Thursday, October 07, 2010

The first cracks: Obamacare's internal logic begins to fail 

The Obama administration has started to issue waivers to businesses that otherwise cannot afford to comply with the law's minimum insurance requirements.

As Obama administration officials put into place the first major wave of changes under the health care legislation, they have tried to defuse stiffening resistance — from companies like McDonald’s and some insurers — by granting dozens of waivers to maintain even minimal coverage far below the new law’s standards.

As the Natty Rev points out, the waivers are in and of themselves a good thing:
The exemptions themselves are good news, since the rule would have forced these companies to drop their employee coverage, leaving almost a million workers without the insurance they had before Obamacare. But it means that these companies now need permission from the administration to offer their employees a benefit they have offered for years. And of course, many other companies—those without the lobbying operation of a company the size of McDonald’s, or without the access to liberal policymakers that a NY teachers’ union has—can’t get the same permission, and so can’t compete on a level playing field, or offer coverage that might entice the best qualified people to work for them. This kind of government by whim, and not by law, is the essence of the regulatory state. We are about to see a whole lot more of it—unless the health-care law enacted in March is repealed.

Exactly. There is a shorter version of this argument, which comes from the Facebook commentary of the salutatorian of my undergraduate class at Princeton, an erstwhile Romanian who escaped with at least some drama during the Cold War.
One recurring tool of socialist tyranny is the capricious enforcement of unworkable laws.

She would know.


By Blogger JPMcT, at Thu Oct 07, 09:47:00 PM:

Democrats playing with healthcare - like children playing in their father's bedroom - something valuable is bound to be broken.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Oct 07, 10:16:00 PM:

Off topic, but relevant.

A Federal Judge in Michigan declared the Obamacare individual mandate constitutional because the Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate 'economic decisions,' not merely 'economic activity.' Which, if you're even passingly familiar with constitutional law, you will recognize as a complete invention.


And liberals wonder why people hate liberal judges? It's because of shit like this; 'I can't find a law to back me up, so I'm going to invent one.'

If this holding stands (and I don't think there's any way in hell that the Supreme Court as it currently consists would let this fly; Justice Kennedy was in the majority in US v. Lopez [limiting the scope of the Commerce Clause for the first time in many decades]) then Congress has the newly discovered power to 'regulate' all economic decisions that conceivably affect the economy as a whole when taken in the aggregate. i.e. everything.

This is a one-way ticket to tyranny, hopefully followed by disunion or civil war. I say hopefully, because if Americans don't have the gumption to rebel against a central government that literally *forces* them to spend their own money according to the whims of the ruling class, we have failed as a civilization; even George III never did that.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Oct 07, 10:33:00 PM:

Obamacare is by definition lawless since the regulations weren't written by the Congress. Instead the phrase "at the discretion of the Secretary..." is used as a placeholder for the regulations. No one will know what the law is until the Secretary of HHS decides what it is. As Archibald Cox of Watergate fame asked "Are we to have a government of laws or a government of men?" We now officially have a government of men.  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Fri Oct 08, 01:09:00 AM:

Let 300 million waivers bloom...  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Fri Oct 08, 02:16:00 AM:

It could be even worse than Dawnfire82 imagines. Some have pointed out that if this ruling is allowd to stand, it could open the door to the government mandating that people not eat certain foods or that people must maintain a certain BMI because if they are "unhealthy" they would need more health care therefore impacting the "interstate commerce" of national health care. The Constitution would be perverted into justifying government control over people's lives that would astound a Stalinist.  

By Anonymous Robert Arvanitis, at Fri Oct 08, 08:15:00 AM:

"It's a feature, not a bug..."

Back to the original point, that ObamaCare forces out private insurers. Well, yes. Clear intent to get to single-payer in stages.

Regulatory interventions always have unintended consequences, create more problems than they ever solve. (See Hercules bersus the Hydra.)

Then in shabby and dishonest fashion, the new problems are twisted to excuse yet more government intrusions.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Fri Oct 08, 10:47:00 AM:

There are so many things that are wrong about this, and full implementation of ObamaCare is still years away.

The high water mark for expansive reading of the Commerce Clause was saying that a farmer couldn't grow stuff on his own land for personal use. The Michigan court would set an even higher mark. Using the judge's reasoning, by virtue of owning land the farmer could be told what to grow.

Given the supposed beknighted intent of ObamaCare -- and its financial assumptions -- how can any waivers be justified?

Don't count on the Supreme Court here, unless there's clear prior political uproar from the voters. Scalia is a whore for federal power.

This is a clear example of the DC-based political class versus the rest of us. Things won't be right until unemployment in DC is in line with unemployment in Ohio.

I'm with DawnFire ... to the Bastille!  

By Blogger PD Quig, at Fri Oct 08, 07:05:00 PM:

I'm seriously beginning to wonder when the first bullet is going to find some politician's--or judge's--gray matter. The continued assault on liberty and the smug self-assurance of the ruling class that we citizens will all sit, down, shut up, and take whatever they dish out, could easily drive somebody beyond the bend. I really think these people have no idea what kind of reaction they are at risk of unleashing. Especially if there is any hanky-panky during or after the election.  

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By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat Oct 09, 07:36:00 PM:

The Romanian part jumped out at me, as that is spot on. They had, and in many cases still have, hundreds of laws and policies that make no sense, so no sensible person could obey. For example, you can't have a library card until you are eighteen, and you can't take out books for anyone else, not even family members. Thus, children can't get books (not that there are that many anyway). But they have books for children, and mothers of course take them out for them. Thus, everyone in town has broken the law. When you have about a hundred of these things in your police enforcement pocket, you can pretty much keep everyone in line.  

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