Posts Tagged 'Constitution'

The Elephant in the Room: Challenging the Constitutionality of the Healthcare Reform Bill

For those of you just tuning into this discussion, this is the second of a three part series on the Healthcare Reform Bill. In the first part, I discussed researching and sifting through bias to get to the heart of the matter.

There are many reasons why people are against the Healthcare Bill—economics, access, taxes, small business impact and Obama himself. Some of these reasons are valid, some are not. However, the reason I disagree with this bill is that I simply find it to be unconstitutional. Within the Healthcare Reform Bill, there is an “individual mandate” that will require people to pay for health insurance or be fined on a yearly basis. This, to me, is a direct infringement on property rights. The government has no business stepping in and telling citizens where to spend their money.

I think this is magnified by the fact that taxes would also be affected. Therefore, citizens would not only be paying for their own healthcare insurance, but would also be given the responsibility of contributing towards others’ through higher taxes. People can argue all they want about taxes not increasing, but there is no way a government with the size deficit that ours has can sustain so many new healthcare programs without more taxes. It will happen somehow. That’s just logic.

In the Constitution, it says that we are “securing the Blessings of Liberty” for future generations. If you ask me, this is not a “Blessing of Liberty.” Another way in which this bill violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights, outside of property and commerce regulation, is through making states responsible for the wide distribution of healthcare insurance. This is a direct violation of the Tenth Amendment.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I also disagree with this bill because it puts more taxes and responsibility on the already suffering small business owners. The grants the government promises them through this bill are not nearly large enough to cover their increased spending. Small businesses struggle greatly with the wide expanse of taxes and red tape put upon them, let’s not increase their load by adding this behemoth of a task.

This is where I disagree with the Healthcare Reform Bill, however, I do agree that the system we have is not working. Small businesses do need to provide healthcare and people need to have easier access to it, but this is not the way to go about it. There need to be changes, but I don’t think this is the best way to make those changes happen. Of course, from the government’s point of view, it’s easiest. America does not have a very strong history of taking the easy way out. Let’s not start now.

Tune in on Monday to see what I think are the best solutions to this quandary. If you have ideas as well, I would love to hear them!

The Elephant in the Room: Researching the Healthcare Reform Bill

Now that I’ve addressed all the foundations for my thought process, I’m going to jump right into the deep end of political opinions and address the Healthcare Reform Bill. I never planned on this being my first issue to tackle, but it’s all that anyone ever talks about now. With the question popping up in most of my conversations, I’ve been doing some pretty hard thinking and researching about not only this bill, but also the healthcare system as a whole.

I initially thought, “I’m going to read the bill for myself!” Then I looked it up and saw all 2,409 of its jargon filled pages, and I thought, “Well, maybe not.” So, it was then on to Plan B. In lieu of reading the complete text, I decided to research through various online resources—CNN, FOX News, CBS News, the Heritage Foundation, Mother Jones, etc. My thought here was that if I looked at several widely different sources, which all have strong bias, I could identify the underlying universal points. I also was able to weigh and consider all sides of the issue. This might be something that I struggle with that no one else does, but I can’t read just one biased source, or I end up taking that at face value. By reading several different points of view, it’s easier for me to make up my mind. This leads into a whole other discussion of media bias that I will save for another day.

After reading these articles, I have decided it would be best to break this post into three parts—research, constitutionality of the bill, and possible solutions. I will say now that I don’t agree with the Healthcare Reform Bill on the basis of it being unconstitutional and difficult for small businesses. But I will also say that the system we have now is not working. There has to be a compromise somewhere, and I am working through that in my research. I know that the legislature and president aren’t listening to me. However, I feel it would be unfair of me to say that I disagree with the Healthcare Bill, but I don’t have a better solution to offer.

So, tomorrow, we shall tackle the constitutionality of the Healthcare Reform Bill. For now, if you’re interested, here are some good articles that could help you further your own research.

*Clarification: Some of these articles express extreme opinions or bashing of the president/presidential candidates. That is not what I’m encouraging. I merely find the opinions and arguments about healthcare itself to be interesting and helpful in forming one’s own opinion.

Why, yes, I take my Constitution with a side of integrity.

Aside from the Bible, I think one of the most important measures of my political beliefs should be the Constitution. It seems simple enough—the governing document should be the base of the law and standards. However, the Constitution has begun to be distorted through a philosophy called “the living Constitution.” Basically, this means that as times change, people change, so the Constitution should change with us.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that any governing legal document needs to be updated from time to time. BUT it should only be changed through the legislative process of amending it. Otherwise, it is not the firm governing document that the founding fathers wrote and the states ratified over 200 years ago. Instead it’s a warped document that doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of the American people. The biggest challenge to this is when courts choose to read different meanings of the law into the Constitution.

Our fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, had this to say about interpreting the Constitution in his opinion of Marbury vs. Madison in 1803. This case was important because it established the right of the court to veto acts of Congress that it viewed as unconstitutional.

“[The phraseology] of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.

To me, this means that original intent must be considered when we read the Constitution and establish what the laws of this country have to say about any pertinent political issue. Due to this reasoning, any time I will refer to the Constitution, I will try to take into account what the meaning of each law would be when it was written. I can only presume to understand it the way it was meant to be read, because any other approach would possibly result in a completely different thought process and outcome. One interpretation means one set of outcomes, while many interpretations result in a wide spectrum of outcomes from the courts and legislature. I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot safer with the one outcome.

Ok, those are my thoughts on the Constitution and its interpretation. What do you think? How do you think it should be read?

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