Fields: The Judge’s Faulty Ruling On Obamacare; GOP Help The Super Rich

Guest Columnist

United States District Court Judge Henry Hudson has ruled that requiring all Americans to buy into healthcare or pay a fine is unconstitutional.
Hudson determined that Obamacare exceeds Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause of Article I Section 8 of the Constitution.  The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.
It took Hudson 40-something pages to do it but, that’s what it boils down to.

His legal theory raises some interesting questions.
Exactly how does using the Commerce Clause for mandatory healthcare differ from using the Commerce Clause a mandatory retirement programSocial Security?
More specifically, if you can’t require everyone to pay into healthcare for all, how can you require everyone to pay into a program of healthcare for folks 65 and olderMedicare?
I am pretty sure that the Commerce Clause does not have a geezer exceptionbut, I could be wrong.


For the last year and a half all we heard about was the ballooning deficit that would destroy America and ruin the lives of our grandchildren.
The Republican concerns in the lame duck session make clear that, for them, the deficit is a campaign talking point.
The only thing that matters is cutting taxes for the über rich.  We are not talking about the doctor next door, but the handful of Wayne Huizengas and Warren Buffets of the world.  In the next few years that cut will add another trillion to the deficit.

For instance, Florida’s Republican U. S. Sen. George LaMieux voted for the tax cuts and then had the temerity to complain that “Washington’s politics-as-usual style of brokering has produced a bill that adds billions in deficit spending.”

Republicans in the end did not offer one cent of expenditure reduction.
This could be the Guinness speed record for breaking a campaign promisebut, I could be wrong.

23 Responses to “Fields: The Judge’s Faulty Ruling On Obamacare; GOP Help The Super Rich”

  1. When You're Right says:

    Mr. Fields makes a good point on the Obamacare. I wouldn’t place any bets on it passsing muster from the conservative Supreme Court, regardless of the logic.

  2. Go Back to Original Concept says:

    Congress has the power to tax but cannot require that people use their non-taxed dollars in particular ways. So Congress can’t make you buy private insurance. Only states can do that as in the case of auto and home insurance. But they can tax you for the public good like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

    This is why a public option (which boils down to Medicaid for the uninsured) is an indispensible element if we are to have affordable universal healthcare reform.

    Here is what Congress needs to do.

    They need to leave Medicare alone for the elderly or otherwise qualified.

    They need to extend Medicaid to the uninsured and offer it also as a pay option that employed people can choose instead of private insurance. This will cover everyone and offer price lowering competition on health insurance companies that are screwing all of us out of much more than we should pay with too little in return. Coverage to the uninsured should be financed by taxes, and those of you that think you’re not paying for that now, think again. You are. Over time, it should lower everyone’s costs.

    They need to continue allowing the majority of people who work and can afford health insurance to buy it however they wish.

    They need to reset the cost scale for prescriptions and healthcare costs so that these are reasonable and none of us should have to pay too much to get the right level of care.

    Last, they need to look at coverage itself and allow doctors to decide if patients need certain tests or procedures and ensure those are covered. They have already eliminated pre-existing conditions and addressed the dependent issue until age 26.

    That’s all they need to do for now. Everyone will be covered that way.

    They should let that system work for a while, study the impact of these changes and go from there down the road like with every other program.

  3. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Fields is wrong on Obamacare. Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to force people to buy anything, and that’s all it amounts to. Up to now, the IRS has had no authority to fine taxpayers for anything other than underpayment or evasion of taxes. Congress seems to want to change that. Medicare is funded through a tax not a requirement to purchase.

    So what’s next in Obamaland? Using the IRS to levy fines against taxpayers who don’t by cars from GM or Chrysler? How about fining taxpayers who buy gasoline powered cars instead of electric cars?

    Now let’s get really ridiculous.

    How about putting a federal tax on automobile registration? Instead of $40 raise it to $200. And since we’re now requiring taxpayers to purchase electric cars, tax revenue on gasoline will go down, so let’s add more consumption taxes to electric bills and require taxpayers to report mileage in an auditable form so we can tax electric cars on that. Why not fine taxpayers every year for not purchasing an electric car?

    We need to put a lid on Congress before they put a lid on us. And if Sam is so concerned about the deficit, (he should be) why no mention of the pork heavy $1.2 TRILLION omnibus spending bill that was just rejected because enough of the Senators up for re-election in two years finally got the message from voters in November?

    Republican or Democrat, if they voted yes on that bill, they need to be ousted in 12.

  4. Lorne Marr says:

    As far as the tax cuts are concerned the Republicans are very likely to fall into their own trap when the 2012 elections approach in case the tax cuts stimulate the economic recovery.

  5. watcher says:

    luckily, most constitutional lawyers agree with Sam…on the other hand my neighbors in my well-to-do neighborhood have promised to spend their tax savings on new BMWs and Porsches and put in new driveways using illegals

  6. common sense says:

    They didn’t vote on a tax cut this year. They voted against increasing taxes!! Why do people think keeping tax rates the same are a cut? This will not stimulate the economy. It will only keep the economy from suffering more. The benefit of the tax cut was seen when it was inacted years ago.

    WAKE UP people!!!!

  7. Floridan says:

    Common Sense said: “The benefit of the tax cut was seen when it was inacted years ago.”

    Exactly what good did the Bush tax cuts do? We were obviously worse off when he left office than when the cuts were made.

    The whole “tax cuts pay for themselves” is a faith-based proposition put forth by the GOP; there is no evidence it has any validity.

  8. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Original Concept, just to clarify things, states can only mandate auto insurance if you have a car and a drivers license. If you don’t drive, they can’t require anything. States cannot mandate homeowner insurance either. Mortgage lenders can and do as a condition of protecting their investment.

  9. Floridan says:

    And yet governments can require you to contract with a private garbage collection company, whether or not you generate garbage.

    There are some things that we have to accept to live in a civilized society.

  10. @11:27 says:

    That’s correct. But states can require that if you work then you must show evidence of health coverage. The federal government has the authority to tax income to ensure that all residents are insured. However the feds cannot require that workers use their buy health insurance. There is a difference. As to homeowners, states charter insurance companies and could say that no insurance company that requires homeonwers insurance can issue mortgages within the state. It would be a stupid law but states do have that authority.

  11. @11:27 says:

    Scratch that last part.

  12. sam fields says:

    Dear Kwithcher,

    So if the money paid into Social Security and Medicare was collected by HRS and was called a “fee” it would be unconstitutional. And if the money paid for Obamacare was collected by the IRS and was called a “tax” it would be constitutional.

    It hardly gets any sillier.

    My position is this: as long hospitals can’t turn away freeloaders and taxpayers are required to pickup the tab the uninsured should be required to pay up front or die.


    FROM BUDDY: Very generous of you, Sam, especially at Christmas. Let ’em die in the street!

    Even in the most backward countries, there are attempts to help the sick.

  13. I Don't Believe It says:

    Buddy, I can’t believe Sam Fields actually wrote that last entry that you responded to. It had to be somebody else. Am I wrong?

    It was from Sam. Maybe he’s been nipping on some eggnog.
    He needs some Christmas cheer, some “Goodwill Towards Men.” (and women)…..

  14. S.O.B. says:

    as to the matter of electric cars and emergency room care: as the raod tax is collected on a per gallon of fuel [gas or diesel] how do electric cars have the right to ride in the tax paid roads? no relate it to emergency rooms, if you did not pay for it, how come you have the right to use it???

  15. Amazing Karnack says:

    From the lips of one of the richest.

  16. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Now, now, Sam. There’s no getting around the lack of Constitutional authority to force citizens to purchase anything. It’s as simple as that. You can dance, skip and hop around the issue and it won’t change a thing. Perhaps Congress, the Roosevelt and the Johnson administrations knew the difference. Today’s administration hasn’t a clue.

    There’s no doubt that inequities in the health care system need to be addressed. That’s no reason to shred the Constitution. Apparently, though, Obama and members of Congress have deluded themselves into believing they’re incarnations of Indiana Jones by making it up as they go along.

  17. Floridan says:

    Frankly, I hope the courts overturn the health insurance mandate — it will bring us that much closer to the logical solution: national health insurance.

  18. watcher says:

    the commerce clause is what justice Kennedy says it is

  19. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    S.O.B. – Here’s how it works for emergency rooms. Public hospitals such as Jackson Memorial or Broward General get tax dollars anyway. Private hospitals are forbidden by law to turn anybody away. Hence the $10 aspirin and the emergency room visit for my daughter for an anti-histamine shot with an $1,800 bill.

    Bottom line is that we are all paying for “free” health care for the uninsured one way or another. As for the electric cars, the owners are still paying federal income taxes (if they still have jobs) and they’re paying all sorts of federal taxes with their utility bills. Feds won’t get gasoline taxes from the electrics and there are already states like California that are looking to tax those vehicles on mileage. If we don’t stop them, the Feds will do it, too.

  20. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Buddy, etc
    The poor get Medicaid. Duh!

    What I talking about are the middle class folks who choose to gamble and not buy insurance and then get a catastrophic illness/injury.

    Imagine the guy who makes 50k that chooses not to get health insurance or collusion insurance on his car.

    He get into an accident. He goes to the hospital and the car goes to a body shop.

    The hospital is required to spend unlimited dollars to care for this cheapskate and send the bill to me.

    Let’s go all the way and require the body shop to fix the car and send taxpayers that bill.

    How about people that do not want to buy hurricane coverage? People that loose in the stock market or in casinos?

    Let’s have the taxpayers pay everyone for all their bad choices.

  21. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Sorry Sam, but not all the poor get medicaid. There are those who work for low salaries or even larger ones with no medical benefits to speak of and not enough left over to afford the high price of insurance. There are those who live on other means (yes even inheritance or investments) who still must balance the checkbook very carefully and might not be able to afford insurance yet too much in assets to qualify for Medicaid.

    The sharp dividing line between rich and poor is nothing but a red herring foisted on the public by those with an agenda. There are good things about Obama care yet the law as it stands is nothing more than an agenda driven 2,100 page pile of trash that needs to be shredded and replaced by the labor of intelligent thinkers rather than single minded autocrats who can’t think beyond the next free lunch or free junket.

  22. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Kwitcha,

    If some poor don’t get Medicaid it because they are illegal aliens or have not applied. It’s an entitlement program.

    Obamacare limit’s the fees to 8% of income.

    You still have not answered my question of why I should pay for the care of those who voluntarily choose to go reject insurance.

    FROM BUDDY: I disagree with Sam on this.

    Some lower-middle class folks don’t qualify for Medicaid, but also don’t have enough money to buy insurance.

  23. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Sam, you’re stuck in the dogma of haves and have nots. Entitlement is a poor choice of words because it suggests that everybody is entitled to get something. Entitlements not granted by God are granted by contract. Contracts come with specific conditions. Medicare is an entitlement granted through the Medicare Act of 1965. Specific conditions? You must either be age 65 or disabled and must have 40 quarters of participation in Social Security which is another entitlement set by contract. Social Security requires that the recipient be 62, 65 or 66 and a half or be disabled in order to collect. With 40 quarters of credit that is. Both are more safety net than entitlement.

    Medicaid also has contractual conditions, too. Mostly means testing which includes examination of assets. More than $2,000 or $3,000 in negotiable assets and no more eligibility for Medicaid. Yes, there are working poor who need the safety net when there’s nowhere else to turn.

    Nobody ever said you and I must pay for those who won’t (not can’t) buy insurance. Nobody other than Obama and Congress. You can’t possibly believe those small tax fines for those who don’t buy will pay the fare, do you? The good news is that none of this kicks in until 2014. The bad news is that the 8% limit doesn’t kick in until then. To paraphrase the unlamented Alan Grayson, Obamacare must die and die quickly. It should be replaced with real solutions from real thinkers. Oh, and Congress should be forced to abandon their own health care for whatever replaces Obama care, or Obama care itself if it isn’t.