorbed somewhere, it’s a question of structuring that cost absorption in the fairest, most economically efficient method possible (hopefully, making the insurance company pay using premiums that the policy holders pay – the entire point of insurance).
I have a feeling that Judge Hudson is going to overturn the provisions in question, and that it’ll go to the Supreme Court eventually.
Frankly, I feel that the individual merits behind those who object are weak. If they prevail, I say we stop forcing everyone to buy auto insurance. Insurance companies wouldn’t stand for it. But, if you’re going to have a consistent approach to the law, you have to have it all one way, or all the other. The insurance industry can’t have it both ways.