The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Posts Tagged ‘healthcare reform

A Tale of Two Mandates

An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month.

At least 24 hours before the performance of an abortion, a qualified medical professional trained in sonography and working under the supervision of a physician licensed in the Commonwealth shall perform fetal transabdominal ultrasound imaging on the patient undergoing the abortion for the purpose of determining gestational age.

Two mandates; one from a piece of legislation championed by Democrats, one from legislation championed from Republicans. The first is the individual healthcare mandate from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the second is the ultrasound mandate from HB 462, recently signed into law by Gov. McDonnell.

Both are examples of an overreach in the government’s authority to compel behavior.

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Written by Coby Dillard

March 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

About that “Symbolic” Reading of the Constitution…

Remember all the complaining from Democrats about how reading the Constitution on the House floor was largely symbolic?

I humbly submit exhibits 1 and 2 as to why these readings need to happen more often-not just in government, but in our day-to-day lives.

Exhibit #1: also asked Lewis what part of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to require individuals to buy health insurance.

“Well, when you start off with the Preamble of the Constitution, you talk about the pursuit of happiness,” said Lewis. 

As Rev. Motown would say, stop right there.

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Written by Coby Dillard

January 21, 2011 at 9:04 am

Dying Young, Dying Black

La’ Tanya Pillow named her baby Nevaeh when she was born in February. It’s “heaven” spelled backward, a nod to the joy Pillow felt when the girl was born wriggling with life at 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

Two other babies Pillow gave birth to died, one in 2005 and another in 2007 – both barely a pound, both four months early. The first boy was born still; the other died after a four-hour fight.

The death of a child is not uncommon in Pillow’s world. A number of factors combine to make mothers like Pillow more likely than most to lose a baby.

For starters, she lives in Virginia, which ranks in the bottom half of the country for infant mortality.

And she lives in Norfolk, where rates between 2005 and 2009 were worse than the state average.

And she’s black, a race that in this city had an infant mortality rate more than double that of whites.

Put the numbers together, and you find that black babies born in Norfolk have a death rate substantially larger than that of the country as a whole.

Yes, you read that right. Black babies here have a death rate higher than that of the entire country. The article gives several reasons as to why this is-poverty, lack of access to good healthcare, poor health, too many teen moms and too many single parents.

Some in my circles will say “well, these people shouldn’t be having babies if they’re not prepared to deal with them,”  or rant about how government dependency is the real culprit here. Agree with the former, disagree with the latter. But, to me, the “why” isn’t as important as the “what can we do about it?” And there’s plenty of things that can be done that will cost little-or nothing.

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Written by Coby Dillard

January 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

The Unconstitutionality of the Individual Healthcare Mandate

The final assignment for this semester…a persuasive speech. Thanks to a few friends in the AG’s office for answering a few questions…

Last year, on Christmas Eve, the United States Senate passed the most sweeping health care reform legislation in American history.  Called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this legislation has a requirement for everyone in the country to purchase or be covered under an insurance plan that offers what the government terms “minimal essential coverage.”

Unfortunately for the supporters of the individual mandate, as it’s called, such a mandate goes against the principles under which our country was founded, and is unconstitutional. I’m here to explain why, without getting into the many policy arguments that come up in the debate on health care reform.

First, some more background on the healthcare bill:

After it was passed by the Senate, the healthcare legislation was also passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Prior to signature, the bill received little to no review by either house of Congress, with one prominent legislator stating “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” One of the many things that our legislators failed to consider was the bill’s impact on federalism; the division of powers between state and federal governments. Never in American history has the federal government issued a mandate directly to the nation’s citizens without relying on the states to implement and take control of such a mandate.

For example, we all know that we’re required to have insurance on our cars; the individual healthcare mandate is supposed to be similar to the one for auto insurance. However, it differs in two ways; first-contrary to popular belief, there is no federal mandate for auto insurance. Second, the insurance requirement is enacted by the individual states, and insurance requirements among them vary. The comparisons between the two mandates are almost like comparing apples and oranges, as they are vastly different from each other.

So why exactly is the mandate unconstitutional? The first reason is that it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The argument used by the bill’s authors to “cover” the law in the Constitution is the Commerce Clause, found in Article 1, Section 8. It reads:

“The Congress shall have Power to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

The authors insist that purchasing insurance-or, more importantly to them, the individual decision not to purchase insurance-constitutes “commerce.” However, their reasoning is flawed.

The original intent of the Constitution’s authors was to grant Congress the authority to regulate commerce that already existed between citizens, states, and the newly formed nation. They did not intend for the clause to be used to mandate citizens to buy products from other citizens. In fact, Black’s Law Dictionary defines the word “regulate” as “to control that which already exists.” By this logic, Congress cannot regulate a “purchase”-in this case, health insurance-until the act of purchasing has already taken place. Further, the authors of the Constitution intended the Commerce Clause to regulate economic activity, rather than economic inactivity. This is why the authors used the word “regulate,” with its passive legal meaning, rather than the words “establish,” “provide for,” or “promote,” which signify actions that are taken to create a system or program not already in existence.

The misuse of the Commerce Clause is one item that makes the individual mandate unconstitutional. The second is the fact that establishes a power of government that goes far beyond anything listed in the Constitution, as well as far beyond the intent of the Founding Fathers.

In an op-ed for the newspaper USA Today in 2009, author Jonathan Turley wrote,

“If the failure to get insurance makes one the object of federal jurisdiction, it is hard to see the why other acts of omission will not be tied to national deficiencies in public health or education or family welfare.”

Turley’s argument is that if the individual mandate is, in fact, constitutional, then by extension the government has the power to compel its citizens to do whatever it pleases. Now, we think, “doesn’t the government already do that?” The answer is yes, it does-but ONLY within the guidelines established by the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers set up the Constitution as a limiting document; that is, it sets the boundaries that the government must operate within. As Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli stated in a webcast about the healthcare legislation, “if the Constitution doesn’t say the government can do something, it can’t.” The objective of the Constitution was to limit the government to boundaries that were below the powers of the monarchy from which they had just gained their independence, which were almost absolute. Never was the Constitution intended to give the government powers of compulsion.

If you follow the news, you know that Virginia is one of several states suing to challenge the constitutionality of the healthcare legislation, and many of their arguments are similar to those I’ve outlined to you today (although a lot more technical and a lot more difficult to read). Opponents of these lawsuits try to position them as coming from those who don’t support the government being involved in the business of healthcare. I don’t feel the government should be involved in health care, but as a disabled veteran, they are involved in mine. Whether or not you are a supporter of the healthcare legislation or an opponent, it is important to remember that your right to liberty-to live freely and make your own decisions-outweighs any program or practice that the government may attempt to put in place. The individual healthcare mandate is a direct attack on your liberty.

Written by Coby Dillard

December 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Editorials

Tagged with ,

A Mess of Their Own Making

Remember all those Republicans who said that Obamacare didn’t do anything to prohibit insurance companies from raising health insurance premiums (which contributed to the actual high cost of healthcare)? If they were wrong, would this be necessary?

Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.

Mr. Harkin praised a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, that would give the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block “any rate increase found to be unreasonable.” Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.

The White House offered a similar proposal in the weeks leading up to approval of the health care legislation last month. But it was omitted from the final measure, in part for procedural reasons.

“For procedural reasons.” In other words, the Democrats eliminated something from the bill to restrict the free market from doing what it’s supposed to do(!) because they couldn’t pass it the way they wanted to. Now they have to clean up a mess that not only they saw coming, but did nothing to stop, and everything to create.

And who determines what “sufficient authority and capability” is? If a state requests assistance from the government, that’s one thing. But if the government just says they’re going to review and set all the premium rates themselves, wouldn’t that be a(nother) violation of the 10th Amendment?

So, I’ve got a representative who not only voted to cut funding to the state’s best children’s hospital, but also voted to raise insurance rates for the very people he claimed this bill would benefit.

The ads almost write themselves.

HB2DF, Coby

Written by Coby Dillard

April 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

Repeal Is Not an Option

Originally written as an op-ed during my campaign…

Of Virginia’s congressional districts, the 3rd is more disproportionately affected by our nation’s health care problems than most others.  The numbers which show this effect are staggering.  19%-nearly one in every five-African Americans are without health care coverage for various reasons.  Because our salaries, on average, tend to be lower than others, we spend almost 17% of our disposable income on health care costs. 48% of blacks suffer from chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure (which I live with myself) and diabetes-a number that will surely increase as these illnesses are found at younger ages. While the onset of these diseases can largely be attributed to ancestry and personal choices, they are made worse by a lack of access to quality health care.

For many of the African Americans that make up 56% of the district, these numbers reflect the reality with which they live. They also reflect the environment that the Republican Party will campaign for Congress in this fall.

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Written by Coby Dillard

April 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm