Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Constitutional Right to Health Care

Clicking around in the Nealz Nuze archives, I came across this item from last July. Anyone who remembers the Great Health Care Debate (what ever happened with that, anyway?) surely remembers that much of the conflict centered on whether (or the extent to which) Obama's plan is constitutional. Some went even farther, insisting there is a constitutional right to health care which, I guess, the government has been ignoring for over two centuries now.

Of course, Neal Boortz and other conservatives are firmly in the unconstitutional camp. Unfortunately for them, most Democrats don't seem to care what they think, and there is no guarantee the Supreme Court will either. At least one Democrat, however, stood up and said "let's do this the right way, as the founders intended, in the spirit of rational debate and with respect for the Constitution." How did Boortz respond?
He's a fool .. a big government fool.
So, to the modern conservative, this is the sort of thing a big government fool would say:
The fundamental question: Is health care a constitutional right? I mean, do you have a right to health care in the American system of government or not? Well, we believe that people do and we're introducing a constitutional amendment just to make it real clear.
Am I crazy, or does John Conyers (D-MI) sound exceedingly reasonable here?[1] He acknowledges the constitutional uncertainty and, more importantly, does not dismiss it as something to be ignored by Democrats in Congress, whined about on Fox News, and ultimately ruled on in 2015 or so by a liberal-majority Supreme Court. Instead, he suggests we change the Constitution to resolve the issue once and for all. And here's the ultra-reasonable part—Conyers doesn't argue for changing the Constitution by, say, breaking into the National Archives with Wite-Out and a Sharpie; he wants to do it in the manner prescribed by the Constitution itself!

Conservatives should be praising this kind of thinking, not ridiculing it. Sure, oppose the amendment (which, by the way, would have no chance of passing),[2] but opposing the process itself is, dare I say, un-American.

1. Is he a reasonable politician in general? I don't know. Probably not. But that's not the point.
2. I'm not going to think too hard about this; I'll just point out that the first step is a two-thirds vote by both houses of Congress. That means 67 Senators, and we all remember how difficult it was for the Democrats just to get 60 on board.

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