Although Republican and Democrats under the influence of corporate money did manage to severely weaken health care reform, they didn’t kill it. Reform is moving ahead, and incensed right wingers are looking for salvation from the courts.
Yes, some of the same folks who rail about “activist judges” who “go against Congress and the law” when the rulings don’t please them are now pinning their meager hopes on courts acting beyond their scope.
Luckily, while it’s almost a guarantee that different portions of the eventual reform bill will be challenged in court, the legislation will most likely be just fine, as the constitutional concerns they raise don’t appear valid except to a small minority of legal experts.
Sounds like the conservatives are asking for the Constitution to be interpreted as a living and breathing document, eh?
The Senate already rejected the argument against the constitutionality of health care reform when the body rejected a point of order brought on December 23rd by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) – perhaps Senator Ensign should introduce a “point of order” covering making hush-money payments to your mistress.
MSNBC and the Washington Post are reporting on moves being made by conservative activists to get health care reform into courts.
“In the history of this country, the federal government has never required every American to enter into a contract with a private company,” said Randy Barnett, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University Law Center.
The concerns are centered on the individual mandate portion of health care reform, which will require Americans to have health insurance.
While most progressives would agree that to mandate customers to corporate interests is not the best way to go, the provision isn’t likely to be overturned in the courts.
“There are many close constitutional questions. But this is not among them,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California at Irvine, wrote in a recent online debate on the subject. “Congress clearly has the legal authority to require individuals to have health insurance.”
An easy fix would be to reconcile Senate and House bills to include a strong public option and skip the need for the mandate to apply to private insurance company patrons.
If the conservatives were legitimately concerned about Americans being forced to enter into contracts with a private company, one could hope they would join progressive members of Congress and push a single-payer system to cover all Americans.