THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: The Supreme Court Debates the Health Insurance Mandate

Published on Global Research.ca, by Kevin Zeese, March 28, 2012.

… As the Washington Post reports, the mandate was a Republican idea that originated with conservatives: “The tale begins in the late 1980s, when conservative economists such as Mark Pauly, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business, were searching for ways to counter liberal calls for government-sponsored universal health coverage. Pauly then proposed a mandate requiring everyone to obtain this minimum coverage, thus guarding against free-riders …

Health policy analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation, led by Stuart Butler, picked up the idea and began developing it for lawmakers in Congress. The Heritage Foundation worked with then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) to pass Massachusetts’ 2006 health reform law, which required all Bay State citizens to purchase coverage.”

Someone from the Heritage Foundation came up to us, wanting to take a photo of our sign.  I asked him –

  • does the Heritage Foundation oppose the mandate?  He said “yes.”
  • I told him that the idea came out of the Heritage Foundation.  He looked confused, mumbled an unclear answer “not since 2006” and walked away.

Of course, Democrats opposed this Republican idea.  They saw it for what it is: a massive giveaway to the insurance industry that will lead to their entrenchment and continued domination of heath care.  The idea was used by Republicans to oppose the Clinton health plan. Of course, the Clinton’s opposed it. But, by the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton supported the mandate (by then the insurance industry was a big financial backer of hers), but candidate Barack Obama opposed it. One of his campaign advertisements said: “What’s she not telling you about her health-care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”

So, while I was out there watching groups like the National Organization for Women, who supports single payer favoring this pro-insurance law, as part of a coalition of Democratic Party aligned groups, I thought, what if President McCain had passed this law.  My conclusion, we’d have the same people out here protesting, they’d just reverse sides. This was really not about healthcare, it was about Obama vs. the Republicans in this 2012 election year.

The people protesting followed their leader’s orders, said the chants they were told to say, and held the signs they were given to hold, but they were confused. When we talked to people on both sides the partisan confusion was evident.

My colleague, Margaret Flowers, askedtwo women carrying an Americans for Prosperity sign (a group opposed to Obama’s law)

  • … whether they were on Medicare.  They said “yes.”
  • “Do you like it?” Again, “yes.”
  • “Do you know Medicare is a government program?” A confused look.
  • “Do you know the Republicans want to end Medicare, make it into private insurance?”
  • “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You probably support Obama” and they started to walk away.  “No, we oppose ObamaCare,” the women stopped and listened again, “we think everyone should have Medicare. Don’t you think it would be a good idea if every American could have the Medicare you have and like?” “Hmm, yes” then, more confusion in their faces.

Then, talking to the Democrats showed equal partisan confusion:

  • I explained: “We oppose the Obama mandate because we want to end insurance control of health care. We support single payer, Medicare for all?”  Response: “So do I.”
  • I asked: “Single payer ends insurance, and Obama’s law entrenches insurance more deeply in control of health care, aren’t those opposites?” Response, obviously not understanding what ‘opposite’ means: “It’s a step in the right direction.”
  • I ask: “How can it be a step in the right direction when it is going in the opposite direction?” No longer able to say it is the right direction, spouts another talking point: “This is the best we can get, we can build on this.” Me, trying to figure out the Democrat thinks there is to build on, asks: “But, if we want to end insurance domination, how do we build on a law that is based on insurance?” Unable to explain it, the Democrat answers: “We can’t get what we want.”
  • I say: “Of course, not, if people like you and organizations like yours who support single payer, spend their time advocating for the insurance industry, we can’t get what we want. But, if people who support single payer work for it we could.”  Answer “But, we have to re-elect President Obama.”

Partisan confusion reigned … (full text).

(Global Research Articles by Kevin Zeese).

Link: It’s our Economy.

Comments are closed.