Tag Archives: Jared Polis

Jared Polis, you’re wrong: Obamacare is a government takeover

With Colorado Rep. Jared Polis (D) facing reelection for District 2 against either Republican Eric Weissmann or Kevin Lundberg (& those from other parties), it’s worth examining Polis’s record on health care policy.

Polis claims that ObamaCare is not “a government takeover of the health care industry.”  He’s wrong. The only way he could be correct is that if he argued that, even before ObamaCare, government had already taken over the industry. Continue reading


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Jared Polis (D-Boulder) wrong about Constitution & mandatory health coverage

With Colorado Rep. Jared Polis (D) facing reelection for District 2 against either Republican Eric Weissmann or Kevin Lundberg (& those from other parties), it’s worth examining Polis’s record on health care policy.

Last year I received an automatically generated e-mail from Polis about health care. In it he defends the Constitutionality of government’s requiring you to buy a government-approved health plan [no, it’s not real medical insurance] by saying this individual mandate is a tax:

Another major concern with HR 3590 is the constitutionality of the bills regarding the mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. As you may know, the Constitution grants Congress the authority under Article 1, Section 8 to “make all laws necessary and proper” to fulfill its mandate to “provide for the general welfare” of the public, a right recognized by the Supreme Court in the United States V. Doremus. In this ruling, the Supreme Court stated that “if the legislation enacted has some reasonable relation to the exercise of the taxing authority conferred by the Constitution, it cannot be invalidated because of the supposed motives which introduced it.”

The Court has long given Congress broad authority to define what is in the general welfare of the country, and given the impact that health care has had on our citizenry and our economy, it is well within Congress’ right to enact legislation related to this matter.

Under the new law, a tax penalty is charged against individuals or families who are required to obtain health insurance [sic] but do not do so.

Jared Polis argues that mandatory health coverage specified by ObamaCare is a tax, and hence is Constitutional.  The problem with this argument is that President Obama himself has argued that the mandate is not a tax (see video below) as has Jeffrey Zients, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, part of Obama’s Executive Branch.

The Obama Administration has a history of arguing that the mandate is either a tax, or not a tax, depending on the circumstances.

Further, as legal scholar Dave Kopel argues, the mandate penalty cannot justified as either income tax, an excise tax, or a direct tax.

Polis’s defense of the mandate and interpretation of the general welfare clause also implies that the Constitution grants Congress unlimited power.  As Dave Kopel writes:

For the moment, let’s put aside the question of whether the Obamacare tax is an Article I tax, or a 16th Amendment income tax. Does Congress have the infinite power to control people’s behavior (such as by ordering them to engage in commercial transactions) via the tax power?  I suggest not. When the Bill of Rights was being debated in front of Congress, the skeptical Rep. Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts asked if there should also be an enumeration that “declared that a man should have a right to wear his hat if he pleased; that he might get up when he pleased, and go to bed when he thought proper.” 1 Annals of Congress 759-60 (Aug. 15, 1789). Sedgewick’s point was that national laws about bedtimes and hat-wearing were self-evidently beyond the authority of Congress.

However, if the tax power means that Congress can order citizens to buy something they don’t want to buy, why does Congress not have the power to assess taxes on people who get too little sleep, or too much sleep, and thereby harm their own health and the public fisc?

Read his whole post: Is the tax power infinite?

See also the following by Randy Barnett:


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Polis’s suport for new gov’t run health plan: bad policy, bad politics.

Paul Hsieh, M.D. explains in the Daily Camera (Boulder).  Here are the opening paragraphs:

Boulder`s Congressman Jared Polis recently made national headlines when he and fellow first-term Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) teamed up to petition the U.S. Senate to include the so-called “public option” in its next version of health care legislation.

Polis` move was an attempt to break the political stalemate between the House and the Senate following Republican Scott Brown`s upset election victory in Massachusetts. After Brown`s election deprived Senate Democrats of the 60-vote supermajority necessary to pass the current version of ObamaCare, the House and Senate have struggled to bridge the differences between their respective versions of health legislation. In particular, one key difference has been the government-run “public plan” to compete with private insurance plans, which House liberals (including Polis) supported but which the Senate rejected.

Unfortunately, Polis` “public plan” is both bad policy and bad politics.

Read the whole article about Jared Polis and the public plan.

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Polis calls for Senate to add “public option” to health care bill

Polis calls for Senate to add public option to health care bill, reports the Daily Camera (Boulder).  As Paul Hsieh, MD has noted:

In the Dec. 10 [2008] Wall Street Journal, Polis wrote: “Our United States Congress… now finds itself poring over ‘business plans’ submitted this week by Ford, GM and Chrysler. People who have never before in their lives seen — no less implemented — a business plan are now trying to decide if these companies will succeed by means of a ‘capital infusion’ with… [taxpayer] money. Something is wrong with this picture.”

Polis is absolutely correct on this point. As a successful businessman himself, he knows that government cannot and should not be manufacturing cars.

His argument applies even more strongly to the issue of health care. Although he campaigned on a platform of government-run “single payer” health care, he should recognize that government cannot and should not be running health care.

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Jared Polis: what’s your real reason for pushing the “public option”?

Representative Jared Polis says the proposed government-run “public insurance option” is about trust. Some “trust an insurance company over the government and others who trust the government over insurance companies.”  If so, then why doesn’t Polis support a similar choice when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare?

For example, how about vouchers that Medicare and Medicaid recipients can use to buy commercial insurance?  Or a tax credit such that Medicare and Medicaid lost a dollar of tax revenue for every dollar a taxpayer donates to comparable charity?  Surely Medicare and Medicaid don’t fear healthy competition?

Maybe Polis does not advocate such choice because he, like other Democrats, ultimately wants single-payer medicine, where government is by definition the only option. At least Representative Barney Frank is so, well, frank. A popular on-line video shows him saying that the public option is “the best way to reach single payer.”

(This letter was submitted to the Denver Post)

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No compulsory charity for Obama Care’s phony reform

The Democrats’ proposals would “reform” nothing. Instead, they would entrench problems with the status quo, as economist Arnold Kling explains in “The Non-Debate over Non-Reform.”

Consider the country’s total health care spending. Patients’ out-of-pocket spending accounts for only about 10 percent. Insurers and government split the remaining 90 percent almost evenly. Since physicians, like anyone else, cater to who pays them, patients are left in the lurch. But Democrats ignore this problem.

Instead, they have been in bed with drug companies, Wal-mart, and hospital groups with plans to stick it to taxpayers. For details, see “A Closer Look at Those Industry Deals” at healthcare.cato.org.

Who should finance so-called “reform?” Translation: who should pay for other people’s medical care? Anyone who volunteers, and no one who does not. Health care is not a right. Rights are freedoms of action, not entitlements to what others produce.

If you want to pay for other people’s medical care, donate to or volunteer with a charity. Don’t ask politicians to compel others to fund government charities, like Medicare and Medicaid. Forcing others to donate to charity is neither virtuous nor compassionate.

Hence, if Democrats want a “public plan,” they shouldn’t force taxpayers to pay for it.

Citizens do not earn money to fund politicians’ pet projects. Politicians should pitch their great ideas to investors or philanthropists. Using tax dollars is just robbery cloaked in conceit and elitism.

This originally appeared in the Daily Camera (Boulder) on July 25, 2009. It was in response to this question: Continue reading

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Polis vs. Polis on health care

Jared Polis

Jared Polis

Dr. Paul Hsieh of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine had an excellent op-ed in the (Boulder) Daily Camera yesterday.  He calls out Colorado Congressman-elect Jared Polis’s inconsistent view on the role of government and markets, and eloquently shows why health care is not a right.  Some excerpts:

Boulder’s Congressman-elect Jared Polis recently took a bold stand against a federal bailout of the automobile industry, correctly arguing that that the car manufacturers’ problems should be handled by the private sector, not the government. Coloradans should urge him to apply the same principles to the issue of health care reform. …

… single payer health care necessarily interposes the government into the doctor-patient relationship in the name of cost control. According to the Telegraph, Great Britain’s National Health Service paid bonuses to primary care physicians who reduced the numbers of referrals to hospital specialists — thus forcing those doctors to choose between their oaths to their patients or the government which pays their salaries.

This corrosive effect on the doctor-patient relationship is one of the worst evils of single payer health care. The evil is not that it allows a few doctors to act badly, but rather that it takes good doctors and encourages them to become bad physicians willing to betray their patients’ best medical interests.

The fundamental flaw behind single payer systems (or any other form of “universal health care”) is the assumption that health care is a “right” that must be guaranteed by the government. Health care is a need, not a right. Rights are freedoms of action (such as the right to free speech), not automatic claims on goods or services that must be produced by another. There’s no such thing as a “right” to a car — or a tonsillectomy.

Individuals are legitimately entitled to health care that they purchase with their own money, are promised by prior contractual agreements, or are given to them via voluntary charity.

Any attempts to guarantee an alleged “right” to health care must necessarily violate the genuine rights of others — such as the physicians who are forced deliver health care on the government’s terms (rather than their own) and the taxpayers who are forced to pay for others’ health care against their will.

Read the rest here.

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Filed under Colorado health care, single payer