This month the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue one of the most consequential rulings of our lifetime. The high court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go far beyond the issue of health care. It could significantly influence future interpretations of federal authority and power.
The constitutional arguments against Obamacare are striking. Under the law, every American is forced to purchase insurance, government grows beyond its prescribed limits, and states are mandated to expand already stressed Medicaid roles. The law should be declared unconstitutional, but if not, Congress needs to repeal the harmful piece of legislation in its entirety and replace it with meaningful solutions.
Americans deserve affordable, high-quality health care – not a 2,700-page bill that puts Washington bureaucrats in control. I voted against the President’s health-care law and have supported multiple efforts for a full repeal. I also signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court outlining the ways in which it breaches long-standing legal precedent.
Targeted reforms offer better options not only for patients but also for our country’s fiscal health. In 2008, I introduced the Making Health Care More Affordable Act, which would have broadened insurance competition across state lines, giving individuals and families more choices and using market forces to drive down costs. This patient-driven measure would be a good first step for Congress to adopt.
Americans have had more than two years to see how the President’s health-care law broke promises and raised costs. Health-care premiums have gone up, and the threat of onerous regulations has stalled job creation. States are bracing for Medicaid’s expansion, which could cost Mississippi as much as $1.7 billion over the next decade – an impossible burden for our state.
According to a recent poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS News, more than two-thirds of Americans favor the Supreme Court overturning at least part of the law.
The escalating costs of Obamacare only compound its destructive impact. Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the law will now cost nearly $1.8 trillion over the next decade. This is double the estimated price tag promised when Democrat majorities in Congress passed the law in 2010.
With so much at stake, the Supreme Court has been the subject of intense rhetoric in recent weeks. Many of the health-care law’s supporters suggest partisanship will affect the justices’ decision.
Following the case’s oral arguments in late March, President Obama referred to the court as an “unelected group of people.” Last month, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on Chief Justice John Roberts to “be a Chief Justice for all of us,” declaring that “conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the court.” These accusations ignore the fact that our Constitution imposes numerous curbs on the power of the legislative and executive branches. Checks and balances are essential to our system of government.
We will soon know whether the Supreme Court believes the unprecedented regulatory authority in the President’s health-care law goes beyond the powers granted to Congress under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Unless the law is completely reversed, it is up to Congress, the President, and the American people to ensure it is taken off the books.