Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?


Federal Powers:  Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say the government can force people to buy health insurance? And by what authority does it prohibit the purchasing of insurance across state lines?

A key part of the administration's plan to reform health care is what is called the "individual mandate" — a requirement that everyone must have health insurance either through his or her employer or purchased individually.

A good chunk of the uninsured are that way of their own volition. They are young and healthy and feel they have better things to do with their money at this point in their lives. Forcing them is the only way to get them covered, but it's not clear where the constitutional authority to do that comes from.

The Constitution specifically enumerates the powers given to each branch of government and says that any powers not mentioned revert to the states and to the people. Nowhere does it say that the feds can compel you to buy health insurance. But then, this is the administration that claims the right to a de facto nationalization of the banking system and auto industry, to set executive compensation and to fire corporate officers.

With regard to health care reform, the administration seems to be operating under a distorted version of the Commerce Clause that has been grossly misinterpreted over the years as allowing the feds to regulate and control just about everything. Because the sum total of millions of individual health decisions has a collective economic impact, the reasoning goes, government has the authority, even the duty, to regulate those decisions. It does not.

Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano, a constitutional scholar now a Fox News analyst, says the power to "regulate" interstate commerce is just that and only that. He says that when James Madison used the word "regulate," he meant "to keep regular." Madison intended the government to function like a modern-day referee in football — to throw a flag once in a while and moderate disputes, but not call the plays.

The irony here, says Napolitano, is that at the same time the government wants to force people to buy insurance, it forbids them from doing so across state lines. In other words, he says, "Congress refuses to keep commerce regular when the commercial activity is the sale of insurance, but claims it can regulate the removal of a person's appendix because that constitutes interstate commerce."

Sweet And Sour


Coke's Kent: No pushover CEO.

Coke's Kent: No pushover CEO. View Enlarged Image

Taxes: With the federal government claiming the right to buy, manage or regulate virtually everything in the private sector, it's refreshing (excuse the pun) to see Coca-Cola's CEO fight back.

Muhtar Kent knows a thing or two about guts. His father was a Turkish diplomat who in 1943 risked his life physically intervening to save 80 Turkish Jews, as cattle cars railroaded them from Marseille to a Nazi concentration camp.

So when your father has defied the Gestapo, maybe standing up to Uncle Sam is a piece of cake. With the president considering a tax on sodas and other non-diet soft drinks to fund Congress' designs on the health care system, and to try to reduce obesity, the Coke chairman refused to go flat.

Speaking to the Rotary Club of Atlanta last week, Kent called such a tax "outrageous," according to Bloomberg News. "I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink," he said. Kent, whose rise through the ranks at Coca-Cola Co. began 30 years ago, also quipped that "if it worked, the Soviet Union would still be around."

Perhaps Washington has become so enamored of the idea that capitalism is under siege that it takes someone with multicultural, internationalist credentials to provide a jolt of realism.

Born of a Muslim family in New York City and educated in Turkey and Britain, Kent headed Coke's East Central Europe Division when Eastern Bloc nations were liberated from the yoke of communism. So when he makes the Russian analogy about the state dictating what the people can eat and drink, he knows what he's talking about.

Government can't be allowed to use its taxation powers for an illegitimate purpose like directing the behavior of the populace. As Mark Levin states in his million-selling book "Liberty and Tyranny," they must be exercised "only to fund those activities that the Constitution authorizes and no others." To let Washington go further is to risk eventual statist servitude, Levin warns.

A penny-per-ounce soft drink tax could make a two-liter bottle of soda or iced tea cost 50% more. So the food and beverage industry is on the offensive, forming the Americans Against Food Taxes group this year and running high-profile ads on cable networks and in major newspapers.

But this is no special-interest issue. We've already let the government criminalize tobacco, fossil fuels and trans fat. Will we now let Washington add sugar to its index of forbidden substances?

Health Reform Is Just Subterfuge; Dream Is Democratic Dictatorship


By now the realization should be taking hold that the Democrats' health care plan has been exposed as a hoax. And it was the Democrats themselves who discredited and exposed it, but in a very ironic way. Of course, you won't hear this bombshell news reported by Democrat partisans Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams.

As for the substance, remember the Democrats' original rationale for their national health care takeover scheme? They wanted all uninsured Americans to be covered, right? Remember?

But now they concede that their mega-upheaval of a plan would still leave about 15 million without medical insurance. Yet they still advocate the plan! Why?

First, a digression: Don't believe that "47 million uninsured" number. That canard is beyond a hoax. It is a fraud and a lie.

For example, it includes at least 10 million illegal aliens (yes, that is the right term for those who enter our country by violating American law) and an additional five million or so legal foreign residents. Those categories are not "uninsured Americans" because they are not Americans.

The notorious 47 million also includes millions of wealthy people who do not purchase medical insurance — rendering themselves self-insured, not uninsured.

The biggest deceptions of all may be counting a large cohort of the young and vigorous who make the rational cost/benefit decision not to buy medical insurance yet, and several million others who qualify for free insurance and just don't bother to sign up!

Bottom line, subtract out the un-uninsured and other inapplicable categories and the true number of Americans without health insurance is somewhere around 7 million, maybe 10 million conservatively (compared with 15 million after Democrat "reform"?). Google the issue for about 10 minutes to verify.

Another way the Democrats inadvertently reveal their own national health insurance dishonesty is through infidelity to a second objective — cost control.

Remember that one? They are hoping you don't, especially since the Congressional Budget Office has reported that the Obama-Democrat scheme would add $1 trillion to the national health tab over the next decade. Yet the Dems still want their plan. Why?

Why, indeed? It must be something else, therefore. If their own action undermines their stated aims, and still they desperately favor the action, then the Democrats' real purpose must be something different, something they will not reveal. But what? Simple:

Have you noticed how the Washington Democrats like to take control of things, particularly big things in the economy such as the major banks and the auto industry, as well as health care?