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Nv1ncible
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#11
11-21-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuK View Post
I don't know too much about the specifics because I'm still under my mom's health insurance, but say, in the future, I don't have insurance and get taxed X amount of dollars. Where does that go? Is it just part of the government's bank account, or does it go to help those less fortunate and unable to get their own health care? If it's the latter, then the whole "if you don't get health insurance, then we'll just give it to someone else," thing is kind of shitty. I like the idea of helping people in the way of lowering premiums and costs, but taxing healthy individuals with almost no need for insurance for the less healthy seems kind of odd to me.

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Here's the thing, regardless of whether you get insurance or not, you're going to be helping pay for low incomer coverage. When the government mandates you buy health insurance, and you can't afford it, they pay for it. But what that really means is that you and I pay for it, because of course the government's source of income is tax dollars. Welcome to the welfare state.
muRda
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#12
11-21-2013
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The battle against the ACA is far from over. The first case was about the ability of Congress via the IRS to exact the tax; there will be another suit about the ability of the IRS to collect it, i.e. once someone pays the penalty, he/she will sue the government. I remember one of my professors telling me that it would be under Due Process and Equal Protection grounds (I think).

There was a lot of troublesome language for me in the case, and many people just saw it as Roberts saving face with Obama.

Quote:
Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he [*2594] pays his taxes. See 5000A(b). That, according to the Government, means the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition—not owning health insurance—that triggers a tax—the required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.
Except, buying and working are both affirmative acts. The taxpayer does something in each instance. The taxpayer purchases gas or works for a company under US regulation. Nv1's point isn't so ridiculous as it's a point raised by Scalia in his dissent (i.e. the broccoli mandate).

Quote:
The Court today holds that our Constitution protects us from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause so long as we abstain from the regulated activity. But from its creation, the Constitution has made no such promise with respect to taxes. See Letter from Benjamin [***24] Franklin to M. Le Roy (Nov. 13, 1789) ("Our new Constitution is now established . . . but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes").
Citing a oft-quoted line from one of Ben's letters as a means for saying the Constitution was worded as to allow such a tax to happen.

Quote:
Congress's use of the Taxing Clause to encourage buying something is, by contrast, not new. Tax incentives already promote, for example, purchasing homes and professional educations. See 26 U. S. C. 163(h), 25A. Sustaining the mandate as a tax depends only on whether Congress has properly exercised its taxing power to encourage purchasing health insurance, [**489] not whether it can. Upholding the individual mandate under the Taxing Clause thus does not recognize any new federal power. It determines that Congress has used an existing one.
Again, Roberts cites affirmative acts in buying a home or going to college. In both instances, people are given tax breaks; people don't have penalties exacted against them for not buying a home or not going to college.

Quote:
But imposition of a tax nonetheless leaves an individual with a lawful choice to do or not do a [**490] certain act, so long as he is willing to pay a tax levied on that choice.[fn11]
Quote:
[fn11] Of course, individuals do not have a lawful choice not to pay a tax due, and may sometimes face prosecution for failing to do so (although not for declining to make the shared responsibility payment, see 26 U. S. C. 5000A(g)(2)). But that does not show that the tax restricts the lawful choice whether to undertake or forgo the activity on which the tax is predicated. Those subject to the individual mandate may lawfully forgo health insurance and pay higher taxes, or buy health insurance and pay lower taxes. The only thing they may not lawfully do is not buy health insurance and not pay the resulting tax.
I think this will be the major contention against the ACA pursuant to DP and EP.
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#13
11-21-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nv1ncible View Post
I have no problem saying that health care is a necessity either, but we are talking about health insurance. I guess the first thing I would want to understand is WHY is healthcare itself so costly? What about that marketplace makes it noncompetitive? I think the answer to that has to have some relation to US govenment policy, because I have heard and read about people leaving the country to have operations done to save money. So why is the global market more competitive than the US health care market?
As it stands, health care in the US requires some form of health insurance due to inflated costs. Like I said, I don't think making people buy insurance is the answer, but I don't think having insurance at all is the answer either. It's noncompetitive because of insurers and because of a simultaneous lack of regulation where it is needed and regulation where it is not needed. ACA hopes to correct that by e.g. providing a national marketplace for insurance and adding regulations for what insurers are allowed to do to their customers.

Quote:
I think if health care costs come down, it would make sense that health insurance costs would as well, at least to some extent.
Health care is expensive because health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive ad nauseam. All roads lead to single payer, as far as I'm concerned.

Quote:
But to go back to the ACA, and what seems to be your justification for a tax in this scenario. 3 squares and a roof over your head are certainly necessities, but in neither case are you actually taxed by the government for lack of possession. The ACA has set a new precedent in that it is unlike all other taxes, where the tax is a result of having actually purchased or owned something, or made particular actions (ex. married). In this case, the tax is distributed for the absence of action/ownership. That seems really dangerous to me, and completely unfair. It's certainly not freedom.
If you want to get abstract and general, then don't half-ass it: like I said, whatever the negative outcome is for not obtaining the necessity, it's still a bad thing, whether it comes from the government or nature or other people. So this line of argument seems really juvenile and contrarian. What you seem to be arguing with is the spin on the tax, not the cost itself. If they'd just rolled this into FICA or something, it wouldn't even be an issue--most people pay that without necessarily using Medicare, so how is that fundamentally different?

You can call it a dangerous precedent, unfair, not freedom, but those are all vague, abstract ideological terms that I don't really care about at all.

Because many people here seem to lack a real-world global perspective and like to abstract away into la-la land, have an anecdote. My dad, a US citizen, spent a week and a half in the hospital in Germany trying to determine whether he'd had a stroke or Bell's palsy or what, and we never saw a bill. Health insurance is compulsory there, and while I lived there, nobody seemed to mind it. People can--you guessed it--pay a tax to opt out of participating in the standard funds and buy their own private insurance instead. They outperform our outcomes while spending less than half per capita what we spend and much less of their GDP.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BuK View Post
I don't know too much about the specifics because I'm still under my mom's health insurance, but say, in the future, I don't have insurance and get taxed X amount of dollars. Where does that go? Is it just part of the government's bank account, or does it go to help those less fortunate and unable to get their own health care? If it's the latter, then the whole "if you don't get health insurance, then we'll just give it to someone else," thing is kind of shitty. I like the idea of helping people in the way of lowering premiums and costs, but taxing healthy individuals with almost no need for insurance for the less healthy seems kind of odd to me.
The idea is that insurance as a concept relies on people who aren't using it still having it. Health insurance doesn't work if healthy individuals don't carry it.

It's really easy for people in good health to talk a big game about nanny states and freedom and liberty when catastrophe hasn't struck and their private insurer hasn't dropped them. If your real problem is with the concept of taxation used for anything but the barest form of government instead of e.g. social services and infrastructure, fine, but using less radical issues as a tool to segue into it every time is really disingenuous, and all the words and posturings translate to most people as just not wanting to participate in society because spoiled petulant brat. Surely you have to be aware that that's what people immediately think as soon as you start in with it, unless you just shut up and deal with it IRL, which is what most people do even in the face of such atrocious attacks on our freedom and liberty as having to buy insurance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muRda View Post
The battle against the ACA is far from over. The first case was about the ability of Congress via the IRS to exact the tax; there will be another suit about the ability of the IRS to collect it, i.e. once someone pays the penalty, he/she will sue the government. I remember one of my professors telling me that it would be under Due Process and Equal Protection grounds (I think).

There was a lot of troublesome language for me in the case, and many people just saw it as Roberts saving face with Obama.


Except, buying and working are both affirmative acts. The taxpayer does something in each instance. The taxpayer purchases gas or works for a company under US regulation. Nv1's point isn't so ridiculous as it's a point raised by Scalia in his dissent (i.e. the broccoli mandate).


Citing a oft-quoted line from one of Ben's letters as a means for saying the Constitution was worded as to allow such a tax to happen.


Again, Roberts cites affirmative acts in buying a home or going to college. In both instances, people are given tax breaks; people don't have penalties exacted against them for not buying a home or not going to college.



I think this will be the major contention against the ACA pursuant to DP and EP.
^the right way to have this conversation (sticking to real things that are really happening and have really happened, and almost entirely avoiding ideological handwaves).
Spoiler!
muRda
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#14
11-21-2013
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To be fair, although the ideological handwaving if often times too theatrical to allow the point raised to be taken seriously, there is still a point being made that needs to be taken into serious consideration. It's pleasant to think about government being able to mandate something one considers sensible and beneficial, but what happens when that same power is used for something stupid and irrational? Giving Congress the power to do things like mandating purchases is giving that power to morons elected by other morons (e.g. Michele Bachmann). Although Congress doesn't have nearly as much power as it would have if upheld pursuant to the ICC, the power to regulate via tax is still a viable one.
 

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