On March 23, 2010, the conservative nation watched in horror as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, was signed into law. Although most agreed that healthcare reforms were needed, many felt that the underhanded tactics, parliamentary tricks, and blatant disregard for public opinion, used to push the bill through Congress, were atrocious. Aside from the obvious expansion of government and the many horrors that were ultimately discovered in the new law, many Americans truly felt that Congress had overreached its constitutional authority with the individual mandate. The individual mandate was particularly controversial because, with it, the government asserts to monetarily “force” people into commerce, i.e. buying insurance. Surely, this power was precluded somewhere in the Constitution. This sentiment was shared by many, leading to lawsuits being filed by 27 states to challenge this law.
Albeit a potentially naive conviction, most conservatives, libertarians and other rational thinkers across the nation felt there was no justification within the enumerated powers bestowed upon the federal government that would allow the people to be forced into buying something. Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling dismantled that notion. Regardless of where the authority was found, the outcome was the same. The highest court in the land decrees that the federal government does indeed have the power to force people to buy things. Some would argue that this isn’t a new power, that the government has been able to do that all along. Well, the court obliviously agrees that that assertion has always existed, though contrary to common sense.
Well, it’s no longer an uncertainty, it is now precedent. The federal government, through forfeit of fortune, seizure of private property or imprisonment, can coerce free Americans into contracts with other parties. Don’t think the IRS can’t seize your property or charge you criminally for tax evasion.
I contend that America is not the same as it was before the ruling. The difference is that a majority of Americans assumed that the constitution protected them from “commerce by coercion”. Today, they face the harsh reality that it was only a false sense of security.
Allow me this analogy. Walter has three happy, healthy children whom he loves deeply. Although he shares the normal concerns and worries that come along with parenthood, he has no reason to suspect that anything is seriously wrong with him or his family. They are happy, content, and secure. Until one day, Walter learns that his children all have a terminal genetic disorder. The disease has been with them from birth but went undetected. Walter’s world has been turned upside down. His reality has been altered. He knows now that the path forward is no longer how he envisioned it would be. Do you think that Walter would find comfort in the notion that things weren’t really different at all? I mean the doctor didn’t make his kids sick with the diagnosis, they were sick all along.