Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Virginia Vs. Common Sense

I'm going to make a point here. When you buy a car anywhere in the United States, it is mandatory that you buy car insurance. When a police officer stops you for a suspected traffic violation, he asks for your license, registration, and proof of financial responsibility (i.e. proof that you are insured). If you get in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, chances are your insurance company or theirs or both will pay for the damages to the car... and, depending on how good your insurance is, you too!

The point I'm making here is that this is almost universally accepted. Nobody calls this socialism and this has been in effect so long, it is not even questioned. Despite the fact that I was for a public option and I see this as somewhat of a compromise, I don't feel it is unconstitutional to ask the American people to do for themselves what they already do for their automobiles. So, why are there people out in the streets in Virginia saying it is "unconstitutional" to ask Americans to buy health insurance? Somebody answer me this... Are we not as valuable as our automobiles? I'm just asking.

Virginia's lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's health care reform law cleared its first legal hurdle Monday as a federal judge ruled the law raises a host of complex constitutional issues. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson's decision stemmed from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's claims that Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause by requiring citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Hudson's ruling denied the Justice Department's attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying further hearings must take place before he can weigh the merits of the case. An October 18th hearing had previously been set in the case. "Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America," Hudson wrote in his 32-page decision. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation this year exempting state residents from the federal coverage mandate. Hudson wrote that the attorney general had a right to defend that state law.

Cuccinelli announced in March that he would challenge the national law. More than a dozen other state attorney generals have filed a separate lawsuit in Florida challenging the federal law, but Virginia's lawsuit is the first to go before a judge. Hudson said Virginia's case raises several complex constitutional issues, mainly whether Congress has the right to regulate and tax a person's decision not to participate in interstate commerce.

The health care law aims to ensure coverage for all, requiring most U.S. residents to carry health insurance starting in 2014. Insurers would not be able to refuse insurance for sick people under the law, which also expands Medicaid to help the poor. It also provides tax credits to help middle-class residents pay premiums. People facing financial hardship would be exempt from the coverage requirement. However, people who can afford insurance but refuse to sign up would face a tax penalty.

On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters during a teleconference that Hudson's decision was a procedural step. "That just means there will be a full hearing on the arguments. We remain confident that the case is solid and there is full constitutional backing for the passing of the Affordable Care Act," she said. Sebelius said Hudson's ruling will "move us to the merits of the debate." Cuccinelli said he was pleased with the judge's ruling. "This lawsuit is not about health care, it's about our freedom and standing up and calling on the federal government to follow the ultimate law of the land, the he Constitution", he said in a statement.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a former state attorney general who enthusiastically supported Cuccinelli's challenge, was pleased with Hudson's ruling. "It is meritorious and constitutionally correct. The requirement that all Americans must purchase health insurance or face a penalty is not permitted under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution", McDonnell said. Shortly after he took office in January, McDonnell signed into law the legislation intended to block the requirement that individuals buy health insurance. It was the first such legislation in the U.S. to take effect as a state law.

Last month, Hudson heard more than two hours of arguments in the case. The state argued that refusing to buy something is commercial "inactivity," not activity that can be regulated. Federal prosecutors have argued that the relevant commercial activity is the purchase of health care services, not insurance. You've got these people, who are more than likely inspired by the Tea Party folks, walking around in Virginia holding signs saying that this is unconstitutional. I wonder if most of the people protesting this have healthcare coverage?

The Governors of Virginia and Florida who are trying to fight this bill have health care and good health care, you can be sure of it. The shame of it is that they don't give a damn about the poor fools who are out there protesting. "Obamacare", as they like to call it, who aren't covered and who ironically, this bill would help. I hope they can see the light eventually.


Sean said...

Nah, they'll never see the light...
This isn't about Healthcare..this is about their dislike of the President.

Arlene said...

I agree, what are people thinking when they vote against their own best interests? The governors of both states have healthcare for themselves and their families paid for by the citizens of the state. Shouldn't the citizens have the same coverage? I'm for univeral healthcare too and I was disappointed that the overhaul didn't include this option. Last year when I went to our senator's town meeting I met a guy who was opposed to healthcare for all because of cost. When I asked how much it cost to kill someone a continent away for a substance that pollutes the air and now we know the water too, he had no response. What is a life worth?? More than a Mercedes in my book.


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