Health Care Reform and the Tenth Amendment

Yesterday I finally made myself  start  reading the Health Care bill passed out of the Waxman committee in the House.  I was tired of listening to talking heads tell me what it said and what was in there.  I have a long way to go and urge you to read as much of it as you can for yourself.  You can reach your own conclusions about who is leveling with you about the contents of the bill.  You can find the bill at www.cnn.com/josh and then move down to the menu item that says “1000 page bill…”.    If you disagree with any of my views that is fine but at least make sure you know what it says.  Mostly it is a complete government takeover of the health care system.  You will note at the very beginning of the bill where it outlines the purpose of the bill that it does not even mention insurance but rather speaks of reforming  the health care system in the US. 

They create a Commissioner for Health Choices.  There will be a complete bureaucracy to go with that administrative body.  This person and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have been granted tremendous latitude in forming regulations to implement the provisions of the bill.  If you think the bill is long wait until  you see the size of the regulations. I can assure you they will be as long as the phone book.   As a brief note you should take a long at the provision on page 9 where the term “dependent” is defined as anything the Commissioner wants it to be and “includes spouse”.   Of course the language is broad enough that that could mean a polygamous association of folks could qualify with the multiple wives being dependents.  There are other provisions that naturally prohibit discrimination in the broadest possible terms.  So those muslims whose belief system allows polygamy might well be able to claim them as dependents under their insurance plans.   Don’t believe me, then just go read the darn thing for yourself.  You’ll see that mine is not a strained interpretation at all.  Please note that on page 10 a family is defined as an “individual and includes the individual’s  dependents”.  Certainly no traditional definition of family there.

The bill creates three types of plans available–essential, enhanced and premium.  These are what they call qualified benefits health plans, QBHPs.  They use that acronymn constantly so get used to it.    You constantly hear that you will be able to keep your current insurance.  Well, read pages 16 et seq.  That is true partially.  There are several catches.  You must have it when the law becomes effective and if there are any changes then you have to go to the public option, no choice in the matter.  If you are young and healthy and never had a policy at all then you must go into the public option program.  They will be able to set the premium rate for your insurance, see page 21.  Please read about the Health Benefits Advisory Committee on page 30 of the bill.  Make your own assessment of their role.  Note that all the benefits of your plan even if a private one will have to be approved by the Secretary of Health.  They will be writing your insurance policy not the company and not you.  Every detail has to have the Federal seal of approval.  They control what your insurance will be even for you existing policy.  Read further in the bill.

Please do not fail to read about the power and duties of this new Commissioner starting on page 42.  He will have the authority to control every aspect of your health policy because he is given the power to establish the “standards” and no plan can be issued or used that doesn’t comply with his bureaucratic edicts.  One other section you should note with special interest is the one dealing with data collection.   He can collect such data that he deems appropriate on anyone or any entity regarding health issues and share it with the Secretary of Health.  There is no limitation on what data he can gather or regarding the people he can collect the data from.  (In a later provision it talks briefly about protection of personal data but it is hollow and subject to the needs or desires of the Commissioner).  Please read that bill for yourself, it is fraught with many, many very disturbing matters. 

The biggest overall problem with this legislation is the same thing that has been the hallmark of this administration–the complete disregard for the rule of law.  At one point it talks about penalties for violation by any entities not “meeting Federal health requirements” .  That is the point.  There is no Constitutional right to health care.  It is not an ennumerated power under Article One for Congress.  The individual states have run the insurance business from the inception of the country.  Every State has an insurance regulator for all insurance, not just health.  It is a State matter.  Please remember that we have a Tenth Amendment to the Constitution that reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted in the Constitution to the Federal authority.   The drafters of this bill make a passing effort to mollify this constitutional dilemma.  If you do read through the bill you will see that every time there is granted a power or duty to the new health commissioner or to the Secretary of Health that there will be a reference to them “consulting” with the State regulators or State attorney generals or both.  Of course the States are given no powers to enforce their own laws regarding health insurance.  That consultation reference is repeated many times.   It is pure eye wash.  I suppose they believe that will give them cover for the inevitable challenge under the Tenth Amendment to this entire bill.  Insurance is not a Federal matter.  If we want it to be then we should do it legally and amend the US Constitution.  I don’t know how the Supreme Court will rule on the matter especially if its make up is changed in the next few years.  I am appalled at the lack of respect for our Federal system and our Constitution.  Going outside the rule of law always places us on dangerous ground.  Read the Tenth for yourself.  Read the entire Constitution.  This bill is a complete takeover of the health system just like it says it is.  We should let the States experiment and try new ideas for health coverage and let them incubate for a while and then the States can adopt the methods that work best for their citizens over the long haul.  Please read the bill.  I am still working on it myself. I am only up to page 110 but that is enough to see the Federal grab for power that belongs to my state and your state.  I will trust my fellow Texans more than Waxman any day in determing what is best for our health care coverage.   Likewise you should rely on your local people to know more about what is best for you.

Team Obama is losing some of its luster.  First, a while ago it would never have goofed up so bad as to have that planted 13 year old gal be found out as what she was– a planted and scripted act at an allegedly spontaneous town hall.  Secondly, the media would never have reported the incident.  Maybe there is hope after all.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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1 Comment

Filed under business, Economics, government, Politics, Socialized Medicine

One response to “Health Care Reform and the Tenth Amendment

  1. Tom

    I’ve been reading HR3200 as I’ve had the time and noticed many of the same things. The commissioner not only has the power to set and enforce standards but he can also randomly audit any plan (insurance company) that he wants AND he gets to charge the cost of the audit back to the plan being audited (pg 43). I’m sure that he won’t use that power to intimidate any insurance company he doesn’t like.

    Most individuals probably don’t care about that since it wouldn’t directly effect them. But one thing that would is that any individual who loses coverage “at any time during the taxable year” will be taxed 2.5% of his modified adjusted gross income (pgs 167-168).

    Also, employers that don’t provide coverage will be charged 8% of their employees average wages. This charge will be on top of their payroll taxes and paid directly to the commissioner (pgs 149-150).

    These are just a few of the things that have jumped out at me on a cursory view of HR3200. It is amazing to me that our Congress could even consider legislation that so infringes on our freedoms, is so unconstitutional, and gives so much power to such a small number of individuals.

    I pray that our “leaders” will listen to their constituents instead of demonizing them and rid us of this terrible legislation.

    Tom

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