Letters of Liberty
                                                                               Health Care  

                As we are all aware of today, a health care bill was passed and signed into law.  Most of the people I talk to supporting this measure inform me that it is a “right.”  Those opposed to the bill continue to worry about the cost of the program and adding to the increasing debt.  But, very few people understand what the federal government can and cannot do, or what the states can and cannot do.

                When FDR was president he understood that he needed a second bill of rights, or to amendment the constitution, to get health care passed during his administration.  In the mid 90’s health care legislation was soundly defeated, yet less than 20 years later it was passed by a 60% majority in the U.S. Senate but only 51% in the House of Representatives.  That should have raised a red flag for most media companies, but they focused instead on either the historic implications of its passage or the potential increase in the national debt.

                Since no significant amendment has been added since FRD’s era, the question is, how could our federal elected officials pass this legislation?  Town hall meetings across this state and others across the nation were held during the summer and people opposing this legislation asked the tough question.  Is this bill constitutional?  As 2009 came to a close, there was a meeting and just before Christmas top democratic senators held a press conference announcing that health care is a “right.”  Most citizens believe their senators or house representatives and thus now believe health care is a “right” for all people in this county. If health care is a right to be provided by the federal government, is not food, clothing, and shelter a right?  Unfortunately, this right does not exist in the original body of the constitution or the following 27 amendments.

                So how did the senate, the crown jewel of what the Founding Fathers created, pass this legislation?  Are they not the older, more experienced, and less prone to the passions and factions of its constituents?  Is it not their responsibility to consider any legislation the house passes and determine if it follows constitutional parameters?  If they are true agents of the union, is it not their priority to uphold and defend the people’s liberties and their constitution? 

                Other than God given rights, the federal government restrictions were put in place for a very important reason.  Our ancestors felt the dual whip of the British government who exploited them by making them work or tax them which limited their individual freedoms and liberties.  The delegates to the constitutional convention in 1787 knew the people’s wishes and concerns and formed a new government system designed for the people we still cherish today.  They also demanded that the new government system be refrained from telling them what to do as well as taking revenues from them.  Now the 16th amendment allows the federal government to tax the individual, but nothing has fundamentally changed in the constitution.

                Now some have argued that since people have to pay for auto and home insurance, the federal government has the right to make us purchase health care.  Unfortunately, they are confusing states rights vs. the enumerate powers spelled out under the constitution.  When a state passes a law mandating homeowners purchase fire insurance for example, it affects only those in that individual state.  If people in that state believe the costs are too high or their total outlay to any individual state is oppressive, they can move to another state which has a lower tax burden.  However, when the federal government believes it has these same powers as the states, it affects everyone regardless of where an individual lives.  To compound the problem, when the federal government believes it has the same abilities as the states, then states rights will disappear and our republic will fail.

                The people’s constitution is the supreme law of the land and the restrictions placed on both the federal and state governments were done for a reason and not by accident.  So, the question remains, “how did this unconstitutional health care bill pass through both the legislative and executive branches?”  The only plausible explanation I can offer is our federal elected officials have evolved from agents of the union down to eloquent salespeople.  The voters must continually remind them of their primary obligations at every turn and not turn a blind eye to what is evolving in Washington.  It is your government and they are your servants.