Op-Ed: Supreme Court decision on Affordable Care Act, a hollow victory

Sen. Mike Lee | File photo, St. George News

OPINION EDITORIAL –  Today’s Supreme Court decision is only a temporary and hollow victory for the Affordable Care Act.  The Supreme Court allowed the individual mandate to stand as a tax, but it concluded that Congress had exceeded its regulatory authority under the Commerce Clause by attempting to impose the individual mandate as a government directive.  The individual mandate is already highly unpopular, and it will become even more so as theAmerican people recognize it for what the Court deemed it to be — a tax on the middle class that coerces Americans into healthcare decisions they would not choose for themselves. 

Importantly, the Court today also held that the manner in which the Affordable Care Act sought to expand Medicaid violates the Constitution and our nation’s system of federalism.  The federal government may not bully the states into expanding Medicaid by threatening to take away all federal Medicaid funding.

Today’s decision makes it all the more important — and likely — that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed after the elections this November.  It is essential that members of Congress, as the people’s elected representatives, act to protect individual liberty.  When we look back at today’s decision in the coming months and years, I believe it may ultimately be regarded not as a victory for the Affordable Care Act but instead as a recognition and validation of federalism, limited government, and the freedoms protected by our constitutional structure.

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  • Ed Kociela June 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Of course. According to Open Secrets.org, Sen. Lee has raised $154, 200 in campaign contributions from the health, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries.


  • Beth Lock June 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

    A correction to Mr. Lee’s statement regarding Medicaid funding from the SCOTUS blog: “In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.”

  • Laurie Prestwich June 28, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Unfortunately Senator Lee would rather allow people without insurance to obtain health care benefits on the backs of the people who pay for health insurance. However, this is the same Senator Lee who seems to think he can balance the federal budget when he cannot even balance his own personal budget.

    For some reason, Senator Lee thinks it is okay to not pay his own debts and obligations and force his mortgage holder (JP Morgan Chase) to agree to write off $400K of principal on a home that Senator Lee purchased and was in foreclosure. You can bet that JP Chase did not agree to that principal reduction for nothing because they certainly don’t readily give type of principal reduction to any other middle class mortgage holder he purportedly is so worried about with the healthcare ruling that was upheld.

    Based on the fact that he thinks it is okay for himself to not have to pay his own obligations, he obviously thinks it is okay for us in the middle class who don’t get such mortgage bank reductions on our home loans, but do pay for and have health insurance to pay for the people who don’t have health insurance and who don’t pay their mortgages.

    Shame on you Senator Lee!

    Why would anyone even want to believe a word that comes out of this man’s mouth? Unfortunately, the people of the State of Utah elected this hypocritcal man who brings only shame and embarassment to the state.

  • Karen June 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Mike Lee was all over the news this morning wrongly predicting that the individual mandate would be found to be unconstitutional. He just knew it. And, he knew Justice Roberts so very, very well, etc.

    Now Mike is trying to pivot and wrap himself in the Constitution and tell the American people what we really believe. Nice try, Mike, but you are wrong again. If the Repubs hadn’t done such a smear job on the individual mandate, people would realize that it only makes sense and it good for everyone.

    Let’s make sure to make Mike a one-term senator. He deserves it.

    P.S. He doesn’t know much about personal responsibility considering how he handled his housing problem.

  • John June 29, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Good comments above. Mike Lee – You clerked for Roberts and wrongly predicted his ruling re: Obamacare. You bought a house you should have been able to afford, even on a Senator’s salary and then let the home go into foreclosure. You left a law practice which shortly fell into bankruptcy. You have traded on your father’s name but now have made your own name. You are an embarrasment to the state but your party looks the other way.

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