Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obamacare potpourri

I like this piece by columnist Steve Chapman. I think the Obamacare decision was both correct under existing law (which, of course, has little to do with the constitution as written, but that is a different point) and a good one for those who hope (imagine ....) for reasonable health policy and the rule of law.

Richard Epstein peers into the sausage factory behind Roberts' opinion.

My colleagues Helen Levy and Jill Horwitz (sadly moving to UCLA, but why?) present an optimistic view of cost-cutting under Obamacare. I would have pushed harder on getting rid of the tax preference for health care and getting rid of first dollar coverage of health care and prescriptions for all but the very poor. Just doing those two (not unrelated) things would change the game.

Michigan's PR apparatus provides faculty reactions to the supremes. Too many for my taste frame the question about policy rather than law. That is, in my ideal world, everyone would talk about supreme court decisions in terms of victories and defeats for the rule of law, not for particular policies. In the long run, the rule of law is a public good from which we all benefit. On a different matter, I would say that the bioethicist who thinks that without Obamacare, policy involved letting people "die on the streets" is confused about the (ahem) preexisting condition. In fact, we long ago socialized the cost of care for the indigent (not already covered by Medicaid or Medicare) via laws requiring hospitals to require uncompensated care and via the bankruptcy courts. Obamacare is about how to pay for such care, not whether or not to do so.  Lots of conservatives and libertarians are confused on this point as well. Oh, and I agree with Richard Hirth.

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