All of us who are disappointed with the ultimate outcome today in the health care lawsuit cannot lose sight of what we accomplished. We fought for the principle that the Constitution limits Congress’s power to direct the lives of our people, and on that point, we won.
As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion for the majority: “The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.”
Seven Justices agreed with our position that Congress could not force the States to make the unacceptable choice between losing all our Medicaid benefits or accepting a massive, unaffordable expansion of the Medicaid program.
The most sobering lesson from this ruling is that our republican system of government only works when our leaders are honest with the American people. Before Congress passed his health care law, President Obama told us that the insurance requirement was not backed by a tax. And yet, here we are, reading an opinion that upholds the healthcare law on the basis of Congress’s taxing power. It amounts to a $4 billion tax on the American people.
In this case, the Constitution’s limits on government power did not fail—political accountability failed, because the President and the supporters of this law apparently were not straight with the American people.
The American people will have their say in November, and I am confident that they will join me in rejecting a law that is so harmful to individual liberty, to our economy, and to the welfare of our people.