As we celebrate the founding of this great country on July 4 we should also celebrate the recent Supreme Court decision on “ObamaCare.” While finding the law largely constitutional, Justice Roberts wrote an intricate decision that will be a model for judicial restraint in the future.
The analysis done by Roberts in rejecting a Constitutional basis for the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause is beautiful — it nicely weaves through both the intent of the Founding Fathers and the previous court decisions upholding Congressional legislation under the Commerce Clause.
Roberts makes a significant argument for judicial restraint as opposed to judicial abdication in his rejection of the idea that this decision could be construed as judicial activism. I agree with his analysis.
Roberts makes it clear that it is not the role of the Court to overturn legislation without a sound basis since the Representatives and the Senators are elected by the people whereas the judges are not. He notes the historical position of the Court that Congressional legislation is given great deference by the Court — thus, the Court will find a law to be constitutional if it can find a basis in the Constitution to do so. That is real judicial restraint in the face of decisions made by popularly elected representatives of the people. That is as it should be.
Roberts makes the point that the role of the court is not to protect the people from bad legislation passed by those elected officials where that legislation is a proper enactment within the scope of their power under the Constitution. The answer is for the people to remove them from office — and that is as it should be.
In finding the Medicare Mandate unconstitutional, Justice Roberts again based his decision squarely on the intent of the Founding Fathers, the history of the Constitution and previous court decisions. It is a marvelously written decision upholding States Rights. Overall, the ruling is a model of judicial restraint. The right wing strict constructionists in the crowd who oppose judicial activism (and I am one) should be cheering this decision on that basis.
National Health Care legislation was a Republican initiative under President Nixon before he resigned from office. Like it or not, this legislation is essentially bi-partisan in nature. Just because it was Obama who succeeded in getting it passed doesn’t make it a bad idea.
The need for national legislation is very apparent to anyone who is familiar with insurance principles, the serious increases in the cost of health care, and the problems of “individual selection” and “community rating.” The law includes basic notions about cost-sharing to make sure that patients will be smarter, more deliberate consumers of health care services by avoiding expensive procedures that they really don’t need and are prescribed by doctors only because those procedures line the pockets of the doctors without any real benefit to the patients. The legislation addresses all of those problems and that is good.
Too many doctors view their practices as businesses to make money rather than services to care for patients. When the number of C-sections in one city is double or triple the number of C-sections in another city, you know that the extra profits from C-sections over natural child deliveries rather than the health of the mother or new born child are driving the medical decisions. That is a problem.
Another sad fact is that small business owners cannot provide health and other benefits for their employees and still be able to compete with competitors who do not provide benefits. My brother, who owns a small construction business, provides health and 401(k) benefits for his employees, and finds himself losing bids to competitors who don’t bear the burden of those costs.
The legislation contains provisions that make sure that the elderly and disadvantaged can afford health care. Anyone who is sick or over the age of 60 should be cheering the legislation because it does promise to put some downward pressure on the increasing costs of health care. Moreover, small employers should cheer legislation that levels the competitive playing field by requiring that everyone provide the same minimum level of health benefits for their employees.
Now that the law has been found largely constitutional, it’s time to make it work the way it should for the good of the average American.
A former executive with Prudential, Morgan has more than 40 years experience dealing with pension, deferred compensation, health care, life insurance, and benefits issues.
Morgan served on West Windsor Township Council from 1999 to 2011.