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By: Wayne Brown
The Affordable Healthcare Act….ObamaCare…what a convoluted mess which has only become more so as a result of the vague ruling of the Supreme Court on the law just last week. Essentially, the Court allowed the law to stand as it deals with the definition and functionality of the healthcare act. The Court did not agree with the government’s pleadings which were based on the powers of Congress to regulate under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Court directed that Congress cannot use that clause as the justification to require the purchase of a product from a specified provider nor can it be used as justification to penalize those who will not or cannot afford such requirements. In no uncertain terms, the Court stated that Congress’ only power to mandate the people in that fashion came under the guise of taxation.
First, let’s give some thought to ObamaCare in practice. Has anyone ever said how much it will cost to provide health insurance for an individual under this law? I have not seen any figures but it is always described as “affordable”, whatever that is by definition. I recently read a post by a lady who said that her family was moving from Maine to Massachusetts in order to take advantage of the healthcare savings in that State’s medical insurance program, which is much akin to ObamaCare. She indicated her family would pay about $2,000 for coverage in Maine (per month, I assume) but could get similar coverage in Massachusetts for $1200 to $1500. Admittedly, that does represent a savings but is it enough of a savings to describe the plan as “affordable”? In my way of thinking, there are still a lot of people who cannot shoulder even that cost on a monthly basis. If the costs under ObamaCare are similar, where does that leave us in regard to affordable healthcare?
According to supporters of the legislation/law, the requirement is there to mandate that those who can purchase insurance will or penalties will be levied. Of course there are also those who will not be able to afford such care, probably a number far larger than those with the means but not the motivation. Once vetted, those folks get an adjusted premium up to and including a free ride. That does not eliminate or reduce the costs of having those people in the system, it simply passes that costs to the taxpayers or (if you want to suggest that it stay in the confines of Obamacare) ups the premium costs to those who are paying their insurance premium costs. There is no choice in that matter for the costs are real and must be absorbed. We can throw semantics around all day but in effect it becomes a “penalty” to those who can pay although it is not administered directly as a punishment for there is no basis for punishment. It then becomes a tax as ruled by the Court.
Obama has stated in his defense that those who cannot afford the premiums will be given tax credits to allow them to lower the costs to an acceptable level. So, now we are using “tax credits” to offset something that he has declared over and over is “not a tax”. At the same time, those who cannot afford the premiums are likely among the 47% of the population in the country that does not pay tax anyway, so how can one take a tax credit when they pay no taxes in the first place? Smoke and mirrors; the whole charade is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
One does not have to look at the Court’s decision very long to realize that Congress has imposed a tax on the people without any representation of the people. One might remember the King of England doing that to those who came to this part of the world seeking freedom from tyranny only to be subject to taxes without any voice in their levy. In that day, taxation without representation was equated to tyranny, plain and simple. This legislation came into law on the premise that it would not be paid for with tax increases but rather a mandate on the people under the Commerce Clause which would spell out the penalties on those who did not comply and also define the requirement to purchase the insurance. The Supreme Court does not see it that way. The Supreme Court says that Congress does not have the power under the Commerce Clause to compel or penalize on revenue which does not yet exist. It goes further to say that the only power which Congress has to accomplish this move is through taxation. If this law goes into implementation and sustainment without due process in the Congress respective to the element of taxation, then it will do so plainly on the basis of tyranny within our Federal Government Executive and Legislative branches.
The Democrats controlled both chambers of the Congress at the time this legislation was passed and sent to the President. Even under that circumstance, there were those on that side of the aisle who refused to vote in support of it if a tax was implied or required. The Commerce Clause mandate was used to convince that resistance to back down. On that basis, in consideration of the taxation as clearly ruled by the Court, the legislation was never debated or vetted as an “intent to tax” therefore the constituents of the Congress, the citizens of the United States of America, were not represented in the process. That fact is as clear as the claims of those who support it in saying “there is no tax” and wishing it to be so that we might “move on”. In other words, okay, we misled you a bit to get what we needed but It is a good deal and it is good for the country so let’s just move forward and forget what has happened. Hopefully, our system of government does not work in that manner. If it does, God help us all.
This law basically puts all healthcare insurance providers in the position that they must be in compliance with all requirements of the law and be in functional interface with the system that manages it. In other words, their computers, software, procedures, etc., etc., must work fully with the system put into place by the government or they can basically hang it up as a provider to the insurance industry. Many of these companies subsist off of the concept of “managed healthcare”. In other words, they are not actually insuring anyone for anything but they are contracted to manage and administer the insurance program for a private company or corporation which is self-insured. For example, General Motors does not buy healthcare insurance for its employees but it may contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield or United HealthCare to administer the program for them and to direct the payout of funds provided by GM for the purpose of healthcare costs. That money comes directly out of the bottom line for GM as the corporation is not insured for coverage except possibly something of a totally catastrophic nature. Regardless, these providers must be able to interface with the universal system and the client, GM must be in compliance with all the directives assigned by the Law in their healthcare program. This is done in the interest of achieving the minimal acceptable levels of coverage for all participants and also in achieving uniformity throughout the system. The implementation cost will be carried by the individual companies and the States in which the exchanges are established. How much does that cost…plenty and eventually it must be passed on to the taxpayer or consumer.
President Obama has attempted to sidestep the “tax” ruling handed down by the Court by using the analogy of state requirements for auto insurance. That argument, when examined closely, does not hold water. In the first place, the requirement is set forth by the state a requirement to be met in return for the privilege to operate an automobile on public streets and highways. Acting on that privilege is still a matter of individual choice and not a mandated requirement as a function of living and breathing. Secondly, the requirement is to show proof of minimum liability coverage which, in effect, protects others from loss and not the purchaser. Thirdly, the only time a penalty is assessed is when the person is found to be operating a vehicle on public roadways without the mandatory liability coverage. All of it pertains to protecting others in some minimal fashion from the actions of those who elect to drive. There is no basis of comparison to that of a mandatory healthcare insurance requirement thus the logic does not hold up.
This legislation came about because a few members of the Democrat Party convinced a lot of other members that a national healthcare program could be implemented as a mandate of the Congress. Those people were lied to by members of their own party and they should be livid in that respect. The American people were lied to over and over on the issue from many perspectives including being told that they would have the ability to choose their provider and that the legislation was “debt-neutral” or basically paid for by design thus it would not provide an added load to the ever-growing national debt. Here again, that is not true in that those who cannot pay for the insurance will receive it for free or for some degree of free. That cost differential must either be absorbed by the premiums of those who can pay and are paying or as a cost paid out of the treasury where approximately 44 cents out of every dollar is borrowed money which must eventually be repaid with interest by the taxpayers. If it migrates into the costs of premiums to those who can pay, how affordable is that and how long will it remain at that level as the unfunded side of the equation grows larger with time and influx of those looking for social support in the shelter of the United States?
This legislation comes into law for one reason and one reason only…it grants the federal government even more power over the people and it further restricts the individual’s rights to choice and the pursuit of happiness. The law also does nothing with respect to the aspect of litigation, a concern those in the medical industry will tell you does more to drive up present day medical costs that anything else. When comparisons of costs are made to other countries with national healthcare plans, this fact is left out of the consideration because the approach to litigation in those countries is completely different or far more regulated than in the USA. Washington is filled with lawyers in elected offices and thus will not impose restrictions upon that profession even in the name of benefit to the citizens yet those same people profess to be concerned about the welfare of the people.
Those who designed this law were convinced that the Federal Government’s power to withold Medicaid payment to non-compliant States would be just the hammer to keep all the States in line and come as close as possible to making this a program in which the majority participated. As a result of the Court’s ruling on that perspective, at present, some 17 States have already stated that the legislation would not be enacted. As States drop out, so does the participation level drop which can only drive up the costs of medical care to this seeking it under the plan. The “affordable” aspect of the plan was premised on the government gaining a majority participation. When that does not occur, the program will have little value except as yet another control mechanism of the government over the people.
Social programs can and do have value in a society but the concept of managed welfare can quickly get out of hand when there are hundreds upon hundreds of elected officials constantly looking for new social programs to add to the spending mix. The old ones do not go away but the new ones are added bringing greater and greater pressure to bear upon the revenue stream and the debt load of the country. On the basis of compassion and mercy, all of us can argue all day to keep growing and growing our social policies until one day, not only is the government bankrupt but it has also taken all that its people have and can produce in the name of “social conscience”. Eventually the big wheel stops turning and there is no one left to help because we drained the last drop. At that point, it will be much too late to attempt change and we will be at the mercy of the rest of the world.
Washington has subsisted for far too long off of the trickery of semantics accounting. Those in government do not talk of spending cuts; they speak of a reduction in the rate of growth in terms of spending meaning that we are only increasing the new budget by 8% and not 10% as in previous years. They speak of reduced growth in debt accumulation but never of a reduction in the size of debt. They speak of the need for a balanced budget as we see mandated at State levels yet even when they have the majority to do it, nothing ever happens. They speak of revamping tax codes and rates and even redesigning the entire tax system to be more aligned with consumerism than profit or earnings yet, even when in the majority, nothing ever happens. The only “new thinking” in Washington comes from those who want to “tax and spend” and expect that while attracting more voters no one will notice the marginal debt piling up over in the corner. Americans with any objective sense of the function and operation of government should by all rights be totally dismayed by what has transpired since January 2007 and what the future looks like if control over that direction and philosophy are noted reined in and controlled. If that approach continues, ObamaCare will only be one item on a long list of things that we cannot afford as a nation but will have been thrust upon us as taxpayers in the vein of a “tax” but always called something else semantically in order to move on.
Those who hold citizenship yet pay nothing in taxes have the same voting powers as the ones who bear the burden. Thus it is easy to get into the free cheese line and complain about those who want to get rid of the free cheese. In reality, there is no “free cheese” and sooner or later that point comes to bear in weighing in on the financial collapse of a nation. Many corporations have failed under the weight of the ever-growing benefits they keep handing to the unions year after year. The labor force is so entrenched into the company infrastructure that no matter how it turns, the corporation is facing bankruptcy with or with its workforce. At some point, that leverage to gain more quits being negotiations and becomes extortion. But the inevitable is always there. The federal government may have stepped in and stopped the financial collapse of General Motors keeping thousands of jobs in place but it did nothing in terms of it being a company that has a more solid foundation financially and the ability to sustain hard times. As always, GM sits waiting for the next great arm twist by the union that will claim that, through concessions, it saved the company from failure and therefore deserves a large share of the fruits it bears. The process never ends.
One thing is absolutely clear coming off of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act and it is heavily emphasized by the majority opinion ruling of the Court. The Supreme Court, under the leadership of Roberts, has no intention to protect the Constitution or the citizens of this nation from the federal government. Roberts pretty well summed that up when he indicated that it was not the Court’s business to protect the people from those actions of their elected officials. I beg to differ and differ greatly with that opinion. Roberts and every other justice on that court took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all comers both foreign and domestic. If that means overruling a bad law created by a Congress through sheer trickery, then so be it. Roberts is too worried about the political image of the Court and where his next speaking engagement will be…probably some liberal law school, no doubt. For the moment, Roberts is taking candy from strangers which is something mama always said that one should not do. He is the darling of the liberal left for the moment but he has no idea what a long road he has put himself and the Court upon. Much like the extortion of the unions, the liberal left will come to his door time and again looking for that favorable attitude on yet another bad law designed to damage the Constitution and take away the rights under it for all Americans. If he keeps making those hand-outs, he will be no better than those who have designed such legislation and laws with the purpose of creating a larger federal government with unobstructed power over the American people. By the time many citizens of this country figure that out and realize there are no free lunches or free government cheese, our Constitution, our freedoms, and our country will have rode through the front gates of Hell on the back of a politically-minded bench in the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Constitution was designed as a shield against big government tyranny by those who wrote it and nurtured it into existence. They realized that it was a precious document capable of providing centerline guidance and a rule of law orientation for time on end. But they also knew that it was a delicate document and required the guardianship of those who treasured it, the people of this nation. Over time, the warped mind of political hacks, those of the socialist, communist, Marxist, and other utopian ideologies have chipped away at it indirectly by invading almost every process within our free nation including the education of our young…the next generation which must stand guard. Finally, they are making headway and too many in our nation do not see the dangers of that progress. Apparently, Chief Justice John Roberts is among them.
ObamaCare, regardless of where it ends up, will go down in history as a key battle over the Constitution, States Rights, and the freedom of choice for the American people. The majority decision rendered by Justice Roberts and four others on the court will be referenced again and again down through history as the basis of reasoning for some new propositions which takes yet a bit more freedom and choice away from Americans…all done in the name of “doing what is right” for America. One very poorly made ruling by the Supreme Court will become the springboard upon which all other attacks are launched.
For this reason, it is essential that the American public and members of Congress demand another vote on this legislation with the ruling of the Court in mind…it is a tax. Without that vote, the true American taxpayers will bear the financial burden of a tax imposed without representation, an act of tyranny on the part of our government. This cannot stand. WB
©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved
3 July 2012