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Forum Post: Industry Whistleblower Wendell Potter: However Court Rules on Healthcare, Solution is Single Payer

Posted 6 years ago on March 29, 2012, 12:48 a.m. EST by Demian (497) 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.




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[-] 3 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

Maybe I'm just too young to understand everything, but why on earth don't we just simplify our system like the one they have in Denmark? Why don't we just have a public option (funded by taxes and not "individual mandate") and a private option for non-essential stuff and for people who want an alternative to the public option?

Why is this so hard? I don't get it. Politicians make things out to be so difficult, when really it's not.

[-] 3 points by ARod1993 (2420) 6 years ago

I would agree with you; I honestly would prefer to see a taxpayer-funded pubic option than to have the individual mandate a la Obamacare. That said, as much as I disagree with that portion of the bill I can't really fault the president for failing to push all-out for it; there were enough blue dogs in the House at the time that making lack of a public option a deal-breaker could have split the party and resulted in jack shit actually passing. Had that happened, we wouldn't even be having this discussion for another twenty or thirty years.

[-] 2 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

That's true. I guess I'm just a little disenchanted with the "older" people running this country. I think for kids in my generations--as a sweeping generalization--universal health care with a public option is obvious. Or maybe just in my economic bracket is it obvious.

[-] 3 points by ARod1993 (2420) 6 years ago

I'm betting it's both. I'd say the age thing has to do with the hangover from our 45-year standoff with the Soviet Union. When you're up against a country that defines itself by a particular economic ideology, and you're raised with the idea that the country in question was the ultimate evil (which it wasn't quite. It was your standard mismanaged military oligarchy, but when you're the other pole in a bipolar world it's hard as hell not to deal in black and white), then that will instill a certain phobia of anything resembling the aforementioned ideology. Apparently starting with the Reagan presidency big business discovered how to exploit that phobia and things just went downhill from there.

[-] 3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago
[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

Ha! LOL, Judge.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

Great post!