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At last, a victory for the Constitution on nationalized healthcare

By Dr. Harold Pease

       A federal judge just ruled that Congress never appropriated the funding for the cost-sharing reductions in Obamacare. Judge Rosemary Collyer - citing Article I, Section 7, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…” - reminded the president that "Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one."
       What led to this outcome was President Barack Obama establishing a taxpayer-subsidized program to fund those unable to afford healthcare. The program funds had not been appropriated by the House of Representatives, as required by the
The U.S. House of Representatives' Capitol building.
Courtesy of house.gov
Constitution, but it appears that Obama defiantly looked for ways to do it anyway. Congress had even denied his request for such funding in its fiscal 2014 budget.
       Nevertheless, the president began to pour billions into it, in effect raising revenue. Since the inception of nationalized healthcare, the House has voted more than 70 times for its repeal, so subsidizing what its majority considers a failed program was not going to happen. When through executive orders Obama funded it anyway, House Speaker John Boehner filed a lawsuit challenging the executive branch's ability to alter legislation once approved by Congress.
       The judge's ruling was to stop further reimbursements to insurance companies that reduced health insurance for those thought to be unable to pay in exchange for the government's promise to pay the difference out of tax funds.
       The ruling is delayed while the president appeals the decision to the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Affected are approximately 57 percent of those who signed up (estimated at 5 million people) for coverage through the federal exchange web page. Without the subsidies, healthcare costs will rise substantially, although the taxpayer should get a break.
       There are few parts of the Constitution more clear than “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” This means that any law extracting money from the backs of the American worker, can only originate in the House.
       So why should you care if the president defies this small part of the Constitution? For thousands of years, until the Constitution, governments taxed their citizens whenever and whatever they wished. The people had no say. If the Egyptian Pharaoh wanted bricks without straw from the Israelites, for instance, so be it. Rulers lived lavishly off the wealth extracted from their poor subjects with little or no mercy toward them.
       The Founders wisely took this power from the rich and made it so the citizens had to consent to any taxation over them, through their representatives on The House of Representatives.
       As far as I know, the United States is the only country in world history whose people have this protection from the government. It is a priceless freedom. If we ever feel we are over-taxed, we can address it through the election process, as all members of the House come up for reelection on the same date-every two years.
       In addition to taxing, the House is also in charge of spending - even defunding programs previously funded.
       Addressing this subject, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, observed, “This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”
       The U.S. Constitution mandates that “the House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government.” This power alone, Madison added, “can overcome all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. They, in a word, hold the purse… (the Federalist 58).”
       Losing these powers is serious because, once gone, they are unlikely to be retrieved. Thank God Judge Rosemary Collyer understood this. Hopefully the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will as well.

       Dr. Pease is a specialist on the United States Constitution and its application to current events. He has taught history and political science for more than 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, go to libertyunderfire.org.

(Posted 5/20/16; Opinion: General)

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