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Author Topic: Health care law trial begins today  (Read 6885 times)

Skyth

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Health care law trial begins today
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:28:33 am »
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/court-opens-health-care-debate-040001332.html?l=1

I do think that the Supreme Court will punt the case saying that it's a tax and thus can't be contested until the tax is paid.  The case is too politically charged to do anything else.

Now, I do believe that the individual mandate is constitutional.  It is effectively giving someone a tax break for having health insurance.  This is really the same as the child tax credit, where the government mandates that I pay a higher tax because I don't have any kids.

In a sense, there is already an individual mandate, as health insurance contributions through a paycheck are not taxed, businesses can count insurance expense for employees as an expense and not get taxed on that income, and you can count insurance premiums as an itemized deduction thus reducing your taxes. The individual mandate in the health care act just makes it more of a tax break all around to have insurance.

This is besides the fact that health insurance occurs across state lines making the commerce clause come into effect.  The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that the commerce clause takes effect in cases similar to this.

sailor

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 11:42:32 pm »
Quote from: Skyth;47481


I do think that the Supreme Court will punt the case saying that it's a tax and thus can't be contested until the tax is paid.  The case is too politically charged to do anything else.

Now, I do believe that the individual mandate is constitutional.  It is effectively giving someone a tax break for having health insurance.  This is really the same as the child tax credit, where the government mandates that I pay a higher tax because I don't have any kids.

In a sense, there is already an individual mandate, as health insurance contributions through a paycheck are not taxed, businesses can count insurance expense for employees as an expense and not get taxed on that income, and you can count insurance premiums as an itemized deduction thus reducing your taxes. The individual mandate in the health care act just makes it more of a tax break all around to have insurance.

 
Other than the fact that the law specifically says it's a penalty for not having insurance rather than a tax?

That is an odd definition of mandate. If you get a tax break on something, it's a mandate to do that?  So, it's a mandate, or could be a mandate, that every family buy a house?

Skyth

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 06:55:18 am »
Quote from: sailor;47580
Other than the fact that the law specifically says it's a penalty for not having insurance rather than a tax?

That is an odd definition of mandate. If you get a tax break on something, it's a mandate to do that?  So, it's a mandate, or could be a mandate, that every family buy a house?

 
Really, is there a difference other than semantics between a penalty for not doing something and a tax break for doing something?

Either way you pay the same amount of money to the government.

mandrina

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 10:40:51 am »
Quote from: Skyth;47607
Really, is there a difference other than semantics between a penalty for not doing something and a tax break for doing something?

Either way you pay the same amount of money to the government.

why yes there is.

Is there a difference between a reward for doing something and a punishment for not doing something?

Is there a difference between a carrot and a stick?  

rewards rewards people who do something, but they don't have to do it. You get either action and reward, or nothing at all.

punishment punishes people for not doing something, so something happens in their cases, either the desired action or the punishment.

The only way it would come out to the same amount of money paid to the government is if you have both a tax break on the purchase and a penalty that is the same as the purchase minus the tax break, then the result to your budget would be the same.

this whole point has nothing to do with my opinions on the healthcare law, I'm just pointing out why I think that last comment about semantics is wrong.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 10:42:19 am by mandrina »
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Skyth

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 12:37:14 pm »
Quote from: mandrina;47631
Is there a difference between a reward for doing something and a punishment for not doing something?


When the end result is the same, no.

Quote
Is there a difference between a carrot and a stick?  


Yes.  The severity of the punishment compared to the reward.  There you are comparing physical abuse with giving someone something.

If the penalty for not having health insurance was jail time or something similar, then there might be a difference.  However, in this case I don't see a difference between a monetary penalty or a tax except in semantics.

Quote

The only way it would come out to the same amount of money paid to the government is if you have both a tax break on the purchase and a penalty that is the same as the purchase minus the tax break, then the result to your budget would be the same.


Actually if the penalty is the same as the tax break, then you have the same effect.  Of course, I am assuming a raise in taxes for everyone equal to the penalty amount that goes along with the tax break.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 12:37:51 pm by Skyth »

sailor

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 09:11:22 pm »
Quote from: Skyth;47646
When the end result is the same, no.



Yes.  The severity of the punishment compared to the reward.  There you are comparing physical abuse with giving someone something.


 
So a fine / tax of $50 dollars a year if you don't buy a rifle would be OK?

MadZealot

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 10:47:12 pm »
Quote from: Skyth;47607
Really, is there a difference other than semantics between a penalty for not doing something and a tax break for doing something?


Interesting use of some antics to smokescreen the facts, there.  
Mandates are OK if they're covered up by 'tax breaks'.... maybe the citizen has a few (more of his own) dollars in his pocket at the end of the day, but at what cost?  The cost is the 'mandate,' wherein we allow our elected, representative government to dictate to the people.  From government by consent to government regardless of consent.  

The argument around this legislation is SO much more than a tax break; the core of it is whether the government can force you or I, private citizens both, to purchase a commodity.  To engage in business.  Even if you cite the 'commerce' clause (which gives the federal govt an insane amount of power) all the govt can do is regulate commerce.  It cannot compel or command it from the citizen.
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cigfran

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 06:19:44 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;47721
To engage in business.  Even if you cite the 'commerce' clause (which gives the federal govt an insane amount of power) all the govt can do is regulate commerce.  It cannot compel or command it from the citizen.


Sure it can. Got a driver's license? Then you also have auto insurance, by law.

sailor

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 06:45:37 am »
Quote from: cigfran;47762
Sure it can. Got a driver's license? Then you also have auto insurance, by law.

 
Show me where under Federal law I must buy auto insurance if I have a driver's license?  Hell, show me under state law I must have auto insurance if I have a driver's license.

Skyth

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 06:47:48 am »
Quote from: cigfran;47762
Sure it can. Got a driver's license? Then you also have auto insurance, by law.

 
That is state issued so is a different issue.

The Federal government is within it's rights to raise taxes for everyone and give someone a tax break if they purchase a rifle.  In my opinion, that is not something that it should do, but it is within its rights.  This power could apply to any product (or action).

Now health care is differentiated from other products in that you are going to use it/benefit from it some time in your life.  In this case, it is really close to mandatory schooling.

Now the best solution would be a single-payer system but that won't pass congress.

cigfran

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 06:55:47 am »
Quote from: sailor;47765
Show me where under Federal law I must buy auto insurance if I have a driver's license?  Hell, show me under state law I must have auto insurance if I have a driver's license.

 
It's not a federal law. Check your own DMV for details.

Googling "mandatory auto insurance states" brings up several items that substantiate my own belief that it is in fact law in all US states. For example:

http://personalinsure.about.com/cs/vehicleratings/a/blautominimum.htm

This article says the only state that doesn't require it is New Hampshire:

http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/compulsory/

This was a particularly easy example. I suspect that if I bothered to put any time into it I could come up with several examples where state law requires "commerce" of one kind or another, and I doubt that federal law is an exception.

The "mandate" question is a red herring.

sailor

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2012, 07:33:20 am »
Quote from: cigfran;47767
It's not a federal law. Check your own DMV for details.

Googling "mandatory auto insurance states" brings up several items that substantiate my own belief that it is in fact law in all US states. For example:

http://personalinsure.about.com/cs/vehicleratings/a/blautominimum.htm

This article says the only state that doesn't require it is New Hampshire:

http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/compulsory/

This was a particularly easy example. I suspect that if I bothered to put any time into it I could come up with several examples where state law requires "commerce" of one kind or another, and I doubt that federal law is an exception.

The "mandate" question is a red herring.

 
If you think you can find a section in recent Federal law that requires a person to buy a product from a private company just for the privilege / right to live in the US  there are lots of people who would be surprised.  Only one that I have seen was the late 1700s Militia Act that required all adult males to own a rifle. And that was done under the war powers sections, not commerce clause.

I suggest you actually read the state laws.  Those are mandatory minimums to have a car registered in the state, not to have a driver's license.

MadZealot

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 07:50:57 am »
Quote from: cigfran;47767
It's not a federal law. Check your own DMV for details.

Googling "mandatory auto insurance states" brings up several items that substantiate my own belief that it is in fact law in all US states. For example:

http://personalinsure.about.com/cs/vehicleratings/a/blautominimum.htm

This article says the only state that doesn't require it is New Hampshire:

http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/compulsory/

This was a particularly easy example. I suspect that if I bothered to put any time into it I could come up with several examples where state law requires "commerce" of one kind or another, and I doubt that federal law is an exception.

The "mandate" question is a red herring.


This argument is a red herring.  Stinky.  

Auto insurance becomes mandatory only when certain criteria are met.  Having a driver's license is not one of them.  Having a car, that you plan to drive on the streets, is.   Hence the term automobile insurance.  If you had bothered to put any time into it you wouldn't be trying to make this argument.  

The whole "but you have to buy auto insurance" comparison does not hold because you can, in effect, opt out.  People who don't drive, don't own vehicles-- or who bike, walk, bum rides, or use public transporation as an alternative to such-- don't have to buy it.  

Now, please provide an instance where the Federal government requires a private citizen to purchase a commodity, a good or service, from another citizen or private entity.  Second, show me where in its enumerated powers it has the authority to do so.
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cigfran

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 08:04:13 am »
Quote from: sailor;47772
I suggest you actually read the state laws.  Those are mandatory minimums to have a car registered in the state, not to have a driver's license.


I call that a distinction without a difference. The fact remains that such laws do exist.

The federal law question is, however, and important question. If I have time later today I'll look into it, because I'm very curious.

Asch

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Re: Health care law trial begins today
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 08:08:49 am »
Quote from: cigfran;47777
I call that a distinction without a difference. The fact remains that such laws do exist.


Only at the state level and only for owning and choosing to operate a vehicle further there are variations between states and some states do not require insurance at all, some require insurance on cars but not certain industrial equipment or motorcycles or boats and some do.

Quote
The federal law question is, however, and important question. If I have time later today I'll look into it, because I'm very curious.


There's no federal precedent which is why it has gone to the supreme court in the first place, if there were precedent we would all (likely) know about it because it would have been cited and debated endlessly during the countless discussions and court cases leading up to the case now.

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