Congress overstepped their bounds on Thursday and should have been rebuffed by the keepers of those bounds: the Supreme Court. Since they failed to do so in regards to the Affordable Care Act, the expectation falls on American voters to become the fourth form of checks and balances. When Congress fails us, we change Congress, and as luck would have it, we get the chance to do that this November.
In the coming months, many will view the health care debate as Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives and particularly, poor vs. rich. Those who cannot afford to pay for their own health care want the government to provide for them. Those who can afford health care don’t want to provide it for others.
The job of the Supreme Court is to make sure the Legislative and Executive branches of the government are doing their jobs within the constraints provided for them by the Constitution. On this point, the dissenting opinion written by Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas and Alito is correct: When enacting the ACA, President Obama and Congress acted outside of their assigned power constraints.Whether their heart is in the right place or not, Congress simply did not have the right to pass the ACA.
The core idea behind the dissenting opinion is that American taxpayers were lied to in the passing of this law. The ACA has always been portrayed as a law, when in fact, it is a new tax. When the majority of the Court voted to uphold the act as a tax, they bought into Congress’ lie.
The ACA represents to American voters a change in the way our country looks at health care. Instead of allowing the people to vote on a new tax, the people voted for what they thought was a health care reform policy. Prior to the recent ruling, we had privatized health care where those who couldn’t afford it received help from the government. We now will have everyone required to purchase health care from the government.
If you can’t afford it, the rich people will pay for those who can’t sustain a living on their own. If you don’t like the government mandated health care, the IRS will charge you an even greater penalty tax for noncompliance — particularly, a 0.9 percent income tax on individuals with an annual income greater than $200,000 effective January 1, 2013, and a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income. This is essentially a less dire form of the taxation without representation that started the Revolutionary War, which we are ironically celebrating this very week.
Do we want to grant the government the power to mandate a tax that is unclear to the people and vaguely portrayed by our president? Well too late, we already voted on it and the Supreme Court’s verdict is in.