Healthcare

Obamacare: The Battle Is Far From Over

Anyone who thinks the battle against Obamacare is over does not understand the depth of the opposition to this massive government expansion and the forces of freedom that will be challenging its despotic provisions.

President Obama and the Democrats narrowly won a majority for a bill that will explode federal spending and debt, drive consumer medical care costs through the roof, and lead to healthcare rationing.

But there is yet another vote to come on this bill in November when Obamacare will be the paramount political battleground in the midterm elections that will likely lead to the defeat of at least 30 House Democrats, and possibly more, and easily half a dozen Senate Democrats–effectively  killing Obama’s agenda for the remainder of his term.

But that’s only a part of the political, legal and institutional forces arrayed against the bill’s many anti-choice healthcare mandates and new taxes that Democrats sent to Obama late Sunday night.

In recent months, legislation, resolutions and constitutional amendments have been introduced in at least three dozen state legislatures that seek to restrict or prohibit key parts of Obamacare, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  And many more states are expected to join them.

“There’s going to be a big free-for-all lawsuit about this,” Michael Bird, legislative counsel for the NCSL told Reuters news service last week.

Among the states’ targets: government mandates forcing all uninsured Americans to buy health insurance or face penalties of hundreds of dollars a year if they do not.  State legislators “in general… seek to make or keep health insurance optional, and allow people to purchase any type of coverage they may choose,” the NCSL said.

By the end of last week, 26 states had initiated amendments to their Constitutions to ban Obamacare’s individual mandate, while 13 others are moving to block federal action through their state statutes.

Virginia and Idaho are the only two states that have already taken such action against the Democrats’ healthcare reform plan.  Arizona is seeking voter approval of a constitutional amendment in November.

The Virginia law flatly declares that “No resident of this commonwealth, regardless of whether he has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer, or a plan sponsored by the commonwealth, or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage.  No provision of this title shall render a resident of this commonwealth liable for any penalty, assessment, fee or fine as a result of his failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage.”

But the individual mandate, which will take effect in 2014, and the bill’s other provisions regulating the insurance industry will also be challenged in the Supreme Court, say state officials and legal scholars who call the mandate unprecedented, unconstitutional, and a violation of states rights.

Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli says he will challenge the bill in court, arguing that it “violate[s] the plain text of both the 9th and 10th Amendments.”

In Idaho, Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter signed a bill last week authorizing the state attorney general to also file a lawsuit opposing the mandate requiring people to buy health insurance.

Last week, South Carolina Atty. Gen. Henry McMaster and Florida Atty. Gen. Bill McCollum announced their intention to file lawsuits if the legislation passed the House.

The legislation’s mandate forcing Americans to buy insurance, whether they need it or not represents the largest expansion of government power over individual freedom in U.S. history.

“While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company,”

Georgetown University law Prof. Randy E. Barnett wrote in a Sunday Washington Post article titled “Can the Constitution stop health-care reform?”

“If you choose to drive a car, then maybe you can be made to buy insurance against the possibility of inflicting harm on others.  But making you buy insurance merely because you are alive is a claim of power from which many Americans instinctively shrink  Senate Republicans made this objection, and it was defeated on a party-line vote, but it will return,” said Barnett who teaches constitutional law.

But there is more at stake in the forthcoming battle over the individual mandate than its Constitutionality.  If this provision is ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court, the financing for Obamacare will fall like a house of cards because it is built on an expansion of a larger risk pool of younger, healthier, uninsured adults to offset the costs of older, high-risk Americans.

Then there is the larger issue of the disturbing loss of freedom in this country and that, too, is driving a resurgent conservative movement determined to push back against Washington’s aggrandizement of power and authority over its citizens.

“We are fast approaching a tipping point where more Americans depend on the federal government than on themselves–a point where we, the American people, trade our commitment and our concern for our individual liberties in exchange for government benefits and dependencies,” Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said during Sunday‘s debate.

“The European social welfare state promoted by this legislation is not sustainable.  This is not who we are and it is not who we should become,”

Ryan said in an impassioned speech.

But this battle against the Obama government’s seizure of power over the health care industry and its citizens isn’t over yet.  It has set in motion a large and growing movement to take back our country, and there are still many more political battles, lawsuits and elections to come.


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