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2012: The year to save American medicine

By Richard E. Ralston
web posted January 16, 2012

During the coming year, the threat to freedom will proceed on multiple fronts. Each will require specific action. We are rapidly running out of time to prevent the destruction of the quality, availability and freedom of American medicine, and our best and last chance is upon us. In March 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case, and by summer will rule, on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's national health care package, which passed into law in March 2010.

"Obamacare" is a nondescript name to give the 2800-page law but infinitely better than surrendering to the deceptions in its official title, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For a "patient protection act" that actually destroys the choices and rights of patients, and for an "affordable care act" that actually increases the cost and inefficiency of care, the "Obamacare" label will better serve.

The Supreme Court is not, in theory, subject to political pressure, but it does hear arguments from more sources than the actual litigants, such as amicus briefs submitted by many organizations. Their efforts may help to influence a majority of justices to rule that Congress cannot force the 50 states to pay for tens of millions of new Medicaid patients. The court may further be open to restraining the expansion of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution and enforcing the limitation of government to those powers specifically enumerated therein. Or it may find that, if financed unconstitutionally, the entire law is invalid.

If only some judicial restraint is imposed on Obamacare, the enormous concentration of new and growing government power will ultimately require new legislation to repeal it. That legislation will be possible only if there is a substantial change of the hands on the levers of power in Washington, D.C.

In 50 state capitals, legislatures and governors are busily engaged in implementing provisions of Obamacare that will greatly increase the stranglehold by insurance commissioners on medical insurance. It is likely that federal mandates and coverage requirements will be laid on top of current state requirements that forbid competition and raise the cost of current health insurance in each state.  We must stop laying down new bricks that add cost and complexity to insurance and start tearing down the ones already in place. 

In each state, efforts to enable Obamacare must be halted. Now that voters in Missouri and Ohio have approved ballot initiatives that reject mandatory insurance, we should ensure that members of Congress get the message -- especially in an election year. Although such state measures probably cannot stand up against federal law, they clearly demonstrate that Obamacare was forced upon the public against its will by a brutal and very temporary majority in Congress.

Perhaps Obamacare's biggest deception -- a logical consequence of the act's lack of "patient protection" and "affordable care" -- is the claim that citizens cannot lose their current insurance. They must be made aware that Obamacare will not allow them to have any policy of their choice, but only those policies specifically designated by unelected government bureaucrats. If their current policies are not approved, they will be changed or cancelled. The same applies to insurance through their employers. Most likely, their employers will drop private insurance due to huge savings offered by the government to move their employees into government insurance programs.

2012 is the year this outrageous government power grab will be reversed, or the year it will be set in concrete as long as the republic survives. ESR

Richard E. Ralston is the executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2011 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.





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