WEST: Why Obamacare is bad for America’s health – Washington Times

WEST: Why Obamacare is bad for America’s health – Washington Times.

Expensive overreach could prove fatal if not struck down

By Rep. Allen B. WestThe Washington Times

On Monday, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. The high court will pore over Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to determine the true meaning behind the words, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general welfare of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.” The 2012 Supreme Court must determine whether the Founders had any intention of mandating the behavior of private enterprises and individuals.

To me, the answer is obvious: absolutely not.

Our nation was founded on the Declaration of Independence. Freedom of choice and a free market are at the core of our nation’s soul. A governmental mandate for the behavior of individuals and private enterprises is anathema to what our founders intended. The prospect of having an unelected panel of bureaucrats determining fundamental decisions about our individual health care is perhaps the most personal and intimate intrusion into our lives. The concept of this absurd and dangerous law surely ranks with the grievances laid down 236 years ago.

In January 2011, Florida federal District Judge C. Roger Vinson ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, stating: “Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States. If [the government] has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a transaction… it is not hyperbolic to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.” Today, this prediction is being attempted before our very eyes.

With Obamacare, insurance companies will be forced to provide contraceptive products free of charge. Why just contraception? Will the government next force insurance companies to provide surgical procedures free of charge? Where does it end? Perhaps supermarkets should be compelled to offer apples and carrots free of charge to ensure children have access to healthy food.

Beyond exerting oppressive control over individuals and private enterprises, Obamacare circumvents the foundation of our own legislative structure.

At the heart of the Affordable Care Act is the Independent Payment Advisory Panel (IPAB), made up of 15 unelected officials appointed by the president to reduce Medicare spending. The IPAB will be tasked with and given the authority to reduce costs to the government by, among other things, limiting reimbursements to doctors. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to recognize that this will lead to more physicians leaving the Medicare system, reducing access to care for our seniors and limiting available treatments.

But this isn’t the most frightening part. Any recommendations by the IPAB automatically become law. The only way around this unprecedented amount of power for Washington bureaucrats is an act of Congress, with a three-fifths supermajority in the Senate. In other words, the unelected IPAB, appointed by the president, essentially becomes its own shadow legislative branch.

The fundamental structure of our government, with three co-equal branches and a careful system of checks and balances, is being usurped. Our freedoms and liberties are being chipped away, bit by bit. Our country is being transformed step by incremental step into a centrally planned, stringently controlled bureaucratic nanny state, and what I find most frightening is that a portion of our populace willingly dons the shackles, and like lemmings, marches to our demise.

Perhaps some Americans are simply unaware of the exorbitant monetary cost of this governmental behemoth. The numbers don’t lie, and they are dangerous:

c $1.76 trillion from American taxpayers to pay for Obamacare over 10 years, nearly double the $940 billion forecast when the bill was signed into law (Congressional Budget Office). c $52 billion in new taxes on businesses as employers are forced to provide health insurance. (CBO). c $800,000 fewer U.S. jobs. (CBO). c $47 billion in new taxes on drug companies and medical device makers, costs that surely will be passed down to patients, particularly our senior citizens.

c Families earning more than $250,000 a year will see more taxes, as Obamacare adds a new tax to investment income, including capital gains, dividends, rental income and royalties.

c Insurance premiums are expected to increase 1.9 percent to 2.3 percent in 2014 and up to 3.7 percent by 2023 because Obamacare adds a premium tax on health insurers offering full coverage.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unworkable and destined to fail. One need only look back a few years ago to the last big government program with the word “affordable” in it. Barney Frank’s Affordable Housing Act managed, in less than a decade, to demolish the housing market, weaken financial institutions and wipe out the net worth of millions of Americans.

What makes anyone think government intervention in health care will be successful? Obamacare is unconstitutional, anti-constitutional and, most certainly, an awful piece of American policy. Let’s hope after next week’s Supreme Court decision it also becomes a short-lived piece of American history.

Rep. Allen B. West is a Florida Republican.

Americans Reject Obamacare, Mandate-Centered Approach | The Weekly Standard

Americans Reject Obamacare, Mandate-Centered Approach | The Weekly Standard.

By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON

As is becoming increasingly clear, the legislation that was the principal cause of the Democrats’ historic defeat in 2010 isn’t getting any more popular as President Obama heads toward his day of accountability to the American citizenry. Four days before the 2-year anniversary of when Obama signed Obamacare into law, an ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Americans oppose the president’s signature legislation by a much larger margin than in the immediate aftermath of its passage.   

US Supreme Court

ABC News/Washington Post polling nearly always skews Democratic, but even it showed Obamacare to be unpopular in March 2010 — by a 4-point margin (50 percent opposed, 46 percent in favor). That margin of opposition is now 11 points (52 percent opposed, 41 percent in favor). Back then, the margin among those who felt “strongly” (either way) was 8 points (40 percent opposed, 32 percent in favor). It’s now 17 points (41 percent opposed, 24 percent in favor). Perhaps most worrisome of all for the president, members of presumably the most important subset of voters — independents who feel strongly — now oppose Obamacare by a margin of 2 to 1 (44 to 22 percent).

Moreover, one week before the Supreme Court will begin to hear challenges to Obamacare’s constitutionality from 26 states, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) think the Court should void the individual mandate that would require essentially every American to buy government-approved health insurance under penalty of law. Sixty-three percent of those 67 percent (42 percent overall), think the Court should void the rest of Obamcare as well, as U.S. District Court judge Roger Vinson did. (Vinson essentially argued that Obamacare cannot realistically function (a point the White House has effectively granted) — and would not realistically have been passed — without the individual mandate; therefore, the mandate should not be surgically extracted from the center of the act, leaving the surrounding parts intact. Rather, the mandate’s invalidation must invalidate the entire act.) In sharp contrast, only about a quarter of Americans (26 percent) think the Court should uphold the act in its entirety.

Clearly, most Americans don’t “like mandates” nearly as much as Obama or the current Republican frontrunner do. During the Obamacare debate, Mitt Romney wrote a USA Today op-ed in which he seemingly encouraged Obama (who had claimed to oppose an individual mandate when running for president) to include an individual mandate in Obamacare. After Obamacare’s passage, when much of the GOP had already indicated its clear determination to settle for nothing less than full repeal, Romney described the mandate as one of “the similarities” between Romneycare and Obamacare that he “like[d],” suggesting that the mandate was one the “good” parts of Obamacare that he’d like to “keep.” 

Romney now says he opposes the individual mandate in Obamacare and thinks it’s unconstitutional. However, he continues to describe his own mandate in Massachusetts as the right policy, rather than as an affront to liberty he now wishes he could undo.

Family Research Council: Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Thus Whole Law – thenewamerican.com

Family Research Council: Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Thus Whole Law – thenewamerican.com.

Written by Bob Adelmann  

On Monday the Family Research Council (FRC) filed a “friend of the court” (amicus curiae) brief with the Supreme Court that makes its case that if the mandate forcing citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty is ruled unconstitutional, then the entire 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care law should be thrown out as well.

The brief, co-authored by two attorneys, Ken Klukowski and Nelson Lund, called the hotly contested mandate the “linchpin” for the entire law and if it fails, the whole massive superstructure fails with it. Klukowski stated:

After almost two years of impassioned debate, Obamacare will finally have its day before the Supreme Court. The “individual mandate” in Obamacare that requires all Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional. And for the reasons we explain in this brief, 135 years of Supreme Court precedent show that this is one of those rare instances where striking down the individual-mandate provision requires the Court to strike down this entire 2,700-page law.

We have high hopes that the Supreme Court will recognize that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and will act to safeguard the freedoms of all Americans by holding the individual mandate “nonseverable,” and strike down every part of Obamacare.

There is no “severability” clause in ObamaCare — it was deliberately left out during negotiations between the House and the Senate — which means that if part of the law is deemed unconstitutional, the balance cannot be enforced. The foundation of ObamaCare consists of forcing insurance companies to insure everyone regardless of their health status. This would bankrupt the insurance companies, as most individuals would put off purchasing coverage until they got sick.

The solution of Congress was to force everyone to purchase coverage immediately, including those who are healthy. This would, according to ObamaCare’s supporters, expand the coverage to 32 million people who have decided, for whatever reason, not to carry health insurance, which would expand the pool of coverage and allegedly reduce premiums for everyone.

The arguments propounded by Klukowski and Nelson were so persuasive that 27 members of the House have joined FRC in its filing. Those arguments figured importantly in Justice Roger Vinson’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida, last January that the individual mandate was indeed unconstitutional. Vinson wrote: “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”

Vinson eviscerated the Obama administration’s defense of the act, which claimed that not buying insurance is in itself an “economic activity” because the cost of healthcare then falls on those who own insurance. Vinson lost no opportunity to mock this tenuous argument:

Everyone must participate in the food market…. Under [the government’s] logic, Congress could [mandate] that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily. If they didn’t buy wheat bread they might have a bad diet which would put a strain on the health care system….

Congress could require that everyone … buy a General Motors automobile because those who do not buy GM cars are adversely impacting commerce [as well as] a taxpayer subsidized business.

Vinson ruled against the individual mandate, saying that it “exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined and applied in existing Supreme Court case law.”

Klukowski’s optimism that the Supreme Court is likely to confirm Vinson’s ruling was also expressed by Joe Wolverton, II, writing in The New American: “The truth is that the Constitution empowers the national government with very specific, limited and enumerated powers, leaving all others to the ‘states, respectively, or to the people.’” Two recent cases, United States v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr. and United States v. Antonio Morrison reflect the court’s likely reluctance to expand further the powers of the Congress as required under ObamaCare. Wrote Wolverton:

While the Constitution explicitly authorizes Congress to regulate commerce and the Supreme Court has validated the exercise thereof in a string of decisions, there is no precedent in our over 200 years of constitutional jurisprudence for the ability of Congress to force citizens to buy something regardless of their own preference. [Emphasis added.]

In their brief, Klukowski and Lund explain that ObamaCare rises or falls, succeeds or fails, over the issue of the individual mandate:

The individual mandate and related new insurance regulations, which even the Government concedes must stand or fall together, constitute the linchpin of Congress’s effort to restructure the market for health insurance. This is not speculation. It is what the text of the statute says.

It is unnecessary to express the hope that the Supreme Court continues to exercise restraint (as in Lopez and Morrison) and pull the linchpin and let the entire attempt to give the government complete control over healthcare services collapse into a worthless pile of deservedly historic totalitarian rubble.

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