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Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 in At TMV | 8 comments

Enter The Gang Of Five

What do you say we get nine leading dentists together to decide the future of our Middle East policies. Sound like a good idea? How about nine highly trained auto mechanics, after hearing all the arguments, deciding how the U.S. tax system should be restructured. How about that one? A good way to go?

These notions are of course idiotic. But no more inherently so than what is happening now in Washington. Here nine jurists, who collectively no sane person would allow to apply a splint to a broken finger, will soon be determining the shape of the U.S. health care system for decades to come.

Health care is a demographic issue, not a legal issue. More people are living longer. Older people need more medical care. The technologies and treatments to provide it are proliferating, and many of the best are also the most costly.

The only feasible way to pay these extra costs over the long term, while also providing at least basic medical coverage for not-so-rich members of our society, is to spread these costs over the entire population. Whether you do this with a public health system, a private system, or as done in most advanced and civilized societies with a combination of the two, you bring everyone into the paying pool. Otherwise, overall health care inevitably becomes rationed and its quality deteriorates.

Isn’t that obvious?

While no court — employing just legal precedents — should therefore have the ultimate responsibility for how national health care is organized, the court that will actually be doing so in this country is the one that befouled our political system with its Citizens United decision.

Hold on to your walker, mama. The Gang Of Five is revving up to do it again.

To learn more about a quirky novel from the author of this piece hit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007GC4T3E

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • The_Ohioan

    It’s actually a gang of nine and whether that gang should have the final say on everything was decided in the beginning.

    If the four probable pro ACA justices can’t convince the other five, we’ll just have to live with it. They aren’t deciding on whether to operate or not, they’re deciding who should pay for the operation.

  • zephyr

    “The only feasible way to pay these extra costs over the long term, while also providing at least basic medical coverage for not-so-rich members of our society, is to spread these costs over the entire population.”

    Exactly right. Apparently the concept is too complicated for many Americans to figure out though. Basic math you know.

    As for the USSC, these people have incredible power now, and they are accountable to who? Nobody as far as I can tell. Bush vs Gore, Citizens United, and now Health Care Reform. Peachy. Just peachy.

    And by the way, all the people on the court, all the people arguing the case, all their legal support team, all the people who have power over the process and decision? They all have great health insurance.

  • slamfu

    If that is what you think they are doing, then you have a point. But that is not what they are doing. Yes, their decision will impact healthcare and how we handle it, but they aren’t deciding IF we should get it. They are doing their job to say whether or not a law was passed that is legal under the framework we have for making laws. It could just as easily be a law deciding if we have universal cable TV in our homes with the HBO package. Does Congress have the power to pass this law? That is the question they are answering, and for that, they are supremely qualified.

  • zephyr

    Slam, all those supreme qualifications mean little unless they are indeed basing their decision on “whether or not a law was passed that is legal under the framework we have for making laws”. I wish I could believe that was going to be the main criteria for their decision. Given the history of the Robert’s court I don’t.

  • mo.junk

    “While no court — employing just legal precedents — should therefore have the ultimate responsibility for how national health care is organized, the court that will actually be doing so in this country is the one that befouled our political system with its Citizens United decision.”

    I think you are fundamentally confused as to the role of the court. The court doesn’t decide on how a gov’t program is organized, the legislature does. The court sets only the boundaries for that organization – which boundaries serve an important role.

    So imagine a wild majority passes a law saying that anyone with Type O Negative blood had donate their blood every day or else be imprisoned. Maybe that would be effective for increasing the supply of rare blood and great organizational-wise, but would it not be offensive to our ideas of freedom? The court guards that boundary.

    The mandate is a legal issue, not a mere organizational one – it fundamentally changes the relationship between the individual and the government in this country.

  • MICHAEL SILVERSTEIN, Wall Street Columnist

    Hi Mo.Jumk
    You write: “The mandate is a legal issue, not a mere organizational one – it fundamentally changes the relationship between the individual and the government in this country.”

    Oh please. If that’s the ‘legal’ standard that will decide this case, then the power of the Supreme Court to change anything is absolute and total.

    Laws that prevent child labor or set a minimum wage? Fundamentally change the relation of employers to government. Laws that prevent individual land owners from spewing toxics that affect others? Fundamentally change property relations of individuals to the government.

    This incredibly activist court is now not simply divorced from political pressures, which is why we have an independent judiciary, but seems oblivious to the real world needs outside its own cossetted little position of exalted power.

  • mo.junk

    Michael, all the examples you cited (min. wage laws, pollution laws) are wholly different from what’s going on here. Those laws restrain action after an individual has chosen to act. The mandate *requires* action from individuals who would otherwise want to be left alone. If gov’t can do this, it’s hard to find the limit. This is unprecedented and fundamentally different and I’m glad the court is providing at least the semblance of a check. I agree with you that’s they’re not divorced from political pressures.

    But my real point was that the idea that the court is somehow organizing the best way to administer health care is inaccurate. The court is policing the boundaries – whether or not they’re effective at it is another question.

  • MICHAEL SILVERSTEIN, Wall Street Columnist

    Mo,

    You’re perfectly correct. The Supreme Court is not on the verge of organizing how we administer health care in this country. It is simply going to disorganize the only possible way this care can be organized and paid for sanely and sensibly in years to come. Since I live in Real World rather than Judicial Activist Land, I am horrified at the prospect…

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