masaccio commented on the blog post Chief Justice Roberts’ Incoherent Decision Shackles Congress, Screws Millions of Uninsured
Scarecrow, I think you hit a real point with your statement that insurance is deemed to be a “product”. I have written often that calling finance paper “products” is silly. Corn and Corn Pops are products. Credit default swaps aren’t any more products than blessings from a Shaman. They are paper promises about the management of money and nothing else.
In the same way, insurance isn’t a product. It is a formal way to share risk across large populations. That is what made the Solicitor General’s argument work. Everyone is going to need health care at some point. The question is how will they finance it. One way is to do nothing, then when you need it, you get it but you don’t pay, either by filing bankruptcy or by dodging collection. One way is to save up a bunch of money so you can pay whatever the cost might be, which isn’t feasible for most people, and heaven help you if you get sick before you accumulate the money. One way is insurance.
The government is saying that you can’t do the first anymore, you can’t duck out on the bill. You either buy insurance and spread the risk that way, or pay the penalty.
Barnett is arguing that you have to buy broccoli. That’s silly. You have choices. They aren’t great, but they exist.
Oddly, that is sort of what Roberts is saying in his muddled decision.