Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Supreme Court to Hear Incorporation Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear McDonald v. Chicago to decide if the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states via the 14th Amendment. The case challenges Chicago’s ban on handguns, which is very similar to the District of Columbia’s ban that was struck down as unconstitutional last year. This case also bears watching for its approach to incorporation, which could finally put an end to this long bit of legalistic fiction.

Meanwhile, all pending right-to-arms litigation in California is on hold.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

En Banc Hearing for Nordyke v. King

The en banc hearing for Nordyke v. King was today. The judges didn’t pull any punches, but late in the day, the court vacated the submission pending the disposition of several Second Amendment incorporation cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Sadly, this decision will deny the honor of incorporation to California and delay progress on civil-rights litigation here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

U.S. Health Care

Okay! Let’s talk about health care. First, I must confess that I haven’t been following the heated public debate on the matter very closely, since it seems to be long on emotion and short on information. In the end, of course, only the actual legislation will matter.

Meanwhile, though, the propaganda has been extra hot and spicy. Death panels? Tens of millions of uninsured Americans? Seriously? What’s the big deal?

Health care is expensive. The practice of medicine is a complex and sensitive skill, so mistakes can lead to death. It costs a small fortune to properly train a physician and costs another to protect him from the attorneys waiting to capitalize on his mistakes.

Consumers don’t really want to pay these costs, so they gamble instead. Turning to insurance companies, they put down their money and bet that they won’t get sick. The insurance companies want to make profits (preferably big profits), so they do their best to pay out as little as possible when the consumers do need medical care. However, rates steadily creep upward as insurers, physicians, attorneys, and consumers all try to squeeze more and more out of this flawed system.

Take my household as an example. Each month, my wife and I pay about $100 for health insurance. Our employers kick in another $1,300! Imagine what we could have done with that money over the last 10 years if it had been part of our actual salaries. Even conservative investments would have put $170,000 in our bank account by now, far more than enough to cover the few thousand dollars of health care that we’ve actually consumed.

So, yeah, health care (or rather health insurance) is too expensive. A non-profit “public option” could help introduce more freedom to the market, but not if it comes with so much bureaucratic and regulatory overhead that any potential savings are lost—especially if these “hidden” costs are foisted off on the taxpayers. Legal reform is also needed to limit the inflation of medical costs, but simply tweaking the existing health-care system may never be enough.

However, government involvement helped to create the problems we currently face. Therefore, even more government involvement in health care may not be the best solution. I’ll leave it to brighter minds than mine to come up with a system that doesn’t promote gambling or rely on reciprocal marketing.