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Marriage just for benefits?

(The title was “Marriage < (is less than) Benefits; States < Feds; Legislatures < Courts; Law = Nothing” It seemed good at the time.)

The 9th Federal Court of Appeals (that Court that is overturned more often than any of the other Federal Appeals Courts) claims that opposite sex couples will marry solely in order to qualify for health insurance. If marriage is something of so little worth,  why not set up a matchmaking service, allowing lesbians and gays to marry willing opposite sex people to “marry” for the benefits?

The Federal Courts are acting as though the Constitution gives them the power to make all the important decisions and the Legislatures only get to decide inconsequential issues.  Why have States and Legislatures – or that Bill of Rights – at all?

The 9th affirmed a lower Federal court’s injunction against a 2009 law of the State of Arizona which defined “dependent” as spouses, minor children and children in college as far as qualification for State Employee health insurance benefits. The State claims they were trying to save money and pointed out that the law did not discriminate against same-sex couples and their children, since it affected all (non-married) “domestic partners,”  including cohabiting opposite sex couples and their children.

Former Governor Janet Napolitano had arbitrarily changed the regulations by an Executive Order to cover all “domestic partnerships” on her way out of Arizona to work in the Obama administration. The State Legislature passed a bill signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer to define “dependent.”

The first point made in the Court’s ruling was that homosexuals are an “unpopular group,” so any law regarding them can be reviewed under a lower standard:  “We do not need to decide whether heightened scrutiny might be required.” So, this Court has declared that homosexuals are more equal than the rest of us, because the court has deemed them “unpopular.” They get what they want when they want it, simply by crying discrimination, which opposite sex couples can never, ever do:

The court said, however, that the cutoff had a discriminatory impact because only opposite-sex couples could restore their benefits by getting married. The ruling provides health coverage only to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian couples – the sole plaintiffs in the suit – an impact that Benson said promotes inequality.  (Read more: at SFGate.com)

The Court deems marriage of so little value that people who have made the decision to live together without marriage would suddenly change their minds for health insurance benefits.

Well. In my opinion, where you live is much less important than the covenant of marriage. There are States where it is legal for same-sex couples to marry: let the same-sex couples move to New York or Massachusetts. That way, they would underscore how important they find marriage, for its own sake, and the Courts could avoid trampling the sovereign rights of the States.

Rick Perry was right on binational health insurance – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post

Here’s an explanation about the “binational health plan that I keep reading about. Unfortunately, the Legislature only approved a study and there’s never been a law actually allowing the sale of the insurance plans.

To clarify, what Perry referenced was not a merging of Mexico and the United States’ public health systems. It was not, as Wonkette put it, “U.S.-Mexico Obamacare.” Rather, he pointed to a newly passed Texas law, which directed the state to explore allowing private health plans to cover services in Texas and Mexico. Those plans would then be available to any Mexican national or American citizen working within 62 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.

There’s a lot to like about this idea.

First, it targets a big problem in Texas: a lack of insurance. With 26 percent of Texans lacking insurance, the state has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country. Those numbers are even higher in Texas’s border region, according to a 2003 Texas State Senate report.

Second, it’s a private market approach, that would allow insurers to meet an unfilled consumer need. A 2005 study showed that 72 percent of Mexico-born residents of the United States would be interested in a product that covered medical services in Mexico, especially if they had dependents in Mexico who could use those services.

The plan Perry referenced wouldn’t have the state create such a plan. Rather,  it would alter Texas’s insurance regulations to allow private carriers to do so.

via Rick Perry was right on binational health insurance – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post.

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