"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

America At The Crossroads

Last week, the SCOTUS listened to three days of arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare.  Based on the stunning incompetency displayed by the Solicitor General as well as the pointed questions posed not only by the conservative justices but some of the progressive ones, it looks pretty promising that the Court will strike at least the individual mandate down, if not the whole legislation. 

If parts of this legislation survive, that would be disastrous in my opinion. 
This is an unworkable legislation because it was meant to be.  How do we know this?  Simple.  The U.S. healthcare is burdened by an inefficient third party payor system, which is further disadvantaged by anti competitive regulations and a run away litigous legal environment frought with abuse.  Any body of responsible legislators would have taken the above problems one by one and fix them by injecting free market based solutions like opening the HC market to competition, undertaking serious tort reform (which in itself would cut about 15% off existing costs), and encouraging the use of MSAs.
This body of legislators, however, did nothing at all to open the insurance market to interstate competition, institute any resemblence of tort reform, or facilitate use of MSAs (in fact Obamacare effectively does away with catastrophic care policies that allows consumers to pay for minor stuff out of pocket).  Instead, the government is poised to decide what is "approved" coverage under HR3590.

In other words, Obamacare is doomed to fail as it stands today, but it is even more destructive without the individual mandate.  If the Justices decide to let congress fix the individual mandate portion of the law without striking all of it down, do not expect the Obama Administration to write off the remaining portions of what happens to be the crown achievement of any socialist at heart.  In fact, I do believe that this would be a gift to the collectivist Democrat ideologues in that it would hasten the demise of the healthcare system as it exists, facilitating the passage to full blown socialized health care.
I am, therefore, tampering my optimism with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially since the SCOTUS has a history of taking decisions that are true head scratchers. 

Some view this as an argument for health care, but the correct argument is liberty vs. totalitarianism. Plato stated the best ruler would be the Philosopher King but concluded we would never have one based on human nature so you had to watch out for strong central government. Good King today, bad King tomorrow: it does not matter so much if you have controls on the King in the first place. The Federal Government has become the King and most Americans today have become the serfs - at least in spirit.  May god give wisdom to the nine Justices who are faced with making the most critical determination in the Court's recent history.

No comments: