Posts tagged with Obamacare
Congress has been having trouble coming up with a debt limit measure because members want something they like. It's difficult to pass such a measure because the wants of the different Senators and Representatives conflict too much.
Members of Congress need to recognize that the"tooth ache" they are dealing with isn't likely to have a pleasant solution. Instead of looking for a measure they like they should concentrate on passing a temporary measure that includes provisions they know their opponents will dislike. This approach would allow members of each party to console their supporters by pointing out what the opposition had to give up. It would also provide an incentive to negotiate a solution to the current deficit situation.
I realize Congress is unlikely to consider any measure from outside, but I feel I should at least take a chance. If you think this proposal is worth considering you might email it to your Representative and Senators.
The provisions involving spending or taxes would be temporary based on certain budget deficit "triggers". Each provision would have a different trigger. When the deficit falls below a trigger, that provision would no long apply. Spending on a certain program could be resumed or a tax would be reduced on eliminated.
Congress would not necessarily eliminate any spending programs (tax credits would be considered as spending programs). Instead spending would be suspended until sufficient money was available for the program. Prior to the next deadline, Congress would determine the triggers for individual provisions.
I suggest the following unpopular provisions. The unpopular provision for Republicans would be extension of the payroll (FICA) tax to all income received from an employer including all the income received by athletes and entertainers. Business owners would not pay a higher tax on their incomes. Employers would not pay the matching tax on the higher employee income. This tax might be phased out as the deficit declines or another tax might be reduced.
An unpopular provision with Democrats would be to delay spending on new programs including Obamacare. Spending wouldn't begin until spending on the program wouldn't adversely affect the deficit. The deficit wouldn't need to be eliminated, only reduced. Elitist Democrats still don't understand that many Republican House members were able to defeat Democrats in 2010 because their constituents strongly opposed Obamacare.
Spending for grant programs to non-profit groups along with state and local governments would be suspended beginning January 1, 2014. The amount of spending involved could reduce the deficit sufficiently that many of those programs with a higher priority (as determined by Congress) could be continued. Others programs would be resumed as funds became available.
All tax credit programs would be suspended. Those credits already approved might be claimable at some future date. An exception would be for programs that benefit individuals making less than $50,000 per year. Tax credit programs in general would be the last of the "spending programs" to be resumed. Energy related credits might be the first to be reauthorized.
President Barack Obama is solely responsible for the current government shutdown. He used the Republican opposition to his health care plan to manipulate them into a situation he could exploit.
He wants to use his media sheep to make the Republicans look bad so he can pursue his goal of gaining dictatorial control over the budget process. He wants the type of power the British monarchy lost centuries ago.
I wouldn't trust former President Thomas Jefferson with the type of control over the federal debt that Obama wants. Jefferson was not only a more honorable man than Obama, he may have had more intelligence than the last three presidents combined.
Obama's conduct of the so called shutdown indicates he is totally lacking in compassion and has contempt for the American people. Blocking public access to the various public monuments in Washington is vindictive and sick. I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, of veterans in the Washington area who would be willing to stand guard over those sites if there is a need for such protection.
Obama says he won't negotiate. The only thing he will accept is total control over the debt ceiling. He apparently is willing to let the economy collapse if he can't get what he demands.
Would a sane president make such a threat?
It's time for Vice President Joe Biden and the cabinet to exercise their responsibility under the 25th Amendment to relieve a president who is acting irrationally from the position.
Various conditions can reduce a president's ability to handle the job. The president wouldn't need to be mentally ill to function improperly. Tumors and conditions that affect blood flow to the brain can interfere with a president's ability to handle the office. Alcoholism and stress can have a negative affect.
If President Obama is having some problem he would benefit from being removed from office before the problem permanently damages him. Many historians believe that the stress associated with various scandals killed President Warren G. Harding. The stress of Watergate nearly killed President Richard Nixon.
Those arguing over the constitutionality of Obamacare have consistently ignored the fact that Obamacare conflicts with the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade. The Court's decision to uphold Obamacare may provide statements that could be used to justify regulating and possibly even prohibiting abortion.
The Court wouldn't need to refer to Roe v. Wade to in effect overturn it. The justices could inadvertently overturn Roe v. Wade by making statements that conflict with it. Attorneys could use such conflicts to argue that Roe v. Wade is no longer consistent with the Court's interpretation of the Constitution.
I'm going to leave the tedious process of examining specific comments by the Justices to those who get paid to do such things. I'm more interested in the general theory involved.
There is a certain absurdity to the Roe v. Wade ruling. The ruling is based on a philosophy of limited government that is closer to the normal views of those called "conservatives" than to the views of those called "liberals". However, the conservatives have traditionally opposed the decision and the liberals have supported it.
The two groups also reverse their normal positions on regulation of abortion providers. Conservatives, who normally try to limit government regulations, favor strict regulation of abortion providers. Liberals, who normally favor strict regulation of health care providers, believe women who seek abortions don't deserve the same protective regulations of health care providers that protect those who visit facilities that treat both men and women.
The philosophy of Roe v. Wade is that health care decisions like abortion are a private matter and government has only limited authority to intervene in private health care decisions. Obamacare is based on a philosophy that there is no right to privacy in health care. Government can control what health care people can obtain by forcing them to purchase insurance that may not cover the type of health care they want or need.
For example, consider the case of a young transsexual who wants to save money he budgets for health care until he has enough money to pay for surgery to transform him into a woman. He might be unable to save his money for the operation if he had to first pay for insurance that would not cover the cost of the operation. Or, consider the case of a young woman who wants to fix what she considers flaws in her appearance, including paying for breast enhancement. Insurance companies wouldn't cover such procedures.
Congress can require people to purchase insurance that only covers conventional treatments that don't help them.. If they benefit from "experimental" treatments instead they must first pay for the type treatment that doesn't help them before they pay for the treatment that works.
Under Obamacare, wealthy members of Congress decide whether or not individuals can afford health insurance regardless of the needs and priorities of specific individuals. Under Obamacare there is no right to privacy in determining spending priorities. Government dictates what they must spend on the health care the government decides they can have.
The people who voted in Obamacare ignore the fact that a Republican president and Congress could make different decisions about health care than a Democratic president and Congress. For example, a Republican president might be able to sharply limit the medical procedures associated with abortion.
Chief Justice John Roberts says in his opinion that the Interstate Commerce clause doesn't authorize the mandatory health insurance provision of Obamacare but that following the Constitution isn't important so long as the Chief Justice is in political agreement with what Congress wants a law to do.
Chief Justice Roberts has apparently forgotten that the Supreme Court's only authority to act is as a legal body. It is not a super house of Congress with the authority to correct what individual justices believe are errors in acts of Congress. The Court is supposed to base its actions on the Constitution rather than on the personal political opinions of the Justices. It is not the role of the Court to determine if a given act of Congress is desirable or not. That is the role of government officials who are elected by the people.
If a majority of the Justices believe the individual mandate isn't authorized by the commerce clause upon which the law is based, then any requirement for insurance purchases is unconstitutional. It doesn't matter if Congress could have made the requirement under another provision of the Constitution. If Congress calls a charge a "penalty" then the Court can only consider whether or not that penalty is in accord with the Constitution. The Chief Justice cannot change the word penalty to the word "tax" to make the law valid.
The only authority the Court has is to send a measure back to Congress so Congress can decide whether to correct what the Court considers to be an error. The Chief Justice cannot say in effect "you little boys and girls in Congress should have called this penalty a tax, so I'll change it to a tax for you." Congress might not want to call the charge a tax because voters wouldn't accept the charge as a tax.
Justices who believe criminals should be prosecuted will nevertheless overturn a conviction if the government used illegal means to obtain a conviction. The Court doesn't say "well the defendant is guilty and the trial court could have convicted him without using illegally obtained evidence so we'll let the conviction stand." The Supreme Court tells the trial court to retry the case without the illegally obtained evidence
The Court must take the same approach when ruling on the constitutionality of legislation. If the legislation is not based on an appropriate provision of the Constitution, then the justices must find the legislation unconstitutional regardless of their personal opinions --- that is if they want people to believe they are motivated by protecting the Constitution rather than on furthering their political beliefs.
Lifetime tenure for Supreme Court Justices may be justifiable if they at least go through the motions of basing their rulings on what the Constitution authorizes. They need to write some legal smokescreen that make it appear their rulings are based on the Constitution. If the Chief Justice or other Justices are going to say in their opinions that their political beliefs are more important than what the Constitution authorizes, then American voters must have the opportunity to determine who serves on the Supreme Court.
If House Republicans are serious about wanting to repeal Obamacare, they should pass a Resolution stating that some, or all, portions of the Obamacare law are unconstitutional. A House Resolution doesn't require Senate approval and cannot be vetoed as would be the case with a bill eliminating Obamacare.
The Resolution should include a statement reminding the courts that the only justification Chief John Marshall could cite for ruling on the constitutionality of an Act of Congress in Marbury v. Madison was the oath the justices took to support the Constitution. Members of Congress take the same oath and thus have the same authority to express opinions of the Constitution.
The voters provide the ultimate check on government. If one Congress acts contrary to what voters think is correct, they have the option of electing new members to correct the improper action. The House of Representatives is the closest to the people because each district is approximately equal in population and all are subject to replacement every two years.
Those challenging Obamacare in court could use such a Resolution to support their claims that the law is unconstitutional.
House members should consult with those challenging Obamacare for suggestions about what the Resolution should include. The following indicate some of the substantial constitutional problems with Obamacare.
Regulating individual behavior using the Interstate Commerce Clause sounds like a violation of the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery. Congress could regulate the behavior of humans as elements of commerce when those humans were commodities to be bought and sold as slaves. Free citizens have the freedom to engage in interstate commerce or not engage in interstate commerce.
Requiring people to pay for health care by purchasing insurance violates their right to privacy in making health care decisions. The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and other cases has held that government cannot interfere in a person's right to make personal health care decisions. Requiring people to purchase insurance can force them to turn over health care decisions to an insurance company. Forcing them to turn money over to an insurance company instead of using it to pay for the type of health care they desire can deprive them of their right to choose health care options the insurance company doesn't support, such as plastic surgery, a sex change operation or treatment insurance companies considers "experimental".
Abortion supporters don't understand that Obamacare could eliminate abortion funding if health insurance companies considered late term or other abortions too costly or "risky". If the Interstate Commerce Clause can override the right to privacy on health insurance, then it can override the right to privacy on other health care decisions. This possibility may not be important for Obamacare opponents, but it is important to many Supreme Court justices.
Requiring people to purchase private health insurance violates the freedom of religion guarantees of the First Amendment. Some religions such as the Amish religion and Islam consider purchasing private insurance wrong. The Christian Science religion questions the use of medical doctors. Requiring members of these religions to purchase private health insurance deprives them of their right to practice their religion.
Exempting them from the requirement, creates a special benefit that amounts to a subsidy of their beliefs because they are allowed to keep more of their money for their own use, including donating it to their organization, than those who belong to other religious groups or don't belong to any religious group. Allowing members of some religions to spend money that members of other religions don't have to spend has the same impact as providing a direct government subsidy of the privileged religious groups. The First Amendment refers to government subsidy of a religion(s) as an "establishment of religion".
I have heard that the act creating Obamacare contains a provision that in effect states that if the Supreme Court finds any part of the act unconstitutional than the entire act would be invalid. Such a provision in and of itself would render the act unconstitutional because the provision would alter the powers of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's ruling in Marbury v. Madison invalidated an Act of Congress for a less significant attempt to alter the Court's power.
Such a provision would drastically alter the Court's Article 3 powers both expanding and restricting them. The provision would in effect grant the Court a stronger veto power than the President has because Congress could not override the Court's "veto". On the other hand the provision would dictate to the Court by removing the option of invalidating or modifying only those provisions in legislation that in the opinion of a majority of the Court violate some portion of the Constitution. The Constitution established the judicial branch to limit the ability of the government to control the lives of its citizens by limiting the circumstances under which the government could impose punishment. The judicial branch is not supposed to function as a super legislature.
The requirement that individuals purchase health insurance from private companies at rates set by those companies involves the transfer of the government's taxing authority to private companies which deprives voters of the ability to elect those who determine their taxes.
The Resolution should remind the Court that forcing people to purchase private health insurance is unnecessary to provide people with access to health care. Government can raise revenue to pay for health care with its taxation powers and then use that money to directly pay health care costs as it already does with Medicare and Medicaid.
The comparison of Obamacare to requirements for purchasing auto liability insurance is invalid. The auto liability insurance requirement is a requirement that those who engage in the dangerous activity of driving a motor vehicle prove they can compensate anyone who suffers a loss because of their mistakes while operating a motor vehicle. Many states allow motorists to fulfill this liability requirement by posting a bond rather than purchasing insurance.
The scariest part of the Democrats "Obamacare" legislation is the fact that Democrats believe we are nothing more than elements of Interstate Commerce. The last time the federal government treated human beings as elements of Interstate Commerce was during slavery.
The federal government has traditionally excluded small businesses with under $500,000 in sales that don't sell across state lines from Interstate Commerce regulations such as the minimum wage law. So how can individual Americans be considered elements of Interstate Commerce?
Commerce involves the transfer of money or property by entities that exist for that purpose. Democrats seem to feel that if you have a job or buy food you are a business enterprise rather than a human being with the right to make your own decisions about what to do with the portion of the money you earn that the government lets you keep.
It shouldn't be surprising that Democrats think of us as slaves considering that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery. Before you bring up Barack Obama's color keep in mind that if his African ancestors had any association with American slavery it was because they captured and/or sold slaves not because they were slaves.
"Socialism" is a word that is often thrown around without anything more than a vague definition. Some people take a simplistic view that if government does something it's socialism.
The Russian government that called itself a "Socialist Republic" provides an example of what socialism is. What the Soviet Union called socialism is basically the system that existed under the Russian emperor and old European monarchies. The only significant difference was that the government was not headed by an hereditary monarch but by a small group of people one of whom served as leader until he died or was deposed by the others.
Under socialism people are treated as the property of the government (emperor). Under socialism people belong to the government. Under our system the government is supposed to belong to the people.
Under socialism the government controls the people, in some cases even determining their careers. Under our system the people are supposed to control the government.
Under socialism the people serve the government. Under our system government is supposed to serve the people
Under socialism government tells people what they must do. Under our system, government tells people what they cannot do, especially to each other.
Obamacare is socialism under this definition because government attempts to control people's private lives by forcing them to purchase insurance regardless of their personal needs and desires.
The Democrats are telling young adults they don't have an option of using money to start a business or purchase a home before starting to buy insurance. Obama is like Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life" who wanted people to pay rent to him instead of having an opportunity to using the rent money to pay on a mortgage. Many young adults would like to save the money they would spend on health insurance to use as a down payment on a home.
Medicare and Medicaid are not socialism because the money for them comes from taxes assessed to the general working population. Individuals have the option of other insurance or paying their own bills and coverage is not based on how much has been paid with the exception of the optional Medicare coverage. Medicare recipients are expected to meet a minimum residence requirement and have to have paid the tax before becoming eligible.
A government health insurance program based on general taxes that allowed individuals to have private insurance or pay their own medical costs if they wanted to would not be socialistic. Such a program would be socialistic if it prohibited people from having private insurance or restricted the treatment they could purchase.
Democrats support for Obamacare demonstrates their limited intelligence. They are like children in that they are incapable of seeing unwanted consequences of their actions.
Most Democrats believe that women should be able to make their own decisions about having abortions. The Supreme Court says government has only limited authority to restrict abortion because of the individual right to privacy.
If government can control health care decisions on the grounds that humans are elements of Interstate Commerce than individuals no longer have a right to privacy in health care decisions. Government can prohibit medical procedures, including abortions, as a means of limiting health care costs. Persons have a right to privacy, but elements of commerce do not.