Now I don’t pretend to be an authority on Constitutional Law, like our President, or even an authority on how to overturn Constitutional Law, like our President. And no, I haven’t read the entire 2,700 pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), although I did make several efforts to do so, and gave up in frustration. And no, I haven’t read the entire proclamation of the Supreme Court in their interpretation of said Act, and I am sure I couldn’t understand that either. But several days after its release, I do have the advantage of having heard its implications being interpreted by numerous self-professing experts in the field. Interpretations that range all the way from its being the product of the troubling mental side effects of Chief Justice Roberts’ being off his epilepsy medications, to what President Obama called, “A victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure.”
But I really don’t see where the Roberts revelation is such a big deal. Now the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a big deal. In fact, Vice President Joe Biden described it as being a “f ….ing” big deal! And he was right! But the issue before the Supreme Court was whether Congress had the authority to pass the Act, and specifically whether its provision to mandate the purchase of health insurance to finance the Act was legal under the terms of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).
As for the Act itself, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them,” said Justice Roberts. And the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a political act, enacted by a Congress of duly elected representatives of the people. The responsibility of the Supreme Court was only to determine if its provisions violated the terms of the Constitution.
The majority opinion stated that the Act itself was legal, but its provision finance it through a public mandate to purchase health insurance, under the authority of the Commerce Clause, was not.
But then Justice Robert’s statement went further to state the obvious that Congress could just impose a tax to support the cost of the Act.
So what’s the big deal? We have always known that Congress has the authority to impose every type of tax they could think of, and has always done so with disgusting regularity. We are taxed drive a car, to use a telephone, to protect endangered snail darters, to support the new Islamic Brotherhood government of Egypt, etc., etc. In fact, I can’t think of a single thing we do that hasn’t already been subjected to some sort of taxation. So what’s so special about taxation to support healthcare? Says Roberts, “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
While promoting this disastrous piece of legislation, the President stated over and over again that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would not incur additional taxation, and in fact would result in a reduction in medical costs. OK, so he lied. Again and again, President Obama has lied to the American people. But it’s not illegal to lie, except when doing so under oath. It’s not what we should expect from our political leaders, but it’s usually what we get. And, sadly, this time was no exception.
So what did the Supreme Court pronouncement do? It identified the illegality of mandating the purchase of insurance under the provisions of the Commerce Clause, and confirmed the authority of Congress to impose a tax to accomplish the same result.