The Supreme Court will strike down President Obama’s healthcare reform law in its entirety, predicts Peter Ferrara, because the law’s structure violates the Constitution’s fundamental purpose, which is to retain power at the state, rather than federal, level.
At least five of the nine justices will vote to overturn the law, says Ferrara, director of entitlement and budget policy for the Heartland Institute and general counsel of Americans for Tax Reform, in an Op-Ed for Forbes.
“The reason that at least five justices are going to find the law’s individual mandate unconstitutional is that it is contrary to the fundamental federalism architecture of the Constitution,” Ferrara argues.
The states have the authority to compel individuals to take actions considered in the broad public interest, such as obtaining vaccinations or car insurance. As such, these actions are considered an exercise of state “police power.”
“If the federal government is now to hold a national police power, then the constitutional framework of federalism, with limited, enumerated powers delegated to the federal government, and the remaining powers of government retained by the states, would be obliterated,” Ferrara writes.
The White House has argued that the federal government can enforce the purchase of health insurance on the uninsured, a key part of the law that maintains its financial viability, since health insurance cuts across states lines. It relies on the commerce clause of the Constitution to do so.
“Their argument boiled down to the claim that millions of people choosing to not buy health insurance substantially affects interstate commerce. But every economic decision, when aggregated across the whole market, substantially affects interstate commerce in this way, including decisions not to do something,” Ferrara writes.
“So that would leave the commerce clause eating up the whole Constitution and its most fundamental doctrine that the federal government is an authority of limited, enumerated, delegated powers. Federal power would then be without limit, contrary to the whole concept of the federal government in the Constitution.”
Stripping the law of just this feature would incapacitate the law, since picking and choosing how to make the remainder work would force the Supreme Court to engage in policy making, something the justices will decline to do, Ferrara concludes.
Meanwhile, GOP Congressman Paul Broun, who is a Georgia primary care physician, has written a bill that provides an alternative to Obama’s reform.
Titled the “Offering Patients True Individualized Options Now Act,” or OPTION Act, the bill would repeal Obamacare, make all health spending tax-deductible, make Medicare optional and offer premium support to lower-income seniors, allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines, and promote small business purchases through associations in a bid to drive down costs.
The bill also would reform laws that require emergency rooms to treat anyone irrespective of ability to pay.
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