"The truth is this is a Republican idea," said Linda Quick, president of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association. She said she first heard the concept of the "individual mandate" in a Miami speech in the early 1990s by Sen. John McCain, a conservative Republican from Arizona, to counter the "Hillarycare" the Clintons were proposing.
The reversals have occasionally been hard to believe. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) told Fox News last summer, "I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates.... There isn't anything wrong with it." He later said he would oppose the Democratic proposal because individual mandates are, as he put it, "non-constitutional."
I'm not saying whether the new bill will pass constitutional muster or not (though personally, I'd like to see the SCOTUS pass on taking up the issue), I'm just saying that some intellectual honesty would be nice. Perhaps some sort of consistency of view, or an explanation of why you viewpoint has changed that doesn't boil down to "we didn't win, ergo, the system is broken, ergo, we must ignore the results until we do win".
And by the way - the FL AG's argument/analogy is faulty... it needs to be rephrased. He objected to George W. Bush's Health and Human Services Secretary comparing a mandate for everyone to have health insurance to everyone having to have auto coverage -
"He objected to Thompson's car insurance analogy because people could choose wether or not they wanted to drive a car, while people had no choice about buying health insurance under the reform act. What's more, car insurance was rightly a state requirement, not a federal one." - directly quoted from the McClatchy site linked above (including misspelling the word 'whether').
I think the AG's analogy should instead been the comparison that people could choose whether or not they wanted to drive a car, while people have no choice about seeking health care if they're sick or injured - unless you know, infection and slow painful death could be considered a 'real choice'. But, I guess that really wouldn't support his contention ... I mean, if people can choose whether to buy auto coverage based on whether they want to drive, and if people have no 'real choice' in seeking medical care, then it stands to reason they shouldn't have a choice about buying health coverage... right?
Is that logical? So that supports the public mandate being in the bill - especially since it is really the only way that it would be economically feasible, since we can't have a public option - despite every single poll taken showing that around 60% want that choice (so think about that when you hear how Republicans are fighting Health Reform because the 'American People' don't want it - they want 'freedom' - apparently to get kicked off their policies as soon as they attempt to use them, or the 'freedom' to not be able to get covered at all at the insurance company's whims). Now, I'd also support that some people should be able to 'opt out' due to religious reasons. There are some very traditional views out there that don't allow medical assistance, instead embracing 'faith healing' or 'God's will', still. I can respect that - as long as they understand they're not going to be covered in the ER, either. If you're not paying into the system, don't come crawling into the waiting room uncovered when your minister's chanting and laying on of hands doesn't work. Yes, that is cold and heartless - but guess what - this is about choices and if you want the freedom to make a bad one, then you've earned the freedom to take that consequence.
Now, the other argument holds a bit more water with me - not being a law scholar or anything:
"What's more, car insurance was rightly a state requirement, not a federal one." - quoted from McClatchy's article again....
I suppose I could buy an argument that the state's have the right to not impose a mandate on their citizens - if they want the economic burden of continuing to pick up the tab for the uninsured's health care from the public coffers. I don't see how that makes any economic sense, however, since that is what is happening now and IT DOESN'T WORK. Still, I guess that is a legal argument that could be considered - that states have the right to regulate the requirement for health coverage in the same way they do auto coverage... but I'm not sure how that works in reality... I mean, let's say that a state decides that auto drivers are not required to carry any insurance at all because it's a socialist burden (let's just say Texas decides this tomorrow)?
That would be within their state's rights, correct? And if so, then wouldn't a state have the option to declare that their citizens aren't required to carry health insurance either - being a matter of state's rights vs. this Federal bill?
But on the other hand, let's say this portion of a challenge is upheld - couldn't the Federal Government also decide that they will no longer share revenue with that state for their health care burden? In the same way it uses tax dollar incentives over Federal Highway funds to impose its will on states to comply with certain Federal 'mandates' in highway safety, like seat belt requirements or EPA emissions requirements? So won't, in the long run, these AG's be slitting their Governor's throats by forcing the Feds to simply refuse to share any tax subsidies for health care programs that doesn't include the public insurance coverage mandate?
And doesn't it seem not at all ha-ha funny that many of the states screaming and yelling about the socialism of it all while swooning dramatically manage to get more in Federal aid back than they actually pay in taxes? Doesn't that make them assholes? Yes. Yes, it does.
AL receives $1.61 for every $1 of Federal taxes, for instance. (2004/2005 figures - I'd like linkage to up to date info if anyone has a more recent study), I'll happily link to it, even it is contradicts my assertion here.