Recently, a federal judge ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care ACT (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Of course, there are the usual suspects who are expressing their angst. However, a simple lesson in civics would evidence their blatant incompetence.
First, let’s go back to when sitting Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Roberts authored the majority decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare. At first, Chief Justice Roberts stated that Obamacare was not consistent, constitutional, when assessed against the Commerce Clause of our Constitution. The Commerce Clause basically states that the federal government can regulate commerce and trade between the United States and other countries, between the states, or with the tribal nations. At no point does the Constitution grant an enumerated power to the federal government to force commerce activity between an individual citizen and a private sector commodity.
This all centered on the Obamacare individual mandate, which “mandated” citizens purchase health care insurance or face a penalty, a tax. And therein lies the bait and switch of Chief Justice Robert’s decision. He voted that under the enumerated power of taxation, Obamacare was constitutional. But what has happened since is that the individual mandate tax has been repealed. Therefore, if the taxing authority has been repealed, then based upon the commerce clause, Obamacare is indeed unconstitutional. The federal government does not possess the enumerated power to force individual citizens (the individual mandate) to purchase a private sector commodity. Also, Obamacare was passed in an unconstitutional manner. The individual mandate tax was introduced in the U.S. Senate, then under control of the Democrats. Anyone that knows a little about the Constitution and Article I powers, knows that measures that deal with revenue generation, taxation, must originate in the U.S. House of Representatives, not the Senate.
Now of course, the progressive, socialist left is hopping mad and about to go into a next-level apoplectic meltdown. To them, the rule of law is meaningless. They only care about the rule, but if their ideas are so good, then why are they always accompanied with mandates?
The left did a phenomenal job this past election cycle in making health care a preeminent issue. And the GOP, as usual, lacked any coherent response. It all comes down to the premise that the left is very adept at using: arguing that health care is a right. When the GOP is confronted with that suggestion, they run, cower, and respond with the same old tired incoherent blather. The answer is no, health care is not a right. But the left is always chirping about your right to health care being taken away from you. The right response is that it was never a “right” for progressive socialists to bestow upon individual Americans anyways.
What the left is so very good at is convincing the American people that the progressive, socialist ideological agenda is based upon rights. You know, the right to free college education, the right to a home, the right to kill unborn babies, and the right to be married. For whatever reason, the left does not comprehend that we are endowed by our Creator, not them, with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Oddly enough, these things that our founding documents state are rights, are not considered rights by the leftists when it comes to their agenda. The Second Amendment is clear and simple to understand, but not to the left. The freedom of religion seems simple, but your religious rights have no meaning when it is up against the left’s desires, mandates. Your individual right to free speech has no validity, unless your speech is acceptable to the progressive, socialist left. And yes, I could go on.
What the left believes is that they can guarantee happiness. And they will mandate it in order to do so -- and for your own good.
If Obamacare is such a great idea, then why does it have to have mandates, under the penalty of taxation? That, folks, is what we call behavior modification by way of taxation. And could the day ever come when the progressive socialists will mandate, under penalty of taxation, that Americans buy electric vehicles? In California, the test tube for all things leftist, the government there has mandated that all new houses must have solar panels. I mean, doggone, it is supposed to be YOUR house.
Well, ask yourself, do you REALLY want the federal government mandating your health care decisions?
The progressive, socialist left is now pushing “Medicare for all.” Question: what happens to the seniors for which Medicare was intended? And do we really want the gang that cannot shoot straight with the Veterans Administration health care system, mandating health care for all of us? See, when the progressive, socialist left declares that something is a right – in this case health care – what they really want is control. If you do not believe me, then read HR 676, which is the Medicare for all legislation. This measure makes private health insurance illegal. Yes, that is right. You, the individual citizen, lose your right to choose your health care. But weren’t we told we could keep our doctor and our insurance? This, ladies and gents, is the second tenet of socialism, nationalizing economic production.
What the progressive, socialist left wants you to believe is that in declaring health care a right, they can give it to you. But all they are seeking is to control you, your body. Never forget that one of those agencies that still exists as part of Obamacare is the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board). The IPAB is an unelected group of bureaucrats who will be making all pricing decisions on your “right” to health care.
Ok, I hear you, what should have been done? First, seriously start reducing the fraud, waste, and abuse of Medicare and Medicaid. I would recommend the American taxpayer not be paying for these programs to those here illegally. Second, focus on policy solutions for the so-called “working poor” and use free market solutions such as Health Savings Accounts and tax credits to help with health insurance purchases. We need better competition and less state by state mini monopolies by insurance companies because competition lowers cost. And how interesting it is that the health insurance companies were thrilled about Obamacare. After all, if health insurance is mandated, then everyone must purchase your product. Now, the left is demonizing the health insurance companies.
As a reminder, we have been down this road before. Back during the Carter Administration, there was the Community Reinvestment Act. It basically said that every American had a right to own a home. Well, some thirty years later, in 2008, we had a financial meltdown that was tied back to the mortgage industry.
Remember that maxim that came as a result of the Trojan Horse, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”? Well, beware of progressive socialists when they say you have a right to something. It never does end up well, just like with the Trojans.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is the author of “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.” He pens a daily column for his personal website at theoldschoolpatriot.com.