Politico online news editor dumbstruck that mandatory auto insurance is constitutional

Russ Walker, online news editor for Politico, is confused why the government can mandate one type of insurance and not another

Leave it to one of the wizards of allegedly objective Politico to trot out this tired analogy.

Russ Walker, who describes himself as an editor and a Politico employee, declared his confusion why it was “constitutionally OK” to mandate auto insurance but not health insurance after a federal judge deemed the mandatory health insurance provision of ObamaCare unconstitutional.

“So, it’s constitutionally OK to mandate auto insurance … but not health care. Makes complete sense to me, really…,” Walker wrote sarcastically in a Twitter post on December 13.

Walker has quite the liberal pedigree – having served as the press secretary for former Kentucky Democratic Rep. Tom Barlow and also the executive editor for the eco-alarmist website Grist.org.

Walker later clarified his position, explaining he didn’t see a distinction between the two mandates.

“My snark about health care mandate does not imply support for Obamacare. I just don’t think this mandate is diff from other gov’t mandates,” Walker later wrote on his Twitter account.

The Heritage Foundation has explained the distinctions between the two mandates. A Dec. 9, 2009 paper written by Randy Barnett , Nathaniel Stewart and Todd Gaziano explained the differences in that 1) There is a distinction in the powers of the state and federal governments, 2) Automobile insurance requirements impose a condition on the voluntary activity of driving; a health insurance mandate imposes a condition on life itself, 3) State auto insurance requirements are limited to those who drive on public roads and 4) States require drivers to maintain auto insurance only to cover injuries to others, not themselves or their property.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Russ-Walker/654537372 Russ Walker

    In the interest of conversation, here’s my question better stated: What happens when you don’t have health insurance but need health care? If you’re rich, you probably pay out of pocket. If you’re not rich, what happens? Lots of folks show up at the emergency room for basic health care. Who pays? People with insurance and, ultimately, all the taxpayers. So how do we get people to stop using ERs as free health care? Is the health system like a public road … such that an uninsured person’s actions affect the rest of us? Cheers.

    • hitnrun

      Well, the incentives are clearly in order, because the ER only offers the bare minimum of charity required by a society with Christian (or post-Christian, if you want to be pedantic) mores. This is self-evident: ER treatment can be free for anyone who wants it to be, yet only those legitimately without insurance take advantage of the Super Saver Special.

      Ultimately, you (by which I mean Obama circa 2009) are moving a problem completely out of scale. The uninsured are a “big” problem according to some drafter of a campaign platform, and some budgetary bean counters. Ultimately, however, the byzantine cure creates a bigger problem: the 5/6ths of Americans who have health insurance (of whom 4/5ths are satisfied) will be mostly upended from their comfortable perches, and the uninsured 1/6th aren’t exactly thrilled with their “help” (buy insurance or be fined) either. This came as a shock to liberals who thought Marxifying one of the largest and most personally resonant sectors of our economy would be another tick mark a legislative agenda.

      There are plenty of ways to deal with the healthcare problem, such as it is. Blowing down the RINO-DLC protected insurance cartels. Tort reform. Illuminating the government-caliber lying in hospital billing departments. Means testing and reasonable – even nominal – co-pays for Medicare, to protect the system from hypochondriac seniors. Even anti-market Democratic suggestions deserve consideration. What does not is a trillion dollar unreadable feeding trough/labyrinth meant as a kind of kabuki to sound plausible to only the dumbest liberals while deliberately crashing the system a few years down the road and forcing a move to single payer, which apparently China will be glad to pay for.

    • DaProf

      Seriously, Russ…

      What does it matter to you? Do you have Health Insurance? If so, you pay “extra” already in your premiums because those that aren’t insured get treated in Emergency Rooms and other places. Why? Because the health care provider has to charge more to cover their losses.

      And of course, some institutions don’t charge, being charitable organizations and all. Heck, we could even [sarc] put the “sick uninsured” on a boat and send them to Africa, because all sorts of billionaires and millionaires already dump a lot of money there.[/sarc]

      Should people carry insurance? Sure. Should they be made to carry it? No. People make choices and have to live by the consequences of those choices. Unless of course you feel that no consequences should ever happen for bad or for good behavior. That would be a strange position, certainly.

      As an analogy, should everyone be required to carry a firearm so that they could be ready for any hostility that may occur? Just in case they need it if a mugger heads their way? Perhaps because someone invades their home? Rapes their daughter?

      Naw, you don’t have to…but in most states, you CAN. Just in case. But you aren’t required to carry a firearm. Nor should you be required to “carry” insurance.

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