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Constitution and Separation of Powers

Updated on August 9, 2019
Tiffany Dian Payne Bph profile image

Under trump oversight, our democracy is failing. From sexism to racism and supporting dictators

Separation of Powers

Federalism and Separation of Powers

Democracy can be a confusing subject to many and the constitution place rules for government to follow. With federal and local government, the power struggle continues today. When we think of separation of powers, many assume this applies to federal government, but states have their own branches which include; legislation, executive and judicial branches.


In the constitution the word federalism is not written, but in Amendment X and Article 1, section 8 explains how government is divided (United States Senate, n.d.). Yes, most of the power lays in congress, but state governments have power over charter corporations, provide public education, and regulate property rights (United States Senate, n.d.). Does this mean federal government is in control? Looking at this, it is safe to say this is dual federalism. Dual federalism is when federal and state government are co-equals, but this still limits federal government to follow the constitution ("Center for the Study of Federalism," 2006). We can also apply this to reproductive rights, Roe vs. Wade allowed women to consult with their doctor for unwanted pregnancy. 10 states have adopted an abortion ban, but I will use Alabama. Under their law it is considered a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion to women that are not at risk (Keneally & Svokos, 2019). This act could lead to a prison sentence of 99 years. One can suggests because of federalism, the states have the power to implement this law, but federal law states a woman have a right to their own body (Keneally & Svokos, 2019). Lawsuits have been filed by many and it is placed in the Supreme Court, which show how separations of powers exist.

Separations of Powers

Under separation of powers, no branch can hold majority of power. This creates processes that can protect the citizens in the United States. Checks and Balances consist of three branches of government. They are as follows:

Legislation Branch: collect taxes, pay debts and provide defence and welfare of the United States.

Executive Branch: commander in chief for the US military, make treaties and shall appoint officials. (Gluck, 2018)

Judicial Branch: in place for controversies and must follow the constitution.

(Gostin, 1995)

Separation of powers have impacted health policy in many ways and will continue to be a challenge unless compromise is made. Thanks to the ACA that was passed in 2010, estimated 30 million people were insured. This law saved many citizens with health conditions that could not get approved through private insurance programs (Gluck, 2018). Although the ACA was created with good intension, it was not perfect which challenge branches of governments. Under this bill, Medicaid would expand, but it was left to the states if they wanted to participate in the program (Gluck, 2018). The judiciary branch has limited power in health policy because these officials are appointed by the executive branch (Gostin, 1995). Under the constitution, the judicial branch they must uphold the rights of the people, so far this branch as implemented reproductive policies to be followed. The legislation branch can collect information from sources which can lead to laws that is supposed to protect and promote the health of the public (Gostin, 1995). The executive branch has the power to shape, develop, and expand health policy (Gostin, 1995). When President Obama signed the ACA law, he was thinking of the welfare of the people. In hopes to get universal healthcare, he was blocked my republican majority congress (Purdum, 2013). This led to compromise and the ACA was developed as the first step in the universal health process. Many would argue this bill is wrong because it goes against human rights, but where many fails to realize healthcare organization were losing money due to the lack of insured people (Purdum, 2013). Needing a bailout, organizations reach out to government which opened the door to the ACA development. Health policy has become a controversy topic and continues to impact our democracy.


Checks and Balances in our democracy has help shape a government that cannot hold all the power. Healthcare policy has created conflict in federal and state government. From reproductive rights to health insurance each branch of government holds certain responsibilities in the welfare of the people.


Dual Federalism. (2006). In T. Smith (Ed.), . Retrieved from American Federalism, 1776 to 1997: Significant Events

Gluck, A. (2018). Health Care Federalism and Next Steps in Health Reform. Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics, 46, 841-845.

Keneally, M., & Svokos, A. (2019). State abortion bans in 2019: Many signed, none in effect. Retrieved from

Making in Biomedicine. Retrieved from

Purdum, T. (2013). Obama Price of Victory. Retrieved from

United States Senate. (n.d.).

Rule of Law


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    • WJFitzgerald profile image

      W J Fitzgerald 

      8 months ago

      Thank you and very true. The U.S. has a very unique form of government. Most democracies around the world use a parliamentarian system with few checks and balances. Significant changes in public policy can occur every election cycle. This makes government in these systems highly responsive to the electorate and relatively efficient in responding to change.

      However, it also can allow for overreach and abuse. The U.S. founders decided this was too dangerous and so created a system where gridlock was a feature not a vice. It can make governing frustrating, especially if you are seeking change. But, imagine if a president, for example, had more freedom to implement his or her goals with even less accountability than currently allows. In the end if enough voters want something, they get it, it just may take a little longer.

    • Tiffany Dian Payne Bph profile imageAUTHOR

      Tiffany Payne 

      8 months ago from Dallas TX

      Thank you for your support

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      8 months ago from Auburn, WA

      A very important topic and so many people need reminders about how our system works. Good job.


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