Romney’s Repeal and Replace Pledge Will Not Solve our Problem

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”. That being the case, this picture is worth volumes in explaining what is wrong with America’s political system and why we find ourselves on the very brink of economic collapse and facing the prospect of losing the individual liberty we have enjoyed since the founding of our Republic.

America did not become the most successful and  prosperous nation in the history of the world because of the wisdom and skills of our political leaders. Instead, it was because our Founders, knowledgeable in both political philosophy and history, understood that democracies always lead inevitably to some form of socialism and ultimately to despotic tyranny. To guard against this political probability and still allow the people to remain sovereign over their government, the Founders established a Constitutional Republic consisting of four co-equal parts designed to protect our liberty and our God-given inalienable rights. The four parts are the national Legislature, the national Executive branch, the national Judiciary, and the state governments, all operating within their sphere of authority with carefully limited powers under the watchful eye of the citizenry.

The bedrock on which this system was based is the Constitution. It worked well until the beginning of the Progressive era at the end of the nineteenth century. The progressive movement used deception, misdirection, and man’s weaknesses to appeal to the basest of human passions, greed, envy and jealousy to gain a prominent foothold in American politics. Progressives in both the Democrat and Republican Parties set the political agenda for the twentieth century. Although most republicans were opposed to the ideas of progressives (American socialists) as a basic principle, in the spirit of political expediency, they accepted many of the progressive’s policies, appealing to their constituencies with the implied motto, “we can do it better”.

On virtually every important issue during the twentieth century, the Republican Party accepted the premises put forth by progressive democrats, even though they may not agree with the policy based on the premise. It became a habitual strategy for the Republican Party to propose policies in opposition to the democrats that accepted the progressive premise but altered the pursuant policy just enough to make it palatable to their constituents. This practice gave rise to the “moderate” republicans so valued by both parties and the national progressive media of today.

The core principles on which the progressive movement is based are the polar opposites of the core principles on which the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are based. A hundred years of compromise and accommodation of these principles by the Republican party and its elected officials has led to a steady erosion of the Constitution, leading to the lawless state of our national government, as well as a growing part of American society that we have today. (The Constitution is the Supreme Law of government.)

On Monday, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on whether or not parts of the Obamacare law is unconstitutional. Already the trial is being played in the press as a sporting event between the four progressives on the court and the four constitutional conservatives, with Justice Stevens, the “moderate”, being the unknown factor. The outcome is far from certain and the results will probably not be known until June, more than likely after the Republican candidate for President has already been decided on.

There is a slim chance that the Court will put aside its law books, consideration of prior Court decisions, and International law and focus their deliberations on the Constitution itself using the debates in the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and the Federalist Papers, to determine the intent of the Framers. In which case, they will rule the Affordable Health Care Act as unconstitutional in its entirety. A more likely scenario, however, is that they will strike down parts of the law, leaving the basic premise intact; that the “commerce clause” gives the Congress, and through it, the bureaucracies in the Legislative Branch, authority to legislate in this, and other matters that are not among the enumerated powers of Congress. If that happens we will have made very little progress in returning America to its Constitutional foundation.

Romney’s “Repeal and Replace” plan simply carries on the Republican tradition of compromise and accommodation, accepting the premise that Congress has the power under the commerce clause to regulate health care in America. Regardless of how many remnants of Obamacare the Supreme Court leaves in place, the entire law must be repealed and eradicated from any possibility of being revived, if we are to salvage what is left of our Republic and the liberties it provides. A concise outline of Romney’s Repeal and Replace plan is found on Romney’s website. Following are the highlights and why they should be unacceptable to the American People.

“On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will issue an executive order that paves the way for the federal government to issue Obamacare waivers to all fifty states. He will then work with Congress to repeal the full legislation as quickly as possible.”  ~mittromney.com

Article I, Section 1, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The President does not have the Constitutional power to, in effect, make law or alter laws passed by Congress. Neither does he have the power to waive by Executive Order, laws passed and signed into law under prior Presidents. One of the few direct responsibilities given to the President by the Constitution is the enforcement of laws passed by Congress.

Article II, Section 3, at the end of the last paragraph we read: “he [the President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. The President does not have the prerogative of deciding which laws his Justice Department will or will not enforce. Once a law has passed Congress and been signed into law it becomes a part of the Constitution until it is determined to be unconstitutional by the appropriate courts; (Article VI, paragraph two.) If a new law is passed by Congress that the President considers unconstitutional, it is his duty to veto it and return it to Congress along with an explanation for his veto. (Article I, Section 7)

Romney also promises to:

  • Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
  • Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
  • Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
  • Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment
  • Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution ~mittromney.com

Here again, Romney is playing fast and loose with the Constitution. Block grants should be considered as what they are; bribes to the states in an effort to bend them to the will of the federal government. Withholding them from states that refuse or neglect to comply with federal requirements is primarily a pecuniary method for enforcing compliance with the bureaucratic rules of the Executive branch. At best, they represent an application of the socialist principle of redistribution of wealth, as tax money is taken from wealthier states and redistributed to those less wealthy.

His promise to “limit federal standards and requirements on …private insurance” is clearly a violation of Article I, Section 10: “No State shall … pass any … Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…”. Contract law provides the underpinning of market capitalism. The founders assumed the federal government would not have the power to impair contract law because it was not given as one of the enumerated powers. At the same time, they considered the matter of protecting the integrity of private contracts so important that they also prohibited the states from passing laws that would impair them. Insurance policies are private contracts between the insurer and the policy holder. Neither the President, Congress or the state legislatures have the power to interfere with that relationship. These same arguments apply to the last three promises in Romney’s list as well.

In fact, the same argument is valid against all fifteen points of Romney’s plan listed on his website. They all impair, to a greater or lesser degree, private contracts between private insurance companies and policyholders or between health care providers and their patients. However there is one ironic exception: “Allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines”. Here, Romney inadvertently discloses the original purpose of the interstate commerce clause, which he evidently does not adequately understand himself. Its original purpose was to insure free and fair trade between the states, breaking down the protective barriers put in place by various states during the former government’s existence under the  Articles of Confederation.

It is important for voters in states that have not yet held their primaries to keep this in mind when they vote. Substituting a revised version of Romneycare for Obamacare does not solve the problem of Washington’s failure to follow the dictates of the Constitution every member of government is sworn to uphold and defend.

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