Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, has issued the following statement on the health care ruling:
“It has been over two years since President Obama and Congressional Democrats rammed the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through Congress, over the strong objections of the vast majority of Americans. Almost immediately dozens of lawsuits were filed over the constitutionality of this monstrosity and today, with all eyes on the highest Court in our land, the Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate, the cornerstone of the President’s health care law, unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. However, the Court upheld the individual mandate as a tax, striking a blow to the principle of limited government that is laid out in our Constitution and a very bad result for the American people.
In 1819, as Daniel Webster argued the case of McCulloch v. Maryland before the Supreme Court, he stated that “an unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily a power to destroy.” His argument was confirmed in Chief Justice John Marshall’s decision when he agreed “that the power to tax involves the power to destroy … is not to be denied.”
These powerful words still ring true nearly 200 years later. As defined by the Supreme Court, this is now another tax on the American people. With this disappointing decision the law remains intact, raising taxes, killing jobs, and hampering economic growth, while doing nothing to rein in soaring health care costs.
Although the Supreme Court, by counting the individual mandate as a tax, upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare, it certainly does not make it good policy. As I have said countless times, the Obamacare legislation is defined by federal regulations, mandates, a myriad of new big government programs, massive cuts to the Medicare program and a significant increase in federal spending and debt at a cost to our country too high to bear. In fact, the Administration has already issued over 12,000 pages of regulations relating to this law and the 150 new government agencies, boards and programs it creates, giving Washington bureaucrats ultimate control over what is best for you and your family.
At a time when removing barriers to employment including the threat of higher taxes, new government regulations and costly mandates is more important than ever, the Obamacare law is simply the wrong prescription for health care reform. That is why I have steadfastly worked to repeal this monstrosity and replace it with common sense patient-centered reforms. I have voted nearly thirty times to repeal, defund and dismantle Obamacare and I intend to continue working to see the law repealed in its entirety.
I know Americans are frustrated by rising health care costs. We in Congress must work in a bipartisan way to cut health insurance costs and make health care better, more available, and more affordable for families and individuals. We can do that by empowering patients with choices and protecting and preserving the doctor-patient relationship. Specifically, Congress should focus on policies that allow for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, allows individuals and small businesses to join large pools to get more competitive rates, provides tort reform to cut down the high cost of defensive medicine, allows full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums, and allows portability of health insurance. These are the kind of initiatives that will help Americans obtain the best quality health care at the least cost, and ensure that the government fosters increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not by taking away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best.”
Updated at 12 noon:
Goodlatte held a teleconference this morning to talk at length about the court ruling.
He again referenced the Webster quote and associated himself with the dissent written by Justice Antonin Scalia stating that taxes and penalties have always been mutually exclusive.
“This decision, which blurs what was written into law … is new in American legal precedent and very very disturbing in terms of the power it gives to the federal government to impose its will on the American people in any fashion it chooses to do so,” Goodlatte said.
He said the decision opens the door for the largest tax increase in American history. He also said more businesses will drop health care coverage for their employees and funnel them instead into state exchanges.
But Goodlatte added, “Bad policy can be overturned by the Congress, and so we will be doing that.”
There’s already a vote set for July 11, and Goodlatte said the House will vote to repeal the entire health care law. I asked if that includes some of the more popular pieces of the law — allowing young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policies for longer and an elimination of “pre-existing conditions” as a reason to deny coverage.
Goodlatte responded, “First of all, there may be a few things in this law, community health centers and so on, that are economical ways for people through their government to help other people with the fact they may not have health insurance or with the high cost of health care.”
But, he said, the bill as a whole is so complex and unwieldy that the whole thing needs to be scratched so Congress can begin again.
Goodlatte said he thinks the debate over the law will continue through the fall campaigns and play a big role in the presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and also in the race for U.S. Senate between George Allen and Tim Kaine.
– Mason Adams