The Fight Against ObamaCare Continues
by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
With benefits as notorious as Viagra for pedophiles and rapists, we watched in horror as the American way of life was fundamentally changed by Democratic members of the House of Representatives and Senate. Obama and Pelosi twisted arms and bribed members of Congress into supporting their massive new entitlement program. A feeling of defeat and despair began to creep in as ObamaCare became the law. At their huge celebration party at the White House, in words unfitting a vice-president, Joe Biden exuberantly proclaimed, “This is a big F***ing deal.”
Repeal is a laudable goal we should work towards, but the political reality dictates that is highly improbable. Even Ronald Reagan was unable to repeal the Department of Education that he had pledged to abolish. Once a new government entitlement and layers of bureaucracy are created, it is nearly impossible to roll back.
But don’t give up now. While prospects are bleak, there is reason for hope.
The attorneys general of 14 different states have signed onto a lawsuit challenging certain portions of ObamaCare as being unconstitutional. While these lawsuits will not repeal the whole law, they will eliminate the most egregious portions of the bill.
It is comforting to know that at least 14 elected representatives take their oaths of office seriously and are willing to stand up to preserve and defend the Constitution.
The lawsuit asserts a few major breaches of constitutional limitations by the federal government. The first is that under the enumerated powers of the Constitution, the federal government has no authority to require its citizens to purchase a product. Some liberals might claim that the government already requires you to purchase auto insurance. This comparison is faulty for two reasons: first of all, driving a car is a privilege, not a requirement. A citizen may choose not to drive a car and, therefore, not have insurance. The second reason this comparison falls flat is that auto insurance mandates are not passed by the federal government, but by the states. Our Constitution enshrines an oft-maligned principle known as federalism.
The lawsuit states, “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying healthcare coverage. By imposing such a mandate, the Act exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution and violates the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.”
The second unconstitutional provision of ObamaCare is the tax penalty required under the act. This tax that must be paid by uninsured citizens is a capitation, or a direct tax, which is prohibited by Article 1, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution.
The third reason the act is unconstitutional is that it mandates that states add people to their Medicaid rolls, and forces the states to pay the costs out-of-pocket. Florida estimates they will see a 50 percent increase in Medicaid enrollment. This unfunded mandate is clearly unconstitutional.
The new act changes the dynamic of Medicaid from a state-federal partnership, to a top-down federal program where the discretion of the states is removed.
The only response from Obama’s administration has been from Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform. She said the president isn’t “concerned” about the potential legal challenges. Congress has the “inherent authority” to mandate coverage under the commerce clause that allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, she told Bloomberg Television.
While the success of this lawsuit may seem unlikely, this is not the first time an ambitious president has run afoul of the Constitution. The Supreme Court overturned some of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s more radical and unconstitutional schemes during the Great Depression. This led to his attempts to pack the Supreme Court.
Our hope is that the Supreme Court will defend the Constitution. They will hear the joint case from these courageous attorneys general, or one of the cases forthcoming from private citizens, and fulfill the proper role of interpreting the U.S. Constitution.
If the courts will not stand and uphold the Constitution, who will?
©2010 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. This column is licensed to run on TMV in full.