“I’ve been working to dismantle Obamacare,” declared Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “We have to fight this terrible law that’s a threat to liberty itself.”
These comments came during a June 21st blogger conference call held by Sen. Hatch in which he sought to rally support for two bills aimed at representing “a strategic attack on the central tenants of Obamacare.”
The American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 3502) would strike forthcoming individual mandates from the current law, while the American Job Protection Act (S.3501) would repeal what Hatch calls, a “job-killing employer mandate.”
Individual and employer mandates represent two of the most focused-upon issues on which Americans are challenging both the effectiveness and constitutionality of the health care law, signed by President Barack Obama in March. Indeed, Hatch cited that “there are now 20 states, including Utah, challenging this which the President signed into law.”
Claims by the Justice Department that the 20-state lawsuit fails to demonstrate any Constitutional violation are being met with strong criticism by Hatch and others. The Justice Department, in juxtaposition to President Obama’s prior assertions that individual healthcare mandate penalties were not a tax, claims that this very same penalty “imposes a tax on the choice of a method to finance the future costs of one’s health care.” Therefore, claims the Justice Department, this law is Constitutionally sound by way of the Commerce Clause.
When asked about the Justice Department’s recent assertion that the law passed Constitutional muster on the grounds that it met taxation conditions in the Commerce Clause, Sen. Hatch responded with definitive disagreement.
“It is unconstitutional for the Congress to tell the American people what to buy,” he said. “It doesn’t fit in the Commerce Clause. If you look at the case law, in order to fit in the Interstate Commerce Clause you have got to be an activity. How do you call forcing people to buy health insurance an activity?”
He cited some of the particular challenges facing Americans once Obamacare is fully enacted. “87 million Americans will be forced out of their current coverage. And that’s even before the employer mandate.”
“This will hit employers with $52 billion in new taxes. The healthcare law incentivizes employers to stop providing healthcare to their employees.”
Senator Hatch openly admitted that neither of these bills would see much life in the present liberal-dominated 111th Congress, but he expressed some desire to have the bills become a tool to maintain focus on the issue of partial or even full repeal.
The case for repeal, whether piece-meal or entirely of Obamacare continues to grow, and history shows us that the repeal of health care policy is entirely possible in Congress.
The Heritage Foundation continues to stand by its commitment to continue to present the intellectual case for repeal of Obamacare. Its passage represented one of the most intrusive violations of our liberties and paved the way for unelected government bureaucracies to govern the most intimate of our life’s concerns: our own health.
Vincent Coglianese is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm