Saturday, October 12, 2013

What Fresh Hell Is This?
...They set up a straw man on the other side of the debate as well. The article opens with the "concession" that "the Affordable Care Act isn't perfect. . . . Like most laws, Obamacare never will be perfect." (That "most" is a nice touch. One wonders if they have an example in mind of a law that is perfect.) But we don't recall anyone promising that ObamaCare would be perfect. What Obama and his backers promised was that it would be very, very good--that it would provide "universal" (or nearly so) coverage while reducing costs and maintaining or improving the quality of medical care.

Now, however, Wing and Young dramatically scale back that promise, describing ObamaCare as an "ambitious reform effort meant to make a dent in the nearly 50 million Americans who currently lack health insurance." Again, that's a contradiction in terms: It was in fact "ambitious," but it would not have been so if it meant only to "make a dent."

This is all by way of setting a very low standard for evaluating ObamaCare, one that will ensure it will be judged a "success" as long as it doesn't destroy America. But the meat of the article is actually an indictment of ObamaCare, at least if one applies a reasonable standard of asking whether on balance it is a good piece of legislation. Here are the "concerns" even these ObamaCare enthusiasts deem "valid":...

...Suppose Congress had enacted the individual mandate, as construed by the chief justice, as stand-alone legislation. That is, suppose we had a law imposing a punitive tax on uninsured individuals without any provision to help people get insurance. It seems patently unfair and constitutionally at least dubious to tax people for a "condition"--being uninsured--that is in many cases beyond their control.

Yet in practical terms that is exactly what ObamaCare will turn out to be if the exchanges aren't made to work within a matter of weeks. That suggests grounds for a new legal challenge to the individual mandate one that--OK, call us a cockeyed optimist--could give the chief justice an opportunity to undo his mistake....