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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 12 Nov '09 13:28
    Assuming the health care package passes, what will you do? Will you pay the premiums of the public option or will you pay a fine or go to jail? Also, how many plan to or know of people who plan to challenge the constitutionality of this legislative dribble?
  2. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    12 Nov '09 13:32
    I will uncork a bottle of champagne.
  3. 12 Nov '09 13:36
    Originally posted by Seitse
    I will uncork a bottle of champagne.
    I never would have guessed.
  4. 12 Nov '09 14:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    Assuming the health care package passes, what will you do? Will you pay the premiums of the public option or will you pay a fine or go to jail? Also, how many plan to or know of people who plan to challenge the constitutionality of this legislative dribble?
    the whole thing is totally constitutional. The government has the right to levy whatever taxes it wishes and give deductions to whomever it chooses.

    Think of it as the government levying a new 2% (or whatever) income tax on everyone to pay for subsidies to help poor people buy coverage. But people who purchase a sufficient amount of insurance for themselves would get a full deduction on this new tax.

    Now if you want to file a suit arguing that the government doesn't have the right to levy taxes or offer specific deductions, have fun.

    And people currently already have the "option" of not paying their current taxes and accepting the less than pleasant consequences. This new tax would not really change anything.
  5. 12 Nov '09 15:04
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    the whole thing is totally constitutional. The government has the right to levy whatever taxes it wishes and give deductions to whomever it chooses.

    Think of it as the government levying a new 2% (or whatever) income tax on everyone to pay for subsidies to help poor people buy coverage. But people who purchase a sufficient amount of insurance for thems ...[text shortened]... accepting the less than pleasant consequences. This new tax would not really change anything.
    Is it constitutional to be fined and/or imprisoned up to one year if you do not get insured?
  6. 12 Nov '09 15:19
    There are a lot of things I don't like but going to jail for a year seems like a poor solution.
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    12 Nov '09 15:28
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    the whole thing is totally constitutional. The government has the right to levy whatever taxes it wishes and give deductions to whomever it chooses.

    Think of it as the government levying a new 2% (or whatever) income tax on everyone to pay for subsidies to help poor people buy coverage. But people who purchase a sufficient amount of insurance for thems ...[text shortened]... accepting the less than pleasant consequences. This new tax would not really change anything.
    It's not quite that simple, Mel.

    This may be analogous to a tax or similar to a tax, but it is not a tax. The government is ordering you to buy a product for yourself. I don't think the government can successfully defend the constitutionality of this law based on its taxing and spending power.

    What it will come down to, as most disputes of federal power do, is the commerce clause. Does Congress' power under Article I Section 8 clause 3 of the Constitution to "regulate commerce... among the several states" give it the authority to order you to buy health insurance? The government would no doubt trot out the "cumulative effects" doctrine which has generally worked in the past on similar issues (i.e., the cumulative effects of all people having health insurance has a significant impact on commerce) and would probably work this time as well. But it is not an open and shut matter.
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    12 Nov '09 15:29
    Originally posted by quackquack
    There are a lot of things I don't like but going to jail for a year seems like a poor solution.
    They're not going to actually put people in jail for failing to purchase health insurance. Maximum penalties are always insanely high for these sorts of things. At most, they'll fine people.
  9. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    12 Nov '09 15:37
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's not quite that simple, Mel.

    This may be analogous to a tax or similar to a tax, but it is not a tax. The government is ordering you to buy a product for yourself. I don't think the government can successfully defend the constitutionality of this law based on its taxing and spending power.

    What it will come down to, as most disputes of federal power d ...[text shortened]... mmerce) and would probably work this time as well. But it is not an open and shut matter.
    Is the government able to require you to purchase auto insurance? It seems that they are.
  10. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    12 Nov '09 15:50
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Is the government able to require you to purchase auto insurance? It seems that they are.
    First of all, it's state governments that require the purchase of auto insurance, not the federal government. It may seem like a meaningless difference, but it's a critical one. States have "general" legislative authority. The federal government is limited in its authority to what the Constitution grants to it.

    Second you are not required to purchase auto insurance. You are required to purchase auto insurance IF you want to operate a motor vehicle. If you don't own a car, you don't have to purchase auto insurance.
  11. 12 Nov '09 16:20 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's not quite that simple, Mel.

    This may be analogous to a tax or similar to a tax, but it is not a tax. The government is ordering you to buy a product for yourself. I don't think the government can successfully defend the constitutionality of this law based on its taxing and spending power.

    What it will come down to, as most disputes of federal power d mmerce) and would probably work this time as well. But it is not an open and shut matter.
    Well then they should word the law so that it is a 2% tax on everyone's income, and then allow people to deduct up to 2% from their taxes for the premiums they pay for health insurance.

    Perhaps it would be more constitutional to just levy a straight-up tax to help cover the poor, and not offer any deductions whatsoever? So everyone would have to pay the tax regardless of whether they bought their own coverage.

    Take the deduction for interest on mortgage payments. Essentially the government is forcing you to take out a mortgage, or else pay a fine (the additional taxes you have to pay because you're not eligible for the deduction). Should the government be forcing people to take out mortgages?
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    12 Nov '09 16:24
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    Well then they should word the law so that it is a 2% tax on everyone's income, and then allow people to deduct up to 2% from their taxes for the premiums they pay for health insurance.

    Take the deduction for interest on mortgage payments. Essentially the government is forcing you to take out a mortgage, or else pay a fine (the additional taxes you hav ...[text shortened]... ot eligible for the deduction). Should the government be forcing people to take out mortgages?
    A 2% tax on income would not affect most people the same way forcing people to purchase insurance would. Forcing everyone to purchase health insurance as a "tax" is obviously an extremely regressive tax, whereas a 2% tax is not regressive at all. The two might affect the median person the same way, but they will not affect most people the same way.

    But, yes, your plan would be much less likely to be successfully challenged on Constitutional grounds.
  13. 12 Nov '09 16:30
    Originally posted by sh76
    First of all, it's state governments that require the purchase of auto insurance, not the federal government. It may seem like a meaningless difference, but it's a critical one. States have "general" legislative authority. The federal government is limited in its authority to what the Constitution grants to it.

    Second you are not required to purchase auto in ...[text shortened]... perate a motor vehicle. If you don't own a car, you don't have to purchase auto insurance.
    "Second you are not required to purchase auto insurance. You are required to purchase auto insurance IF you want to operate a motor vehicle. If you don't own a car, you don't have to purchase auto insurance." sh76

    This is correct,but I would like to add there are states where you are not required to have auto insurance when driving,such as New hampshire.

    As far as not being jailed,then why have it in there?Also,you will be fined.That is unconstitutional,to force people at the risk of there freedom and or money to get health insurance.
  14. 12 Nov '09 16:36
    Originally posted by sh76
    A 2% tax on income would not affect most people the same way forcing people to purchase insurance would. Forcing everyone to purchase health insurance as a "tax" is obviously an extremely regressive tax, whereas a 2% tax is not regressive at all. The two might affect the median person the same way, but they will not affect most people the same way.

    But, yes, your plan would be much less likely to be successfully challenged on Constitutional grounds.
    well -- the proposed set-up essentially gives people a choice. They can either buy their own coverage - or they can pay the 2% tax if that works out better. You yourself just stated that the 2% tax option isn't a big problem. If buying one's own coverage is a bigger burden then paying the 2% tax, then I would expect that person to just pay the tax.

    Maybe the problem is wording that calls this tax a "fine" - making people who choose to pay the "fine" seem like they're doing something wrong. I would definitely change the wording to make it clear that either option is equally acceptable.
  15. 12 Nov '09 16:50
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    Maybe the problem is wording that calls this tax a "fine"
    There are all kinds of clever ways to generate revenue, no? I think the best ways are not to tax or fine the average Joe directly. Regressive taxes like the porposed cap and trade are a prime example.