McCroy: Reconsider ObamaCare ruling
- Jul. 3, 2012
- 2 Comments
With the election campaign in the doldrums until the conventions, not a single person could have gone throughout June 28 without some news concerning the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act. I know that before I could get the crusties out of my eyes, I’d already yelled expletives around my bedroom. Instantly, my mind told me that I’d awoken to a new nation; a country drastically unlike the one I’d said goodnight to.
In a seemingly landmark decision, the highest court in the land had upheld the ACA by a margin of 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote. Many other bushy-eyed conservatives like myself must have felt a similar feeling; we’d been bamboozled by our ace in the hole.
Those of us who believe in limited government had hoped that the Supreme Court would have the necessary votes to strike down ACA, or at least the individual mandate. And we’d been seemingly hoodwinked by the Chief Justice, a person we’d believed was staunchly against a more powerful federal government. However, I would caution quick conclusions.
People who welcome this ruling should not get ahead of themselves, this isn’t a blessing of any kind by the Supreme Court. This was a ruling on the simple constitutionality of the individual mandate. The court is not in the business of deciding whether a political measure is right or wrong, but whether it is allowed within the framework of the Constitution.
This court ruling is not a victory for democrats, liberals and/or proponents of eventual universal health care. This is a major, but discrete, blow to Congress’s ability to govern through the use of the Commerce Clause. Despite the victorious chest-beating, this does not bode well for President Obama’s reelection hopes. The central, crowning achievement of his political career has been devalued as nothing more than a tax. The ACA has been upheld under the Taxing Clause power given to Congress. A tax which Chief Justice Roberts commented in his majority opinion, which is not the business of the court to decide whether it makes sense.
“Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority. Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do,” said Chief Justice John Roberts.
While being in the majority which seemingly grants Congress the power to mandate that every citizen buy health insurance or risk a tax penalty, it is clear that Roberts is interested in regulating Congressional power.
“The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” said Chief Justice John Roberts.
There is a distinct difference between regulating what people do and what people do not do, Chief Justice Roberts is well aware of that. It is clear within his opinion that if the Court were to uphold ACA under the Commerce Clause, they would create a dangerous slippery slope. Congressional power is not all-encompassing, it must be checked; this is a victory for limited government
In 2009, the President repeatedly claimed that this act was not a tax, that is obviously not true. Now, President Obama will be forced to go to Americans and champion his health care act, which is in fact a massive tax increase on the middle class. The polls don’t bode well for him and I’m guessing that Mitt Romney knows that; he’s sharpening his sword. President Obama will have to stand up for his health care act and tell Americans why they should agree to this tax increase, one which he refuted not four years ago.
Remember when President Obama promised he wouldn’t raise taxes? So does the majority of the voting public. In the end, Chief Justice Roberts just rewrote the ability and power of Congress to regulate; he may have just curtailed the government’s power forever.
McCroy is a senior in economics from Des Moines, Iowa.