Forum Post: Industry Whistleblower Wendell Potter: However Court Rules on Healthcare, Solution is Single Payer
Posted 2 years ago on March 29, 2012, 12:48 a.m. EST by Demian
from San Francisco, CA
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NERMEEN SHAIKH: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court continued its historic session on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark healthcare reform bill signed by President Obama. Conservative judges sharply questioned whether the U.S. government has the power to penalize Americans who have no medical cover, an issue at the heart of so-called "Obamacare." The individual mandate requires most people to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty. The nine judges spent about two hours questioning attorneys on the controversial individual mandate. Antonin Scalia, in particular, expressed concern that Congress and the federal government would have unlimited powers if the law was upheld.
JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA: The argument here is that this also is maybe necessary, but it’s not proper, because it violates an equally evident principle in the Constitution, which is that the federal government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers, that it’s supposed to be a government of limited powers. And that’s what all this questioning has been about. What—what is left? If the government can do this, what else can it not do?
AMY GOODMAN: Today, the Supreme Court hears its final arguments on the constitutionality of the healthcare overhaul law. They will focus on whether the law can survive if the justices decide to strike the individual mandate. The case is expected to have huge implications for the nation in the 2012 elections and is being followed closely by all sides of the healthcare debate.
To talk more about the debate and what’s happening in the Supreme Court, we’re joined by Wendell Potter, former spokesperson for CIGNA and Humana Insurance, now turned whistleblower. He was outside the Supreme Court Tuesday. He’s the author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.
Wendell Potter, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the questions raised by the judges and how you think the Affordable Care Act is faring in the Supreme Court?
WENDELL POTTER: I think the questions that were raised by the conservative judges were to be expected. I think that most of their questions were along the lines of expansion of government and where are the limits of government. So that doesn’t surprise me a bit. And I don’t think we should read into their questions what the court will actually decide. One of the things that was said in one of those sound bites was, one of the justices said—I think it was Scalia—this may be necessary, but is it proper? I think there will be a realization that the individual mandate actually is necessary. If this—if we expect to try to expand healthcare coverage and to bring down cost, you’ve got to have an individual mandate. I think that’s what they will ultimately decide to do.