Every morning I wake up to NPR's Morning Edition and listen while I get ready for my day. I usually remember a story or two by the time I get to work, but not specific quotations. This morning, however, there was a discussion between two former solicitors general, Walter Dellinger and Paul Clement, about the recent court ruling that the provision in health reform requiring most Americans to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. In the discussion Clement argues the Obama Administration will have to show how health insurance is different than any other product. This is an essential first step to saying the government can require Americans to purchase health insurance. Clement explains,
"The challenge for the government is that if you can force somebody to buy healthcare, on the rationale that you are essentially forcing them into the commercial market, would that same principle apply to every other commercial transaction?...[The Administration has] trouble articulating a limiting principle, they certainly have tried and tried to describe the health insurance market as different from other markets, but I think that is the challenge for the government."
Dellinger's entire response is clear and concise. He makes a great comparison to Medicare, but what captured my attention this morning was an analogy he drew.
"...Here's why it's different from any other product. If I don't buy a flat screen television and it turns out my team makes the Superbowl, I can't run into some store and say, 'You have to give me a flat screen television.' When in our country, under the Emergency Medical Treatment Act and our culture, we do provide people with healthcare, we just make someone else pay for it. And that's a fundamental difference between this and any other requirement to purchase a product."
In message training workshops, we often talk about the message that is so compelling and memorable that it gets the busy parent to look up from the meal they're preparing or the diaper they're changing and really take note of the news that is playing in other room. For me, this was one of those messages.