Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is the Affordable Care Act Constitutional?

Our founding documents are the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, and the Constitution.

I quote from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
I quote from the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I agree with Martin Luther King, who used the following central metaphor in his "I have a dream" speech:
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The first right is the right to life. Other countries do better in securing this right for their citizens; indeed the United States ranks 36th among the nations of the world in life expectancy. The very purpose of the Constitution is to perfect the union by better promoting the general welfare. The Affordable Care Act will not bring life expectancy in the United States up to that of Japan, China or Australia, but it would be a partial payment on promissory note of our founding documents. While a stronger role for the federal government in our largest industry may be new, it can hardly be unconstitutional.

If you doubt that this is a civil rights issue, look at the map of the 26 states that are challenging the law. Who are the adults in those states who now don't have access to Medicaid, and why are their governments opposed to providing those people with medical insurance, insurance that will be largely paid for by the federal government?

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