Monday, 26 March 2012 20:15

Obama Care: Will Supreme Court Engage In Strict or Creative Interpretation of US Constitution?

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The United Sates Supreme Court has begun hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the “Affordable Care Act” commonly known as Obama Care which has sparked an unprecedented uprising and debate among Americans.  The decision by the court will chart the future of health care in America and will decide whether future health decisions will be between doctors and patients or by the federal government.

No recent law passed by Congress has created a greater turmoil in this country than Obama Care.  It has divided the American people and ignited the Tea Party leading to massive election losses for Democrats in the 2010 elections.  A new CBS/New York Times poll just released says that only 28 percent of Democrats “strongly” approve of Obama Care while 62 percent of Republicans “strongly” disapprove of the law.


American health care is the best in the world.  People from all over the world travel to the United States for major health care treatment.  Few people, if any, leave the states and fly to Europe or Russia for major health care treatment.  But when Europeans, Russians, or Saudi princes need such treatment, they come to the United States.


While everyone wants to see health care costs decrease, no one has succeeded in making that happen in any real way.  Yes, insurance companies negotiate prices with health care providers that they claim will lower costs, and the federal government cuts the reimbursement rate to doctors and hospitals for Medicare and Medicaid and call it cost savings.  But the fact is that health care costs continue to rise. 


Obama Care is the latest effort by the federal government to bring down such costs by requiring everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so.  But now the Congressional Budget Office tells us that Obama Care will cost twice as much as originally projected.  And at least one member of Congress is saying that it will cover fewer people and will raise taxes more than originally projected.  So bringing down health care costs is more complicated than the federal government simply taking it over.  If anything, that could be the worst thing that could happen.


The issue before the Supreme Court, however, is not politics or public policy.  The issue is constitutionality.  Does the United States Constitution allow the federal government to mandate that you and I buy health insurance or else?  Most Americans say no.  President Obama and liberal democrats say a loud yes.  So it is up to the court to decide the question based on law.


The federal government receives its authority to govern from specific powers granted to it by the constitution.  It is a limited government.  Nowhere does the constitution say that the federal government has the authority to force anyone to buy health insurance.  The federal government says that the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution includes the purchase of health insurance by the American people.  Twenty-six states and common sense say that is not the case.


If the constitution is read in the English language in which it was written, it is clear that the founding fathers never intended it to be used to require the purchase of mandatory health insurance by the American people.  While it is smart to have health insurance, it is not the federal government’s right to require that anyone purchase it.  So without a creative interpretation of the constitution, the mandates in the “Affordable Care Act” should be held unconstitutional.


More importantly and beyond Obama Care, if it is upheld the power of the federal government becomes unlimited and the limitations on its power set forth in the constitution will fall by the wayside.  There will be no stopping the federal government from mandating anything it wants and to directly control our everyday lives all under the guise of regulating interstate commerce.  A favorable ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court on Obama Care will open a whole new chapter in American History and give the federal government unprecedented power never envisioned by our founding fathers.


Politically, a favorable ruling for Obama Care may just seal the fate of Barack Obama’s second term.  Republicans and conservatives who vehemently oppose Obama Care will come out in record numbers in November and vote against the president’s reelection.  On the other hand, liberals, including the liberal media, say that if the law is struck down, Obama Care will be a non-issue in the November election.  I beg to differ.  In the case of Barack Obama it is not just simply the overreach of Obama Care.  Rather, it is that this president believes in big government, deficit spending, and full control of the U.S. economy and our free market system by the federal government itself.  Four more years of Barack Obama will result in continued efforts to expand government, run up the deficit, and weaken our national defense as well as our status in the world.


America’s future is on the line with or without Obama Care.  The America we live in today is being challenged by a liberal president, liberal Democrats in Congress, and a very liberal news media.  Americans must decide in November whether to continue our traditional American way of life or to journey into a model of European Socialism which has Greece bankrupt and much of Europe on the brink of collapse.

by Lawrence Chehardy

 About Lawrence Chehardy








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Lawrence Chehardy

For thirty-four years Lawrence Chehardy served as Assessor of Jefferson Parish. He has been the leading authority on Louisiana’s property tax laws. In addition to his political commentary and public speaking engagements, Lawrence Chehardy is a founding member of the Chehardy, Sherman, Ellis, Murray, Recile, Griffith, Stakelum & Hayes Law Firm and serves as its managing partner.

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