by Brian Lilley
Obamacare has survived.
I have to say the decision was a stunning one, not so much because the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the complex and overreaching health care law to stand but because of the way it arrived at that decision.
The Obama administration claimed it was able to force every American to buy health insurance because of the power it receives through the “commerce clause” of the Constitution. That clause allows the American federal government to regulate trade between the individual states.
Opponents of Obamacare rightly argued that forcing individuals to buy health care had nothing to do with regulating trade and the Supreme Court agreed.
Still, they upheld the law.
In a stunning move, Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative jurist, joined with the four liberals on the court to uphold Obamacare by arguing that it was legal under the taxing powers granted to Congress.
This revelation that Obamacare is a tax scheme might be news to most Americans, including President Obama, who swore up and down it wasn’t a tax.
“I absolutely reject that notion,” Obama said when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about the claim that Obamacare amounted to a tax hike.
The arguments put forward by Roberts to arrive at his decision — that the American government can legally force you to buy something even if you do not want it or need it — are convoluted and an affront to freedom.
Plenty of Canadians used to living under our government system may not understand this notion. But Obamacare is not government care — it is the government forcing you to buy something.
America was designed to be a country where the Constitution limited the authority of the government over the people. But the Obamacare law and this decision have changed that.
Unless this law is repealed, the power of the U.S. federal government has just expanded dramatically.
Canadians can get pretty smug about their health-care system when comparing it to the American one and this decision may lead plenty of people to smile — but should we?
Under Ontario’s government-run system, doctors are being told they must get approval from bureaucrats to order potentially life-saving tests for their patients. In Ottawa, a heart patient was rejected for an EKG; in Windsor, a cancer patient told she couldn’t have a PET scan despite a referral from her doctor.
In both cases the patients were over 70, perhaps too old for care in the minds of some bureaucrats.
Government health care leads to rationing and if this were being done by a private company, there would be media outrage and never-ending headlines. But when the government does it to you, it’s OK!
Neither the Canadian nor American health care systems are even close to perfect. But both are being used by governments to attack personal freedom. In the United States, Obamacare seeks to force people to buy insurance even if they don’t want to, while in Canada many provincial governments seek to stop citizens from buying supplemental insurance or buying private care when the public system denies them.
In a free country, shouldn’t we be free to make our own decisions?