The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obamacare v. the United States of America is yet another body blow to the U.S. Constitution’s principle of limited government and the freedom tradition, but there is a major upside.
Despite President Obama’s opposition to an individual mandate when he was debating Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential primaries and despite his postelection insistence that Obamacare’s mandate does not constitute a tax, his lawyers insisted otherwise, and the Supreme Court bought it. So we have a law with enormous reach — one-seventh to one-sixth of the economy — having been fundamentally misrepresented to the American people from the beginning.
Conservatives who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the plain meaning of its language and the original intent of the Framers have long been troubled by the court’s decisions expanding the commerce clause to authorize Congress to regulate the most local of matters within a state’s borders.
Many legal analysts were predicting the court would declare the mandate unconstitutional because it goes further than all other previous cases in forcing Americans to purchase a commodity. Surely, they reasoned, the court would not go that far.
Well, as it turns out, the court didn’t have to. It simply chose to consider the mandate a tax rather than a fine or penalty and held that the court has ample authority under the general welfare clause to impose a tax. Voilá, problem solved.
There is little to be gained at this point in crying over spilled judicial milk. That chapter, on this essential issue, is closed for now. But the substantive issues — the questions of the wisdom of the law itself and the people’s opinion about it — are very much alive, especially considering that we have our national elections in November.
It is not an overstatement to say that Obamacare was the single most important catalyst leading to the tea party movement. Americans were outraged and horrified by this president’s reckless spending and his endless assaults on the Constitution, but no issue drove them to rise up and fight back like Obamacare — both the abominable legislative monstrosity itself and the tyrannical, corrupt manner by which Obama crammed it through the legislative process.
Americans oppose Obamacare because they understand that it is inconsistent with our liberties and our idea of limited government and that it will destroy the best health care system in the world.
Almost everything about Obamacare has been a lie. Let’s just start with the gloating Democrats’ assertion that the court has validated their effort to make quality health care affordable for every American.
Contrary to Obama’s misrepresentations, Obamacare will bend the cost curve up, not down, and will do so significantly; the Congressional Budget Office has already told us that it will cost almost double what Obama promised. The law’s other main ostensible purpose — to increase access — is another sham.
There is a world of difference between increasing the number of people who have insurance coverage and increasing their actual access to quality medical care, and it’s care that we should be concerned about, not insurance. The only way health care costs under a socialized system can be contained at all is by rationing. This is the history of every other socialized health care system in the world. It is the history of Medicare. It is why Obamacare creates an egregious 15-member bureaucratic board — the Independent Payment Advisory Board — that will make decisions as to the costs of treatments. As a necessary consequence, the patients’ choices of and access to various treatments will both be severely diminished under Obamacare.
The quality of health care will also diminish. Doctors are already planning to leave the medical profession in droves. They are advising their family and friends not to choose the profession. People are not being allowed to keep their plans as Obama cynically promised. The Willis survey reports that only 30 percent of employers will keep their same plans under Obamacare.
The anxiety brought on by Obamacare — including that brought on by the tsunami of additional federal rules, regulations and taxes it will impose on small businesses — is having a crippling effect on job creation in this country. Seventy-four percent of small businesses say they are not expanding because of Obamacare.
The American people overwhelmingly oppose this federal power grab, which is why Mitt Romney and the Republican Party had better read their cue cards and understand that now is not the time for fecklessness. It is the time to draw clear contrasts between the Republican vision and the Obama record.
I believe that this ruling by the court will reinvigorate the tea party movement in a way that nothing else could have and, provided Republicans don’t blow it by refusing to take the gloves off in the campaign, could help lead to a GOP landslide in November.