July 1, 2012

July 1, 2012 | Commentary on Obamacare

What Does the Supreme Court's Health Care Decision Mean?

With its decision on the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has left it to Congress to uphold the Constitution and its limitations on the power of the federal government. It is now imperative that Congress repeal the entire Obamacare statute.

The president and his partisan allies in Congress rammed through the legislative process a law that gives federal agencies virtually unlimited power to govern health care in the United States. The people of our country oppose this legislation and increasingly fear its consequences: massive tax increases, higher insurance premiums, expanded government spending and debt, undermining of the doctor-patient relationship, violation of religious liberty, and detrimental interference by government in people’s daily lives.

A 5 to 4 majority of the court has unfortunately sided with those who believe there are no limits on how much the government can control our lives. In short, those justices chose tyranny over freedom. Health insurance may be a good thing, but can government compel you to buy it?

The court was correct in finding that Congress does not have the authority to compel purchases under the Constitution’s commerce clause. But it erred in contorting the statute to declare the penalty a tax. And the court’s decision to allow this abuse under the government’s taxing authority, not the commerce clause, doesn’t change the fact that individual freedom has been dealt a serious blow.

The Constitution created a government of enumerated and thus limited powers. The intention was to protect liberty by denying the federal government a roving charter to promote public welfare. Our Founders knew that, left unchecked, governments tend to grow by degrees into nanny-state leviathans.

About the Author

Edwin Meese III Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus
Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

First appeared in The Washington Post