econscius

Justice Alito Points Out Health Insurance Mandate Would Apply to Burial Insurance

In Government Power, Obama Administration, ObamaCare on March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm

By President Obama’s reasoning, the US government can force you to buy burial insurance.  Perhaps burial insurance will be a future “reform” that Washington will mandate on us.

Justice Samuel Alito pointed this out in Tuesday’s Supreme Court oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the insurance mandate of ObamaCare/PPACA.  As shown in the transcript below [1], Alito calls out that Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is incorrect in saying burial services are different.  The exact same logic applies. 

In fact, as shown in numerous articles [2] [3], many states have been inundated with indigent burials.  Illinois actually stopped paying for them for a time.  If the government can force you to buy health insurance lest you later receive services you cannot pay for, it can also force you to buy burial insurance.  Everyone dies and those who lack burial insurance and lack the means to pay for a burial are paid for by everyone else through indigent burials.

JUSTICE ALITO: Do you think there is a, a market for burial services? 

VERRILLI: For burial services? 

JUSTICE ALITO: Yes. 

VERRILLI: Yes, Justice Alito, I think there is. 

JUSTICE ALITO: All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, “You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else.” 

Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing? 

VERRILLI: No, that – 

JUSTICE ALITO: And if that’s true, why isn’t it equally artificial to say that somebody who is doing absolutely nothing about health care is financing health care services? 

VERRILLI: It’s, I think it’s completely different. The — and the reason is that the, the burial example is not — the difference is here we are regulating the method by which you are paying for something else — health care — and the insurance requirement — I think the key thing here is my friends on the other side acknowledge that it is within the authority of Congress under Article I under the commerce power to impose guaranteed-issue and community rating forms, to end — to impose a minimum coverage provision. Their argument is just that it has to occur at the point of sale, and – 

JUSTICE ALITO: I don’t see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care. Almost everybody. Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point. What’s the difference? 

VERRILLI: Well, one big difference, one big difference, Justice Alito, is the — you don’t have the cost shifting to other market participants. Here – 

JUSTICE ALITO: Sure you do, because if you don’t have money then the State is going to pay for it. [1]

 

[1] http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2012/March/27/transcript-highlights-Supreme-Court-day-2.aspx

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/us/11burial.html

[3] http://www.sj-r.com/news/x135715760/State-stops-paying-for-indigent-burials

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