I am traveling and so forgive my conscripting the magnificent Charles Krauthammer as the primary opiner in this post. But he has splendidly, articulately, and very succinctly summarized the constitutional crisis that the Obamacarians have brought upon this country with either malice aforethought–my view–or at least with reckless indifference to the limited role of government in the American system.
He begins his constitutional discussion with the freedom of religion issue. From “Overreach: Obamacare vs. the Constitution:”
First, the assault on the free exercise of religion. Only churches themselves are left alone. Beyond the churchyard gate, religious autonomy disappears. Every other religious institution must bow to the state because, by this administration’s regulatory definition, church schools, hospitals and charities are not “religious” and thus have no right to the free exercise of religion — no protection from being forced into doctrinal violations commanded by the state.
Then there is the redefinition of insurance and the erosion of free enterprise:
Second, the assault on free enterprise. To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge. And yet, this breathtaking arrogation of power is simply the logical extension of Washington’s takeover of the private system of medical care — a system Obama farcically pretends to be maintaining. Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore.
The very real deficiencies of the FE system could–and certainly should before O was elected–have been handled in a FE way–like the assigned risk pools in every state for hard-to-ensure drivers and vouchers, etc. But I think two purposes of Obamacare that such an approach would not serve are to create increasing dependencies on government and to allow the Feds to be the boss of business, as we also see in areas beyond our scope here.
Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court — because never before has the already hypertrophied Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.
And think of all the bureaucrats this will take to administer! More power to the government.
I recently saw President Clinton on the Bill O’Reilly show. O’R asked C about the constitutionality of forcing everyone to buy a product. C answered O’R’s strictly legal question with a policy answer, that the mandate is required or Obamacare won’t work. But that should be irrelevant altogether if it is beyond the limited powers accorded the Feds by the Constitution! (O’Reilly missed the clever Clinton switch of subjects.)
Clinton’s answer summarized the contemporary Left in a nutshell. Most, and certainly commenters here, don’t care about constitutional principlism. They care about, 1) winning, 2) imposing their policy views, and 3) backing the spine of traditional values. The Constitution no longer has much relevance or importance to them–except when it can be stretched like Play Dough to accomplish those purposes.