Quotes of the day

posted at 8:45 pm on April 1, 2012 by Allahpundit

“Although it would be folly to predict what the court will conclude, policy experts, insurers, doctors and legislators are now seriously contemplating the repercussions of a complete change in course two years after the nation began to put the law into place…

“The most ambitious provisions would be nearly impossible to salvage, like the requirement that insurers offer coverage even to those with existing medical conditions and the broad expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor. Popular pieces of the legislation might survive in the market, like insuring adult children up to age 26 through their parents’ policies, along with some of the broader changes being made in the health care system in how hospitals and doctors deliver care…

“‘The part I struggle with is how you undo two years worth of implementation,’ said Dr. Glen R. Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. ‘It would leave tremendous uncertainty about what is the direction we’re going in and that uncertainty would obviously affect the patients directly.’”

***

“‘A decision in the challengers’ favor … would lead to probably an array of attacks on different parts of the federal regulatory state because for the first time, you have five justices who are going to take very seriously limits on Congressional power,’ Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog, said at a POLITICO Pro briefing just before last week’s oral arguments.

“‘And so, a lot of things that Congress does that maybe framers of the Constitution would have thought are beyond what the true regulation of interstate commerce is — but which the modern Supreme Court has blessed — would be back on the table,’ Goldstein added…

“‘Is the court going to become a dedicated foe of all manner of social legislation?’ Lazarus asked. ‘If anything amounts to micromanaging rational choices by Congress, it’s this. Everyone acknowledges that it’s well within Congress’s power to regulate the health care market. … For a court to find a way to overturn that, second-guess that choice, I can’t think of a more radical transformation. The court would be basically reneging on the judicial restraint commitment it made in 1937-38 during the Roosevelt era.’”

***

“[I]t seems to me that a succinct answer to Justice Scalia’s question is that the commerce clause would not limit Congress’s ability to regulate broccoli — if members of the House and Senate were crazy enough to pass legislation requiring all of us to eat green vegetables and if that were deemed a rational way to regulate commerce. The same could be said of health clubs…

“Congress has the constitutional power to pass many bills that would strike most people as idiotic, but as a popularly elected assembly, it doesn’t. The Supreme Court itself has said: ‘The principal and basic limit on the federal commerce power is that inherent in all Congressional action — the built-in restraints that our system provides through state participation in federal governmental action. The political process ensures that laws that unduly burden the states will not be promulgated.’ And absurd bills like a broccoli mandate are likely to fail other constitutional tests…

“It seems curious that opponents of the health care law are now looking to the commerce clause, as opposed to the Bill of Rights, as a bulwark of individual liberty.”

***

“If there is a legitimate challenge to the law, my hunch is that it is likely to come over the question of whether the individual mandate is as narrowly drawn as possible to achieve its objective. If regulating the interstate market for health care requires regulating health insurance, and if assuring a healthy insurance market requires solving the problem of free-riders who drive up premiums and taxes for everyone else, then isn’t the solution to require everyone to buy ‘catastrophic’ insurance?

“Roberts asked that question twice, but got no satisfactory answer, either from the solicitor general or any of the other justices. The reason is that there is no good answer. The safer ground for health reform was always to base it, at least initially, on policies that cover major medical events such as a heart attack, a premature birth, or treatment of cancer or a serious chronic condition. Yet such an approach has always been rejected out of hand by liberal Democrats and powerful ‘disease lobbies’ who were intent on finally achieving health-care coverage that was both universal and comprehensive. Now their over-reaching has not only driven up the cost of health reform and made it difficult to win broad political support, but has also put the entire law in constitutional jeopardy.

“In the end, Roberts will see the institutional peril in overturning the most significant piece of domestic legislation in a generation, particularly in the wake of the overtly partisan decisions of Bush v. Gore and the Citizens United. With Kennedy in tow, the chief is likely to articulate a modest new limit on Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce that would allow health reform to proceed in some fashion.”

***

“[I]n this case, nobody has said they want to stop government from providing universal access to health care. On the contrary, the plaintiffs have stated that a program like Medicare, in which the government provides citizens with insurance directly, would be clearly constitutional. They’ve also stated that a scheme of compulsory private insurance would be constitutional if somehow the government could make people buy it when they show up at the hospital — suggesting, as Elena Kagan stated, that the only problem with the Affordable Care Act is temporal.

“Most amazing of all: The plaintiffs have conceded that a universal health insurance program would be constitutional if, instead of penalizing people who decline to get insurance, the government enacted a tax and refunded the money to people who had insurance. As Sonia Sotomayor noted, functionally such a scheme would be exactly the same as the Affordable Care Act. Both the plaintiffs and some of the skeptical justices have also indicated that the Affordable Care Act would be constitutional if the law’s architects had simply used the word ‘tax’ to describe the penalty.

“Think about that for a second: If the justices strike down the Affordable Care Act, they would be stopping the federal government from pursuing a perfectly constitutional goal via a perfectly constitutional scheme just because Congress and the President didn’t use perfectly constitutional language to describe it.”

***

“[B]y requiring the private purchase of insurance, the mandate kept the true cost of the health care expansion off the government’s books, and largely out of the Congressional debate. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon has noted, during the Clinton era the Congressional Budget Office scored an individual mandate as a form of government spending, which pushed the official cost of the Clinton bill into the trillions. But the Obama White House was savvier in its mandate design, and the C.B.O. was more compliant in its scoring. As a result, a bill that might require over $2 trillion in new health care spending — private as well as public — over its first decade was sold with a $900 billion price tag.

“So the mandate was politically brilliant, in a sense. But its brilliance was evanescent. Founding a new entitlement on an insider-friendly sleight-of-hand made the bill much easier to pass. But it’s made it harder to defend thereafter, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion…

“The reality is that the more treatments advanced medicine can offer us (and charge us for), the harder it becomes to guarantee the kind of truly universal, truly comprehensive coverage that liberals have sought for years. The individual mandate conceals these realities, but it doesn’t do away with them. If it’s repealed or swept aside, both left and right might be able to focus on a more plausible goal: not a perfectly universal system, but more modest reforms that would help the hardest-pressed among the uninsured.”

***

“A 2,700-page law is not a ‘law’ by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there’s no equality: Instead, there’s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It’s not just that the legislators who legislate it don’t know what’s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation’s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.”

***

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If Senators still represented States instead of special interests ( 17th Amendment allowed this to happen) then we probably wouldn’t even be discussing this as it never would have turned up. The burden expected to be imposed on the States would have met opposition and defeat if the States had any real representation at the Federal level.

The States no longer have a representative voice in the Federal government. Senators have to “play” in the same space as the House now to get elected. Which is not what the Founders envisioned.

I’d say repealing the 17th, along with a few others, would be a start towards returning to some sanity.

ProfShadow on April 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM

“‘The part I struggle with is how you undo two years worth of implementation,’ said Dr. Glen R. Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Poor baby, you have it so rough.

You don’t seem to have too much of a problem with undoing 235 years worth of implementation.

Cleombrotus on April 2, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Cleombrotus on April 2, 2012 at 7:59 AM

why doesn’t anyone on the gop mention the 2000 waivers from obamacare…that should be news alone

cmsinaz on April 2, 2012 at 8:03 AM

You don’t hear Ann’s argument enough – the federal government created this mess my mandating hospitals cover all comers, including illegals, whom I presume will still be getting free healthcare because really, how do you make sure an illegal pays the mandate?
Even if you can make the argument that those (young people mostly) who aren’t buying healthcare now and burden the system with unexpected care, should have to buy it, where does the government get the authority to MANDATE that the single gay male bachelor must purchase insurance that covers female sterilization when he will NEVER need it?

ctmom on April 2, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Why the dickens don’t you list the author of each quote in the post, rather than forcing us to click links to find out who said it?

MrLynn on April 2, 2012 at 8:11 AM

You gotta love the clown that bemoans “uncertainty” as he demands that a ridiculously flawed 2700 page freedom-killer law,(that even the justices won’t read because it is laughable) be imposed upon us.

This guy would never run away from a charging lion -fearing what might be hiding in that junglew over there.

Don L on April 2, 2012 at 8:17 AM

where does the government get the authority to MANDATE that the single gay male bachelor must purchase insurance that covers female sterilization when he will NEVER need it?

Or make a bishop pay for contraceptives that murder an just conceived human…?

Don L on April 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Who broke HotGas, no O’turism today.

Bishop on April 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Why the dickens don’t you list the author of each quote in the post, rather than forcing us to click links to find out who said it?

MrLynn on April 2, 2012 at 8:11 AM

It’s Allah’s homage to Maerose Prizzi. You have to open the link to find out who wrote it. Just be happy that it isn’t 2,700 pages.

Resist We Much on April 2, 2012 at 8:25 AM

ProfShadow on April 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Repealing the 16th and 17th would be a major step in the right direction.

Nathan_OH on April 2, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Bishop on April 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Ed must still be on his vacay

cmsinaz on April 2, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Picture of the Day: Freedom’s Just Another Word For … Wealthy, White Men?

“1776 – The Declaration of Independence signed by wealthy, white men.”

- National Voting Rights Museum, Selma, Alabama

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/03/picture-of-day-freedoms-just-another.html

A. MUST. SEE.

Resist We Much on April 2, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Nah, this is the one Too Late To Apologize

Who is John Galt on April 2, 2012 at 8:35 AM

I’d say repealing the 17th, along with a few others, would be a start towards returning to some sanity.

ProfShadow on April 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM

.
That’s a very interesting analysis that I had not read in so short a space before. It’s worth thinking about, especially from the “state vs. voter” angle.

The States no longer have a representative voice in the Federal government. Senators have to “play” in the same space as the House now to get elected. Which is not what the Founders envisioned.

.
This is great! Very succinct and understandable as well.

ExpressoBold on April 2, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Put the Senate back to fighting State’s Issues, hell yes!

Who is John Galt on April 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

MrLynn on April 2, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Because the rest of us would miss out on the hysterical rants of people who think that Allahpundit is writing opinion instead of offering links. You have to watch him in the headlines, they can be a trick also.

Cindy Munford on April 2, 2012 at 8:51 AM

If we mandate Health Insurance, and we all now must have an ID from a federally approved source, can we use that as our voter ID?

And is the process of buying Health Insurance which includes getting an ID a burden for a portion of society? I would like that question posed of Holder’s Justice in one of these State voter ID cases.

barnone on April 2, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Bishop
It ain’t broke, ED’s on vacation! !!!!!!!!

angrymike on April 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

“A 2,700-page law is not a ‘law’ by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there’s no equality: Instead, there’s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It’s not just that the legislators who legislate it don’t know what’s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation’s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.”

This line from Steyn is one of his best. It should be posted and reposted everywhere, and become the driving sentiment for all the Tea Parties and anyone else who is interested in holding on to (or recovering) liberty.

questionmark on April 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Why aren’t these attributed if they’re quotes?

sleepyhead on April 2, 2012 at 12:07 PM

If Senators still represented States instead of special interests (17th Amendment allowed this to happen) then we probably wouldn’t even be discussing this as it never would have turned up. The burden expected to be imposed on the States would have met opposition and defeat if the States had any real representation at the Federal level.

The States no longer have a representative voice in the Federal government. Senators have to “play” in the same space as the House now to get elected. Which is not what the Founders envisioned.

I’d say repealing the 17th, along with a few others, would be a start towards returning to some sanity.

ProfShadow on April 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM

This. Completely. When will this see serious public discussion? I’m guessing after the collapse.

SomeCallMeJohn on April 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

“Think about that for a second: If the justices strike down the Affordable Care Act, they would be stopping the federal government from pursuing a perfectly constitutional goal via a perfectly constitutional scheme just because Congress and the President didn’t use perfectly constitutional language to describe it.”

Good Lord we have such idiots in our country!

The Constitution was written at an 8th grade literacy level for an agrarian culture of the 1700s.

Yes, the Constitution allows Congress to tax. So, yes… they could create a tax to raise the money to THEORETICALLY pay for healthcare. HOWEVER, it does NOT have the authority to spend that money for that purpose. There are 2 parts to the equation, and most people are ignoring that to further their own ends.

dominigan on April 2, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I’d say repealing the 17th, along with a few others, would be a start towards returning to some sanity.

ProfShadow on April 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM

This. Completely. When will this see serious public discussion? I’m guessing after the collapse.

SomeCallMeJohn on April 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

ABSOLUTELY!

dominigan on April 2, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Shouldn’t there be a law against allowing self-admitted Communists on the air?

Axion on April 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

This. Completely. When will this see serious public discussion? I’m guessing after the collapse.

SomeCallMeJohn on April 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Yes. Then Starship troopers :)

Who is John Galt on April 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Shouldn’t there be a law against allowing self-admitted Communists on the air?

Axion on April 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

No. 1st Amendment.

Should we use the 2nd or 3rd or 4th? Personal decision.

Who is John Galt on April 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Part 1

“A 2,700-page law is not a ‘law’ by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there’s no equality: Instead, there’s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It’s not just that the legislators who legislate it don’t know what’s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation’s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.”

This line from Steyn is one of his best. It should be posted and reposted everywhere, and become the driving sentiment for all the Tea Parties and anyone else who is interested in holding on to (or recovering) liberty.

questionmark on April 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Yes, indeed.

At first blush it might seem a bit embarrassing to some that it should take an observer who is not an American to so succinctly grasp and express why this “law” flies in the face of the essence of our great national political genius, and points straight at the fatal flaw inherent therein.

But then, consider that these sorts of astute observations by foreigners have really been a fact of life for most of our history. Alexis de Tocqueville, and before him, Edmund Burke, might be cited for starters. Both Daniel Hannan and Mark Steyn are more recent examples.

Trochilus on April 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Part 2

The idea of American “exceptionalism” first enunciated by de Toqueville in his “Democracy In America,” has long endured, surviving even its most sustained and withering attacks at the hands the Marxists.

And it will also survive a president who has now somehow come to believe that the idea is embodied in his person!

Mark Steyn’s comment is more than just apt. It is spot on!

When we first adopted our Constitution in 1787, I’d observe that no one ever expressed the essence of that specific idea Mark Steyn penned, better than our own Publius, who noted in Federalist Number 62 (the author was either Hamilton or Madison), the following concerning what he called the calamitous effects of a constantly mutable policy:

“. . . It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
. . . .”

Really, has there ever been a better description of the 2,700 page monstrosity so inaptly coined the “Affordable Care Act” which, as we only now know, we’ll likely never be able to afford?

Seems to me that our Founding Fathers’ fundamental concern over mutability of policy, was precisely what was blithely ignored by Obama and the Democrats when they so arrogantly rammed through ObamaCare.

Trochilus on April 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6