Monday, March 26, 2012

Obamacare On Trial

By Patricia Evans, with links from the Heritage Foundation; edited for format by Priscilla King

Obamacare comes before the U.S.Supreme Court today, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Cases: http://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/PPAACA.aspx

Twenty-eight states say Obamacare is unconstitutional and have filed suits against the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion. http://www.heritage.org/multimedia/infographic/2012/03/states-obamacare-is-unconstitutional

Obamacare goes against the will of the people - Seventy-two percent of American adults and 56 percent of Democrats say that the provision in the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine is unconstitutional. Gallup Poll

The case of Obamacare cuts to the core of the Constitution and the outcome of this case will fundamentally alter the role of the federal government and its power over the people. No matter the outcome of the Supreme Court's ruling in June, Congress can and should act now to repeal Obamacare and rid the land of this intolerable act. More from The Heritage Foundation below...
Obamacare expands dependence on government health care
Obamacare expands dependence on government health care
Obamacare dumps millions into Medicaid and creates new federal subsidies for government-approved coverage. As a result, by the end of the decade most Americans will receive health coverage through government programs.
Millions remain uninsured under Obamacare
Millions remain uninsured under Obamacare
President Obama promised universal coverage under his health care overhaul. However, even with Obamacare, millions of Americans will remain uninsured. Those who do gain coverage will do so primarily through government exchanges or Medicaid.
If you like your health care, can you really keep it?
If you like your health care, can you really keep it?
President Obama promised reform would not affect existing coverage. While it remains uncertain exactly how many Americans will lose employer-sponsored plans under Obamacare, studies show it will be millions.
Obamacare adds to premium increases
Obamacare adds to premium increases
Americans are paying more for health insurance every year, a concerning trend that is already getting worse under Obamacare—even though the most costly provisions don’t kick in until 2014.
States: Obamacare is unconstitutional
States: Obamacare is unconstitutional
Twenty-eight states have filed suits against the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion. The issue will be settled by the Supreme Court in 2012.
A Medicaid monster
A Medicaid monster
Obamacare increases coverage by adding millions of Americans to the low-quality, low-access Medicaid program, requiring billions of dollars from state budgets.
Medicaid expansion burdens state budgets
Medicaid expansion burdens state budgets
The cost of Obamacare’s huge Medicaid expansion will burden both federal and state governments, and states are already struggling to afford the program.
Did Obamacare slow private-sector recovery?
Did Obamacare slow private-sector recovery?
Between the recession’s low point in January 2009 and April 2010, net private-sector job growth improved at a rate of 67,000 jobs per month. After Obama signed his health care legislation into law at the end of March 2010, the improvement stalled. Over the next two years private-sector job growth improved at a rate of just 4,600 jobs per month.
Taxed Enough Already? Just wait until Obamacare kicks in
Taxed Enough Already? Just wait until Obamacare kicks in
To pay for generous subsidies to purchase health insurance, a huge expansion of Medicaid, and other new spending, Obamacare raises taxes and adds 17 new taxes or penalties that will affect all Americans.
Obamacare’s bundle of budget gimmicks
Passing Obamacare to find out what’s in it
When Obamacare was enacted, its proponents said it would reduce the deficit by $143 billion in its first decade, but after accounting for these budget gimmicks, the health law actually adds $698 billion to the deficit.

Obamacare Comes before the Supreme Court


Rare is the occasion when the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather to hear three days of arguments, and rarer still is when it is for a case like Obamacare -- one that cuts to the core of the Constitution and whose outcome could fundamentally alter the role of the federal government and its power over the people. But today the Court will do just that when it open its doors and begins weighing the arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's seminal health care law.

Were the American people to vote on the issue, they would fall decidedly against Obamacare, as recent polls have shown. But for the Court, the decision is not as cut and dried as an up or down vote, but one that involves the interplay of a series of issues raised by those who are challenging Obamacare -- more than half the States of the Union and a collection of interested organizations and private parties -- and those brought by the Obama Administration, which is defending the law. And they come to the Supreme Court after conflicting appellate court rulings which have left undecided the question of whether Obamacare is permissible under the Constitution.

The central issue before the Court is whether Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause to impose the individual mandate on the American people, forcing them to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. If the Court holds that Congress was outside the bounds of its authority, it can strike down the individual mandate, leaving the justices to then decide whether all or part of Obamacare should fall along with it.

If the Court upholds the mandate, America will be in the same position it finds itself today -- facing a law that vests untold power and resources in the hands of the federal government, that transfers health care decision making from individuals to unelected bureaucrats, and that increases costs while decreasing access. In short, America's health care crisis will get worse, not better, and future generations will be left paying the tab. What's more, if the Court allows the individual mandate to stand, it will unhook Congress from its Constitutional leash, empowering it to regulate commerce and individual behavior in new ways never before imaginable.

There are other issues, too, besides the individual mandate. Even before the Court reaches that subject, it must broach the issue of the Anti-Injunction Act, a 145-year-old federal tax law which could bar the Court from even hearing a challenge to the individual mandate. Under that law, one cannot sue over a tax until they have paid it. If the penalty for violating Obamacare's individual mandate is considered a tax under that law, then the challenge could be brought at this time since the penalty has not yet taken effect. Obamacare's challengers and even the Obama Administration agree that the Anti-Injunction Act shouldn't prevent the Court from hearing the case, but the issue will still be heard, and some think that the Court could rely on the Act as a way of avoiding having to answer the question of whether the mandate is constitutional.

If the Court finds the Anti-Injunction Act doesn't apply, it will move on to the individual mandate. Its decision on that issue brings with it a whole other set of problems -- namely, if the Court finds that the mandate is unconstitutional, it must next decide the issue of severability -- whether Obamacare will operate as Congress intended if it is stripped of the mandate, or whether all or parts of the law must be struck down with the mandate. If the Court finds that the mandate is severable, the Court can strike it down and leave it up to Congress to clean up what's left, or, as the Obama administration has recommended, it can strike down the mandate and related provisions of the law that depend on it. Finally, if the justices find that the mandate is not severable, then it will throw out all of Obamacare, and it will again be up to Congress to enact real market-based health care reforms that bring down costs while increasing access to care.

There is another issue, too, tied to Obamacare, and that has to do with Congress's decision to impose new requirements on states forcing them to expand the Medicaid program and abide by the federal government's conditions, leaving them to shoulder much of the costs while operating Medicaid according to Washington's whims. If the states don't comply, they could lose all Medicaid funding, putting them in an untenable position in which both their autonomy and their sovereignty collapse under Obamacare's weight. It is up to the Court to decide whether Congress overstepped its bounds.

America waits for the Supreme Court to weigh the facts and the law, to consider the precedents and the policy, and to issue a decision that will have implications far into the future. Will Congress be limited by the Constitution, or will its authority expand beyond the limits that the Founders intended? Will Americans' liberties stand? Will Obamacare fall? No matter the outcome of the Court's ruling in June, Congress can and should act now to repeal Obamacare and rid the land of this intolerable act.

Do you stand against Obamacare? Join us as we voice our defense of liberty by signing our Repeal Obamacare petition on Facebook today.

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