Rather than sound all doom and gloom about the health care bill for a third straight week, I decided to go in a different direction, and actually attempt to apply the current health care situation with the law of the land, something Im supposed to do in this column.
Be that as it may, I know I laid this out for you, my dear readers, a few months ago, but now it seems as though my prediction, while not entirely accurate, will serve as a pretty decent baseline for what will happen next.
A mere few hours after the hysterical (or was it historical I forget) vote was taken, commentators and opponents were already taking to the airwaves, stating how the bill could be voided.
One such was a congressman from Iowa that stated he would make it his priority to repeal the bill for the foreseeable future. Thats great, but repealing a bill has no future with the current make-up of the Congress. The demographics of the chamber have to change in a mighty big way to make that happen.
No doubt there will be others who will propose legislation to repeal the bill, and also those who will attempt to attach an amendment of repeal to all bills that the House reviews and votes on. This is going to be a waste of time, and its only going to confirm what many of us already suspect: that some congressmen and congresswomen arent there to necessarily help us in the most efficient way possible, but rather are there to advance their own agendas, regardless of the expenditure of time and resources.
Let the lobbyists try to do that one, and see if they can succeed.
But the most interesting strategy I can see on the horizon, is the myriad of lawsuits that are going to be filed in federal court regarding this very issue. Already, a number of state attorneys general have announced that they will be filing suit on behalf of their respective states, claiming that the bill violates the constitution. There will also be, no doubt, a number of other suits that are fashioned the same way.
Remember, the Supreme Court of the United States has three tests that it uses to determine whether a government program or law is constitutional: the rational basis test, the intermediate test and strict scrutiny.
Regardless of how the Democrats position this matter, I would have to feel that universal health care is not a constitutional right. Thus, strict scrutiny should be taken out of the mix. Similarly, it would appear that this is not exactly the issue for rational basis. The government is going to have to show more compelling evidence to the court than my constituents wanted this program, or I heard a story about someone who died once that didnt have health care.
So, it would appear, through my cunning process of elimination, that intermediate scrutiny will likely be used. Therefore, the court will have to figure out just how much health care is a constitutional right (if any), and whether the government (read: the legislature) has any business getting into the healthcare business. Expect fireworks to ensue.
As Ive said previously, I am not opposed to health care reform. However, this whole process smacks of politics and, as we like to say in the legal business, throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.
Theres raiding of Medicaid and Medicare (see you, olds; let us know what the after-world is like), theres public funding for abortions (I know its the law of the land, but if you want one, you can pay for it) and there is absolutely no room for tort reform, which would come in handy the first time the government-sponsored insurer gets hit with a $500 million lawsuit.
And I havent even gotten into the loss of jobs and reduction of pay quite a few people will experience as a result of this plan. But why would one worry? If I get laid off, its no big deal at least Ill have health care.
Chris Markham writes a weekly column for fredericknewspost.com.