Weekly Address: Health Reform’s Benefits in 2010

The President discusses the benefits of health reform that Americans will receive in the first year, and how reform will help build a new foundation for American families.

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Filed under Health, Health Care Reform, Medicine, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

6 responses to “Weekly Address: Health Reform’s Benefits in 2010

  1. Ben

    It’s crap. The bill should be burned and we should start over. If the Dems weren’t such hypocrites and liars, they would include the other side and not negotiate $100m hospitals and sweetheart deals for Arkansas which Reid classifies as simple “compromise”. What they are doing is unconstitutional.

  2. “What they are doing is unconstitutional.”

    that’s quite a claim. Can you be specific as to what Constitutional Amendment they are violating and how? thanks.

  3. Ben

    Here’s how Hatch explained it.

    The Congressional Budget Office examined the 1994 healthcare reform legislation, which also included a mandate to purchase health insurance. Here is the CBO’s conclusion: “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy a particular good or service….Federal mandates typically apply to people as parties to economic transactions, rather than members of society.”

    In other words, Congress can regulate commercial activities in which people choose to engage, but cannot require that they engage in those commercial activities.

    Hatch continues,

    If there is no difference between regulating and requiring what people do, if there is no difference between incentives and mandates, if Congress may require that individuals purchase a particular good or service, why did we bother with the Cash for Clunkers program? Why did we bother with the TARP or other bailouts? We could simply require that Americans buy certain cars or appliances, invest in certain companies, or deposit their paychecks in certain banks. For that matter, we could attack the obesity problem by requiring Americans to buy fruits and vegetables.

    Some say that because state governments may require drivers to buy car insurance, the federal government may require that everyone purchase health insurance. Simply stating that point should be enough to refute it. States may do many things the federal government may not, and if you do not drive a car, you do not have to buy car insurance. This legislation would require individuals to have health insurance simply because they exist, even if they never see a doctor for the rest of their lives.

    The defenders of this health insurance mandate must know they are on shaky constitutional ground. The bill before us now includes findings which attempt to connect the mandate to the Constitution. I assume that they are the best arguments that this unprecedented and novel mandate is constitutional.

    Hatch then points to the unconstitutional aspects of “excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored insurance plans differently in some states than in others. ”

    The Constitution allows Congress to impose excise taxes, but requires that they be “uniform throughout the United States.” This is one of those provisions that will be dismissed with pejorative labels such as archaic by those who find it annoying. But it is right there in the same Constitution that we have all sworn that same oath to protect and defend and we are just as bound to obey it. And frankly, a good test of our commitment to the Constitution is when we must obey a provision that limits what we want to do.

    … on to the subject of states rights with regard to the limitation of federal powers upon individual states.

    Others have observed that the legislation requires states to establish health benefit exchanges. It does not ask, cajole, encourage, or even bribe them. It simply orders state legislatures to pass legislation creating these health benefit exchanges and says that if states do not do so, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will establish the exchanges for them.

    But as the Supreme Court said in FERC v. Mississippi in 1982, “this Court never has sanctioned explicitly a federal command to the States to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations.” The Supreme Court reaffirmed a decade later in New York v. United States that “The Framers explicitly chose a Constitution that confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States.” In that case, the Court struck down federal legislation that would press state officials into administering a federal program.

    And more recently, in Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court stated: “We have held, however, that state legislatures are not subject to federal direction.” And yet, this legislation does what these cases said Congress may not do. It commands states to pass laws, it regulates states in their capacity as states, and it attempts to make states subject to federal direction.

    There ya go.

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