Obama’s health care Part 4


Obama’s health care Part 4

I am very pleased with the uprising across the country to try and stop Obamacare. Unfortunately the governor and attorney general in Arkansas are Democrats that want no part of that. The people are Arkansas in my home town of Bryant don’t see it that way though.

Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, accepts the challenge to debate the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

Ilya Shapiro delivered this testimony on Jan 24, 2011 to the Arkansas House of Representatives. This was later put into a paper “On the Arkansas Health Care Freedom Act and Its Relationship to Obamacare.” He stated:

Thank you very much for the invitation to share my thoughts on Arkansas’ proposed Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA) and how it relates to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, commonly known as “Obamacare”). In my capacity as a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute — a nonpartisan public policy foundation dedicated to advancing the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government — I have been speaking and writing about how Obamacare destroys federalism and fundamentally transforms the relationship between citizen and government. I have also been extensively involved with the lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of various parts of the law, including having filed several amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs.

The HCFA seeks to protect two essential rights. First, it protects a person’s right to participate or not in any health care system and prohibits the government from imposing fines or penalties on that person’s decision. Second, it protects the right of individuals to purchase — and the right of doctors to provide — lawful medical services without government fine or penalty.

No one questions the need for serious health care reform. Regardless of how such reform is fashioned, however, either at the state or federal level, the essential rights protected by the HCFA should be preserved. Indeed, supporters of provisions like the HCFA have a variety of perspectives on the form that health care reform should take, but they agree that no matter what legislation is passed, it should not take from Americans their right to control their own medical affairs. It is that precious right which is at stake here, for in many countries where the government plays a larger role in regulating or providing health insurance — including compelling individuals to join government-approved health plans — health care is rationed and individuals are prevented or discouraged from obtaining otherwise lawful medical services.

Now, as a matter of law, it is well established that the U.S. Constitution provides a baseline for the protection of individual rights, and that states may provide additional protections — and all of them do. For instance, some states provide greater protections of freedom of speech or due process rights.

Still, there is serious tension between the HCFA and certain parts of Obamacare. The Supremacy Clause establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and provides that federal law prevails over conflicting state law where Congress has the legitimate authority — from its enumerated powers — to enact the legislation and where it does not impermissibly tread upon state sovereignty. The various lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare assert a number of claims relating to these principles. The Florida-led suit, which now boasts 26 state plaintiffs, is perhaps most famous, but the separate cases brought by Virginia and Oklahoma, respectively, are notable because they are based largely on those states’ HCFAs (the former enacted as state law, the latter as a popularly ratified state constitutional amendment).

As should by now be clear, the state lawsuits, among others, are serious challenges maintained by serious lawyers and public officials. They question an unprecedented assertion of power — literally without legal precedent both in its regulatory scope and its expansion of federal authority — that, if left unchecked, would gravely alter the relationship of the federal government to the states and to the people. Nobody would ever again be able to claim plausibly that the Constitution limits federal power.

Mississippi Center for Public Policy and The Federalist Society present: Is ObamaCare Good for Patients, Doctors, Employers, & State Budgets?

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