Monday, January 31, 2011

Keen on debating the U.S. Court’s ruling on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Reform Law?

Nobody can say supporters of the Affordable Health Care Reform Law of 2010 shy away from robust debate(s) over the current U.S. Courts ruling regarding the constitutionality of the Law. Contrary, supporters of this law are ready to go into the trenches to stand firmly behind the law. Frankly, supporters of the law are saying: Jose, this law is not going anywhere! While the deficiency in the law is seen from the perspective of constitutionality; and, individuals and state governments that have taken the federal government to court on the constitutionality of the law, marketing the law to the public and the courts, as an extreme product that tramples on the rights of the individual citizen. Believers in the law are saying striking down this law is going to do more of a disservice to Americans than the cost of the litigation that will be involved in getting the law ultimately before the the Supreme Court. In addition, believers in the law have a hunch that the naysayers are mischievous and probably have an axe to grind with the President for political reasons; and, their acrimony over this law, is politically driven, and hardly made on the merits of the law.

Now, talking about the litigations over the law. There is about an even and delicate consensus among the rulings so far, with half of the judges that have heard arguments over the constitutionality of the law, ruling in favor of the argument and another half ruling against the same. Many lawmakers and observers of the courts are absolutely convinced that the ultimate adjudication of the constitutionality of the law, as passed in 2010, will end up at the United States Supreme Court, someday. Many interest groups in state governments, attorney generals offices, political parties and lobbyist firms are modestly agreeing that until the Nine-member U.S. Supreme Courts hear this case, no one for sure can rest on his or her oars on the constitutional survival of the law. However, no one needs to doubt that when all is said and done, most parts of the law as it stands will remain, even after the Supreme Court hears the case sometime in the future. The blog today goes into the terrain of questioning the ruling from a federal Judge, in the state of Florida, not out of malice but for a better understanding of the Judge's ruling.

U.S. District Judge Robert Vinson did not bend over backward on the issue of severability as he declared that since one part of the law is unconstitutional; all the law must be unconstitutional. Ruling on the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the judge declares: “I must conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system.” While a similar ruling was handed down by an earlier district court judge in a different state, the ruling from Florida contends, unlike the earlier ruling, that: "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void." This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.” These were Judge Vision’s words. In a like manner as if arguing with himself, the Judge added: "At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled 'The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act'." This last statement makes some of us contend: Judge Vision, could you please make up your mind, so we know where the constitution stands via your ruling; or, do we have to get another constitutional team of lawyers and judges to interpret your ruling for the average layman?

It is the position of the supporters of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010 that Judges hearing challenges to the law, be as specific as possible in their rulings and circumspect enough in their interpretation of the Constitution vis-a-vis the viability of the law so the public do not consider them as activist judges in the long fight over why Americans deserve portable health care insurance or the associated provisions in the passed health care reform law. It is either the ruling is specific enough for the public to articulate where the constitution stands or where the judge defaults, or is direct enough to understand the argument of the ruling judge, regarding the position he or she is taking regarding the constitutionality of the law.

Popular media references on the judgment handed down on the constitutionality of the affordable health care law, emphasize too much negativity; and occasionally, have made it difficult for the average Joe six packs to understand what the judges are saying: are they ruling the patient protection and affordable care act constitutional or unconstitutional? If so, what are the parameters in the constitution that the Judges are laying their ruling on? It looks as if some Judges, at least those who have ruled on the cases brought before them, have ruled in ways that is likely to impact the law; either in terms of having congress make substantive changes to provisions of the law or, tweak some provisions in the law so it meets the constitutional threshold or completely junk the law to appease the naysayers and Republicans. We will also like answer to the question: how about those provisions of the law that have gone into effect and which must patients already benefiting adequately from the law and who are attesting to the benefits, necessity and relevance of the law in lifting millions of Americans out of health care poverty? Are the current courts' rulings jeopardizing the sanctity of the law or threatening some or all its contents; including provisions that have gone into effect?

Critical to the effort of the Democratic Lawmakers who have helped us passed the law is the conviction of the constitutionality of the congress to pass a law that impact interstate commerce, just as the affordable health care reform law is, and have debated many of the provisions of the law, looking at many of its pitfalls before passing the law last year. In any event that there are some inadequacy in the law, constructive amendments to change components of the law that seem to have crossed the line or failed to meet the argument of constitutionality would have been more appropriate rather than the current: pull-it-down bandwagon from the mischievous undertakers of the critics of the law; and, our suspicion, the Republican oligarchs! The provisions in the law are well clarified and for close to twelve months, republican lawmakers were virtually begged during the debates to indicate their preferences or reservations. Unfortunately, they all refused for their party political reasons; a few of which are contestable and some, actually ludicrous!

Republicans failed to give any support to the provisions of the act as it was being debated. They counterbalanced, run down and bad-mouthed efforts by Democrats during the debates and failed to offer alternative suggestions or recommendations on the issue of constitutionality of the law. Their current strategic arrangement to go to the courts to achieve what they could not achieve democratically within the walls of congress. The antagonist of the law in congress and public want to exploit the expatiation power sharing in the Democratic state to pull down a law that is beneficial to many and which has attempted to alleviate the burden of explaining to insurance executives why you will like to obtain health care insurance when you have a pre-existing health condition. The affordable health care reform law guarantees the people's right to health care insurance, even when they are currently with some ailments; this has been estimated to be in the neighborhood of one-third of the working population in the country. Republicans and those who have brought the numerous cases against the passing of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010, owes Americans answers: Why do Republicans always have to resort to the courts to achieve what they cannot obtain by popular vote or congressional debates?

The sweeping health care reform law championed by Democrats and their leader, which for now looks contentious, has been dragged to the courts because Republican self-interest groups want to take the country back to a situation where over 45 million Americans were without health care insurance. These selfish lawmakers want to take us back to the Jim-crow era of health-care system! They will like the courts to throw the law out and make all of us take the beating by paying to care for the uninsured in our hospital emergency rooms. If you think the ‘Jim-crow era’ health care system is rather humorous; or a grand and outrageous classification of the past health care system, can anyone answer for me why only the minorities and the poor Caucasians that suffered disproportionately under the previous health care system? The corollary to this question is: why it that the Rich are able to get whatever health care they want, including preference in the line for organ donation, while the poor, underprivileged are often left in the sun to dry out? The Republicans are putting considerable pressures on the courts to decide in their favor, they are not seeking to amend the law where they perceived there is need for such amendments; rather, they are seeking the complete abrogation of the law. This is pure selfishness and Americans of good faith and favor must stand up against this human atrocity.

Unto the Supreme Court we go and may the better person win! By denying Americans a good health care system, where the poor and the rich could be on similar footing for the type of care and insurance coverage, the naysayers should not expect loyalty from a deprived nation. The disaffection for the critics of the health care law is real; and the disaffection for the political party and members seeking to overturn of the law is infinitive. The poor in our nation are dissatisfied with the type of situation where they cannot carry health care insurance that is good enough to get the type of care their physician is recommending. Pretty much what the Affordable Health Care Reform Law of 2010 does, is to listen to this outcry. The naysayers consistently maintain that the affordable health care reform law is unconstitutional; however, is their persistent attack on the promulgation of a law that tends to the needs of over 45 million Americans constitutional? Is there a negotiable arrangement where the objectionable provisions in the law are amended, rather than having us have to completely abrogate the law? These are important questions for all of us as we proceed in this long and arduous journey of ensuring that Americans do not continue to suffer the pain of a broken health care system.
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