July 1, 2012

"A week ago, 36% said the court was doing a good or an excellent job. That’s down to 33% today."

That's Rasmussen's new poll, which also has 28% saying the Court is doing a "poor job," which is "up 11 points over the past week." And "56% believe justices pursue their own political agenda... up five points from a week ago."
Thirty-seven percent (37%) now believe the Supreme Court is too liberal, while 22% think it's too conservative. A week ago, public opinion was much more evenly divided:  32% said it was too liberal and 25% said too conservative.
What we'll never know is what these numbers would have been if the case had gone the other way — if Chief Justice Roberts hadn't found that tax loophole.  (Am I the first person to wisecrack that Roberts found a tax loophole?)

I'm guessing that the opinion shift would have been greater if the Court had done the more dramatic thing and taken the whole health-care reform down, as the dissenting conservative justices wanted to do. For one thing, the media would have gone nuts attacking the Court. We do know that, I think, because they pre-condemned the Court pretty severely on the mere anticipation of the decision that was not to be.

87 comments:

Chip S. said...

if Chief Justice Roberts hadn't found that tax loophole.

"Found" it in the sense that after conducting aerial surveys, seismic surveys, and exploratory drilling, an oil company "finds" a new deposit.

Phil 3:14 said...

3% seems to be within the margin of error.

bagoh20 said...

"Am I the first person to wisecrack that Roberts found a tax loophole?"

I've heard it few times, and I think Rush was one of them.

edutcher said...

I'd say invented, rather than found.

As for SCOTUS, my opinion of them has budged from the subterranean.

G Joubert said...

Roberts is worried about his legacy amongst the leftard mainstream media. Nothing more to it than that.

Ann Althouse said...

It's a "found" joke... waiting for everyone to notice it. When you find it, you can't claim originality, even if you found it independently and even if you were first to find it. It's already there.

God said...

What significance does public approval of the SCOTUS have?

They ain't elected.

They could be attacked as part of the campaign of someone seeking election, or re-election... but there's no consistency in that: Today's noble defenders of the Constitution and Republic are tomorrow's insane activist judges; it's just knee-jerk responses that whatever that last decision was about.

And there's the President's ability to nominate when a vacancy opens up. But a President will almost always nominate someone pretty well qualified (Harriet Miers excepted), whose general political orientation matches that of the President. Nothing surprising, nothing big, and nothing particularly interesting...

I guess you could try to make the case that the justices cater their legal decisions to public opinion. But I don't buy that. I think they are too professional to do that.

AJ Lynch said...

Yor are correct because liberals are way bigger whiners than conservatives.

Chip S. said...

I think they are too professional to do that.

Looks like everybody got the memo about Joke Day at Althouse.

edutcher said...

God said...

What significance does public approval of the SCOTUS have?

Possibly because it might be an indicator of how the public is receiving the idea ObamaTax is still alive.

Or, it might be, given the low esteem in which Congress and the Presidency are also held, that the people's respect and trust in their government are at what could be dangerous levels.

bagoh20 said...

As quite a few defenders of Roberts have argued, he was able to find a way to call it a tax, and so, he should have.

So is it the job of the SCOTUS to just connect the dots, even if some are missing, and then pick which animal the resulting drawing looks most like, or, is it to force Congress to follow the constitution clearly and unambiguously.

Roberts seems to have done the former, but that makes the SCOTUS pretty useless most of the time, as I think it did here. His back-to-the-voters plan forces us to become single issue voters, or let some bad things escape the constitutional test.

We can't effectively vote for representatives one issue at a time, but they can vote on one law at a time. It should have at the least gone back to the congress for clarification.

Maybe in the lawyer world, where the training includes learning to argue any side, what Roberts did is just fine, but to the rest of us that's being a lawyer and not a judge.

In my business, if I get a document from a client specifying what they want, I don't have the luxury of just interpreting it how I want, I need to get clarity from them, and then tell them if I can do it or not.

I know SCOTUS is a political body, but I thought they had a purpose beyond politics.

Carnifex said...

Sorta like Roberts pewling ruling is a joke.

Regardless, the only thing I can personally do about it is to keep my powder dry, and wait for headshots. Figuratively of course.(don't SWAT me bro)

I'd already lost all respect for politicians. Lawyers were even with used car salesmen. This merely confirms my disappointment of the "ruling class" that thinks it's smarter than the rest of the country.

Elites need to learn to never criticize a farmer with their mouths full. The food nazis of this regime have forgotten that lesson. Watch as the price of food goes up, the Society of the Perpetually Aggrieved will be demanding farmers work like the they demand of their doctors, for free. Then watch as the farmers laugh at the idiots.

This is of course a parable. The high muckety mucks like to make fun of "fly over country". The people flying will miss the production of fly over country. The people in fly over country aren't gonna' miss being flown over.

traditionalguy said...

Roberts is clever. No one can deny that.

But he has cleverly turned the SCOTUS into a rubber stamp for a tyranny that can never be reversed.

That sort of removes all respect for the Court forever. It is now only a worthless ceremonial drama done by clowns dressed up like Justices.

God said...

You don't mean found in his finding?

Surely, you couldn't...

You wouldn't... It's so completely STUPID!

If, in the unlikely event that's it, then please... I beg relief... REVERSE and REMAND that joke...

This is an emergency appeal.

On the other hand, I probably just don't get it.

Big Mike said...

I had previously linked over to "Best of the Web," and discovered that Ginsburg -- who won, for Pete's sake! -- has been dumping vitriol all over the Chief Justice.

I don't think things like that help the Court's image with the public. But I strongly believe that Ginsburg and the rest of the vast left-wing conspiracy have been taking a "Public be damned, ain't I got the power" attitude for years now.

Oso Negro said...

Feh. Sad to think that a Supreme Court Justice would worry about his reception on the cocktail circuit. The whole affair reinforces my view that the District of Columbia should be re-absorbed into Maryland and the Federal Government and its agencies dispersed throughout the various states. A Supreme Court Justice who lived in Des Moines wouldn't give a shit about the opinion of snoots at an Arlington, Virgina soiree. Of course, if the lights don't get turned back on for them soon the whole rabble may disperse on their own.

Hagar said...

I think Roberts found a way to take the Court off the hot seat and hand the issue back to Congress, where it belongs, with a note saying "No filibustering!"

And the MSM and the Democrats cannot attack the court as they would have done, and most savagely so, if it had "overturned" the ACA; since the Court ostensibly upheld the act, they will have to bite their tongues and just try to salvage the act on what they see as its merits.

mccullough said...

Not Roberts job to rescue voters from Hope and Change. We've had two shitty Presidents in a row. Maybe Romney will be better. Maybe not.

Alex said...

I fail to see the relevance of public opinion on the SCOTUS. They operate independently of public opinion. Their job is to rule on the Constitutionality of the cases that come before them. Sure they take politics into consideration, but these are super sophisticated folks and the average Joe/Jane is not qualified to judge their performance.

Alex said...

Sad to think that a Supreme Court Justice would worry about his reception on the cocktail circuit.

Fooey. There is no evidence that Robert's motivation was to get ingratiated with the D.C. elite. Remember they still hate him over Citizens United, and they know he did it for political reasons.

Hagar said...

2/3 of the likely voters dislike or outright hate the ACA, and 23 of the 33 or 34 Senators up for election are Democrats.

Alex said...

Hagar - yet you can construct any poll to show that people hate the current health care system. You can find most want uninsured people to get coverage and think it's immoral to deny people based on preexisting conditions. Once you get to real specifics, the politics favor Obama. At least he has a solution to the uninsured, does Romney? All I hear from him are talking points about "taxes" and nothing about the 45 million uninsured.

William said...

This first survey doesn't count. What really counts is what percent of the media agrees with it. Given time they generally bring the world around to their opinion.....I'm thinking of Battlestar Gallatica. They had a character who looked a little like John McCain on the show. He had been imprisoned and tortured by the Xylons. The experience had unhinged him and made him unsuitable for independent command. The nice liberal lady who was President was much more balanced in her judgements.....That's the way it works. If the decision had gone the other way, we would have seen shows whose sympathetic characters suffered mightily because they lack insurance. There probably would be a subplot about some judge whose brain illness caused him to become increasingly irrational and cruel......Look, if they could make the slave abusing Jefferson a populist and that poor bastard Hamilton a monarchist, how much trouble would it be a make the Justices a foul, incontinent group.

Tim said...

"It's already there."

Except, of course, it wasn't there at all.

It was created by the Chief Legislator.

Tim said...

"So is it the job of the SCOTUS to just connect the dots, even if some are missing, and then pick which animal the resulting drawing looks most like, or, is it to force Congress to follow the constitution clearly and unambiguously."

If, as Roberts demonstrated, the Court views its job is to legislate, then yes, the former, absolutely and, as we've seen, by all means.

If its the former, then he fucked up.

And fucked us too.

Tim said...

"All I hear from him are talking points about "taxes" and nothing about the 45 million uninsured."

Because, as we all know, the uninsured bear no responsibility for their being uninsured at all.

And, just to be clear, only a small percentage (about 2%, max) have the oft-discussed "pre-existing" conditions used to leverage the ACA.

Explain for us why a family of four, with an income of $89,000/annum, deserves subsidized health care under the ACA?

Carnifex said...

So it's theme day at Althouse...Sorry for being slow on the uptake. Jokes...jokes...jokes...

Okay, if you were in a room with the Dread Traitor Roberts, 2 rattlesnakes, and a loaded uzi, what would you do?

answer deleted to protect teller from being swatted

Oh... lets try this one

What do you have when 3/3 of all the branches of government are at the bottom of the ocean?

answer deleted to protect teller from being swatted

That 1 didn't make it either...

okay this one will clear...

A man walks into a bar. Sitting at the bar is Barrack Obama, and beside him a tiny CJ Roberts playing a equally tiny piano. The President seems kinda down though so the man asks,"What's the matter Mr. President? You just got a big win thanks to the Supreme court". Barry looks over and sez "Yeah, you're right. But to celebrate, Moochie flew to Saudi Arabia to do some shopping. She bought this old dusty lamp, like from Aladin. As a joke I rubbed it, and sure enough, out popped this genie. The genie said 'I am the Genie of the lamp. I can grant you 1 wish. But speak up, I am 10,000 years old and a little deaf'."

"Wow" said the guy, "that must be great! So why are you so sad?"

"Well" continued Barry "I already won the presidency. And I just put my name in the history books, there was only 1 thing left that I wanted"

"The genie said he was hard of hearing...do you really think I asked for a 12 inch pianist?"

Hagar said...

Alex,
The current "system" is a mess all right, but Obama's "solution" depends on magic for funding. In our universe it is not going to work.

Which is why I hope the Romster is up to finding a way to arrange something the majority can live with, and the hard-core 20% loony left will just have to suck it up.

cubanbob said...

33%? It's amazing that 33% are crazy or stupid enough to believe the court is doing a good or excellent job considering it's a court that concluded that a fumble and touchdown are one and the same. What percentage of football fans would consider referees concluding a fumble and a touchdown are one in the same are ding a good or excellent job? Or what percentage of baseball fans would consider an umpire declaring an out and a safe one and the same or a strike and a home run one and the same is doing a good or excellent job? Roberts and the one other who supported this ruling should be Baker acted. It would be a kindness to them.

Alex said...

Explain for us why a family of four, with an income of $89,000/annum, deserves subsidized health care under the ACA?

Yeah I'm sure America is filled with such mythical uninsured families. How about trying some real facts for a change? 45 million uninsured and Willard has nothing for them. Now maybe they don't vote in huge numbers, but employed liberals who have a heart despise GOP politicians for giving up on the disadvantaged in society and vote accordingly.

Tim said...

"Fooey. There is no evidence that Robert's motivation was to get ingratiated with the D.C. elite. Remember they still hate him over Citizens United, and they know he did it for political reasons."

Bullshit, yourself.

"Universal coverage" has been a Democrat fantasy since Roosevelt was president.

They've wanted this MUCH more than they care about corporate donations (of which they get anywhere from 45% to 60%, depending upon the election cycle).

Offer any Democrat this deal: 1) Keep ACA in a post-Citizen United world, o;r 2) Lose ACA in a pre-Citizen United world; the answer, nine to one, most assuredly would be 1.

cubanbob said...

Hagar if this disaster is left in place, ten years from now the current system we have would be fondly remembered as as close to an ideal solution that is workable and possible.

Tim said...

"Yeah I'm sure America is filled with such mythical uninsured families. How about trying some real facts for a change? 45 million uninsured and Willard has nothing for them. Now maybe they don't vote in huge numbers, but employed liberals who have a heart despise GOP politicians for giving up on the disadvantaged in society and vote accordingly."

Facts?

You don't know what you're talking about.

Subsidized care under the ACA tops out at 400% of FPL.

It is there for a reason.

Do some research and learn.

It *might* help your game.

Alex said...

Tim - most Americans want universal coverage, but keep blaming poor John Roberts as the evil doer. Are you going to hate on all Americans now?

Tim said...

"...but employed liberals who have a heart despise GOP politicians for giving up on the disadvantaged in society and vote accordingly."

400% of FPL is disadvantage.

Liberals: Defining deviancy down; defining poverty up (but only for the purpose of subsidized social welfare programs - most assuredly NOT for income tax purposes).

Hagar said...

and Alex,

I do not necessarily believe that "the average American" can't tell a smoke and mirrors scam if you give him/her a reasonable alternative.

TmjUtah said...

If the objective is to overthrow the existing system, step one is to make it (the system) as personally, deeply offensive as possible to the governed.

You have to understand that before you can understand anything at all about the Obama administration and its script.

Tim said...

"...most Americans want universal coverage..."

Citation, please.

Especially one with details, i.e., how they like *this* (near) universal coverage.

Also, again, please explain how people earning $89,000 per annum deserve publicly subsidized care.

cubanbob said...

bagoh20 said...

Roberts saw a mountain of manure and said to himself there must be a pony in here somewhere so he looked and he looked and he looked until he convinced himself he found one.

Alex when the bill was past the democrats claimed only 30 million were uninsured. Now two years later and the democrats have so screwed up the economy that there are now 45 million uninsured? Good enough reason to fire them all. I don't know what Romney will or won't do but its impossible for him to be even dumber than Obama and the democrats and further ruin the economy.

Larry J said...

After the infamous Kelo decision, no one should be surprised that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of government over the people. Concent of the governed, my ass.

Once again, it seems that many judges are little more than failed lawyers with political connections.

madAsHell said...

A Supreme Court opinion poll??

"It had a good beat, and you can dance to it. I'll give it a 75, Dick"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y9IBwihU4w

Tank said...

Damn, I went to Sicily for two weeks of R & R, and I come back, and it's not only joke day at Althouse, but joke day in America.

Nothing new. Couple more incremental steps to facism. Anyone trust the Republicans to save us? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Doomed.

DEAD COUNTRY WALKING.

PS: Sicily is nice, but hot. You can eat and drink very well there. I did.

Tim said...

ANYONE (Looking at you, ALEX) defending the ACA has to defend the subsidized care for persons earning up to 400% of FPL.

For a family of four this year, that equals $92,000.

Obamacare - subsidizing families making nearly $100,000 a year.

Woo hoo!

A. Shmendrik said...

Am I the first person to wisecrack that Roberts found a tax loophole?

Stop it with these jokes, you're killin' me! Seriously, I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe and my ribs will ache tomorrow, even.

America's Politico said...

In the movie, Untouchables, Sean Connery tells Elliot Ness how to take on Capone. You do not bring a knife at a gun fight.

This is the fight for the soul of the country. We at the WH, K-street, DNC, etc. all in the Committee to Re-Elect the POTUS - so, We are the CORE Members - know what it takes to win.

- We made the SCOTUS feel that not supporting the Affordable Care Act was partisan, the SCOTUS caved in.

- When Labor Day comes, we will go all over the country and say that if POTUS is not re-elected then it will re-open the racial past. People will be hurt, etc.

- We know everything. We will do what it takes to win.

IN other words, we are going to the fight with all the weapons. The GOP is totally clueless, as usual. They are not smart. They have no love from the Press (NYT, NPR, PBS). No foreign country likes them.

We will use Hollywood, Press, etc. to make the voters feel guilty. This will give us additional 5%. Everything counts.

GOP is finished. Our masters are David P., David A. and Jim, M. They know what it takes to win. We have scientists working on the campaign data. We know everything on what you do and what scares you. So, expect us to the fight with the right weapons.

The Crack Emcee said...

Not surprising when they co-signed a lie.

Michael K said...

"At least he has a solution to the uninsured, does Romney? All I hear from him are talking points about "taxes" and nothing about the 45 million uninsured."

That number sure has grown. hasn't it ? The Obama method is to make them all Medicaid. Medicaid patients can't find doctors willing to see them now, except as emergencies, That means in the ER. Every study of the effect of increasing "insurance" for the
uninsured" shows that ER volume increases. NOBODY in private practice wants Medicaid patients. Some of us had no choice (trauma center) and would wait two years to be paid about 10% of usual charges.

Of course, the Obamacare solution to that problem is to make all doctors employees. Most medical students now expect to be on salary. The older docs that have opted out, as Medicare gets more like Medicaid, are doing OK although, if as I expect, Obamacare tries to forcibly enroll them, they will quit.

The health care system desperately needs reform but this isn't it.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

Larry J said...
After the infamous Kelo decision, no one should be surprised that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of government over the people. Concent of the governed, my ass.

--------------------
Eminent Domain, enshrined from the start in the Constitution, is all about protecting the interests of the people as a whole over the interests of the few.
In Kelo, it was the interest of the city as a whole over a few house flippers and real estate speculators that had bought property on blighted land thinking Fed and State tax dollars to help salvage a morobound city (New London) - would make them rich.

Remember that emeninet domain came after the Articles of Federation failed. And a big part of that failure was a few wealthy landowners and avaricious government officials buying up key transportation points and milking the rest of the citizenry.
Landowners set up tolls on roads passing through their "sacred and sovereign private property", land speculators bought up land surrounding river portage sites so they could force use fees on any river traffic blocked by rapids (part of the reason for the birth of the Army Corps of Enginers as well).
And States set up tax stations on roads and harbors they controlled - even if the traffic was just passing through their state to deliver goods and services to other states.

In the end, the business people that contemplated helping build New London bailed. Hostile reception from people that held the real estate speculators as heroes...mainly no development Ever! leftists and deluded libertarians that no doubt preferred the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution as even better for landed Freedom Lovers!!


In Roberts call...he was too clever by half. By saying the Feds can do as they wish provided it is a "tax"....Roberts thought he finessed the whole Obamacare mess by dumping it back on Congress. But he basically dumped the 10th Amendment and even invidual rights if any Federal regulation or power grab can come disguised as a tax.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a very bright guy, good in many ways, but an anti-gun nutter as well. His idea of destroying the 2nd Amendment was by making eradication of private gun ownership into a tax. A 10,000 tax to buy a firearm, a 100 dollar a bullet or shotgun shell tax (with government Heroes needing weapons, certain special interests groups like farmers and private bodyguards for Moynihans NYC Elites of course exempted.)

Justice Roberts failed to remember that other bright people before him have seen no limit to Federal power...and long as that power being asserted over states and private parties can be explained as a tax.

Kirby Olson said...

There will be loopholes galore inside the law itself. One seems to be that it only covers people who are working for 30 or more hours per week. Which means we will probably shift to a 29.5 hour work week to skirt the law.

There is more of how the rubber hits the road at the weekend edition's WSJ's article about the Human Resources manager of TGI Friday's and a few individuals and a public health hospital commenting on how they intend to change their behaviors to fit the law. A gymnast says it will cost him 4 grand to be in compliance at the lowest rung. It will only cost 700 to pay the penalty and then sign up.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304830704577496931438592856.html

Meanwhile, the country's attitude will continue to shift to the right, I suspect, which was probably Roberts' central idea. The left is gambling that people will align themselves out of terror of non-compliance.

Will it be a misdemeanor to be out of compliance? Will it be like not paying your taxes, and thus you can go to prison for it, as Capone did? Perhaps for life?

There was an initial claim that still circulates in some quarters that there will be 16,000 new IRS agents. Possibly they will eventually build new prisons to house all those who are out of compliance. First the left has to manage to get the penalty (er, tax) to mean jail time. That will just require another late night session some time when they are in the majority again.

Easily done, and we're all making license plates for the state.

CWJ said...

Alex, citing a 45 MM person statistic may possibly be true, but what does it mean? Who are the uninsured and why are they uninsured? Why is it a problem, and how does Obamacare solve it? Providers cannot turn people away for lack of insurance. So access is there in spite of the political rhetoric. The elderly have Medicare, and the poor have Medicaid, so its not like there are no governmental safety nets. So who exactly needs Obamacare?

I suspect you know that your 45MM contains a lot of different categories of person in very dissimilar situations, and that you're just "playing" the rest of us as you seem to often do.

edutcher said...

FWIW, CBS is reporting Roberts did switch his vote and tried to get Kennedy to switch also, to make the Court look more "united".

As it's from Black Rock and depends on the usual unnamed sources, YMMV as to its veracity.

Tank said...

Damn, I went to Sicily for two weeks of R & R, and I come back, and it's not only joke day at Althouse, but joke day in America.

Nothing new. Couple more incremental steps to facism. Anyone trust the Republicans to save us? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Doomed.


Sounds more like somebody who loves the idea of Socialism, avatar notwithstanding.

Ah well, a lot of Libertarians appear to be Lefties who just don't feel guilty about wanting to hang onto their money.

Kel said...

Freedom in America used to mean, so long as you didn't hurt anyone, you were able to do what you wanted.

Then, freedom in America meant that you were able to act within the confines of how government said so, but you still could decline to act.

Now, freedom in America means that whether you act or not, the government can punish you anyway.

This sophistry of saying that a person's inaction cannot be the subject of the Commerce Clause, but can be the subject of the Tax Power, is idiotic. At the end of the day, it's a gun to your head by the power in Washington.

It's amazing how many people don't get that mere inaction is now grounds for punishment. This goes against everything in our common law and our history. There's no duty to rescue. You can remain silent in the face of police. You don't have to testify against yourself.

And people were fine with the idea that doing something meant that you were subject to the Power in Washington. Drive? On a public road? Get car insurance. Work and produce income? Pay taxes. Make a product? Do it under safety regulations.

But now, it's DO NOTHING, and pay a tax. And if you don't pay, they will take your house, take your stuff, and throw you in jail.

What other things will the Power in Washington think of that we're not doing that they want us to do? Drive government cars? Pay money to government-sponsored utilities? Move into government buildings?

The elites know this game. They've always wanted to rule over all of us. That's the entire point behind the vision of the anointed, whether they're statists on the left or the statists on the right. It's why the law professor crowd isn't horrified behind this decision - because they will be pulling the strings and we'll be the marionettes. Until the Power decides that they're not useful anymore too, as history has always shown.

Unless you have a morbid humor, this isn't funny Ann. But there's no saving this country now, whether Romney is elected or not. What, elect him so he can appoint another backstabbing elitist who wants to rule over us? No, thank you. Let the place collapse. The worse the better.

Michael K said...

Someone yesterday wanted a reference for my statement that the feds plan to ban cash practices. There is a long discussion of this subject from which I will excerpt a shorter section. This provision was in Hillarycare and was a major reason why it failed. The authors of Obamacare learned from that experience and made the ACA bill impossible to read and understand.

Making direct-pay medical practice illegal has not been accomplished yet, but clear efforts have been made in this regard. Noting with alarm the rise of direct-pay primary care, numerous Congresspersons have issued statements of concern, suggesting that perhaps Congress should “look into” the propriety of such activities.

Indeed, the first step by Congress has already been taken. In 2003, as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, Congress directed the GAO to study and report on the effect of direct-pay practices on Medicare patients. The GAO did so in 2005, and a fair paraphrase of its report is as follows: “The practice of direct-pay medicine is not currently a threat to Medicare patients, because the direct-pay movement is not large enough yet to have an impact. If it does begin to have an impact on Medicare patients, action will have to be taken.” That is, direct-pay medicine was considered OK in 2005 not because it was inherently an ethical and legal form of medical practice, but simply because there were not enough practitioners at that time to bother about. The clear implication is that Congress stands ready to pass laws outlawing – or, at least, severely limiting – direct-pay practices, as soon as those practices begin to “impact” the system.

A follow-up report was done in 2010 which showed a 5-fold increase in the number of direct-pay practices since 2005. It is not yet clear what actions the Feds may take – the numbers are still quite small – but leaders of MedPac (a commission that advises Congress on Medicare) has publicly expressed alarm that this new phenomenon appears to be growing rapidly.

Certain state governments are not waiting for Congress to ban direct-pay practices. The state of Maryland and a few others have taken the creative position that, because many direct-pay practices work on a retainer basis, they meet the definition of a health insurance company. And as a health insurance company, to be considered legal entities, they have to have millions of dollars set aside to pay for unforeseen “claims.” (Interestingly, the lawyers in state legislatures who are advancing this argument have never suggested that the same rules be applied to attorneys, who also often work on a retainer model.) According to the Baltimore Sun, the state’s stance in this regard has already successfully caused several primary care physicians to abandon their plans to become retainer practitioners. This interesting pathway to banishing direct-pay practices is being taken up by other states, as well. In early 2012, for instance, the state of Oregon also began requiring direct-pay physicians to register their practices with the state insurance commission.

Less devious (but more draconian) is the action that was proposed in the state of Massachusetts (whose universal healthcare system, we’ve all heard, is a preview of Obamacare circa 2015). A bill was introduced in 2009 in the Massachusetts Senate which would require doctors, as a condition of their licensure, to accept payment rates as determined by the government. The bill has not become law in Massachusetts (not yet, anyway), but its introduction illustrates the tactics which are being entertained to make direct-pay practices completely impracticable, if not illegal.


Anyone seriously concerned about this issue should read the whole chapter, indeed the whole book although it is aimed at physicians.

Kel said...

Michael, it's no surprise they want to ban cash. Cash would put people under the radar and they can't have that. Their need to control everything about you is their primary purpose.

Pogo is right. People are serfs.

Chip S. said...

That CBS story linked by edutcher featured this bit of info:

The two sources say suggestions that parts of the dissent were originally Roberts' actual majority decision for the Court are inaccurate, and that the dissent was a true joint effort.

The fact that the joint dissent doesn't mention Roberts' majority was not a sign of sloppiness, the sources said, but instead was a signal the conservatives no longer wished to engage in debate with him.


This is usually the sort of response reserved for comments by "Love". When your colleagues feel that you're that incapable of listening to reason, you've really bottomed out as a judge.

Larry J said...

Cedarford, Kelo said the if someone came along and offered the local government more tax revenue, the rightful owners of the property could be forced to sell under eminent domain. The property didn't have to be "blighted". Peoperty rights be damned, there was the opportunity to make money, bribe politicians and screw over the ordinary people that liberals claim to support.

Legitimate eminent domain means thing like bridges, roads and schools, not shopping centers and office buildings that'll pay higher property taxes than individual homeowners.

Bender said...

if Chief Justice Roberts hadn't found that tax loophole

He didn't "found" anything. He invented it. He conjured it up, believing himself to have God-like powers to create something ex nihilo.

America's Politico said...

Some have expressed an interest to seeing how CORE (COmmittee to Re-Elect) the POTUS discuss the campaign, well, you are welcome to join us tonight at the Oval Room, across the WH. My GF and I will be holding court there this evening.

Come we will talk about these things:
- How we silently helped/pressured to change the SCOTUS decision (CJ) to support *our* health care law.
- How we plan to use similar tactics towards all voters for the Nov. election.
- How are ads are making an impact about Bain being a cruel and unusually un-American company.
- How GOP will not only lose the WH, but also the House and Senate.

Etc.

Come join us. We will discuss whatever is your liking.

Cheerio friends.

ella binsburg said...

I dont know what conservatives whine about. Their SC ensured that the status quo won.

And this mess shows that Obama was never serious about a fundamental transformation of america and that he isnt even half the radical, american conservatives make him out to be.

If he was serious, he would have proposed truely socialized healthcare modelled on the uk or cananda.

And if one is really serious about fundamental transformation one doesnt compromise with representatives of the old order. FDR was far more consistent and at least thought about reforming the courts in his favour.

His is a failed presidency and a wasted chance to build a new america. By now

rehajm said...

This sophistry of saying that a person's inaction cannot be the subject of the Commerce Clause, but can be the subject of the Tax Power, is idiotic. At the end of the day, it's a gun to your head by the power in Washington.

It's only a gun if you don't pay your taxes. If you pay your taxes you can tell the government to piss off, at least as it pertains to what they are trying to force you to do. A tax os only a tax...

It's amazing how many people don't get that mere inaction is now grounds for punishment.

The only inaction that is grounds for punishment is 'not paying your taxes'. Was before the ruling, is now. Before the ruling there were wild and exciting ideas coming from the liberal elite about the delicious ways the government was going to compel you to have insurance- take away your passport, force states to check your status before you renewed your driver's license, send the healthcare police to break into your home and take you away.

Now none of that can happen.

Chip S. said...

And we're back to Square One, apparently.

Had Roberts not backed down, all those protections would be in place plus we'd be rid of Obamacare.

Kel said...

The only inaction that is grounds for punishment is 'not paying your taxes'. Was before the ruling, is now. Before the ruling there were wild and exciting ideas coming from the liberal elite about the delicious ways the government was going to compel you to have insurance- take away your passport, force states to check your status before you renewed your driver's license, send the healthcare police to break into your home and take you away.

Now none of that can happen.


Wrong. The power to tax is the power to destroy. A smarter Supreme Court justice once said that.

Not paying your taxes is the "only" thing they can punish you for? How dense are supporters of this ruling? Buy a GM eco car or pay a $50,000 tax. Buy energy from wind-power or pay a $100,000 tax. Buy organic food or pay a $1,000 tax.

Tax liens on everything they want to make you do. You'd rather not, but it's too expensive NOT to comply.

Here's something more creative: sell your house to developer X, or pay a $500,000 tax. Gets around that little pesky eminent domain problem. Or something else: move to Camp 1138 or pay a $1 million fine. Gotta make room for the betters to move in, and in the Camp we'll have a better way to monitor you. It's not a mandate, like in Korematsu. It's just a "tax." You don't HAVE to do it so long as you can pay them a million.

You'll be under their boot in no time, rehajm.

Do you people not get the fear of the government here? They will do this, as history has always shown. Does anyone here have any knowledge of history and the real threat here?

Alex said...

Roberts' point is that Congress has ultimate taxing authority. He also would say that it's up to the American people not to elect socialists who will increase our taxes. If we get Democrat controlled Congress that hikes up our taxes - that's democracy.

Alex said...

The funny thing is that all the polls are showing Obama running away from Romney now. I guess being a substance-free empty-suit is not that appealing. At least with Barry, people know what they're getting.

wef said...

Ok, set aside the speculative "bullshit" about some polling numbers and hypothetical what-ifs about an alternate ruling. Ann, in your opinion, is Roberts's decision neutral, supportive or corrosive of the regime's legitimacy? I suspect that in the longer term Roberts has severally undermined support from the court's natural conservative base. The progressives already look on the constitution and the court from a practical perspective, certainly not from reverence. Not the high priests are shown to be political, pandering, and those who still wanted to revere are disgusted. When conservatives think the regime is, well, just a regime, the jigs is up.

Kel said...

Ultimate taxing authority?

The point is this: Taxation as a political matter has ALWAYS been tied to products, services, and income. In short, taxes were always tied to commerce. These are indirect taxes. Freedom to avoid the tax means not engaging in the type of transaction.

The American government has wisely never imposed direct taxes.

There is no "transaction" to avoid here. In fact, the government wants to FORCE a transaction. Do nothing and you pay the tax. That makes it a direct tax.

Direct taxes are EVIL:

The power of direct taxation applies to every individual ... it cannot be evaded like the objects of imposts or excise, and will be paid, because all that a man hath will he give for his head. This tax is so congenial to the nature of despotism, that it has ever been a favorite under such governments. ...

The power of direct taxation will further apply to every individual ... however oppressive, the people will have but this alternative, either to pay the tax, or let their property be taken for all resistance will be vain.

Michael K said...

"
If he was serious, he would have proposed truely socialized healthcare modelled on the uk or cananda."

He knew that wouldn't pass so the aim was to pass something that provided a way to destroy the present system and leave no alternative but single payer. The problem is that bankruptcy of the country will probably arrive with single payer.

rehajm said...

Kel said...

Wrong. The power to tax is the power to destroy. A smarter Supreme Court justice once said that.

The power to tax may be the power to destroy. I don't know. But not buying health insurance doesn't grant government that power. The current Supreme Court said so- pay your taxes, they can't touch you...

Not paying your taxes is the "only" thing they can punish you for? How dense are supporters of this ruling? Buy a GM eco car or pay a $50,000 tax. Buy energy from wind-power or pay a $100,000 tax. Buy organic food
or pay a $1,000 tax.


Don't make me your straw man- none of these taxes are law. I was reacting to what you claimed: It's amazing how many people don't get that mere inaction is now grounds for punishment. NOW grounds for punishment? In fact, not paying your taxes was grounds for punishment before last week's ruling. The ruling did not change that. It is still grounds for punishment. And if you pay your taxes, they still can't touch you...

Do you people not get the fear of the government here? They will do this, as history has always shown. Does anyone here have any knowledge of history and the real threat here?

I don't agree that they will do this if 'do this' refers to the wild taxes you imagine. Possible? Perhaps. It is now and it was before last week's ruling (again, my point- nothing's changed). Likely? No way. Will never happen with the current composition of Congress. I am concerned with government overreach and I suspect other voters fear overreach as well- enough people so your crazy taxes won't happen, anyways. And if they do? There's an election coming up. Think that's part of what Roberts was saying, too

PatCA said...

Michael K., I have no doubt that the feds will have to "look into" and then criminalize much medical business practice. Sort of like FDR and his ban of private ownership of gold -- banning the symptom, not the disease.

Obama is subsidizing the middle class to make another pill go down easier. It's only a matter of time, though, before Congress "looks into" the sad fact of poor people who can't afford the penalty, er...tax, er...insurance premium. Then they will subsidize them totally with more taxes from the 400% FPL folks and the Dems will have their permanent dependent majority.

damikesc said...

Don't make me your straw man- none of these taxes are law. I was reacting to what you claimed: It's amazing how many people don't get that mere inaction is now grounds for punishment. NOW grounds for punishment? In fact, not paying your taxes was grounds for punishment before last week's ruling. The ruling did not change that. It is still grounds for punishment. And if you pay your taxes, they still can't touch you...

But the concern exists. If THIS is legal, what is not legal? If Romney decided to pass a tax where you have to pay $10,000 if you don't vote Republican, it'd apparently be quite legal.

Politicians could lie and claim it's not a tax (Obama is STILL claiming that after the ruling).

damikesc said...

I'm just amazed that the concerns about SCOTUS legitimacy after a 5-4 decision evaporated COMPLETELY...after a 5-4 verdict.

Funny, huh?

It's only a gun if you don't pay your taxes. If you pay your taxes you can tell the government to piss off, at least as it pertains to what they are trying to force you to do. A tax os only a tax...

This sounds A LOT like criticisms of people who oppose restricting search and seizure powers of the police.

"Well, if you have nothing to hide..."

Tyranny is tyranny. Either side with it or oppose it. Middle ground here --- it don't exist.

CWJ said...

@rehajm

Sorry, I'm not buying your game. Just pay your taxes is no different than hand over the money and no one gets hurt.

If this is a tax, well then, what is it for? Supposedly its to stop the insurance non buying freeloaders. OK, then I suppose the proceeds are earmarked to compensate provider for the bad debts they incur for the services that they are legally obligated to provide. But no they are not. They do no such thing.

So tax or no tax it is nothing more than punishment for not behaving in the federally prescribed way.

BTW, as of today there is exactly only one supporter old Obamacare's constitutionality who thinks its a tax. And that would be Stevens.

Obama is already on record denying its a tax. No supporter in the legislative branch has said yeah a tax that's what I voted for. The other four SC justices who sided with Stevens are on record as saying it was commerce clause constitutional so who needs it to be a tax. To my knowledge Stevens is the only member of the federal government who has said this is a tax.

Amazing! Perhaps the first case ever decided on the basis of a 1-8 "majority".

gbarto said...

I don't know if Roberts switched, but the decision feels like a shot across the bow of the American taxpayer. Roberts expressly stated that it wasn't the job of the court to save people from stupid political decisions and I think that's what it comes down to: He wasn't going to let the left whine about what could have been if the evil court hadn't stopped them and he wasn't going to let the right get a free pass on repealing it while he went into the history books as the guy who ended universal health care. Instead, he split the difference, using a stretched argument that said that the Congress can't just do whatever it wants but it can do an awful lot. Hence, as I say, a shot across the bow of the taxpayers: If you work and pay taxes, you'd better pay attention because a good story and fuzzy feelings may come with a price and John Roberts isn't going to be the bad guy just so a free people can shirk responsibility for their democracy.

Phil 3:14 said...

had previously linked over to "Best of the Web," and discovered that Ginsburg -- who won, for Pete's sake! -- has been dumping vitriol all over the Chief Justice.

I see a choking episode in their future.

CWJ said...

@rehajm

Should have written, "In this case, just pay your taxes is no different..."

CWJ said...

@rehajm

Should have written, "In this case, just pay your taxes is no different..."

marklewin said...

Members of the supreme court treat the constitution like a Rorschach card.

rehajm said...

CWJ said...

Just pay your taxes is no different than hand over the money and no one gets hurt.

So tax or no tax it is nothing more than punishment for not behaving in the federally prescribed way.

Sure, okay. Let's agree the tax is punishment for not having insurance, and it's the government equivalent of a mugging. Here's the point- the tax is now the only arrow in the government quiver. They can't come after you the way they really wanted to come after you if you didn't purchase insurance.

CWJ said...

@rehajm

And what would that be?

Spell it out because I really don't know at what you're getting.

Chip S. said...

CWJ, when someone is whistling past the graveyard, he's not likely to accept your offer of saltine crackers.

rehajm said...

rehajm said...

The only inaction that is grounds for punishment is 'not paying your taxes'.

Oops. Looks like punishment for not paying the fine is out, too....

from Ezra Klein:
"And what happens if you don't buy insurance and you don't pay the penalty? Well, not much. The law specifically says that no criminal action or liens can be imposed on people who don't pay the fine. If this actually leads to a world in which large numbers of people don't buy insurance and tell the IRS to stuff it, you could see that change. But for now, the penalties are low and the enforcement is non-existent."

the statute:
..."In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure."

So you can only be punished via tax if you don't buy insurance. But if you don't pay the tax, you cannot be punished?

..and some of you are still hand-wringing over all that was lost with the court's decision?

Chip S. said...

And you're still missing the point by a mile or so.

The level of the ACA tax has nothing to do with the Roberts decision except for his laughable decree that a tax becomes a penalty if the rate is too high.

Given that we once had a top marginal income tax rate of 92 percent, I'm not sure Roberts is even fully sane.

Here's the main point, stated succinctly and clearly by Richard Epstein:

Chief Justice Roberts has ignored this fundamental principle: If direct regulation is beyond the scope of the Commerce Clause (as he held), then taxation as an indirect route to the same regulation should be off limits as well (as he failed to hold). This is a baby that should not be split. His attempt to do so undermines his ruling, the court and the Constitution.

damikesc said...

Did you cite Ezra "the Constitution is over 100 yrs old so its not really relevant" Klein's expert analysis?

Rusty said...

Don't make me your straw man- none of these taxes are law. I was reacting to what you claimed: It's amazing how many people don't get that mere inaction is now grounds for punishment.NOW grounds for punishment? In fact, not paying your taxes was grounds for punishment before last week's ruling. The ruling did not change that. It is still grounds for punishment. And if you pay your taxes, they still can't touch you...


Which misses the point. until thursday we were all taxed on our activities. Thing we intentionally do. Work,Fill up the gas tank, etc. As far as penalties go we are charge extra when we fail to pay income tax. But after Thursday we are now taxed for something we did not BUY. Whether we want that item or not. It is not a tax just for failing to do something, but a tax on whether or not YOU VOLUNTARILY decide to participate in a market. There is nothing stopping congress from taxing you on other economic activities you voluntarily decide not to participate in. Government has interjected itself between the buyer and seller to artificially influence the market.
Historically this has only ended in tears.

rehajm said...

Rusty said...

There is nothing stopping congress from taxing you on other economic activities you voluntarily decide not to participate in. Government has interjected itself between the buyer and seller to artificially influence the market.

If you won't listen to me maybe you'll listen to Ann , responding to the WSJ, which is...disturbed that Congress can configure a tax that shapes behavior that it could not simply command, and yet they admit — as they must — that tax law does that all the time. Congress can't compel you to go into debt to buy a house, but you'll pay less taxes if you have a mortgage interest deduction. Congress can't require you to get married, but single taxpayers get stuck with higher tax rates. Why is this new area of taxing so shocking?