Two monumental decisions by the Supreme Court in the past few days threaten to drastically affect State’s Rights for all of us.
It was to be paid for by taking monies from the Medicare program for seniors, taxing medical devices (you tell me what that is), and forcing businesses to provide benefits or be penalized.
The Health Industry immediately responded by increasing premiums. Business responded by reducing coverages and increasing deductibles as well as reducing hours worked to avoid providing insurance.
The number of complaints we hear about people having less coverage and paying more for it far outnumber those who are talking about benefitting from the program.
The Supreme Court appeared to be far more concerned with saving a bad law at all costs to avoid an uproar in the insurance markets than interpreting what the law actually said.
Please remember, the Judicial Branch of Government is charged with interpreting the laws that are written by the Legislative Branch, NOT making laws on their own. When the Supreme Court makes decisions based upon what they “think” the writers of the Constitution meant to say, the whole game changes.
The definition of an “exchange” in the Affordable Care act is a “government agency or nonprofit agency that is established by a state.”
The Supreme Court insisted that the “state” means the Federal Government! But later in the paragraph, the law cites instances where the “state” loses Federal dollars if it doesn’t do certain things. Just how in the blazes does the Federal Government plan to fine itself?
I believe that we should do all we can to increase access to affordable health care, but when a vast majority of people in the country have said that this program is not working, the Supreme Court should not take it upon itself to override the states and force it upon us.
We are working on bills in the Missouri Legislature to make our Medicaid program more accessible and efficient while increasing access to rural patients. I intend to work with the bill sponsors to make our system better.
The second decision is going to be even more problematic. It basically says that the Federal Government has the power to determine the essential nature of marriage in all 50 states regardless of the decisions of voters approving laws in their own State Constitutions.
For centuries the history and culture of Western civilization has recognized the definition of marriage as a contract between one man and one woman. Many states have addressed this question and written laws to define marriage.
Missouri voters in 2004 voted overwhelmingly to put that definition into our State Constitution.
In their attempt to explain their decision, the justices claimed this decision would keep same sex couples from losing their dignity by being viewed as a “lesser family.”
Beside creating a slippery-slope situation where now bigamy or polygamy can be argued the same way, this decision is poised to trample all over the First Amendment rights of freedom of religion which is explicitly delineated in the Constitution.
This will certainly create huge amounts of litigation and uncertainty for thousands of people.
I’m more than a little troubled by the Supreme Court taking the liberty of changing and making laws. I’m sure that many of those reading this report agree with one or both of these decisions and I respect your right to do that, but the frightening thing is that it is beginning to appear that “Executive Decisions” and “Supreme Court Interpretations” are rapidly taking the place of Legislative Branch which is the voice of the people.
The next decisions they render may not please any of us. Two-hundred-thirty-nine years ago last week, King George was using the same system of governing.
By Bill Lant, Missouri State Representative
(State Rep. Bill Lant, R-Pineville, represents the 159th District of Missouri, which includes Seneca and all of McDonald County. He can be reached in his Capitol office at (573) 751-9801 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)