Hamilton — ObamaCare: Where is it now?
April 30, 2015
Whatever happened to ObamaCare? Well, right now it is stuck like an unplugged electric car high-centered on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
Thirty-six states did not bite on the ObamaCare lure to create state-run insurance exchanges. The SCOTUS may rule that the folks who signed up for ObamaCare in those 36 States are not eligible for the federal subsidies (taxpayer handouts) that make ObamaCare less costly.
But how did ObamaCare become law in the first place? Number one, it needed Democrats to control the House, the Senate and the White House. Number two, it required a convoluted scheme to get around the "origination clause" in the U.S. Constitution.
Here's how: In 2009, even in the Democrat-controlled House there were not enough votes to pass all-out socialized-medicine. So, Congressman Charles Rangel introduced House Resolution 3590, which was to make an adjustment in the Tax Code. H.R. 3590 and had nothing to do with health care. Now, bear in mind that the Constitution demands that: "All bills raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives."
That Constitutional language was part of Benjamin Franklin's brilliant 1787 compromise to keep the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia from collapse. The more populous states wanted the population-based House of Representatives to dominate Congress. The less populated states feared domination by the more populous states. Franklin said, "The solution is a House based on population and a Senate based on equality in representation."
Thus, the small states were pleased to each have two U.S. Senators, just like the big states. To bring the big states on board, Franklin proposed that the House, and the House alone, could "originate" bills for raising money, i.e. taxes. That saved the Constitutional Convention. Unfortunately, Franklin had to compromise his compromise by allowing the Senate to "amend" revenue bills that "originated" in the House.
Fast forward to 2009. Pressured by President Obama to enact some form of socialized medicine, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, without a single Republican vote, "amended" H.R. 3590 to gut H.R. 3590 of its original language and replace that language with what we now know as ObamaCare which was sent back to the Democrat-controlled House where it passed without a single Republican vote and was signed into law by President Obama in 2010.
In 2012, the SCOTUS was about to rule ObamaCare "unconstitutional" until Chief Justice Roberts performed an anatomically impossible act in terms of human anatomy and ruled the ObamaCare mandate forcing individuals to purchase health insurance was a constitutionally permissible "tax."
Wait. Hold the phone. If ObamaCare is a "tax," how did H.R. 3590, which was just a revenue-adjustment bill and did not raise revenue, become a "tax?"
Even the then Democrat-controlled House did not think H.R. 3590 was a "tax" bill. Ergo: the logic of Chief Justice Roberts suggests that the House can pass a tax bill without meaning to do so. Someone needs to argue that Roberts violated the "separation of powers" by legislating from the Judicial Branch a "tax" which the House never intended to levy.
Come this June, the SCOTUS may find a way to correct the incomprehensible acts that Chief Justice Roberts inflicted on the "origination clause" and on the "separation of powers" back in 2012. Stay tuned.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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