The problem is not that the ObamaCare statute can’t work without the mandate. The problem is that it can’t work without the Chinese or someone lending us trillions of dollars indefinitely so the federal government can keep spending money it doesn’t have.
Holman Jenkins in today’s WSJ Insurers and the Supremes
What’s more, the penalties under the law already are so weak that many will likely prefer to pay a fine than buy insurance. Insurers have already accepted that budgetary handouts will be needed to keep this system afloat. Add the metaphysical certitude that future congressional funding will prove inadequate in the face of the incentives ObamaCare will spawn, and insurers have fully committed themselves to a lifetime of lobbying for appropriations to sustain an unsustainable system.
If this sounds familiar, it should: Medicare and Social Security operate on the same principle. Both have turned into Ponzi schemes, scheduled to pay out trillions more in benefits than they receive in funding…
Insurance is an investment contract: You pay today in return for a promise to be paid later. In any actuarial sense, however, Washington’s jig was up a long time ago. The problem is not that the ObamaCare statute can’t work without the mandate. The problem is that it can’t work without the Chinese or someone lending us trillions of dollars indefinitely so the federal government can keep spending money it doesn’t have.
The Constitution may permit far-reaching schemes of insurance regulation; it may even permit an individual mandate. It may permit the government completely to take over health care. But it certainly does not permit insurance fraud. That’s what the mandate is: It forces the young and healthy to pony up once again for another of Washington’s actuarially unsound welfare promises.
In fairness to Mr. Obama, his motives at least are intelligible. The Democratic Party has made it semi-clear that it sees the “progressive” health-care project still at the stage of taking a wrecking ball to the existing system.
We’ll leave aside the political ethics of such salami tactics, which voters have long tolerated. ObamaCare, for the purposes of the Supreme Court, must be assumed to be an end in itself. On its own terms, ObamaCare is a scheme that cannot work and was not designed to work. The justices would not be committing an inconvenience if they forced Congress to start over.