by Diane Rufino, Deputy Director of the NC Tenth Amendment Center and Resolutions Chair of the Pitt County GOP. The following resolution will be presented at the 2014 Pitt County GOP Convention on March 8.
RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) as an ABUSE of FEDERAL POWER
Whereas, the Declaration of Independence establishes the moral and legal foundation of the United States through its proclamation 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…”
Whereas, our Founding Fathers did not look at Independence as a quest for new Liberties but rather, as a revolt against a government bent on taking their Liberties away; and
Whereas, the US Constitution was drafted, and a federal government designed, to embrace the principles and the notions of liberty proclaimed in the Declaration. The two documents are inseparable; and
Wheres, Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution lists the express powers delegated from the States and the People to the federal government to legislate on their behalf, and
Whereas, Article V of the US Constitution outlines the only legal avenue by which more power and authority can be given to the federal government and that is through the “amendment process,” which is a strict scheme that gives the decision to the States, the rightful parties, and not to 9 unelected members of the Supreme Court; and
Whereas, the unique design feature of the American government system is federalism, which divides power between two sovereigns, and by the vigilante and jealous guarding of such powers by each sovereign, government power shall forever remain checked and evenly-balanced in order that individual liberty is most securely protected;
Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution is the “restatement” of that essential feature: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Whereas, the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution operates to prevent the federal government from overstepping its authority and invading rights, not necessarily listed, that belong to We the People on account of Natural Law and the Laws of Nature (ie, on account of man’s very humanity). The Ninth Amendment reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Whereas, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in an attempt to explain the meaning of the Constitution and provide assurances to the States that they could RELY on in voting whether to ratify it, wrote in Federalist No. 45: “The State governments will have the advantage of the Federal government, whether we compare them in respect to the immediate dependence of the one on the other; to the weight of personal influence which each side will possess; to the powers respectively vested in them; to the predilection and probable support of the people; to the disposition and faculty of resisting and frustrating the measures of each other….. The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security.”
Whereas, healthcare is NOT one of the areas of responsibility delegated to the US Congress (federal government) under Article I, Section and therefore, it is reserved to the States; and
Whereas, as James Madison explained, the power to regulate for the health of its citizens is one of those powers which “extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people….”; and
Whereas and furthermore, the power to regulate for the health of its citizens is one of the implied “police powers” of the State – which is the authority of the States recognized by the Tenth Amendment to delegate to their political subdivisions the right to enact measures to preserve and protect the Health, Safety, Welfare, and Morals of their communities. Under the system of government in the United States, only states have the right to make laws based on their police power. The lawmaking power of the federal government is limited to the specific grants of power found in the Constitution.
Whereas, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a usurpation of a power not delegated to the federal government and each time the government seizes power that it was not rightfully and legally delegated, such powers are wrongfully and illegally divested from its rightful depository, which are the People and the States; and
Whereas, a “right” is defined as a moral and inherent claim to freedom of action; and
Whereas, the Declaration of Independence states that certain rights are “self-evident” and these include the rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
— We have the right to Life and the associated rights to protect and promote it; we cannot be deprived of life without due process;
— Liberty comes from the latin word “libertas,” which means “unbounded.” Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, defined “liberty” in this way: “Of liberty then I would say that in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will, but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” (In other words, liberty is the freedom to do whatever a person wishes, except when that exercise injures another or deprives another of his/her liberty). Jefferson also strongly argued that such liberty is not given up when individuals enter into a society. Individuals cannot be deprived of liberty without the due process;
— Furthermore, this freedom to act is useless if the Property acquired through productive action can be expropriated, confiscated, or diminished. To deprive an individual of his right to keep the product or products of his mind, personality, ambition, investment of education, and life-sustaining action is to deprive him of the right to sustain his life. Property rights are therefore an extension of the rights to life and liberty;
— Finally, certain freedoms are necessary for the Pursuit of Happiness and fulfillment in life, including the right to property (in all its forms, including salary); no such pursuit can be advanced from within the confines of a cage. And no individual, even if compelled, could ever “redistribute” his happiness to another; happiness is a unique, personal, self-generated virtue.
Whereas, the only means by which an individual’s rights can be violated is by force, either by another individual or by government itself; and
Whereas, the Affordable Care Act violates the essential rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as follows –
— It violates the right to Life by putting limitations on life-saving medical treatment and procedures for the elderly and disabled through the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB; aka, the healthcare law’s “death panel”), a 15-member board created by sections 3403 and 10320 of the ACA, delegated with the task of reducing Medicare spending and hence helping to control the costs of the government healthcare program. The ACA directs the Board, which is comprised of mostly bureaucrats (experts in “health finance and economics”) and only a few doctors, to issue recommendations to limit what ordinary citizens and their health insurance coverage can pay for medical treatment to keep the rising costs of healthcare as low as possible. Furthermore, the decisions of the board will become law by a fast track process that will bypass the usual legislative procedures. Doctors who violate a ‘quality’ standard by prescribing more life-saving medical treatment than it permits will be disqualified from contracting with any of the health insurance plans that individual Americans, under the Obama Health Care Law, will be mandated to purchase.
— It violates Liberty by mandating and coercing individuals into a one-size-fits-all scheme that forces a group of persons to purchase healthcare insurance (government plan), or pay a penalty/tax, for the sole purpose of generating revenue to provide healthcare to other persons who cannot afford it themselves. It also forces individuals to use their hard-earned money to pay for services that they will never need (such as men and the elderly to pay for reproductive services) and hence constitutes a government confiscation of property;
— It violates the Pursuit of Happiness by taking the fruits of one’s labor and indeed by compelling the performance of one person, to benefit another.
Whereas, wealth redistribution is a major component of Affordable Care Act, there is no provision in the Constitution, and that includes the General Welfare Clause, that grants the federal government the power to collect taxes and use that money to provide healthcare or to improve the welfare of individuals. (To be clear, the federal courts have denied that healthcare is a fundamental right; see the lawsuit filed by Florida and 25 other states to challenge the ACA). The wealth redistribution takes place in the form of many different taxes placed on wealthier individuals in order to fund subsidies granted to low-income individuals for the purpose of purchasing health insurance. In fact, wealth redistribution is a direct violation of one of our most fundamental God-given natural rights. This right is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence with the phrase “the Pursuit of Happiness.” Pursuit of Happiness means our individual right to acquire property and wealth and use it as we wish as long as we do not harm others or interfere with their rights. We as individuals certainly have an obligation to pay taxes, but only if that revenue is used to provide those services that governments has a constitutional obligation to provide.