Sorensen: An Open Letter To The Supreme Court

Open Letter to The Supreme Court About Health Care

Jen Sorensen created a 4-page comic entitled An Open Letter To The Supreme Court About Health Insurance. Head over to Kaiser Health News to view the whole series.

Great cartoon, Jen.

41 thoughts on “Sorensen: An Open Letter To The Supreme Court

  1. I love this. She covers everything my wife and I have gone through for the past eight years. I want to print it large enough to fit the side of my house.

    Will the justices ever get it? No. I have no expectation of that.
    I expect rich people to remain rich off of sick people.

  2. It’s a sad reality that affects more than those us cartoonists, although a perfect example of one type of self-employed creative professional.

    If this doesn’t get fixed, it makes me wonder if there is some way for independent cartoonists to come together to form some sort of organization that provides healthcare.

  3. Rule #1 of Being a Freelancer: Marry someone who works a job that offers them health benefits.

    I’m still waiting for the citizens of this great country to march on Washington, D.C. carrying pitchforks and torches and demand these golden health care benefits offered to Supreme Court Justices and Congressmen be discontinued.

    How can we expect health care reform when the people doing the reforming aren’t having to pay for the same crappy health benefits the rest of us are?

    Great cartoon, Jen.

  4. As a freelancer myself, and someone who is married to another freelancer….I can so relate to and appreciate Jen’s piece.___Stacy, where were you with that good advice of Rule #1, 28 years ago when I needed to hear that? 🙂

  5. One of my favorite cartoonists argues that the SCOTUS should not have their health insurance paid by taxpayers. Agreed. Neither should they pay for the health insurance of on my favorite cartoonists.

  6. While I agree we need to reform healthcare, what is before the Supreme Court is not the solution.

  7. One last observation. Mayor Bloomberg this week made news proposing a ban on sugary drinks over 16.oz. Sheer lunacy aside , this is a natural progression. If government can “give” you healthcare, it can take your Venti Frappuccino. Or as Geo. Will said this morning, “they own you.”

    Nice cartoon though.

  8. @#13: It is not a solution because those who were elected to come up with a solution acted like a bunch of babies when the time came to reform health care.

    Oh, and of course those people have access to health benefits the rest of us don’t.

  9. Regardless of your opinion on this topic, you gotta love this cartoon. Puts the message across very well and is very funny too. Well done!

  10. It is a very well done cartoon, but the Supreme Court’s job isn’t to make health care policy. It’s job is to rule on the constitutionality of laws that are disputed in lower courts. The health care law is
    clearly unconstitutional and the court would be doing a disservice to allow such a law stand because it would make some people’s access to health care better. Jen should be sending cartoons to congress, which bears the responsibility of finding ways to improve health care that are both constitutional AND have the public’s support (neither of which are true of Obamacare).

  11. Some may consider this a philosophical issue concerning the relative scope and power of the federal government.
    It’s not a philosophical issue when it’s 4 a.m., your child has a 103 degree fever, and you’re debating on whether to take her to the emergency room because, since you can only afford coverage with a $10,000 deductible, every penny is coming out of your (empty) pocket.
    Obama’s health care law means life to the families of freelancers. To wish for the old system to wish for our death.

  12. Great cartoon, Jen! The first thing I did was share it with my wife. We are both self employed and my insurance premiums have doubled in the last 8 years, even though we are healthy.

    I completely agree with Bill here. The bill may be messy, but at least Obama is making a true effort to remedy this dire situation.

    The cost of health care is driven up by the 50 million people who don’t have insurance. People without health insurance use the emergency room, which is the most expensive form of medical attention. The mandate requiring insurance promotes preventive medicine by making routine care available. Therefore, the mandate would be an effective way to lower medical costs.

    If America could have a system modeled after Germany?s, many of our problems would be solved.

  13. Excellent cartoon. Just to add my two cents as a doctor, I agree with the concept of national health care with a major caveat. I would only make it for catastrophic insurance. That way if you lose your gallbladder, you don’t lose your house. Pick a number (say $5,000) per year. You would be responsible upto that amount. Beyond that national health insurance would kick in. Patients could buy their own health insurance for the first 5K. Presumably, this would be much less expensive since the insurance companies would not be on the hook for huge payouts. Of course there would have to be some accomodation for the truly destitute. A national drug formulary would also go a long way towards lowering drug costs. The reality is we have had economic rationing in this country for years. I have had patients wait until the breast mass was bleeding, or until they were vomiting blood, before they would come and see me as a new patient. Their economic reality precluded being seen otherwise. The ER is not really an option long term. They treat only acute things, then hand you off to a primary care doc or nurse. Not sure what the real answer is, and I don’t want a nanny state. But how can we be a great nation if we don’t make an honest effort to take care of our own?

  14. I agree with you Bill that these are real and not just philosophical issues. But regardless of what you think the merits of the law are and how much it may affect some people in a positive way, it is not constitutional. Lots of problems could easily be fixed by lawmakers if they could disregard the constitution. To wish for the congress and the president to be able to bypass the constitution is to wish for our ( ?our? meaning everybody, not just freelancers) death.

  15. Maybe we should start referring to medical conditions as “enemy combatants.” Then the constitution wouldn’t matter anymore.

  16. I’m sure, in very short time, our system will be very much modeled after Germany’s.

  17. If you drive in the U.S., you are required by law to have insurance, but I do see why many Americans are against having to buy medical insurance. If we decide that the mandate is indeed unconstitutional, then we need to stop giving care to uninsured people at the hospital in order to make it fair for those paying for insurance. I don’t want to live in that society.

    Making folks buy insurance is tantamount to taxing all citizens for it and providing like Canada or Germany does. In the end, it is all the same, really.

  18. Steve, the difference is you are not mandated to drive.The health care mandate as now written doesn’t tax you, it requires you to buy something under penalty of law. The congress could make the mandate constitutional by applying a tax, which they have the power to do. They didn’t choose that route because it would have been a harder sell to the public.

    Giving them the power to force you to buy something is an incredibly dangerous precedent.

  19. Peter, I understand and I agree with you. It is unconstitutional no matter how you look at it. But something needs to change. There is no way that Americans are going to elect a president who wants to raise taxes for universal health care. So, it would appear we will never have it.

  20. No, but I think there are many smaller things that congress and the president could do to both lower costs and extend coverage.
    We’ll see if there is any movement after the election.

  21. But again, at the very foundation of this dilemma is the fact that 50 million people do not have health insurance, yet are provided health insurance when it is an emergency.

  22. The only true measure of Obamacare is the success/failure of Romneycare in Mass.
    The Mass Medical Society says 56% of doctors are no longer taking new patients, the wait time for an appointment is sky rocketing and one clinic has a waiting list of 1600 patients.
    Of the new enrollees 68% don’t pay at all for care or are subsidized, so program or not everyone else is still paying for their care.On top of that visits to the emergency rooms for routine care have gone up 9% not down.The bill for uncompensated care is at 400 million and rising. That’s just one state.

    Nobody wants anyone to go without medical care, but the plan before the Supreme court isn’t the solution. It’s financially unworkable and unsustainable and will make things worse for eveyone.

  23. Our current market-driven, for-profit health care industry chews up tons on my time and all of my patience by trying to weasel out of paying for what they advertised. It’s a devious plot: the longer they can keep me holding for “Steven” in Mumbai, the fewer cartoons I can create about their fraudulent scams to screw the public.

    Good on you, Jen. A GREAT cartoon.

  24. You’re sure to save time calling that government bureaucrat at the department of health insurance to get approval for your medical procedures.

  25. I didn’t understand why they added a payment for people who didn’t have insurance rather than structuring it as a refundable tax credit for those who did. But I don’t think that makes it “clearly” unconstitutional. However, the credit would have made it “clearly” constitutional. For want of a nail …

    Second, I don’t want to hear more spin about waiting for procedures. I’ve lived too near the Canadian border and I have too many Canadian friends to fall for that. Yes, we can all cherry-pick examples of anything, and we can certainly find people willing to bitch. Overall the Canadian system works very well indeed.

    Except — third — doctors in the US make way more money than doctors anywhere else. And (sorry) taking away the need to pay for malpractice insurance doesn’t begin to equalize it. They are highly trained professionals and deserve a good pay raise, but the photos of Fiji on their walls are paid for by people who can’t afford to pay that much. I don’t know how you reconcile the need for fairness with the system we’ve set up.

    Finally, my own state is in a controversy right now because they stole the federal Medicare reimbursements to help balance the overall budget and avoid more taxes, rather than hand it over to the hospitals Live free or die indeed.

  26. Unconstitutional is the government forcing people to buy a product. Most excuse it using car insurance as an example, but if you don’t have car you don’t have to buy car insunrance. If the government is allowed to force people into this then future admins will have justification for doing the same thing.
    Secondly the current administration itself knows it’s unconstitional, while arguing before the supreme court that forcing payments was one thing, at the same time another member of the admin was saying the forced payments were something else completely before a congressional committee.
    As for doctor’s compensation, how long could you run a business or practice if the government paid you 80 cents or less on the dollar? The new law is reducing even reducing those amounts.

  27. Mark, nobody forces you to accept a tax credit. That was my point.

    And maybe American doctors can’t remove an appendix unless they vacation in Fiji and drive BMWs, but doctors in other countries manage to.

  28. First of all, one must accept this issue as a crisis. You may not if you are being supplied health benefits through a job. To everyone paying for his or her own health care, believe me, this is a crisis.

    It took a Democrat in the White house to go after this problem and attempt to tackle it. Yes this bill is messy, but at least it is a start. Republican conservatives love to call it unconstitutional and too expensive, but they rarely if ever talk about hard facts when it comes to this issue. They offer no remedy of their own. Rather, they start wars. It is estimated that with the price spent on the last two (meaningless) wars, we could have had health insurance provided for every American for 30 years. So, who do you want in the White House? Someone who starts wars or someone trying to find solutions for actual Americans facing real issues?

  29. Technically, this thread was subtly Godwined by comment #23,
    But since comparisons to the Massachusetts reforms were made, I feel compelled (as a Mass resident) to point out:

    – 98% of Mass residents have health insurance
    – 63% of households & 70% of doctors approve of the reforms
    – Premiums and deductables for single adults have gone down
    – The cost of the reforms is 1.3% of the state’s entire budget

    Ironically, Romney can’t talk about his biggest success as governor of Massachusetts, because his party has chosen to vilify healthcare reform.

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