Monday, December 13, 2010
Conflict of Interest??
Henry E. Hudson, the federal judge in Virginia who just ruled health care reform unconstitutional, owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform. You don't say!
As the Huffington Post and others first noted last July, Hudson's annual financial disclosures show that he owns a sizable chunk of Campaign Solutions, Inc., a Republican consulting firm that worked this election cycle for John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, John McCain, and a whole host of other GOP candidates who've placed the purported unconstitutionality of health care reform at the center of their political platforms. Since 2003, according to the disclosures, Hudson has earned between $32,000 and $108,000 in dividends from his shares in the firm
This is not, of course, an example of "judicial activism." That only happens if the judge is appointed by a Democrat.
Digby digs deeper:
This was always going to find its way through the courts, so nobody should be surprised. I came to believe that the public option presented at least something of a backstop on this because a judge would not have been able to use the same rationale -- we are all mandated to pay for government services that we might not use. After all, many of us don't live to be 65, but we do pay into Medicare. At the very least they would not have been able to make the private/public distinction. And if the mandate were struck down, the public program would still be standing to take all those people who would be immediately priced out of health insurance.
To expand, you cannot opt out of paying for defense, as defense benefits all. On the local level, you cannot opt out of paying school taxes if you don't have kids, because having an educated population benefits all. This is why the public option was a much, much better choice than the private mandadte. And who's idea was the private mandate? The Republicans, of course.The individual mandate was the brainchild of conservative health economist Mark Pauly, who developed the idea for George Bush, Sr, to counter the employer mandate Democrats were supporting at the time.
Pauly, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, says the idea was borne of several economists and market-oriented, health policy people, who decided to devise a health reform proposal that was free market friendly but would also achieve universal coverage.
The group concluded that the individual mandate was the best approach. Conservatives liked the individual mandate because it did the best job of eliminating what economists call the "free-rider effect." That's a person who chooses --out of individual choice-- not to buy insurance and then gets in an accident or becomes terribly ill. With no insurance, that individual can't pay, but that person will still get medical care and the cost of treatment remains. It gets passed on to other policy holders.
This, of course, is the situation that exists today. Individuals who cannot affford insurance forgo treatment until they are so sick that they must go to the emergency room. Hospitals cannot legally, or morally, refuse treatment to a person in need, so they treat the person gratis, and pass the cost along to those who are lucky enough to have insurance through their jobs, or wealthy enough to afford individual insurance, driving up overall costs.
So who would you rather pay taxes to? The government, which benefits all, and in which you have a say, or your insurance carrier, which benefits the shareholders, and which you have no say?