August 26, 2009

Lis Wiehl tries to explain the Commerce Clause to O'Reilly on The Factor last night because the new talking point of the health care insurance companies...Republicans...FOX News...BillO the teabagger is just that, but he can't handle the truth, dammit. Bill, it's not lawyers that are the problem just because Wiehl interpreted it the way you hate.

It's this idiot op ed by two people that worked for Bush and Reagan that are saying individual mandates are unconstitutional and causing the real "nuts" to go off the deep end. And you can be sure that the rest of the right wing loons will be jumping aboard the crazy train with him.

Wiehl: Article one in the Constitution says the Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce. That is anything that goes from one state to another.

O'Reilly: So what?

Wiehl: Health care itself may be local, your doctor may be in your state but medical supplies come to you the medical equipment, all of the things...

O'Reilly: Why can they make you buy anything?

Wiehl: Because they can regulate interstate commerce. Those things go through interstate, they can force you to...

O'Reilly: OK, I want the audience to know that this is total BS. This is why people hate lawyers, this is nuts. {} The government is saying you have to buy health insurance. You have to do it. I'm saying that's unconstitutional. The federal government doesn't have the power to force an American to buy anything.

The Supreme Court over the years has used this Clause on many, many rulings. We had to buy George W Bush, Bill. Oh, you liked him---never mind. That was a different clause.

Balkinization would love to debate these two: The Inevitable Conservative Argument that Health Care Reform is Unconstitutional

You see, Rivkin and Casey think that a federal requirement that uninsured individuals must purchase health insurance can't be within Congress's commerce power because when ordinary individuals don't purchase health insurance, their mere failure to do so has no effects (economic or otherwise) on interstate commerce.

The otherwise uninsured would be required to buy coverage, not because they were even tangentially engaged in the "production, distribution or consumption of commodities," but for no other reason than that people without health insurance exist. The federal government does not have the power to regulate Americans simply because they are there.

Got it? When people don't buy things, by definition it doesn't affect commerce! (For example, during recessions people stop buying things and everyone knows that has no economic effects.) On the other hand, Rivkin and Lee begin their op-ed by arguing that "[w]ithout the young to subsidize the old, a comprehensive national health system will not work." This sounds to me like a claim that the number of people who buy health insurance affects the ability of private insurance companies to sell health insurance at a profit. So again, why is it that failure to purchase health insurance does not affect interstate commerce?

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