General Question

bkcunningham's avatar

A Federal District Court Judge in Florida has ruled the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is unconstitutional. What are your thoughts?

Asked by bkcunningham (18347 points ) January 31st, 2011

At issue are pure matters of law: the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause, and of the unfunded Medicaid expansion under the Spending Clause, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. Early in the decision Federal District Judge Roger Vinson signals he sees the case as one about federalism:

“I emphasized once before, but it bears repeating again: this case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation, or whether it will solve or exacerbate the myriad problems in our health care system. In fact, it is not really about our health care system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of the federal government.”

The actual ruling is here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47905937/Health-Care-Ruling-by-Judge-Vinson

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

125 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

Yayyyyyyy! [ Does the “Happy” dance! ]

VS's avatar

My immediate thought is that there IS still some sanity left on the Federal bench after all.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yayyyyyyy! is right!! ;)
Simply put,the Constitution limits government power.
There is no government power to compel the private citizen to economic consumption or to purchase a commodity against their will.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille

Perhaps this will be a turning point, when we begin to realize that the Constitution is still valid and that government does NOT have an unlimited right to our lives, our privacy, or our money!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, there is government power to compel a private citizen to purchase a commodity.

Two words:

Auto insurance.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@hawaii_jake

So now people are on the same level with machines?? WTF?

It can be demonstrated that government has a compelling interest in requiring people to carry accident insuance should they damage others’ property or injure others. What is the government’s compelling interest in forcing people to carry medical insuance?

bkcunningham's avatar

@hawaii_auto insurance places requirements on the voluntary act of driving. There are very big differences in the powers of the federal government and state governments. Some, not all state’s require auto insurance to get your vehicle tagged to drive on public roads. You don’t even need tags to drive on private roads.

Also, drivers carry auto insurance to cover damage done to others, not themselves. Driving is voluntary and done on public property. People who don’t drive aren’t required to have auto insurance. There is no comparison to auto insurance and mandated health insurance.

Kraigmo's avatar

I’m pissed at the Democrats for allowing Republicans to frame this issue, and they developed a plan that keeps the insane for-profit system in place.

They SHOULD have instituted Medicare-for-all.

Instead, they instituted something that preserves the worst aspects of our system, and then made a requirement that everyone must pay into either an insurance policy or an insurance pool.

The requirement that people spend money they do not have (or else they’d most likely already have insurance) is insanely stupid of the Democrats. It’s also the very reason a judge tossed out the entire bill… due to that very thing!

And I’m pissed at Republicans for actually WANTING the ability of insurance companies to cancel policies for frivolous reasons, and for wanting the working poor to basically just die in pain, and for fearing socialism the way a baby fears the dark.

The cowboy-capitalist attitude of America is pathetic. Socialized medicine works relatively fine in other first world countries. America is the only country that seems to not want it, because its citizens are so easily manipulated by talkradio, cable news, and tradition.

We should have Medicare-for-All with a second tier of healthcare for the rich, so they never have to wait in lines or long triage lists. The rich should be able to buy whatever healthcare they want and through whatever doctor they want.

But America is rich enough to create a system of medicine that treats every resident, on demand. Why is it that this is accomplished in Europe fairly well, but that we seem to fear it here?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@CaptainHarley -Perhaps ;)

@hawaii jake-You are not compelled to drive a car. ;)

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Hawaii_Jake's avatar

When a poor person without health insurance gets sick, where do they go? To the emergency room.

Who pays for that? Not the poor person. It’s the rest of the healthcare consuming public who have insurance.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
bkcunningham's avatar

@hawaii_jake it depends on many circumstances. The age of the sick person, their financial situation, their location, even the sex of the person. There are many, many places to go for medical attention if you don’t have medical insurance.

WasCy's avatar

I think it’s good news.

Most of the problems with “health care” (broadly defined) in the USA are legal / regulatory in nature. Before I get into that, we should mention some of the things that are “right” about health care in the USA.

It’s pretty much acknowledged that we have the best medical schools in the world, and that we graduate more doctors per capita (who stay in the USA) than anywhere else in the world. We have the highest concentration of medical equipment per capita than anywhere else. Doctors earn a better living in the USA than anywhere else in the world. Those are all good things. (If you think it’s not a good thing that doctors earn a good living, consider what keeps them working here instead of somewhere else. Think about bitching to a “high priced doctor” next time you need one in a hurry… and can get to see one.)

However, the doctor’s union (the AMA) is a jealously protected one. Although many para-physicians, nurse-practitioners and even EMTs could provide adequate care at reduced cost for non life-threatening illnesses and trauma, they are prohibited by law from doing so. “Practicing medicine without a license” – and making the license contingent upon acquisition of an MD – is a serious charge, and one that is vigorously prosecuted here.

Drugs that are routinely sold over the counter nearly everywhere else in the world are tightly regulated “by prescription only” in the USA. And nurses, para-physicians and EMTs can’t prescribe medicine. Even pharmacists routinely know more about the drugs they sell than the doctors who prescribe them (which is how a lot of would-be overdoses are caught, because the pharmacist recognizes the overdose condition and flags it to the physician), but they can’t prescribe or sell without a prescription.

The medical insurance industry is one of the most highly regulated in the country. “Practicing insurance across state lines” is almost as ‘bad’ in prosecutors’ eyes as ‘practicing medicine without a license’.

Finally, our whole employment-based system of health insurance only exists in that form because it was offered as a ‘fringe benefit’ (encouraged by the tax code) after WW II. The whole creaky mess grew out of misguided tax policy. Imagine how bad our auto insurance industry would be if it had grown along the same lines.

Jaxk's avatar

@Kraigmo

Democrats had the presidency and both houses of congress. And they had super majorities. How do you twist that to blame the minority party?

And just for drill, socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, I haven’t seen any of them work. Exactly which ‘isms’ are you advocating?

Hooray for the court. Maybe it is beginning of a return to government restrictions.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
laureth's avatar

I think if it were really unconstitutional, the Republicans shouldn’t have been pressing for key components of this reform for more than a generation. Funny how as soon as Democrats get it through Congress and Obama signs it, the Republicans decide their own favorite health care reforms (including the individual mandate) are against the document they claim to love so dearly.

Megan64's avatar

In California and perhaps the rest of the country? it is against the law to drive without car insurance. No one is having a cow about that.

My thoughts are that when all of you retire a majority of your pension will be going to healthcare – and that’s above food, clothing, shelter, etc. Have it your way.

klutzaroo's avatar

What a attention whore this judge is. That’s all this is about. Attention and publicity, not the constitution or anything else. Bet he has further political ambitions.

lillycoyote's avatar

@hawaii_jake Makes a good point. There are costs to society and to the economy that we bear because of the uninsured. Not just in providing services for them but in other ways. A full third of personal bankruptcies are cause by excessive medical bills incurred by the uninsured or underinsured. And is the fact that government should be permitted to compel people to purchase health insurance the big problem here? Can and should the government force private entities to sell a commodity to someone? Should they force insurance companies to sell me health insurance even though they would previously denied me coverage due to preexisting conditions? That’s part of the Republican health reform package.

And @CaptainHarley

“So now people are on the same level with machines?? WTF?”

I don’t think I quite get that one. If people aren’t on the same level as machines, where do we stand in terms of them? Above or below them? I’m not trying to be a smart ass, really I’m not, I don’t quite get what you mean there, so I don’t really understand the WTF.

bkcunningham's avatar

The point of the ruling is as stated above by Judge Roger Vinson: “I emphasized once before, but it bears repeating again: this case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation, or whether it will solve or exacerbate the myriad problems in our health care system. In fact, it is not really about our health care system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of the federal government.”

bkcunningham's avatar

@lillycoyote and @hawaii_jake nobody is saying that not having health insurance is okay. That isn’t the point of the ruling or the point of the lawsuits against the federal government by the states.

Anyway, regarding your point about, “A full third of personal bankruptcies are cause by excessive medical bills incurred by the uninsured or underinsured.”

According to testimony by Mark Rukavina, Executive Director of The Access Project, before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law during a hearing for Working Families in Financial Crisis: Medical Debt and Bankruptcy, “Seven percent of those with medical debt filed for personal bankruptcy because it.” This was in 2007.

So please, if you are going to give something as fact, please back it up.

http://www.accessproject.org/adobe/rukavina_testimony_July_2007.pdf

iamthemob's avatar

This looks like it’s reasonablely decided. I could have done without the judicial apology (which is solely dicta) regarding the “burden” of the Medicaid provisions found to be Constitutional – but hey, judges often use dicta to call for policy changes. As long as the trend toward limitation becomes consistent, I’m behind it in theory.

@bkcunninghamyou’re dealing with two different sample groups – @lillycoyote was claiming a third of bankruptcies, dealing with the population of bankruptcies. Your population was dealing with all of those with medical debt. Many people with medical debt may not file for bankruptcy, and everything that I see supports now that over 60% of people filing for bankruptcy are citing medical debt as a major factor, about a third as the sole driving force. (see here and here).

lillycoyote's avatar

You’re right, @bkcunningham, but perhaps you should take a little more care with your facts too. The testimony you site, that 7 percent figure is based on and references this this study, reference in in foot note XV: Homesick: How Medical Debt Undermines Housing Security. and is the percentage from their study, their sample which was comprised of “1,700 low and moderate income people in seven locations who were filing income tax returns in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” Not just a percentage of people with medical debt, but that particular sample. Not the data for U.S. bankruptcies as a whole.

I’m working on getting some more documentation but here is a secondary source, an article from the Bloomsberg Review that cites a Harvard Study. I’ll get back to you with more.

Kraigmo's avatar

@Jaxk , read the first line of my post. I criticized Democrats FIRST. Both parties are pathetic for the reasons I gave. And no ”-ism” should be adopted by ANYONE. People who think Capitalism should be pure with no socialism are just as ignorant as people who think Socialism should be pure with no capitalism.

The only people against socialized medicine are people who are against socialism in general, and they just want to be politically consistent. (They forget though, they should call for the doing away with Fire Departments, Police Departments, and the US Postal Service, since all those things funded by socialist economics).

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
bkcunningham's avatar

@lillycoyote you and @iamthemob are right about the comparison and I am sorry, I didn’t mean to sound so curt. I appreciate something to back up information. The Cambridge study surveyed 2314 bankruptcy filers and interviewed 1032 of these. Over 1 million bankruptcies are filed a year in the US with non-business debt.

http://www.uscourts.gov/Statistics/BankruptcyStatistics.aspx

ETpro's avatar

I have mixed feelings about this ruling. I am far from being an expert on constitutional law, but after studying the individual mandate issue to the best of my ability, my guess is it is within Congress’ constitutional authority. I think that however crudely the thought may have been expressed, @klutzaroo is right that the judge was more interested in partisan politics than in constitutional law when issuing this ruling. It is extremely unusual to strike down an entire law based on one single point in it, then claim that such a sweeping decision was necessary and justified because the law is unworkable if that one point is stricken from it. However, there are 5 right-wing activist judges on the Supreme Court now, and I expect they will take the same view that what they want to happen for political reasons outweighs the Constitution and case law. And to be fair to the right, this call is a close one. A reasonable person could easily see it one way or the other.

I am glad that the judge honestly stated that the desirable parts of healthcare reform, such as the elimination of exclusions for preexisting conditions, the elimination of annual and lifetime caps, and outlawing the dropping customers who have paid for years because they get seriously ill and are going to start costing money can’t work without the individual mandate. That is true. In saying it, this Republican judge pokes a big hole in the Republican lie that they are going to repeal and replace, killing the mandate but keeping all the good stuff. If you actually did that, healthcare insurance premiums would have to go way, way up overnight. Only fools would buy health insurance before they got sick and needed it, and they would drop it again as soon as they were well.

Our healthcare system rates right at the bottom of the industrialized world in healthcare outcomes—life expectancy, deaths from preventable causes, deaths in childbirth and deaths from childhood diseases. We are #37, behind Costa Rica and ahead of Slovenia. We are number 1 only in cost per capita. And we achieve that dubious distinction while leaving 50 million citizens uninsured and nearly that many again underinsured. France, the number one system in outcomes, insures all their citizens for just 11.2% of their GDP while we pay a world record 17.4% of our GDP for lousy outcomes and leaving 1 in 6 out in the cold. So the notion that going back to the way things were before HR 3200 passed is some kind of great victory for the people is patently absurd unless you are a major stakeholder in the health insurance business.

We should have chucked the whole employer financed, for-profit insurance scheme and gone to Medicare for all like France and all the top performing nations in the world have. Keep the doctors, hospitals and clinics private enterprise, just insure everyone via a single payer, the US government. Medicare has already been tested. It’s constitutional. Single Payer has been tested nearly everywhere other than the USA. It provides far better cost/performance ratio than our desultory system. We should have gone with what we know works, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But here we are. The judge will have done the nation a great service if we take his ruling as an opportunity to go back and do it right this time. Of course, that is the very last thing he wanted to come of his ruling. His concern is profits for his corporate masters. He certainly didn’t intend to wipe them out.

@WasCy I don’t doubt you are right about the graduation ration for doctors in the USA, but I would love to have a reference to that information. When you mentioned it, I tried to find one using Google and I couldn’t. Do you have a link, or is that just an educated guess?

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro the judge wrote: ”...the defendants [the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, among others] have conceded that the Act’s health insurance reforms cannot survive without the individual mandate, which is extremely significant because the various insurance provisions, in turn, are the very heart of the Act itself.”

Therefore, Vinson writes, “I must conclude that the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit…

“Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company…just for being alive and residing in the United States….

“It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting — as was done in the Act — that compelling the actual transaction is itself ‘commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce’…, it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place….”

Jaxk's avatar

@Kraigmo

You critized them for not stomping on the Republicans even though they had no say in the mess. Hell they weren’t even allowed in the room. The Democrats LOCKED the door.

And the people against Obama care are against it because they are fiscally responsible and constitutionally consistent. You forget that police and fire are local issues, NOT federal. And the post office is in deep trouble.

crisw's avatar

So all of you who are applauding this-

Look at how many questions we get on Fluther like this one. I see at least one a week, probably more- “I may be deathly ill, but I don’t have any insurance, so I need amateurs to diagnose me over the Internet because I can’t afford anything else.”

So, celebrants, what’s your solution?

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw I appreciate what you are saying, but that isn’t the question. And no offense intended, but the person who was sick didn’t realize they had health insurance. Now what is up with that? Seriously.

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham I do not find the fact that this is something Congress has “never before” done compelling. Before Social Security, Congress had never before required an individual retirement account be paid into by all individuals just for “residing in the United States.” In fact, before the first piece of landmark legislation of every kind, Congress had never before written such legislation. There is no clause in the Constitution stating that Congress can only do what it has already done before. Thank goodness there is not such an idiotic law, because if there were, the 1st Congress and all subsequent ones would not have been able to pass ANY legislation, since such a piece of legislation had not been passed before.

Like I said, the constitutionality of the individual mandate will be a close call. I can respect people who come down on either side of the question, but I won’t accept logically flawed reasons for picking either side.

lillycoyote's avatar

So, bottom line, @bkcunningham Are you asking us whether or not we support unconstitutional laws? If the law proves to be unconstitutional, then that’s that. If that is the question, then what do you expect people to say? How do I feel about laws that are unconstitutional? Well, personally, I’m not in favor of them. I can’t support an unconstitutional law. But the Supreme Court is ultimate arbiter of what is constitutional, not you or I, not the federal courts, should this go to the Supreme Court.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro what he said is never before had Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Thank youy for that completely partisan response. The entire bill was struck down because there was no ‘Severability Clause’. That’s the clause that allows most of the legislation to stand when one section is thrown out. There was no clause on purpose because without the individual mandate the whole bill doesn’t work. This was not the judge that did it, it was the authors of the bill.

It is almost amusing for you to say it was a very close call but the judge was obviously a partisan hack for deciding the way he did. I think you got carried away at the end and forgot what you had said in the beginning.

As for you Health Care stats, I’m not sure who to believe. According to your reference US life expectancy is 70 years. According to the Census buerue it is 78. Seems like asignificant difference. I could go through many of the other numbers they’ve posted but this is not the right thread for that. Just for a sample, if we had the traffic deaths per capita of France another 1.8 million would still be alive. That little piece affects all their numbers and it’s not a health care issue..

bkcunningham's avatar

@lillycoyote my question is what are your thoughts about the ruling.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Sorry, that’s another flawed argument. Social Security was argued to be a tax. Congress has the constitutional authority to tax (see the 16th amendment). They need the authority from the constitution. On Social Security, they had it (at least the way it was argued).

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Nice try, but as @bkcunningham notes in quotes directly from the ruling, it was struck down because the individual mandate was deemed critical to its operation. As to the healthcare stats, I believe actual studies and numbers from them more than I believe numbers pulled out of a partisan’s rear end to suit his purposes.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro what he concluded is that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and since removal of the mandate would make ObamaCare a fundamentally different act than the one that Congress passed, its removal must invalidate the entire 2,700-page overhaul.

The defendents in the case conceded individual mandate is was necessary.

“I must conclude that the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit,” the judge said.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I don’t think the new healthcare law requires everyone to buy insurance. I am confused. I don’t like requiring everyone to buy private insurance, but I do want to require everyone to be part of a health system. But that is sort of a different topic.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie how can you require everyone to be part of a health system and not like requiring everyone to buy private insurance?

Anyway, Under Section 1501, individuals will be assessed a monetary penalty if they do not purchase a health insurance plan that meets the federal definition of “minimum essential benefits.” The penalty for failure to make such a purchase is to be the greater of a flat dollar amount or a percentage of income, phased in from 1 percent to 2.5 percent of income by 2016. The penalty is to be phased in over a three-year period, with the flat dollar amount set at $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, and $695 in 2016.

The law also amends the Internal Revenue Code and provides a number of exemptions from the mandate to purchase insurance: incarcerated persons, illegal aliens, and foreign nationals. There is also a religious exemption for any person who is a member of a “recognized religious sect or division” with “established tenets or teachings” that would forbid that person from accepting public or private insurance.“Health sharing ministries”—religious non-profit organizations where members contribute funds to cover the medical expenses of persons who need assistance—can also claim the exemption.

Exemptions from the monetary penalty are granted to members of Indian tribes and persons eligible for a “hardship” exemption, which would be determined administratively by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The law also provides for an “affordability” exemption, which would apply to workers whose out-of-pocket costs would exceed 8 percent of their “household” income. Under Section 1502, the Internal Revenue Service is authorized to enforce the health insurance mandate and to collect the penalties.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

What the Census bureau is a partisan rear end? And the traffic stats are from the World Health Organisation. Same as yours. I suppose you can bury your head in the sand but that doesn’t change the numbers.

As for the court ruling, yes it was struck down because the Government said it was NOT severable. It was not an arbitrary decision by the judge.

“In considering this issue, I note that the defendants have acknowledged that the individual mandate and the Act’s health insurance reforms, including the guaranteed issue and community rating, will rise or fall together as these reforms “cannot be severed from the [individual mandate].” See, e.g., Def. Opp. at 40. As explained in my order on the motion to dismiss: “the defendants concede that [the individual mandate] is absolutely necessary for the Act’s insurance market reforms to work as intended. In fact, they refer to it as an ‘essential’ part of the Act at least fourteen times in their motion to dismiss.” Thus, the only question is whether the Act’s other, non-health-insurance-related provisions can stand independently or whether they, too, must fall with the individual mandate.”

WestRiverrat's avatar

It is a good ruling. All those opposed to the ruling, would you still be opposed if the issue in question was guns or bacon?

If Congress can require everyone to buy health insurance, what is to stop them down the road from compelling everyone in the country to buy a gun?

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I knew about the penalty. That to me is not a mandate to partcipate in the insurance. It is a penalty for joining the insurance coverage late, because a person wanted to take a risk. Seems the person can just pay for their medical care out of pocket and not pay the penalty, if they so choose. Seeing that this guy thought he did not need medical coverage to begin with. That penalty is probably nothing compared to if he had been paying insurance all along. Previously, said person would not have the option to just pay a penalty and join the insurance system, they would be considered pre-existing condition. Sounds like it is an increased benefit for the individual. Or, am I misunderstanding how it works?

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie That is not how the law was written. The law requires all citizens to purchase health insurance or face a fine. It says nothing of the idea that a person can choose to pay for his health care out of pocket and avoid a fine. That is why we hear so much about the expansion of the IRS. So they can impose the fine through your taxes. (I don’t know the facts of the IRS expansion but that is the idea.)

I’ll add that the inclusion of “no denial for pre existing conditions” is exactly why they require all to have insurance. To keep cost down. If people did as your example stated. No one would have insurance until they had to have it and the price would skyrocket. It’s a bad bill.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite it didn’t make sense to me either. What I mean is, it seemed to me everyone should be required to make the system work, but the way I understood it was how I wrote it above, which seemed illogical to. This was one of the sticking points in the primaries, Hillary said everyone has to participate and Obama said they didn’t. I need to do some research to better understand. I kind of stopped paying attention at one point to the healthcare issue, because in the end it would never be what I really would want anyway, and not my second choice either, if I did not get what I wanted ideally. Plus, I thought I have heard that there are still several million people who won’t be insured, which is pa of my confusion. Is that correct, there are still people who will be uninsured?

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie Sure there will still be people uninsured. The Bill mandates that everyone purchase health insurance. I don’t know the number, but rest assured that homeless people won’t be going out and purchasing insurance. They will fall under a government program like they do now.

You are correct that Obama the candidate stated he was against the mandatory purchase. He went so far as comparing it to legislating away homelessness by mandating everyone purchase a home. Can’t happen. That is where this Bill, ObamaCare, becomes un-constitutional. IF, the government can force a person to purchase health insurance to reduce the cost of health coverage, where does it stop? Can they then force people to purchase homes to avoid homelessness? After all, that costs taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars a year.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite But, if the homeless fall under a government plan they are insured. I still don’t understand who does not have medical insurance, if medicaid and medicare still exist, and every citizen must buy health insurance?

I just saw Romney talking about why it is unconstitutional and he did not say it was because everyone has to buy insurance. He said it is because the 10th amendment enumerates certain powers, and outside of those powers the states decide. I guess healthcare is not listed. He did not talk about mandating citizens buy private insurance as part of the problem. So, it would seem if a state decided to demand citizens buy insurance it would be ok under the constitution.

Meanwhile, the thing I hate about our system is the private insurers, and how it is tied to our jobs. I hate the current system.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie I may have confused you before. The people who state there will still be uninsured citizens are talking about the ones that won’t or can’t buy health insurance. (Homeless, illegals…) You are correct they will still be under Medicaid and Medicare. Please keep in mind that Medicaid and Medicare are not the same as insurance. They are social programs run with tax payer money.

Here are a couple of things to read to understand what Romney was talking about:

According to the Tenth Amendment, the government of the United States has the power to regulate only matters delegated to it by the Constitution. Other powers are reserved to the states, or to the people (and even the states cannot alienate some of these). In modern times, the Commerce Clause has become one of the most frequently-used sources of Congress’ power, and thus its interpretation is very important in determining the allowable scope of federal government.

The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”. Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of these three areas of commerce as a separate power granted to Congress.

Both from Wiki

The Obama administration claims the Bill is Constitutional under the Commerce Clause. This is, in my mind, incorrect. You can legislate activity, but not inactivity. Inactivity being the lack of purchasing health insurance.

I am still learning about most of the Bill myself. I could have some of this incorrect but I think I have it correct.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – Constitutionally, the regulation of the health care industry is something that is arguably well within the powers of Congress – regulating interstate commerce combined with spending for the welfare of the citizens.

The problem is that this isn’t the regulation of industry, it’s mandated participation in it. That’s unprecedented.

crisw's avatar

No one seems to be answering my question above… and I do think it’s an appropriate part of this conversation.

Come on, all you Republican-types. What, exactly, is your solution to the enormous number of uninsured people who place a tremendous burden on our health-care system by relying on emergency rooms for their health needs, who suffer, along with their children, because they cannot afford basic health care? Is it really any cheaper for all of us taxpayers to foot the bills for emergency care when they are desperate and very ill rather than providing cheaper basic care in the first place?

JLeslie's avatar

@crisw I really think many Republicans are fine letting those people get zero medical help. I hope I am wrong.

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw the question is the ruling and the constitutionality of the law. A federal district court judge ruled it unconstitutional. If you’d like to discuss what your solution will be if the US Supreme Court rules the law unconstitutional, I’d be open to that.

missingbite's avatar

@crisw We have offered some solutions to your question. The answer lies in a multitude of places that cover many topics. Allow across state sale of insurance. Secure the border. Bring real tort reform.

@JLeslie I don’t know anyone who would be ok with letting people who genuinely can’t afford health insurance, especially kids, go without. Now if we are talking about a 45 year old person who makes $48,000/year and has cable internet with HD tv’s and iPhones but no health insurance, we may have to talk.

Kraigmo's avatar

@Jaxk You say that I “criticized Democrats for not stomping on the Republicans even though Republicans had no say in the mess.”
Then that means the Democrats are even more pathetic than I initially implied. Because they COULD have instituted Medicare-for-all instead of the pay-a huge-fee convoluted program that they enacted instead. However the bill had many helpful new rules too, limiting the power of insurance companies to destroy lives. But do not be disingenuous: If Republicans had a chance at full participation… do you really believe there would have been any health care reform at all? They believe that legislation like this is over-the-top, socialistic, bad for business, which means bad for all, etc.

When have Republicans in power ever done anything to make health care more accessible to American citizens? When have Republicans ever cared about the fact people go bankrupt just to cover cancer treatments, even WITH private insurance? Oh that’s just the free market, they say. Without it, there’d be no incentive for innovation, they say. (Ignoring the fact that all other first world countries are doing relatively fine with their socialized medicine).

Jaxk , Then you said that “And the people against Obama care are against it because they are fiscally responsible and constitutionally consistent.”

What? Are you ignoring the Iraq War? The Patriot Act? The In Rem Civil Asset Forfeiture Act? The massive corporate welfare that funds the military industrial complex?

That’s crazy to think the people who oppose Obama do so because they are financially responsible and Constitutionally consistent. Generally speaking, they are the most financially irresponsible people on the planet, and their concern of the Constitution is akin to a bull worried about china in a china shop.

Maybe SOME people who oppose Obama fit the description you described. Like Libertarians and such. But most of the others are hypocrites of the highest order. They love big government if it funds killing, invading, or jailing. They just hate big government when it funds saving lives.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite I am not happy about iphones and HDtv’s and no thought given to possible health necessities. That is why I think it needs to be mandatory, because people take stupid risks and make bad spending/savings decisions. But, again, I am for socialized medicine, not how it is set up now. People constantly say they want control of their own money, to make their own decisions, but a significant portion of Americans consistently prove they suck at it.

The reason I wrote such a negative statement about republicans is because so many around me talk in terms of personal responsibility and if you get what you get tough shit. I too care about people being responsible, and the money has to come from somewhere of course. I hate programs that are not funded or fiscally thought through, believe me.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie I believe you! I guess where you and I differ is that I believe Socialized anything leads to more of Americans not taking responsibility for themselves. IMO, the more the government does by regulation, the less responsibility we have to take for ourselves and I don’t believe the government is the answer. They have a major place in our lives and I appreciate that. But it goes to far sometimes.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite There is no perfect solution I am sure. I have much less confidence in people than you do I think.

I would go into why I am in favor of socialized medicine, but I think it will take the thread too far off track. I have been thinking of a new Q regarding the topic though. I’ll send it to you once I can gather my thoughts on what I want to ask. It would not be to discuss why people are pro or con, that has been done before, but rather to really discuss the fiscal realities under an assumption it would be run well.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – BIG assumption. ;-)

laureth's avatar

@bkcunningham – Re: “Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company…just for being alive and residing in the United States….”

It depends who you mean by “everyone.” Are you familiar with this?

Militia Act of 1792

Sec. 1. Be it enacted . . . That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia . . . . That every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder. . . .

Sec. 2. [Exempting the Vice President, federal judicial and executive officers, congressmen and congressional officers, custom-house officers and clerks, post-officers and postal stage drivers, ferrymen on post roads, export inspectors, pilots, merchant mariners, and people exempted under the laws of their states.] 23

That would be the Founders themselves requiring everyone (well, men, who at the time pretty much counted as “everyone”) to buy and maintain items (guns ‘n ammo) from presumably private companies. Looks and smells like a mandate to me. And, ha! Looks like the SD Republicans want something sort of similar again. – sure hope it’s Constitutional! ;)

——————-

@crisw – Re: “Come on, all you Republican-types. What, exactly, is your solution to the enormous number of uninsured people…”

Well, for years, the Republicans backed this health care reform package. A very similar proposal was also put forth by the Heritage Foundation (the first right-wing think tank) as the Right’s Answer to HillaryCare in 1993. (Too bad they don’t still have it up – they scrubbed it as soon as the Left adopted many of the key points of the Right’s plan as a gesture of bipartisanship.) It’s also amazingly similar to Republican Mitt Romney’s 2006 Massachusetts plan. That’s why this whole “unconstitutional!” thing is extra-funny.

iamthemob's avatar

@laureth – I don’t think that the Massachusetts plan can be used as a critique of the Constitutionality of the PPACA. The concern is not over whether mandated health care participation is proper, but rather whether Congress has the authority to enact it federally.

laureth's avatar

@iamthemob – You have a (small) point. However, it still stands as a Republican-backed plan, and one that they have put forth as a Federal plan for decades. You would think that someone would have stopped them by now if it were, in fact, unconstitutional.

iamthemob's avatar

@laureth – Well, that assumption depends on a belief that legislators focus on Constitutionality over agendas and party politics at the federal level.

laureth's avatar

@iamthemob – That is questionable in today’s political climate, I agree wholeheartedly. However, this plan goes back to at least 1974. It’s an awfully long time for no one to have investigated the constitutionality of it, and besides, the Left and Right mainstream were not nearly so far apart back then. (Wacky wingnuts are, by definition, neither mainstream nor close together.)

bkcunningham's avatar

@laureth I am familiar with this. You did good, except you left out part of section 1. ”...and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.”

laureth's avatar

There’s also this “socialized” health care plan for merchant seamen that was put forth and enacted into law by many of the writers of the Constitution themselves, stating that these seamen shall have a portion of their pay taken and forwarded to the government by their captain, which shall be used to pay for their health care at either private or government-run facilities.

Right-leaning critics who say that this bill is not comparable to the “Obamacare” law because of the absence of an individual mandate. They are correct. The plan the Founders clearly thought was Constitutional was single-payer, the very sort of payment model that the Right says, today, is far too Socialistic for the Founders to have ever approved of. I guess the Founders should have consulted with the Tea Party before writing the Constitution, eh? Except that many were at the Original Tea Party. Oh well.

For the record, I favor Single Payer to the Republican Health Care Plan (“Obamacare”).

@bkcunningham- Thank you. That relates how? Perhaps they could write off the cost of the mandated insurance? You can’t really sue someone and take away their health care in the same way that you can take away guns ‘n ammo.

bkcunningham's avatar

@laureth I have read no less than one dozen articles with your exact argument against the judge’s ruling. In saying that, I have also read no less than one dozen articles with rebuttals to the argument.

The most concise and intelligent rebuttal to the Militia Act argument I’ll paraphrase here. The Militia Act of 1792 was passed under the militia clauses, not under the Interstate Commerce Clause. The militia clauses allow Congress “to provide for calling forth the Militia,” “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States…,” and “To raise and support Armies….” The Commerce Clause, by contrast, gives Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The militia clauses specifically contemplate Congress requiring things directly—causing activity which otherwise would not have occurred at all. Congress is given power to “raise” the armies, to “arm” the militia, and to “call forth” the militia—but it is not given any power to “raise” commerce or to “call it forth” or to cause or compel or create commerce in any way.

ETpro's avatar

@missingbite Allowing sale of health insurance across state lines is the wet dream of those who profit from the industry. It would do to health insurance fairness exactly what allowing credit card providers to sell across state lines did to consumer credit fairness. You wold see the industry use it’s enormous financial clout to fund the campaigns of “very sympathetic” legislators. Then one or two small states would change their health insurance regulations making virtually anything that helps insurers profit legal. OK to cancel policies if the insured gets sick—even if they have been healthy and paying in for years on end. OK to set annual and lifetime caps. OK to refuse to insure anyone with a preexisting condition.

I remember a time when no credit card issuer could charge more interest than your state allowed. Now, companies can get away with interest and penalty rates that must leave Mafia loan sharks wondering why they are in prison. THey give better terms than the credit card issuers.

Selling insurance across state lines will only work to improve things if there is a single national standard which all policies must meet, and a federal board to ensure compliance. Of course, such things are blasphemy to free-marketers.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

A couple of discrepancies. Selling across state lines really is ‘Interstate Commerce’. And as such is under the authority of the federal government. That’s why Republicans can tout the pre existing conditions change and not allowing you to be cancelled when an major illness occurs. Creating a minimum standards, I would oppose simply because you should be able to buy whatever you want or can afford. A broad minimum standard simply reduces my choices.

And I keep hearing this credit card argument but don’t see the point. Credit card interest rates have been quite competitive for many years. Annual fees were dropping or eliminated until this last regulation that has reverved some of those gains. Maybe you’re complaining that those with poor credit pay more but that’s how the process works. The more risk the more you pay. Eliminating that connection breaks the whole system.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I fully agree that Congress would have the Constitutional right to legislate standards for healthcare insurance sold across state lines. But I do not believe it could get past Republican obstruction in Congress unless the industry’s practices become so universally hated that the cost of being their water carrier came to outweigh its worth.

The annual fee was ditched in favor of recurring fees for all sorts of occurrences that the average consumer wasn’t likely to avoid. The fee of $35 50 $50 per year is chump change compared to all the abusive fee practices that got outlawed in the recent re-regulation.

Interest rates are allowed to creep as high as 36%. In Massachusetts, the most I can charge an overdue customer is 12% annually. I have to have beyond great credit to borrow money on a card and finance the deadbeat customer.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If I close my eyes and not think about the maddening state of health care in this country, I stand by the ruling – government shouldn’t have to mandate everyone to purchase anything even if I DO NOT consider healthcare a commodity (and considering healthcare a commodity is a very big reason for what it’s so fucked up). Instead, they should place people in jail for denying people treatment when they can’t afford the 20% of their healthcare costs. I hope that judge never gets cancer.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I wish no one ever got cancer. But tell me who is denying people treatment. Maybe this is part of my ignorance of the entire situation. Help me understand this, please.

The judge’s ruling didn’t have anything to do with health care being considered a commodity. Not really. It was about, in very easy terms and my ignorant way of uderstanding it, not purchasing/or the failure to purchase something being considered commerce.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Here’s where I think we differ. When Obama creates legislation like the credit card reform, he creates a new agency to handle it. Why exactly would he need to do that? If you want to cap the late fees you can cap them by law without an agency to over see that practice.

I have great credit my son does not. I am always amazed at the things loan companies and credit card companies do to him. But they are legal. If they want to make a law to say outlaw loans using the ‘Rule of 78s’ (which they absolutely should do) they don’t need an agency to handle that. It is simply illegal (or should be).

I would rather see us fix the issues for people that are doing the right things rather than reducing the penalties for people that do the wrong things. And we don’t need more agencies to do that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bkcunningham Hospitals and private chemo and radiation facilities are denying people treatment because they can’t afford 20% of their bill which the big pharma assholes are making astronomical so NO ONE can afford that 20%. Happens every day here, it’s my job to help these people find a footing again, through trying to get them some measly foundation support so that they don’t have to die. EVERY DAY, I see this.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir so finding the foundations and other charities to foot the 20 percent is what you do, or advocate or whatever it is called. You seek out not-for-profits and others to pay for the share that isn’t free?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bkcunningham That’s part of my job as their advocate, yes. The part that they don’t pay, they pay for that too or do you not know that Medicare requres a payment of these people who have nothing but SSI to live on?

bkcunningham's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I commend you. I’m sure it is heartbreaking work.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It really is. I’ve done it for a year and a half and I know the ins and outs of healthcare now – I am glad I never became a doctor, it would destroy my soul.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir no. Don’t think that, please. There are wonderful charitiable people who are doctors and nurses and dentists and pharmacists. People who offer all the help they are able to provide (and more) to people in need; with no thought of profit or bottom lines. I’m glad there are people like you too. Keep up the good work.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk The OP was about Healthcare reform, and we got sidetracked on abuses by the credit card industry because it’s an example of what can happen when you lack national standards, regulations or laws, and allow sales across state lines governed only by the state where the seller sets up shop.

I would be fine with legislation in lieu of regulation for credit card suppliers. But again, I do not believe you could get the required supermajority to break a filibuster n the Senate, and the Republicans would filibuster ANY attempt to pass national standards for healthcare insurance. So in that environment, legislation is not an option. The same goes for regulation. It could never get through today’s Senate. So if we allowed sales across state lines, we would soon be stuck with all policies coming from a handful of states where the industry used their massive financial clout to pack the legislature with friends, to lobby, and to craft laws that translate to “Heads we win, tails you lose.”

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I know we will disagree on this but the 60 vote minimum is a requirement because there has been no give and take. Democrats with a filibuster proof majority have been able to ram thorough whatever they want and had no reason to negotiate so they didn’t.

The differences on most of the legislation that has been passed over the past years were deep ideological differences. I know the Democratic stance is that it was opposition just to be contrary but there was a lot more to it. If congress (and the President) start working on the areas where they can agree instead of forcing the issues where they don’t agree, we may actually be able to make some headway and the 60 vote requirement will not be necessary. But it can’t continue to be my ‘way or the hiway’ positions. Stating the Republicans can come along but ‘they have to sit in the back’ or that they should ‘Shut up and get out of the way’, will do nothing to spur cooperation.

I suspect the Health care package we now have will fall. It’s not a ‘shoe in’ by any stretch but it is well past anything we’ve done before (my opinion). If it does, we will be taking up the health care issue again. Democrats want universal coverage, Republicans want lower cost. They aren’t mutually exclusive but the universal coverage is far more complex and requires a major overhaul. It will be much harder to get agreement on that than it should be to get some cost reductions. Democrats still have the Senate and the Presidency, it will be interesting to see just how much cooperation they want.

I know this is all a bit off topic but right now, health care is dead. Something has to happen to revive it. Either a district court ruling, or a stay of execution. Either way, the SC will be the final arbiter. Will they take it up quickly or will it wait until 2012? Will congress be able to work together with that cloud hanging over them or will they continue to butt heads while they wait? A lot depends on how Obama handles things in the future.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I think this shows the reality of the situation. The obstruction was a political strategy, not a response to being shut out of debate.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I know that’s the Democratic talking point but if you believe someones policies are bad for the country, you try to vote them out of office. That’s what I do. Continue to believe what they tell you or think about it. The choice is yours.

Personally I want Obama out of office so bad I can taste it. Not because he’s a Democrat but rather because I believe he’s ruining the country. I haven’t felt that way since Jimmy Carter.

cockswain's avatar

@Jaxk You seem pretty reasonable in general. How can you actually hate a fairly centrist president after Bush? I mean come on, Bush’s “spiritual adviser” was Ted Haggard. And regarding fiscal policy, Bush passed three(?) tax cuts that even his own party began to balk at, has spent stupid amounts of money on Iraq, and passed the Medicare Drug Benefit.

How is Obama so much worse than that?

Jaxk's avatar

@cockswain

It is erroneous to assume that because I disagree with Obama that I support all the Bush policies. It is also stretching beyond belief, to call Obama a centrist. Obama is a big government guy that wants government to solve all our problems. That is not centrist but rather far left wing. Obama has expanded government by over 20% and tripled the deficit. How exactly do you see that as centrist? And if you fault Bush for over spending, why are you OK with Obama’s overspending? A little consistency would be in order.

cockswain's avatar

I’m about to leave the house to head to a Superbowl party, but check this poll out. Specifically, head to p.13 and read the stats on the percent of people believing he is moderate.

Now obviously “moderate” needs to be defined, but I don’t agree with the statement “Obama is a big gov’t guy” based on his record. Tripling the deficit had more to do with the stimulus than anything, as well as making the budget more transparent after the Bush years (I can’t find a source for that statement right now, I read it two years ago).

I didn’t imply I like big gov’t spending, just questioning why you’d be so opposed to Obama’s policies and think the Republican party is necessarily any better.

missingbite's avatar

Obama’s belief system is far left. The only reason he may seem center to some is that he couldn’t get what he wanted done even though he controlled the House, Senate and White House. For some reason, his left wing supporters want to blame the Right for him not getting everything they wanted and they are calling him a Moderate.

In his own words, he wants to redistribute wealth. He is for a Government controlled Health Care System even if it takes some steps to get there. And he wants to to control things including air through government agencies like the EPA since he can’t pass Cap and Tax. That is NOT a moderate.

Flame away.

iamthemob's avatar

@missingbite – People say they blame the Right – I think that’s true.

Those that are really to blame are Republicans, who, in their current incarnation, are just as big-government (if not moreso) as Democrats.

missingbite's avatar

@iamthemob Could very well be. My point is it that it’s just politics. Blame the person and not the name. I was responding by saying Obama is not a centrist. He is Left. Bush spent way to much. The Republicans have done that for years. Now the country is really in bad shape and we have Americans that are pissed enough to hopefully hold all of these people to a higher standard. Let’s see if it happens. I for one hope it does. Spending has got to get under control.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is all Republicans fault. It’s both sides. Obama in the last two years went on a spending spree and unemployment is still in double digits. I know the number thrown around is 9% but we all know that is not counting those that have given up. Of course someone will reply to this and say, it would have been worse. Well, we just don’t KNOW that. We had to rush to sign the spending bill and two years later we still have over 40% of it not spent. What was the hurry. Still a lot of folks without jobs and I don’t know about where you live but where I am the roads and bridges still suck.

iamthemob's avatar

Now the country is really in bad shape and we have Americans that are pissed enough to hopefully hold all of these people to a higher standard. Let’s see if it happens.

I totally agree. I’m crossing my fingers about this one too.

But I think that the only way it’s going to work is if people start turning their backs on both the Democrats and the Republicans. What we very well might need is a revolutionary return on a mass scale from the group of voters to a truly conservative, states-rights based respect for federalism that hasn’t been shown, truly, in either party – and only glimpsed in both.

That’s why I said, in the beginning, I would love this decision if it was indicative of a more conservative and well-thought out movement.

bkcunningham's avatar

@missingbite what you are really saying, IMHO, is that Obama is a Progressive. That is what @Jaxk doesn’t like about Obama policies.

missingbite's avatar

@bkcunningham That is correct. Progressives are generally Left thinkers. Not Conservatives. Obama is a Progressive with left ideology. IMO.

bkcunningham's avatar

@missingbite I thought I’d name the elephant in the room so to speak. And not “generally” left thinkers. They are far-left thinkers.

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham – No, @missingbite had it right the first time. You’re thinking of a particular brand of progressivism. A progressive approach is not, by definition, and particularly in the U.S. currently, mutually exclusive from traditional conservatism. Progressivism is about as far left by necessity as traditionalist big-government neo-cons are “far right.”

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob what? Smpleak in smplain splenglish for me today. Splease. ; ) It is Super Bowl Sunday and I’m all alone in Florida. hiccup

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham – Ha! I’m only saying that @missingbite was right in describing progressivism has a tendency to skew left with policies that it supports – but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a far-left point of view.

Many progressivist policies can be seen as a counter to traditionalism, especially that of the new conservatives, which is an attempt to regulate social policy through government as much as any liberal ideology.

bkcunningham's avatar

the POTUS is on with O’Reilly! Watch and ask a question @iamthemob

iamthemob's avatar

If I had television I would. However, I find media news to be distracting from actual information.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob okay. I will fill you in on the interview. You can trust me. Reader’s Digest version. O’Reilly was brilliant. Obama…no tie…not so much.

laureth's avatar

A Conservative asks, Is Obama a Socialist?

Obama is far-left only in relation to a far-right observer. To people closer to the moderate viewpoint, Obama is moderate. And believe it or not, to people who sit left-of-center, especially far-left, Obama looks, well, sorta right. Seriously.

This is another take on things.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth I sit just fairly center right. Having read a lot about Obama, I feel he is pretty far left. We can go round and round about where he is and you are correct it will depend on where we are. I look at it this way. The far left was ecstatic to get Obama elected as he was the most Liberal Senator in the US Senate (his record of voting) only to start calling him Moderate or leaning right when he failed to get his House and Senate to pass legislation they wanted. Now even George Soros has stated that if Obama can’t get what the Far left wants done they will replace him. The far left knows his personal views are far left. He got in office and realized it is harder to govern that way without most of America saying no.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite I consider myself a left of center moderate, and there is no way I think Obama is far left. During the primaries he spoke of giving people the ability to opt out of universal health care, Hillary said it would not work and it should be mandatory like Medicare. Obama spoke of not being sure gay marriage should be called marriage. Obama made a deal I never would have made regarding taxes, I would have let them all expire on everyone if the right was going to hold out. Obama speak often about preventing unwanted pregnancy, and although even the far left would like people to use birth control, they don’t worry much about the amount of abortions being done. He is not far left from where I sit. The crazy right, I am not saying the whole right is crazy, I am just talking about the crazy extremists, the left has crazy people too of course; anyway, the crazy racist, fear mongering part of the right, came up with Obama not being born in America, he is a Muslim, he is black, and he is the most extreme left politican out there. It seems to me the reasonable right still holds onto the part that Obama is extremely left, and ignores the other stuff because they aren’t racist or worried if he is Muslim, or believes he is Christian, etc. I suspect part of the left that really was excuted about Obama, was excited because of what he represented as a black man, but I don’t see how he can be viewed as far left, even though I accept many of his supporters are far left.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie Look at his voting record and not what he says. Since you brought up abortion, you should know that Obama is very pro abortion. He believes that a baby born from a botched abortion should not have rights.

_Obama has consistently refused to support legislation that would define an infant who survives a late-term induced-labor abortion as a human being with the right to live. He insists that no restriction must ever be placed on the right of a mother to decide to abort her child.
On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only Illinois senator who rose to speak against a bill that would have protected babies who survived late term labor-induced abortion. Obama rose to object that if the bill passed, and a nine-month-old fetus survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was deemed to be a person who had a right to live, then the law would “forbid abortions to take place.” Obama further explained the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not allow somebody to kill a child, so if the law deemed a child who survived a late-term labor-induced abortion had a right to live, “then this would be an anti-abortion statute.“_

That one thing alone shows me he is not center or moderate. Call him what you want. I call him Left.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite Is that the one thing that makes you feel he is far left? His stance on this one issue? You don’t have to name others, I am just wondering if this example about abortion is what clinches is for you.

The way I remember it, in the US, there is no legal abortion after viability unless there is medical reasons for the mothers safety or the child has severe abnormalities. This may vary by state? But, I know regarding Roe V. Wade it was first evaluated by trimesters, but then the wording was later changed by the supreme court to viablity as technology improved. I don’t even think a 9 month abortion is legal in the US? Is it? I have to wonder exactly what was entailed in the legislation he voted against? It seems like he was worried about a slippery slope? It’s like the partial birth ban. That ban does not ban late abortions. It only bans a particular type of late abortion. But, to us lefties on the issue, we just see it as chipping away at a woman’s right to abortion.

Honestly, there is all sorts of grey area on these things. A woman who works with my husband has a downs syndrome child. She refuses to have a feeding tube put into the infant, and the child suffers and is not thriving. I am surprised there has not been a court order to have it done. She is basically let this child have a slow death, but really good she didn’t abort. I have no idea if you are pro-choice or not, I am not making any assumptions, because even people who are pro-choice draw lines in when abortion feels acceptible, I do. But, I worry about the pro-life movement enough that I worry about any restrictions on abortion.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie Without getting to far sidetracked, all I will say is that his stance on abortion is only one of the reasons I find him to be way more left than I feel comfortable supporting.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite Fair enough. I don’t deny he is towards the left, extreme left in some cases.

Jaxk's avatar

@cockswain

I saw your poll. It shows 45% think he is left, 40% think he is center and 11% think he is right (no pun intended). That would indicate a pretty heavy left leaning position (as far as opinions are concerned). And this is a dramatic shift to the right from his earlier polling. I would consider this as support for my position.

And you have to remember that the stimulus was used to increase government budgets considerably and it was followed by Omnibus that again expanded government budgets by another 10%. Also the cash for clunkers, housing bailouts, unemployment extensions, etc. were in addition to the stimulus. Not to mention that the government takeover of the auto industry and banks was an unprecedented move. And the government control of private sector salaries (remember the pay Czar) is about as far left as you can get. And of course the government takeover of health care would be a wet dream for Carl Marx (or is that Groucho)

JLeslie's avatar

I think maybe the problem for me is when someone says Democrat or liberal, I think they are left on many issues, but have some things where they might be moderate or even conservative on some topics. When someone tosses around the word left, it conjures up a more mindless, follow the extreme people in the party feeling in me. Some of it is semantics.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

Actually the whole abortion issue is more complex. The issue of the mothers health can be as simple a depression. They have begun to administer lethal injections to the fetus to insure the fetus is dead. I suppose it all depends on how far you’re willing to go to make sure that abortions are open to everyone at all times. The slippery slope is indeed alive and works both ways.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I had thought the baby is always terminated before being taken from the mother, because of how the law is written, and it seems like it is probably more humane. I would need to do more research I guess. Maybe tomorrow, as I am just about to turn in for the night.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Oh, and your link says abortions are not done after 24 weeks, which reinforces what I thought about 9 month abortion not being possible, although it does seem it can vary by state. I have to look that up also. Ok. Thanks.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie Here’s a link that gives spin-free honest information about late-term abortions.

bkcunningham's avatar

If you guys want to have an abortion discussion, please start another question. I watched this going off topic hoping it would go back on subject. It seems to be shifting more and more away from the original general question. I don’t want your discussion flagged and deleted. Just stay on topic please.

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham Excellent point. Sorry for my part on the derailment.

Jaxk's avatar

@bkcunningham

At least it had to do with health care. But thanks for the slap, point well taken :-)

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
mrrich724's avatar

My thoughts (before I read everything above, so please forgive me, b/c I’m not sitting down) are that the government does not create anything, therefore they have nothing to give without first stealing it from someone else!

I don’t need higher taxes to subsidize the cost of other peoples’ health insurance.

While the world is not as black and white as that, the role of the government should be, lest we give the establishment the permission to do what “it” pleases at the free peoples’ expense!

I agree, it is unconstitutional. But we live in a world where FDR and his “new deal” guaranteeing everyone the right to practically everything but a new xBox 360, is seen as benevolent. I don’t see it that way. People should have the right to pursue their freedoms unhindered, but not everybody will get it. That’s the way of the world!

Kraigmo's avatar

We should learn from other countries. Quit sucking the ****s of the insurance companies. And enact socialized Medicare-for-all, with small copayments, and a 2nd tier of higher quality healthcare for the rich so they can have what they want, while funding the the 1st tier of commonized care. It’s the only way to serve the nation, while saving money, overall.

mrrich724's avatar

@Kraigmo Yes, they should quit suckin’ . . . but as long as the big wigs are paying good money to be sucked off, the sucking shall continue.

ETpro's avatar

@mrrich724 That’s certainly true.

@Kraigmo Copy that.

@mrrich724 Well that sucks. :-)

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther