TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Attorneys general from 13 states -- including Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff -- sued the federal government Tuesday, claiming the landmark health care overhaul is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed it into law.
This is the same Attorney General who claims we don't have the resources to enforce the Utah State Constitution, yet we somehow magically have the resources now to take up a challenge to the first bill -- the first few baby steps -- to reform the horribly broken, incredibly expensive bureaucracy that is the US healthcare system?
I understand that, without a public option, this amounts to an unfunded mandate like No Child Left Behind. And that execrable act at a cost of around $30Bn a year, leaving $9Bn a year to be made up by the states, still never received as much criticism as this one.
"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit says.
Legal experts say it has little chance of succeeding because, under the Constitution, federal laws trump state laws.
Let me get this straight. I'm in good health. My kids are in good health. My wife is in good health. As a taxpayer, I'm already funding health care coverage and retirement for America's over-fifty majority through FICA, and capped my Social Security benefits years and years ago... I will never see a dime of the $13,500 max (EDIT: Uhh, that's changed. It's over $15,000 as of 2010) the federal government is allowed to take from me every year. My employer pays $700 a month for my health insurance, and I pay $810 a month for it. So the total cost of health insurance -- not including dental, vision, and life insurance -- is over EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR. Add that to FICA -- which is really just a big, charitable donation at this point -- and between the Feds and the insurance monopolies, I am out potentially over $30K a year.
Thirty. Thousand. Dollars. To pay for somebody else's retirement, somebody else's health care, and oh, by the way, a few hundred bucks of health care for me and my kids every year.
My employer refuses to give me a raise. Know why? The rising cost of health care, they tell me, IS my raise. And the amount I'm paying for health care DOUBLED over just the past nine years. We have to do SOMETHING to curb this crisis, and I'm just happy to see someone have the constituency and courage to finally get started on the process.
Then the AG for my state gets a bug in his butt to kowtow to the insurance company lobbyists, and here we are. I'm already subsidizing someone here. In my point of view, all this bloody bill does is show the average taxpayer who it is they're paying for.
In Michigan, the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, a Christian legal advocacy group, sued on behalf of itself and four people it says don't have private health insurance and object to being told they have to purchase it.
You know, I get this part. The Feds mandating that every American buy private health insurance is a little bit grating. We should really have a low-cost, minimal-coverage public option that everybody could pay for if they don't have other coverage.
Oh, wait. The right wing and insurance lobby killed the Public Option. Now they are the ones grousing about not having a public option. What the heck?
But I kind of see the point now. See, without a Public Option, this bill is an absolutely enormous win for the insurance lobby. Now everybody HAS to have insurance! What a marvelous recruiting opportunity for insurance companies!
The lawsuit claims the bill violates the 10th Amendment, which says the federal government has no authority beyond the powers granted to it under the Constitution, by forcing the states to carry out its provisions but not reimbursing them for the costs.
Right. Just like NCLB did. And all these Attorneys General lined up to block that pig-headed, anti-education mandate under George Bush, Jr.
Oh, wait. They didn't.
Other changes would not kick in until 2014.
That's when most Americans will for the first time be required to carry health insurance -- either through an employer or government program or by buying it themselves. Those who refuse will face tax penalties.
"This is the first time in American history where American citizens will be forced to buy a particular good or service," said Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, explaining why his state joined the lawsuit.
Actually, untrue. We are required to purchase auto insurance if we drive an automobile. We are currently required to purchase health insurance if we don't have the cash to pay for huge medical bills out-of-pocket, bills that are so huge because we've already been forced to fund emergency-room visits for uninsured individuals and fund huge lawsuits which are the legal community's equivalent of winning the lottery.
Why not insurance-industry reform instead? Let's have some oversight over the out-of-control insurance industry that charges extortionate sums and refuses to cover many of the claims. We know now that the past forty years of incredible rise in medical costs can be laid at the foot of the insurance companies, not technology or litigation.
Oh, that's right. We can't reform the insurance industry. They are making unheard-of profits, and own most of our politicians. That's the only reason the current health-care bill saw the light of day: because despite the hugely-divisive nature of health care reform, this one is just enough of a sweetheart deal for the insurance industry to buy key politicians who might have considered voting against it... or voting in some other reforms.
Can you tell I'm ambivalent about this bill? I'm optimistic, but given that the public option was excised from the bill in order for it to pass, I look at it now as more charity for the bloated, unproductive insurance industry... and we need to fix that as soon as possible.