A CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW: THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE LAW GOES TO THE SUPREME COURT
Date: April 6, 2012
By: Bob Goodlatte
Two years ago, thousands of Americans came to Washington to protest the passage of President Obama’s health care law. Despite serious concerns regarding the true impact of the legislation and my vote in opposition, this government takeover of health care was signed into law.
Last week, the Supreme Court took up a case filed by 26 states challenging the constitutional validity of the president’s health care law. I had the privilege of sitting in on the final day of Supreme Court arguments and listening to the case.
Over a span of three days and roughly six hours of oral arguments, the Court closely examined several portions of the massive health care law. On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments to determine if the law falls under the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA). The AIA would prevent challenges against the individual health insurance mandate within the law until after it goes into effect – essentially punting the case a few years down the road and creating greater uncertainty.
Tuesday’s arguments were centered on the individual health insurance mandate, which forces Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. On Wednesday, the oral arguments were twofold. The first hearing focused on severability or whether other sections of the health care law would remain valid if the Court strikes down the individual mandate. The final arguments, which I attended, related to the dramatic expansion of the Medicaid program under the law. Many states are concerned about being coerced to comply with this new unfunded mandate from the federal government.
With a case of this magnitude, it is hard to determine the final opinion of the Court from the oral arguments alone. The Justices will now review additional materials before issuing a written opinion, which is expected by the end of June.
I believe the individual mandate clearly violates our Constitution. In fact, I have previously submitted a legal brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the individual mandate and the entire law are unconstitutional. Never before in the history of our country has a fine been imposed on individual Americans by the federal government under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution with the purpose of forcing them to purchase a product they do not want to buy. All Americans should be concerned any time the federal government tries to trample on, or ignore, our Constitution. Additionally, I am concerned about this massively complicated law’s impact on our economy and the quality of health care in America.
This is an issue impacting every American. Nearly everywhere I go in the Sixth District, I continue to hear concerns about the president’s law. As we await the Supreme Court’s ruling, I will continue to support efforts to stop this law from progressing any further and push for a full repeal.