Wednesday, March 31, 2010

N.C. GOP wants to 'nullify' health care reform

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Leaders of the Republican Party in North Carolina are pressuring state Attorney General Roy Cooper to join the lawsuits brought by 14 other state AG’s to stop implementation of health care reform. On top of that, some N.C. GOP leaders say they’ll introduce legislation to “exempt North Carolina from Obamacare," as N.C. Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger put it.

This isn’t the first time the GOP has tried to derail major legislation in these ways. Similar efforts were launched after Congress passed federal unemployment insurance and Social Security in the 1930s, and Medicare in the ‘60s. The same arguments being used today to dislodge health care reform were roundly rejected in those earlier cases, and there’s no real reason to think the current lawsuits, legislation and general huffing and puffing and  bluster will be any more successful.

The 14 AG’s are asking federal courts to rule that the health care reform law is unconstitutional. They claim the law’s mandates violate the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, and also violate state sovereignty by coercing states to set up insurance exchanges, expand Medicaid coverage, and so forth.

As has been ruled over and over in the courts, this particular Commerce Clause argument is nonsense. As Wake Forest Law Professor Mark Hall pointed out to NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon, the argument “is flawed because, legally, the mandate is basically a ‘tax for the general welfare.’”

As for the “state sovereignty” argument, Hall explains, the new law doesn’t technically require states to participate in either Medicaid or the new insurance exchanges, as citizens can always opt to use the federal exchange. In Fitzsimon’s article, Hall goes on to quote Harvard’s Charles Fried, who was Solicitor General for Pres. Reagan: "It's like Virginia saying we don't have to pay income tax…One is left speechless by the absurdity of it."

Several state Attorneys General have said they have no intention of joining the lawsuits, including Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who said he doesn’t believe the lawsuits “have any legal merit whatsoever,” and that pursuing one for his state “would be a waste of taxpayer resources.”

As for Phil Berger's arguments that North Carolina could “opt out” of federal laws, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but wasn’t there a civil war or something fought over that kind of thing? Even before the Civil War, South Carolina (of course) espoused the idea that any state could “nullify” a federal law within its borders; it’s an argument that didn’t sit well with Pres. Andrew Jackson, who threatened to send U.S. troops to enforce the laws if necessary. South Carolina backed down. That time. In the modern era, the nullification argument has as much credence as belief in the existence of unicorns. We knew the right is drifting farther and farther into fantasy land, but Berger seems determined to prove it.

Attorney General Cooper hasn’t indicated his intentions toward joining the lawsuit, but just in case, feel free to contact his office at (919) 716-6400, and let him know how you feel about it.

Waxhaw native Andrew Jackson wouldn't take kindly to new GOP anti-reform efforts
  • Waxhaw native Andrew Jackson wouldn't take kindly to new GOP anti-reform efforts

Tags: , , ,

Pin It
Submit to Reddit

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2019 Womack Digital, LLC
Powered by Foundation