02.28.2010 0

Cuccinelli Attacks ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate

  • On: 03/23/2010 09:38:42
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    Today, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will file suit against the federal mandate imposed by ObamaCare that individuals must purchase health insurance. He and other courageous state attorneys general deserve our thanks.

    In short, the Federal Constitution does not permit Congress to enact a mandate for individuals to purchase anything, let alone health insurance. The Fifth Amendment provides that “No person shall be… deprived of… liberty… without due process of law.” The American people have the liberty to choose their own health insurance plan — if they want one.

    At issue in the case is a newly-enacted Virginia law that prohibits individual mandates — in direct contradiction to the federal statute.

    Cuccinelli will argue that the Constitution provides no explicit grant of authority for Congress to mandate the purchase of insurance. According to the Roanoke Times, “With this law, the federal government will force citizens to buy health insurance, claiming it has the authority to do so because of its power to regulate interstate commerce,” Cuccinelli said. “We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person – by definition – is not engaging in commerce, and therefore, is not subject to a federal mandate.”

    Such a line of attack is the most likely to disarm government-run health care at its inception in a efficient period of time, even more so than a repeal strategy now being promoted by Congressional Republicans.

    Repeal will take time — a luxury not on the side of those who stand with liberty — and depends upon victory in 2010 in the least. Not to mention the transition of one if not two presidential election cycles to overcome an Obama veto. At the earliest, legislation repealing ObamaCare could be enacted in 2013, assuming a filibuster-proof majority can be secured in the Senate.

    As with other entitlements, repealing them proves even harder than enacting them. Ronald Reagan once said that “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

    One need only look at the present scheme of federal entitlements to see the difficulty involved. Despite bleeding red ink year after year, having their trust funds pilfered by Congress, and the prospect of complete insolvency by 2017 and 2037, respectively, Medicare and Social Security remain unreformed and as unsustainable as ever.

    That is not to say that repeal should not be a top-tier agenda item for the GOP this year. ObamaCare is grossly unpopular: 54 percent remained opposed to the plan in the March 19th-20th edition of the Rasmussen series of polls on the subject prior to the Sunday House vote. Running on repeal in this climate is about as self-evident as “I think therefore I am.”

    But it is not a panacea. Ultimately the task left to limited government advocates is full-fledged entitlement reform that gets government out of the business of providing for retirement and health care.

    That case has yet to be made to the American people politically, although it needs to be. Entitlement spending is growing faster than the federal budget as a whole — no small feat. By 2020, under Obama’s ten-year budget scheme, outlays will grow 62.39 percent to $5.713 trillion. Compare that with entitlements, which will grow 95.05 percent to $2.641 trillion by 2020.

    The entitlement state, if it is not reined in, will almost certainly consign the nation to the future fate of insolvency, as ALG News has previously reported.

    Immediately, the Cuccinelli and other state suits against ObamaCare’s individual mandate to purchase insurance stands the best chance at knocking out the mechanism for forcing Americans onto government-run health care.

    As Americans for Limited Governmnet President Bill Wilson explained yesterday, “By design, ObamaCare makes insurance premiums more expensive and more unaffordable by mandating minimum levels of coverage. Now, as individuals are forced to purchase plans that they cannot afford, they will have no choice but to opt into a government plan, like Medicaid.”

    There is no question ObamaCare will increase the costs of premiums. The relevant Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report stated, “CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law… Average premiums per policy in the nongroup market in 2016 would be roughly $5,800 for single policies and $15,200 for family policies under the proposal, compared with roughly $5,500 for single policies and $13,100 for family policies under current law.”

    The Senate version of the bill that the House adopted expands Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the poverty level. That eligibility will assuredly be expanded as the cost of private insurance increasingly becomes unaffordable — which is the point.

    Obama and Congress want to force individuals off of private insurance and onto government-run plans. But government needs the individual mandate to do it.

    Depriving government of the individual mandate will deny government the means of depriving the liberty of millions of Americans. Ken Cuccinelli must succeed in his suit, and he needs the support of Americans everywhere.

    Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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