by Diane Rufino, Deputy Director of the NC Tenth Amendment Center and Resolutions Chair of the Pitt County GOP. The following resolution will be presented at the 2014 Pitt County GOP Convention on March 8.
RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) as an ABUSE of FEDERAL POWER
Whereas, the Declaration of Independence establishes the moral and legal foundation of the United States through its proclamation that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Whereas, our Founding Fathers did not look at Independence as a quest for new Liberties but rather, as a revolt against a government bent on taking their Liberties away; and
Whereas, the US Constitution was drafted, and a federal government designed, to embrace the principles and the notions of liberty proclaimed in the Declaration. The two documents are inseparable; and
Wheres, Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution lists the express powers delegated from the States and the People to the federal government to legislate on their behalf, and
Whereas, Article V of the US Constitution outlines the only legal avenue by which more power and authority can be given to the federal government and that is through the “amendment process,” which is a strict scheme that gives the decision to the States, the rightful parties, and not to 9 unelected members of the Supreme Court; and
Whereas, the unique design feature of the American government system is federalism, which divides power between two sovereigns, and by the vigilante and jealous guarding of such powers by each sovereign, government power shall forever remain checked and evenly-balanced in order that individual liberty is most securely protected;
Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution is the “restatement” of that essential feature: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Whereas, the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution operates to prevent the federal government from overstepping its authority and invading rights, not necessarily listed, that belong to We the People on account of Natural Law and the Laws of Nature (ie, on account of man’s very humanity). The Ninth Amendment reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Whereas, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in an attempt to explain the meaning of the Constitution and provide assurances to the States that they could RELY on in voting whether to ratify it, wrote in Federalist No. 45: “The State governments will have the advantage of the Federal government, whether we compare them in respect to the immediate dependence of the one on the other; to the weight of personal influence which each side will possess; to the powers respectively vested in them; to the predilection and probable support of the people; to the disposition and faculty of resisting and frustrating the measures of each other….. The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security.”
Whereas, healthcare is NOT one of the areas of responsibility delegated to the US Congress (federal government) under Article I, Section and therefore, it is reserved to the States; and
Whereas, as James Madison explained, the power to regulate for the health of its citizens is one of those powers which “extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people….”; and
Whereas and furthermore, the power to regulate for the health of its citizens is one of the implied “police powers” of the State – which is the authority of the States recognized by the Tenth Amendment to delegate to their political subdivisions the right to enact measures to preserve and protect the Health, Safety, Welfare, and Morals of their communities. Under the system of government in the United States, only states have the right to make laws based on their police power. The lawmaking power of the federal government is limited to the specific grants of power found in the Constitution.
Whereas, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a usurpation of a power not delegated to the federal government and each time the government seizes power that it was not rightfully and legally delegated, such powers are wrongfully and illegally divested from its rightful depository, which are the People and the States; and
Whereas, a “right” is defined as a moral and inherent claim to freedom of action; and
Whereas, the Declaration of Independence states that certain rights are “self-evident” and these include the rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
— We have the right to Life and the associated rights to protect and promote it; we cannot be deprived of life without due process;
— Liberty comes from the latin word “libertas,” which means “unbounded.” Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, defined “liberty” in this way: “Of liberty then I would say that in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will, but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” (In other words, liberty is the freedom to do whatever a person wishes, except when that exercise injures another or deprives another of his/her liberty). Jefferson also strongly argued that such liberty is not given up when individuals enter into a society. Individuals cannot be deprived of liberty without the due process;
— Furthermore, this freedom to act is useless if the Property acquired through productive action can be expropriated, confiscated, or diminished. To deprive an individual of his right to keep the product or products of his mind, personality, ambition, investment of education, and life-sustaining action is to deprive him of the right to sustain his life. Property rights are therefore an extension of the rights to life and liberty;
— Finally, certain freedoms are necessary for the Pursuit of Happiness and fulfillment in life, including the right to property (in all its forms, including salary); no such pursuit can be advanced from within the confines of a cage. And no individual, even if compelled, could ever “redistribute” his happiness to another; happiness is a unique, personal, self-generated virtue.
Whereas, the only means by which an individual’s rights can be violated is by force, either by another individual or by government itself; and
Whereas, the Affordable Care Act violates the essential rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as follows –
— It violates the right to Life by putting limitations on life-saving medical treatment and procedures for the elderly and disabled through the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB; aka, the healthcare law’s “death panel”), a 15-member board created by sections 3403 and 10320 of the ACA, delegated with the task of reducing Medicare spending and hence helping to control the costs of the government healthcare program. The ACA directs the Board, which is comprised of mostly bureaucrats (experts in “health finance and economics”) and only a few doctors, to issue recommendations to limit what ordinary citizens and their health insurance coverage can pay for medical treatment to keep the rising costs of healthcare as low as possible. Furthermore, the decisions of the board will become law by a fast track process that will bypass the usual legislative procedures. Doctors who violate a ‘quality’ standard by prescribing more life-saving medical treatment than it permits will be disqualified from contracting with any of the health insurance plans that individual Americans, under the Obama Health Care Law, will be mandated to purchase.
— It violates Liberty by mandating and coercing individuals into a one-size-fits-all scheme that forces a group of persons to purchase healthcare insurance (government plan), or pay a penalty/tax, for the sole purpose of generating revenue to provide healthcare to other persons who cannot afford it themselves. It also forces individuals to use their hard-earned money to pay for services that they will never need (such as men and the elderly to pay for reproductive services) and hence constitutes a government confiscation of property;
— It violates the Pursuit of Happiness by taking the fruits of one’s labor and indeed by compelling the performance of one person, to benefit another.
Whereas, wealth redistribution is a major component of Affordable Care Act, there is no provision in the Constitution, and that includes the General Welfare Clause, that grants the federal government the power to collect taxes and use that money to provide healthcare or to improve the welfare of individuals. (To be clear, the federal courts have denied that healthcare is a fundamental right; see the lawsuit filed by Florida and 25 other states to challenge the ACA). The wealth redistribution takes place in the form of many different taxes placed on wealthier individuals in order to fund subsidies granted to low-income individuals for the purpose of purchasing health insurance. In fact, wealth redistribution is a direct violation of one of our most fundamental God-given natural rights. This right is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence with the phrase “the Pursuit of Happiness.” Pursuit of Happiness means our individual right to acquire property and wealth and use it as we wish as long as we do not harm others or interfere with their rights. We as individuals certainly have an obligation to pay taxes, but only if that revenue is used to provide those services that governments has a constitutional obligation to provide.
Whereas, the ACA has little to do with health care but everything to do with the enlargement of a federal entitlement scheme and the promotion of social equity through massive federal legislature. An article in The American Thinker described the ACA in the following terms: “The legislation is a disgusting and tyrannical seizure of liberty from private business and the American individual.” Those liberties are prescribed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the U.S. Constitution. It can be argued that just about every essential liberty, every one addressed in the texts that follows the words “We the People…” and “When in the Course of Human Events..,” have been violated by the Affordable Care Act. For example:
(i) The abortion coverage and the contraception mandates infringe upon the First Amendment’s guarantee of Religious Freedom and rights of conscience of many “religious” employers
(ii) Some businesses which do not fall under the “religious employer” also find that the abortion coverage and the contraception mandates infringe upon the rights of conscience.
(iii) The ACA provides that doctors have the ability to ask about firearms ownership and to ask questions designed to explore a patient’s mental stability. The fact that these responses will be included in a patient’s “medical history” that will be stored on-line and shared with the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) bureaucracy infringes upon an individual’s Freedom of Speech (First Amendment) and his right to own and bear arms (Second Amendment).
(iv) The ACA allows the federal government (through the HHS and the IRS) to have full access to a person’s personal health insurance records and to an individual’s bank account against his will (to make sure that he is paying his healthcare insurance premium). The government power provided by the ACA infringes upon an individual’ right to be secure in his person, papers, and effects, and amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure (Fourth Amendment).
(v) The Individual Mandate, and indeed the very scheme of the healthcare law, is to confiscate the fruits of one’s labor and to compel the performance (service) of one person, to provide a benefit for another, often without providing the compelled party any benefit at all in return. (Thirteenth Amendment ban against “involuntary servitude”). With the ACA, the federal government forces a group of individuals (those who make “enough money”) to “work” in order to fund the insurance policies of another group of individuals (lower-income) – to take an “economically productive action for another, without compensation.” Furthermore, an individual deemed “able to purchase” the government’s healthcare insurance is penalized should he fail to provide that service to benefit another.
(vi) Forcing an individual to purchase an object to further a goal that is not enumerated in the Constitution amounts to a Taking (an unconstitutional confiscation of property without due process violation)
(vii) Constitutionally, the federal government is empowered to legislate and regulate under the Commerce Clause when individuals are part of an economic activity; it does not have the power to regulate individuals simply as individuals and to compel them into conforming to a scheme the government has unconstitutionally established. [As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) noted in 1994: “Federal mandates typically apply to people as parties to economic transactions, rather than as members of society.”]
(viii) The federal government’s unconstitutional take-over and pre-emption of healthcare constitutes a violation of the Tenth Amendment and the Ninth Amendment (an individual should have the inherent right to manage his own healthcare).
(ix) The ACA violates the constitutional principle of “Equal Protection of the Laws.” The law certainly does not treat every citizen equally. Its gross inequality is seen in its treatment of those citizens forced to pay for the government’s healthcare insurance while providing exemptions (and even rebates!!) and special privileges to millions of Americans who do not have to participate in the scheme. (Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment)
(x) The US Supreme Court (in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 2012) defined the Individual Mandate penalty as a “tax.” As the National Review points out, “This is a direct tax on the middle class (through the ACA’s proposed $500 billion in tax increases, the $500 billion in Medicare cuts, and the Individual Mandate, and other regulations). Furthermore, as a tax on income, the mandate is a tax on the person and is, therefore, a capitation tax. So the Sixteenth Amendment’s grant of taxing power to Congress to assess an income tax does not apply. The Constitution does allow Congress to assess a capitation tax, on the express condition that the capitation tax be assessed evenly based on population. Yet that is not how the healthcare mandate works. It grants exemptions and carves out far too many exceptions to pass muster as a capitation tax. The healthcare law and its Individual Mandate may have been deemed a “tax” by Justice Roberts, but it is still unprecedented and unconstitutional even as a tax. (Sixteenth Amendment). Indeed, as opined by Justice Antonin Scalia for the dissent, the legal gymnastics and convoluted contortions that were performed by Chief Justice John Roberts are beyond comprehension. Worse, he engaged in rewriting a law that was passed by Congress and as explained and sold to the American people (Congress and President Obama gave assurances that the healthcare mandate was not a tax). The judiciary is forbidden, under the Separation of Powers doctrine, from substituting its intentions and opinion for those of another branch, especially the legislature (which is a branch voted upon and directly accountable to the people every two years). There is one thing we now know for certain about Justice Roberts’ decision in the National Federation of National Business case. First, Roberts originally said the law was unconstitutional. He was the primary author of the opinion that eventually became the minority opinion. Then very late in the process Roberts abruptly switched and supported the constitutionality of the law. He then wrote the majority opinion. It was hastily written and illogical.
(xi) The President is improperly and unconstitutionally altering provisions of the ACA, in violations of Article I, Section 1 of the US Constitution (“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives”), Article II of the Constitution (“The executive Power shall be vested in a President..”; that is, the President is to see that the laws of the federal government are faithfully executed), and the Separation of Powers doctrine.
Whereas, On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court, the ruling body that our Founding Fathers created to protect citizens from tyranny, decided to uphold the Affordable Care under the most expansive interpretation ever of the Taxing Power, and thus stripped Americans of their personal liberties and freedoms.
LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Pitt County GOP takes the position that the US Constitution was written to be understood by the average citizen;
FURTHERMORE, the Pitt County GOP embraces the “original intent” of the US Constitution and believes, as our Founding generation explained, that the US Constitution is a fixed and certain document that represents the permanent will of the people as to the boundaries of government in their lives. Its purpose is “to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.” [Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782]. “A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right. All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must be either delegated, or assumed. There are not other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.” [Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (1791-1792)]
FURTHERMORE, the Pitt County GOP is skeptical of the mindset that the federal government, including the Supreme Court (which, after all, is a branch of the federal government), is the sole interpreter of the Constitution and the ultimate authority on of the powers of the federal government. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If any branch in government could ultimately settle questions of the location of constitutional authority, it would tend to settle them in favor of the government to which it belonged, and ultimately its very own body. In short, the tendency would be to concentrate all authority in one body, and that body would have few or no restraints on its authority. Such a concentration of power would sooner or later be arbitrary and capricious and hence tyrannical.”
FURTHERMORE, the Pitt County GOP embraces the mindset of Thomas Jefferson who understood that America was born of protest, revolution, and a mistrust of government. It believes that people who do not stand up for their rights are unfit to maintain a free society and aren’t deserving of the freedoms we were once promised by our founding documents; and
FURTHERMORE, the Pitt County GOP is of the position that the Affordable Care Act exists because Barack Obama is in the White House. This piece of unconstitutional legislation is a direct consequence of the American people’s political decisions and dereliction of duty in electing a servant who would uphold and support the US Constitution instead of violating it. And much like President Obama himself, the healthcare bill was deceptively sold to the American people.
FURTHERMORE, the Pitt County GOP takes notice of the disastrous effects that the federal healthcare law has already had on the economy, on the jobs situation, and on the healthcare market. So far, at least 5 million Americans have lost their current healthcare plans because their insurance no longer meets the new standards set under the Affordable Care Act. And of those who already have an insurance policy, most have seen their premiums go up significantly. While the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that that 7 million people would sign up through state- and federally-run exchanges by this time, only approximately 3 million have actually signed up. (March 31 is the 2014 enrollment deadline to avoid the law’s individual mandate penalty for going without coverage). In its report of February 2014, the CBO announced that the healthcare bill will cause Americans to work fewer hours – enough to be the equivalent of 2 million fewer jobs. (Businesses with at least 50 full-time employees will cut back or limit full-time staffing to avoid the penalty for not providing health insurance meeting minimum standards). The healthcare law is a job-killer. Furthermore, an analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation from November 2009 shows that by 2016, three-quarters of the tax imposed by the individual mandate will fall on those making less than $120,000 of income for a family of four or $59,000 for an individual. Families of four making $72,000 or less and individuals making $35,400 or less will bear nearly half of the mandate tax. The ACA is a massive taxation scheme to be borne by the middle class
LET IT BE FIRMLY RESOLVED that the Pitt County GOP believes the Affordable Care is an unconstitutional usurpation of power by the federal government, in violation of the powers legally delegated to it in Article I, Section 1 of the US Constitution. It also believes the Supreme Court wrongfully decided the National Federation of Independence Business v. Sebelius case and incorrectly concluded that the Affordable Care Act is a constitutional exercise of Congress’ taxing power. The Supreme Court, by incorrectly interpreting the Constitution and redefining the boundaries of government in the lives of the American people, has allowed the government to violate and usurp our precious individual liberty.
The Pitt County GOP hereby supports every principled effort by members of the NC General Assembly, local authorities, and even citizens to reclaim their constitutional rights, and it encourages the same. It encourages citizens to fight every hour, every day, with every opportunity, with every voice, in every form of communication, and in every body of government to oppose and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“Obamacare and the Constitution.” Referenced at: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/3075257/posts
Rand Paul, “Obamacare is not Constitutional,” National Review, June 28, 2012. Referenced at: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/304386/obamacare-not-constitutional-sen-rand-paul
Deborah B. Sloan, “ObamaCare vs. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” American Thinker, February 5, 2011. Referenced at: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/obamacare_vs_life_liberty_and.html.
“Does Obamacare Violate the US Constitution?,” Constitution Myth Buster, June 25, 2011. Referenced at: http://constitutionmythbuster.com/2011/06/25/does-obamacare-violate-the-us-constitution/
“Does Obamacare Violate the US Constitution?,” Constitution Myth Buster, August 22, 2011. Referenced at: http://constitutionmythbuster.com/2011/08/22/does-obamacare-violate-the-us-constitution-article-2/
Wesley Coopersmith, “Obamacare’s Biggest Impacts: Americans Losing Hourss and Losing Coverage,” The Daily Caller, February 3, 2014. Referenced at: http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/03/obamacares-biggest-impacts-americans-losing-hours-losing-coverage/
David Nather and Jason Millman, “Obamacare and Jobs: CBO Adds Fuel to Fire,” Politico, February 4, 2014. Referenced at: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/obamacare-first-year-enrollment-numbers-103098.html