June 29, 2012
Like you, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision. The Court misread and rewrote Obamacare in order to save it. Such contortions are not the proper role of judging. Most Americans are with you and me and deeply dislike this law.
We believe, however, that this is far, far from a time for despair. This decision will energize freedom-loving Americans to once again take matters into their own hands. Our republic has survived and flourished for more than two centuries because men and women—brave, determined, and deeply committed to the cause of freedom—were willing to stand, to march, and to make whatever sacrifices were necessary so that their children would know the blessings of liberty, the hope and opportunity that flow from living in “the land of the Free.”
They will receive this ruling as a clarion call to action. Once again, the people will have to rise to defend a fundamental American concept: that the power of government over individuals must be limited.
First, let’s acknowledge what was good in the decision. The Court recognized that there are limits to what Congress may do under the Commerce Clause. Big-government forces have for too long abused this clause’s grant of congressional authority, but the Court’s decision reaffirms that there are limits on their actions.
There’s also the fact that the individual mandate has acquired the official constitutional status of a “tax”—and if it is indeed a tax, then that is even more reason for the U.S. Senate to repeal it with the 51-vote threshold available under the Budget Act’s reconciliation process. It is a revenue provision. No filibuster problems there now.
Calling it a tax, of course, doesn’t make the heavy-handed policy in Obamacare any better for those who now have to buy a product they don’t like. And yesterday’s opinion makes clear that President Obama enacted a massive new tax on the middle class, breaking one of his repeated promises.
We must resolve to check this dangerous expansion of power.
The first step is to work harder than ever to fully repeal Obamacare. Now that the Supreme Court has had its say, Congress becomes the arena in which we can fight for relief and restoration of constitutional limits.
Congress can and must reassert its constitutional authority. Indeed, the House of Representatives has already acted. We congratulate the lower chamber for having voted to repeal Obamacare.
Now it’s the Senate’s turn to do what’s right: Repeal Obamacare, and force the President to sign its repeal.
The American experiment is predicated on the idea that government exists to serve the people, that it derives its power from the people, and that the people retain all powers they do not specifically grant to government. Obamacare turns that fundamental idea on its head.
Ours is still a government “of the people.” And the American people have spoken clearly. Indeed, the people’s antipathy toward the law keeps growing. Just this month, a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News found that more than two-thirds of Americans wanted the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare as a whole or in part. Only 24 percent would keep the law in place. While Court decisions obviously should not be driven by polls, the poll clearly shows the people’s dissatisfaction with the bad policy in Obamacare.
So many aspects of Obamacare are appalling. Once all its provisions kick in—conveniently, after the November election—millions of Americans stand to lose their current coverage. Already, it saddles individuals and families with higher premiums, higher costs, and higher taxes—and even steeper increases loom on the horizon. It has sparked a host of other loathsome mandates, like the HHS mandate that requires charitable religious organizations to provide coverage that violates the tenets of their faith.
But why should we expect government to respect the constitutional right to religious freedom if we allow government to ignore fundamental restraints on its power to regulate the lives of its citizens?
This year will mark a pivotal point in American history. The American people now must make a critical decision: We must choose between constitutional, limited government on the one hand and arbitrary, unlimited rule on the other.
We at The Heritage Foundation, as always, will stand in defense of our nation’s founding principles. We are eager to lead the fight to overturn this Intolerable Act—Obamacare—and we are grateful for your support of our efforts to save the American Dream for the next generation.
President, The Heritage Foundation