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This is a response to an e-mail sent to me by a friend of mine who is conservative and who is afraid that I have become too liberal. The first portion of it is the original e-mail and the in the second part is my reply. I hope you enjoy this little bit of back and forth. I certainly did while writing the reply.

> The Truth About the Health Care Bill - Michael Connelly, Ret. Constitutional
> Attorney
>
> Well, I have done it!  I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill
> 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with
> particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law.  I was
> frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed
> might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard
> or expected.  To begin with, much of what has been said about this law and
> its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media
> are saying.  This law does provide for rationing of health care,
> particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are
> involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services,
> and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical
> profession.  The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies
> out of business, and put everyone into a government run system.  All
> decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal
> bureaucrats, and most of them will not be health care professionals.
> Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary
> medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.
>
> However, as scary as all of that is, it just scratches the surface.  In
> fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of
> providing affordable health care choices.  Instead it is a convenient cover
> for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government
> that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated.  If this law or a similar
> one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will
> effectively have been destroyed.  The first thing to go will be the
> masterfully crafted balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and
> Judicial branches of the U.S. Government.  The Congress will be transferring
> to the Obama Administration authority in a number of different areas over
> the lives of the American people, and the businesses they own.  The irony is
> that the Congress doesn't have any authority to legislate in most of those
> areas to begin with!  I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S.
> Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to
> regulate health care.  This legislation also provides for access, by the
> appointees of the Obama administration, of all of your personal healthcare
> information, your personal financial information, and the information of
> your employer, physician, and hospital, a direct violation of the specific
> provisions of the 4th  Amendment to the Constitution.  All of this is
> protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures.  You can also forget
> about the right to privacy.  That will have been legislated into oblivion
> regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.
>
> If you decide not to have healthcare insurance, or if you have private
> insurance that is not deemed acceptable to the Health Choices Administrator
> appointed by Obama,  there will be a tax imposed on you.  It is called a tax
> instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due
> process clause of the 5th Amendment. However, that doesn't work because
> since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the
> imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property
> without the due process of law.  So, there are three of those pesky
> amendments that the far left hate so much, out the original ten in the Bill
> of Rights, that are effectively nullified by this law.  It doesn't stop
> there though.
>
>  
>
> The 9th Amendment that provides: The enumeration in the Constitution, of
> certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained
> by the people;
>
> The 10th Amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by
> the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the
> States respectively, or to the people.  Under the provisions of this piece
> of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to
> have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to
> control.
>
> I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get
> the idea.  This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and
> limiting rights.  Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both
> houses of Congress to "be bound by oath or affirmation to support the
> Constitution." If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for
> this legislation or anything like it, without feeling I was violating that
> sacred oath or affirmation.  If I voted for it anyway, I would hope the
> American people would hold me accountable. For those who might doubt the
> nature of this threat, I suggest they consult the source, the US
> Constitution, and Bill of Rights. There you can see exactly what we are
> about to have taken from us.
>
>  Michael Connelly
>  Retired attorney,
>  Constitutional Law Instructor
>  Carrollton , Texas
>
>  AFTER HAVING READ THIS,  PLEASE FORWARD....If you don't care about our
> constitution, or your rights under it, just do nothing.  
> WE MUST HOLD CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.  An alarming view
> of what this health care bill is changing!

My response is as follows:

As you know, normally I do not comment on political topics and forwards that people send to me, but this one deserves comment. There are many problems with this e-mail and I will enumerate them as I too have a legal background and also am fairly knowledgeable about American political history.

  1. The words used are deliberately designed to be misleading and result in forced conclusions. Capitalism already rations health care by allowing for the insured to have coverage and the poor to be bankrupted. A large percentage of the population has been denied access to medicine, how is that not rationing? Not to mention the seniors on fixed incomes forced to choose between paying for their food and paying for their prescriptions. As Americans, we should be embarrassed by the inequity in all of this. As for the immigrants in question, they have already received numerous benefits under previous administrations of both parties for years. Now that it is a Democratic Party in charge, this retired attorney now thinks there is an important distinction. I wonder why that would be? Could he possibly be biased and self-serving? As for some of those highly praised doctors he mentions - when left to their own devices - many of them will often choose to perform plastic surgery for obscenely inflated costs in Beverly Hills instead of lancing boils in rural Appalachia. The only conclusion I have ever drawn about our health care system is that is is broken and has needed to be fixed.
  1. The arguments are designed to provoke an emotional response. He has stated that medical decisions will be forced out of the hands of health care professionals and into the hands of government bureaucrats. So, is he saying that this is not a good thing? Doctors now routinely prescribe large series of unnecessary tests in order to inflate costs and avoid liability. Insurance companies force people to fight for their benefits against an uncaring private bureaucracy. We already have a multi-tiered system of care based on patient affordability (ever seen the local Emergency room on a Friday night?) with triage consisting of first being diagnosed by your ability to pay. On top of all that, we all know that costs are spiraling completely out of control despite the best efforts of privately-run "managed care" companies and nearly fascist HMO's.
  1. His analysis is both shallow and hypocritical. When he states that this proposal will upset the masterfully crafted balance between the branches of government, he need not look very far to currently find far-right Republicans ranting that the Supreme Court should not be engaged in judicial activism since it upsets the delicate balance of government while at the same time they are applauding a recent decision (Citizens United) by the Supreme Court that overturns a hundred years of legal precedent and allows for much greater corruption of the political process. Why is this not glaringly apparent to a man with credentials such as he claims to have.
  1. He seems uneducated on clear constitutional concepts. The first being that he defies anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of congress to regulate health care.

Under Section 8 and the Power of Congress I found this: one of its duties is to promote the general welfare. That is defined by the Constitutional Dictionary as the "health, happiness and prosperity" of its citizens. How about that for starters? In addition, as all legal scholars know, the "right" to privacy does not exist. It is implied from the clauses he referenced and is based on judicial precedent. In addition, for someone so concerned about privacy, at the end of his e-mail, he states that people should forward his message onto others without regard for their privacy from unwanted e-mails. How does that pass the smell test?

  1. Finally - This legislation does force people to buy insurance and that is unfortunate. Take a minute though and examine some other facts. Right at this very moment, we have a portion of our paychecks seized to pay for federal, state and local taxes, we are currently legislated to pay for exorbitant mandatory auto insurance premiums and we must drive a mindless, arbitrarily set speed limit on a deserted highway in the middle of a grassy plain. So then, is this really the issue that you worry about? That healthy people might be forced to have to contribute to the betterment of themselves and society as a whole. If you agree with me here, then I'm not sure I understand why you think this article is so special.

Originally posted to sirglenn on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 10:26 PM PDT.

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