“they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” — Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
SAN DIEGO, May 24, 2012 — The long-term legal implications of the “Affordable Care Act” — if let to stand and grow as written (on three times the number of pages as the original King James Bible) — will far outpace the budgetary and petty political debates of our day.
The PPACA law will fundamentally alter the nature of the American social contract, as established and passed down through the generations by our Founding Fathers. This legislation abolishes the premise of a government of enumerated powers. Nancy Pelosi has said publicly that the PPACA law is “ironclad constitutionally.” We must assume that she and her ilk sleep well at night because of their ability to psychologically rationalize the effect of this Constitution-altering law’s individual mandate on future legislative actions, which will inevitably cover all aspects of life in the United States. The leaders who voted for Obamacare must have convinced themselves that their colleagues and successors would always act with uniformly rational, decent, and omniscient clarity.
Yet, the law creates 159 new government institutions, $17 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and over $500 billion in new taxes. It also guts Medicare, empowers non-elected officials charged with rationing medical treatments, and layers in onerous new oversights that further fatigue underpaid physicians and harried patients who only seek access to their physicians. We can ponder the possibilities of what the law could have done — like give health insurance to those without, and shoring up loopholes in safety, security and medical error problems that exist within the current system — but this will only frustrate us. We are now left with a huge mess, and we must face it. Future American leaders will have to decide whether to dismantle or ramp up components of this central-government power grab.
In the meantime, the real danger of Obamacare is how our nation’s highest court rules on the issue of “requiring participation or payment in/to the Obamacare health system” (i.e., “mandating participation”) and how the public reacts to this decision in approximately one month’s time.
The Catholic Church and Catholic institutions are understandably outraged at the law’s insensitivity to their religious beliefs and the government’s reach into the private lives of their constituency. The real danger of Obamacare, however, is far more pervasive and perverse than the issue of contraception alone.
As a physician, I shudder to think of a nation where government powers can force my patients to eat, drink, medicate, and act according to someone else’s vision of how they should live. Of course, I wish my patients to all be at ideal body weight, and non-smokers, and free of “addiction” to sweets, fast food, etc., but I lay down the gauntlet of dismay at anyone’s attempt to take away their individuality. A future world of “Stepford” patients, all cut and coerced to the same mold, is horrifying.
It is said that the problem with beginning a new line of taxation is that the government’s take will inevitably increase, and the tax itself will virtually never end. The same can be said about the Affordable Care Act’s massive powers to dictate the behavior of Americans.
Could the government decide that abortions served the greater good by saving money and reducing the complications and nuisance of unwanted pregnancy? Could they force every person in the country to consume a particular vitamin or vegetable because doing so reduces the rate of some forms of costly diseases later in life? Could they mandate mastectomies at certain stages of breast cancer because statistics dictate that surgery is generally more successful than chemotherapy or radiation? Where does the power to “mandate” end?
The U.S. Declaration of Independence does not read “they are endowed by their Government” for a reason. In America, “government” is the very thing that is constitutionally suppressed and limited, not individual rights. Anything that gives the government the legal right to tell you what to do with your body in the interest of the “greater good” should prompt all liberty-loving Americans to take pause.
Doctor Dorin is a board-certified physician and the Founder and President of America’s Medical Society (AMS), a tax-exempt nonprofit organization based in California. The mission of AMS is to educate the public and physicians on matters related to medicine, healthcare reform and healthcare delivery systems.
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