From threats to free enterprise affecting Americans’ ability to earn a living, to unbalanced land-grabbing regulations and overreaching state cap-and-trade laws (which, by the way, are quickly gaining attention and could have grave impacts on Nevada County’s economy-sustaining businesses — but that’s another story), America’s freedoms and liberties are disintegrating at an alarming rate.
For argument’s sake, however, let’s consider just one of the major issues consuming the collective American conscience today: the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.”
What freedom-thwarting bureaucrats and those reacting on emotion rather than relying on an internal informed decision-making process seem to be forgetting is that this issue is not a dispute categorized by partisanship.
Rather, it is an American issue that is threatening the very existence of our free society.
Never before has the federal government ordered American citizens to buy a product or service on pain of financial punishment, if they refuse.
But that overt compulsion is a central piece of the new federal health care law. This fact alone necessarily makes Obamacare an “American” rather than a partisan issue and should alarm every freedom-loving resident of this nation.
Even though this past June the United States Supreme Court upheld Obamacare as constitutional, it ruled that the only way the individual mandate could stand is by calling it a “tax.” However, the justices rejected the administration’s attempt to rewrite the Commerce Clause to provide authority for the government to force citizens to buy insurance.
As evidenced by the court ruling, the majority of the justices didn’t buy the administration’s claim that the individual mandate falls within Congress’s power to “regulate commerce.”
As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, the administration’s legal theory would “authorize Congress to use its commerce power to compel citizens to act as the government would have them act. That is not the country the framers of the Constitution envisioned.”
The problem with the High Court’s ruling? Since the court labeled the act’s “penalty” for not buying health-care insurance a “tax,” the act is unconstitutional because all revenue-raising tax measures must originate in the House of Representatives, but this act did not.
The Constitution’s Origination Clause is a safeguard for liberty by vesting the power to initiate taxes with the lawmakers who are closest and most accountable to the people. But the act started in the Senate. Thus, the constitutionality of the new “tax,” must be considered.
Now let’s assume for a minute that the court upholds its decision, finding that the Origination Clause has no standing and Obamacare presses on.
If this happens, another issue of constitutionality is advanced. The argument surrounds the First Amendment of the Constitution which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
However, a component of the new individual mandate requires employers, whose establishments are not recognized as religious organizations under the federal government, to pay for coverage that includes services that compromise their core faith and beliefs.
Of course the problem with this idea is, there are all kinds of secular organizations owned by Christ-centered individuals that are not recognized as religious establishments. Therefore, those business owners must provide coverage for services that fundamentally contradict their beliefs and impede on the freedom to exercise their religion.
Reaching beyond issues of constitutionality, a self-serving bureaucratic agenda has exploited hard-working, trusting Americans in its attempt to “sell” Obamacare.
For instance, with limited Medicare services and retiree health-care coverage, outreach implies many seniors would benefit fiscally from mandated socialized medicine — that is until they reach the age of 76 and, God forbid, one of them gets cancer and they’ve exceeded the “age cap” for comprehensive cancer treatment eligibility.
Jumping on the Obamacare bandwagon would amount to a short-term individual fix to what will evolve into a long-term national catastrophe, impacting generations to come.
Masquerading socialized medicine as a humanitarian project leaves little tolerance for open, sensible dialogue when those who oppose the law are demonized for their “uncaring” stance.
When in reality, if we were all aware of the facts and details encompassed within the act, perhaps those “uncaring” individuals might not seem so bad after all.
Holding government accountable to America’s founding principles is necessary for maintaining a free society.
Similarly, health care and Americans’ ability to access it promotes free competition and is quintessential to developing and maintaining a sense of responsible citizenship.
As our freedoms to make health-care related choices diminish, so do the liberties on which our very citizenship is founded.
Lori Nunnink is a native of Nevada County who lives in Sacramento.