The case is perhaps one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions we are likely to see in our lifetimes. And yet, the ruling – expected this summer – will not change the fact that the costly provisions of the health-care law are hurting our country. Regardless of what the court concludes, the responsibility to enact a full repeal of Obamacare is still in the hands of Congress, the President, and the American people, who will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in the election this November.
The public agrees that the President’s health-care law is flawed. According to a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 67 percent of Americans believe the law will either make things worse or not make much of a difference in their lives. Another poll shows that 72 percent think the requirement for everyone to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.
It is not surprising that disapproval is so widespread. The scope of the health-care law threatens to change the fundamental constitutional structure of our country. Nearly 30 federal cases have contested the law, and 26 states, including Mississippi, are challenging its controversial individual mandate.
‘Breathtaking’ Power Grab
How the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution’s Commerce Clause will be the key factor in the health-care law’s legality. With this clause, the Constitution specifically grants Congress the authority to regulate interstate commerce.
As lower courts have argued, there is a significant constitutional difference between regulating economic activity and forcing individuals to participate. Last year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the obligation to purchase health insurance – or any product, for that matter – is not warranted by the Commerce Clause, as the Obama Administration has claimed. Judges Joel Dubina and Frank Hull, who wrote the 11th Circuit’s majority opinion, called the health-care law’s individual mandate “breathtaking in its expansive scope.” They said it amounts to government regulation on Americans “at every point of their life.”
If the Supreme Court disagrees and upholds Obamacare, it will set a new and limitless precedent. Future administrations could invoke the ruling to defend similar power grabs – ultimately undermining constitutional protections on states’ rights and individual liberty.
Eye on Reform
The necessary effort to shelve the President’s health-care law is already underway. Since the law’s passage, Congressional Republicans have introduced numerous pieces of legislation to repeal it in part or whole. These measures recognize that government interference, tax hikes, and Medicare cuts, like those in the law, are not the means to real reform.
In fact, Republicans have long advocated an approach to health care that lowers costs, safeguards access, and empowers Americans – not government bureaucrats – to make decisions about their own health care. Throughout the health-care debate, we have fought against the President’s big-government agenda with solutions that champion transparency and competition.
The Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling will clarify important constitutional issues at stake in the health-care law, but the urgent need for repeal persists. I am hopeful we can take this harmful piece of legislation off the books and focus on constructive ways to bring about the affordable, high-quality health care that Americans deserve.