December 15, 2010
The legal battle over the federal healthcare reform law boils down to an argument over how to balance two opposing principles within the Constitution: the broad power granted to Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and the liberties reserved to individual citizens. In a series of decisions over the past century, the Supreme Court has relaxed the limits on Washington's power over commerce, leading some conservatives and libertarians to fear that Congress could interfere in just about any decision made by businesses and their customers.
December 30, 2012 |
This was the year of the healthcare mandate. No other consumer story of 2012 comes close. In a split decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. casting the deciding vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cornerstone of President Obama's healthcare reform law, the most sweeping overhaul of our dysfunctional medical system in decades. The so-called individual mandate requires that most people have health insurance. It's the trade-off for the insurance industry's agreement to stop denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions and to stop charging higher rates if you get sick.
February 15, 2010 |
Should the government force everyone to purchase health insurance? Few topics in the healthcare debate are more controversial than the so-called individual mandate, which would fine citizens without insurance and lies at the heart of the now-stalled healthcare bills in Congress. President Barack Obama has said that a major goal of healthcare reform is to reduce the number of legal residents who are uninsured (currently estimated at 17% of adults). One strategy is for the government to require insurance to be sold at a fixed price regardless of preexisting conditions, but in that case, many people might wait until they get sick before they purchased insurance, which could bankrupt the system.
November 20, 2011 |
The Supreme Court will rule next year on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform passed in 2010. But constitutionality notwithstanding, Republican opposition to the new law has been vigorous and consistent. In recent GOP presidential debates the candidates have been unanimous in condemning it, in particular objecting to the requirement that almost all Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. On the surface, Republican and conservative opposition to the new requirement seems perfectly logical.
April 11, 2012
Down on Deasy Re "On a mission to change school district's culture," April 8 In the 1980s I was a teacher in the L.A. Unified School District's Incentive Substitute Teacher Program, which was meant to ensure good instruction and classroom oversight in hard-to-staff schools. I can assure readers that "subbing" is one of the least-empowered positions in the district. That L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy would walk into a classroom unannounced and criticize "well-regarded" substitute teacher Patrena Shankling as she "carried out the assignment left by the regular teacher," and then the next day send her a letter of termination, is nothing more than bullying.
October 24, 2010
The costliest piece of the healthcare reform law Congress passed this year is the subsidy it creates to help working-class Americans buy insurance. This new entitlement is not the law's most controversial piece, however. That dubious distinction belongs to the provision that makes the subsidies necessary: the mandate that all American adults buy health policies, starting in 2014. To critics, this "individual mandate" epitomizes the intrusiveness and regulatory overreach that have characterized the last two years of consolidated Democratic power in Washington.