Justice Scalia: Let Them Die

Maybe you missed it, but Justice Scalia today said that letting the uninsured die is a better idea than making it an individual responsibility for those who can afford it to buy health insurance.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was explaining to Justice Scalia that the individual responsibility provision (aka "the mandate") is justified given the fact that the uninsured can show up in emergency rooms and get care regardless of ability (or willingness) to pay, shifting the cost to other participants of the market in the form of higher insurance premiums. Scalia, undeterred, dropped the GOP baseline:
GENERAL VERRILLI: No. It's because you're going -- in the health care market, you're going into the market without the ability to pay for what you get, getting the health care service anyway as a result of the social norms that allow -- that -- to which we've obligated ourselves so that people get health care.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, don't obligate yourself to that. Why -- you know?

GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, I can't imagine that that -- that the Commerce Clause would --would forbid Congress from taking into account this deeply embedded social norm.

JUSTICE SCALIA: You -- you could do it.
Don't obligate yourself to that? That, Justice Scalia, is the cornerstone of a civilized people. That is the fact that when someone shows up at the emergency room with a chest pain or a broken leg or a head injury, we don't wait to verify insurance or bank accounts before giving them the care that they need. We shouldn't obligate ourselves to that? There is only one other alternative, if we don't obligate ourselves to that. And that is to let people die if they cannot pay for the emergency care that they need.

This is a justice of the United States Supreme Court. This is one of the nine people that decide the fates of all Americans on issues of crucial significance. I'm still in shock. But I guess I shouldn't be. But I am ashamed. For him. For the Supreme Court. For a justice system that allows someone like this to put on a robe.

Scalia doesn't just say it once; he re-iterates it. You could do it, it says. Yes, I guess we could. We could let people die. Because anything is better than making those who can afford it buy insurance, right? Anything, including letting people die. Welcome to "Justice" Antonin Scalia's America.