The US Supreme Court is now hearing arguments about the Healthcare Reform act derisively called “Obamacare” by opponents. The transcripts are online should you eish to delve into them yourself. I, however, would like to summarize the questioning of Justice Alito: he is asking questions that show he lacks a fundamental basis of knowledge about economies and insurance specifically.
What kind of points is Alito making that makes me think he is a nincompoop? Alito said to the ACA lawyer:
…the mandate will require young, healthy people to pay more per year for insurance than they would pay for health care out-of-pocket, thus forcing them “to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.”
Ummm, yeah that’s what insurance is you stupid git! If you’re healthy the money goes into a pool and when you are not, you draw from that pool. And everybody experiences medical problems at some point in their lives….duh….. Justice Ginsburg, bless her heart, said the same thing but in a much nicer tone.
But Alito is not alone in his idiocy, Justice Scalia is making similar points. Scalia proposed a hypothetical case of a broccoli mandate (yes he meant we would be forced to buy and consume broccoli by the government). This kind of “slippery slope” argument is border-line retarded because the hypothetical must be “reasonably possible” situation. Justice Thomas, who hasn’t asked a single question, seems to already have made up his mind. Indeed, the 4 conservative Justices came into the argument with their minds made up. Now they are simply looking for arguments to support their views like the good little ideologues they are. Justice Kennedy, the perpetual fence sitter seems to be swayed by the conservative arguments. Whereas the liberal Justices appear to be asking intelligent questions and truly hulling over the issue of the mandate.
With all this in mind, I am forecasting right now that they will split 5-4 along party lines ruling against the individual mandate but leaving most of the rest of the law intact. Sadly, without the mandate, it will not do much to curb costs, which was one of the major goals for healthcare reform in the first place. On the other hand, this may be an opportunity for Congress to revisit the issue, after the election when politicians behave more rationally, and then Liberals can push, once again, for “Medicare for all”, I.e., the Public Option. I’m a dreamer-what can I say?