Quite possibly the most depressing spectacle of three days of Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act was the very apparent fact that Justice Antonin Scalia gets his information from right-wing blogs. That and Justice Samuel Alito's vast ignorance of how things in real life, like health insurance, work.
Here's a depressingly telling exchange in which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explains to Alito this whole murky reality of health insurance.
JUSTICE ALITO: But isn't that a very small part of what the mandate is doing? You can correct me if these figures are wrong, but it appears to me that the CBO has estimated that the average premium for a single insurance policy in the non-group market would be roughly $5,800 in -- in 2016.
Respondents -- the economists have supported -- the Respondents estimate that a young, healthy individual targeted by the mandate on average consumes about $854 in health services each year.So the mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies for other purposes that the act wishes to serve, but isn't -- if those figures are right, isn't it the case that what this mandate is really doing is not requiring the people who are subject to it to pay for the services that they are going to consume? It is requiring them to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.
VERRILLI: No, I think that -- I do think that's what the Respondents argue. It's just not right. I think it -- it really gets to a fundamental problem with their argument.
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: If you're going to have insurance, that's how insurance works.
But Alito doesn't hold a candle to Scalia, whose arguments showed less ignorance than willful parroting of right-wing talking points, from broccoli to the Tenth Amendment. To quote the great Charlie Pierce, "he sounded like a micro-rated evening-drive talk-show host from a dust-clotted station in southern Oklahoma." TPM has the run-down.
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