Health Care Is Not Broccoli


[h/t Heather at VideoCafe]

I really wish that if Mr. Amar was so certain of his arguments with regard to Obamacare, he would have offered his suggestions last Saturday rather than the Saturday after the shouting had ended.

Still, I'd like to offer him a very special thank you for smacking that Washington Examiner right-wing shill Tim Carney upside the head with a few well-reasoned arguments.

Honestly, I can't believe we're still talking about broccoli after all this time. It's frustrating to see the same right wing tropes used over and over again, and here's this jerk Carney talking about broccoli like it's anything similar to health insurance or health care. Take your pick, since one is the gateway to the other.

Yes, my friends, according to Tim Carney, broccoli is health care. Every little tender green shoot is exactly equivalent to an x-ray machine or a prescription for antibiotics. Who knew?

Fortunately, Mr. Amar was there to set the record straight, or at least, try. Here's a bit of what he said:

AMAR: So, a couple of things, one, oral arguments is a testing ground, so for me, I'm going to wait and actually read the opinion... (crosstalk) and of course all of us are going to do that. If I had been asked, and I actually have a piece on Slate about what I think the Solicitor General should have said in response to what are the limits.

He should have pulled out his copy of the Constitution and said the limits are here. They're in this document. That's the limit and just ask for example a simple question and we'll get to broccoli. It says the Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the states. Now, is this a regulation? Yes. Is insurance commerce? Yes. It's about who pays. Is this among the states and here's the key point that makes it different than broccoli. There are interstate spillovers involved in health care.

Three days a week, I'm not in my home state. I'm not in my home state right now. If I fall sick, you're going to take me to a local E.R. and the good people of New York are going to pay, even though I'm a Connecticut person and that's a genuine interstate problem and that's not a broccoli problem. That is a problem with health care.

My students, most of them come from out of state. But take, you get a better job in some other state and it's going to pay you more and you'll be able to contribute more to your family and the economy, but if you have a preexisting medical condition, that other employer is not going to want to take you on, to your loss and to your current job. That is a loss and an impediment to interstate labor mobility. This document was all about removing just those sorts of impediments.

As Amar says later, this is not a broccoli problem. It isn't anything like broccoli. There is only one pathway to health care and that is not through the broccoli patch. I think Mr. Amar's points are ones well taken, don't you? Clearly articulated, easy enough to understand in the real world?

Evidently Tim Carney doesn't hear or doesn't want to hear, because at the end of the show he insisted liberals have not adequately answered the broccoli argument. Let me try one more time:

  1. Broccoli is a vegetable. Health care is not a vegetable, but not getting health care can render someone to vegetable status, or worse.
  2. Health care affects interstate commerce. It is, by virtue of the fact that each state has humans and all humans need health care at some point, a universal and national need across all states.
  3. Broccoli, on the other hand, does not impact interstate commerce. There is no interstate spillage of broccoli across state lines unless the broccoli truck overturns on the interstate. A shortage of broccoli in one state will not impact other states or the national economy. Health care will.

Hopefully that's succinct enough for a man who couldn't comprehend what that lawyer across the table from him was saying in plain English. If not, he could try reading this. Assuming of course, he could read.

Of course, what we think doesn't really matter as much as what the Supreme Court thinks. Let's hope they're smart enough to figure out that broccoli may be good for you, but it isn't a substitute for health care.

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