The informative minority dissent opinion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act clearly defined Chief Justice John Roberts‘ majority opinion as a vast overreach of government. After saying the legislation failed applicability to the Commerce Clause, Justice Roberts said the legislation could assume that paying a penalty for not buying health care insurance could be called a tax and with this proviso, the individual mandate was deemed constitutional and the legislation valid.
There is no need to repeat the partisan process used to pass the law, but it is essential to note the problems with the content of the law. For the few areas of agreement there are a multitude of major defects that will have a negative impact on patient access to services and physicians’ ability to offer their best treatment options. It will reduce payments to physicians and providers, and severely constrain the functions of physicians, hospitals and insurance companies. More devastating will be the many taxes that President Obama and the Democrats have created to be paid by citizens, including seniors, who will face significant annual increases in their Medicare premiums.
The legislative, executive and judiciary are equal branches of government that provide constitutional checks and balances. The Supreme Court’s majority decision that validated the health care legislation may be subject to challenge. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution begins, “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was not passed by Congress as a tax bill and if the words in our Constitution have meaning, then the high court, essentially legislating from the bench, should be challenged. One can accept that the legislation would be valid if it had been specifically labeled and passed as a tax bill. I hope concerned legal experts can determine if this is a possible means to prevent further devastation of our economy and health care.
MARVIN L. HOOVIS
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By Elaine Donnelly
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