Yesterday the Solicitor General of the United States - that would be your Solicitor General - came before the Supreme Court and tried to explain how ObamaCare is unique to our way of life. So unique as to require that people who choose not to participate in a commercial endeavor, because they are, in fact, participating in that commercial endeavor by the very act - or non-act - of not participating in that commercial endeavor, should be forced to participate in that commercial endeavor.
Sound kinda strange? *
Well, this poor guy - Donald Verrilli - was the poor schmuck who had to make sense of it. And will forever be remembered for failing miserably.
The painful exchange between Verrilli and Justice Samuel Alito:
JUSTICE ALITO: Do you think there is a, a market for burial services?That's different.
GENERAL VERRILLI: For burial services?
JUSTICE ALITO: Yes.
GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes, Justice Alito, I think there is.
JUSTICE ALITO: All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, "You know what you're doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you're going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don't have burial insurance and you haven't saved money for it, you're going to shift the cost to somebody else." Isn't that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing?
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, that -
JUSTICE ALITO: And if that's true, why isn't it equally artificial to say that somebody who is doing absolutely nothing about health care is financing health care services?
GENERAL VERRILLI: It's, I think it's completely different. The -- and the reason is that the, the burial example is not -- the difference is here we are regulating the method by which you are paying for something else -- health care -- and the insurance requirement -- I think the key thing here is my friends on the other side acknowledge that it is within the authority of Congress under Article I under the commerce power to impose guaranteed-issue and community rating forms, to end -- to impose a minimum coverage provision. Their argument is just that it has to occur at the point of sale, and -
JUSTICE ALITO: I don't see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care. Almost everybody. Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point. What's the difference?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, one big difference, one big difference, Justice Alito, is the -- you don't have the cost shifting to other market participants. Here -
JUSTICE ALITO: Sure you do, because if you don't have money then the State is going to pay for it. Or some -
GENERAL VERRILLI: That's different." [source]
How is that different?
Well, it just is.
* Justice Elena Kagan, during the proceedings, actually made the attempt to justify the bizarre notion that non-participation is participation. I knew she was (a) not up to the task of sitting on the nation's highest court intellectually and (b) a shill for the Obama administration.