A message from Tom Emmer
A Message from Tom Emmer: Health Care Legislation Violates Constitution
” width=”210″ height=”265″ />We’re told Attorney General Lori Swanson is busy reading the federal health care bill to determine whether Minnesota should join other states in a federal lawsuit as Governor Pawlenty and Republican legislators demanded last week. I can save her the time and effort – the federal bill definitely violates the constitution, and in more than one way.
From a state legislative standpoint, the Medicaid expansion in the Democrat health care legislation tells the Minnesota legislature they must spend money on a specific program of the federal government’s choosing. The Minnesota Department of Human Services estimates the expanded Medicaid system will cost the state $479 million for the next biennium.
With Minnesota already facing a $5 billion deficit, spending an additional $479 million to expand Medicaid will force a major tax increase on Minnesotans at a time when we can’t afford any tax increases. That means for the first time ever, the federal government will directly influence Minnesota’s tax policy.
We must not sit idly by and let the federal government tell our state government what we can or can’t do, especially after ignoring the will of the people in passing this legislation.
The Democrat health care legislation steps beyond their constitutional authority. The cornerstone of our constitution is that state legislatures and governors have the sole responsibility to put their state budgets together.
As your governor, I won’t let an arrogant federal government tell Minnesotans what’s best for Minnesota families.
Minnesota has been a leader in health care innovation for decades. With this legislation, the Democrats running the federal government are saying their bureaucrats know better than Minnesotans what’s best for Minnesota health care.
I couldn’t disagree more.
The Democrat health care legislation also overreaches by requiring every Minnesotan to buy health insurance. The Democrats say the Interstate Commerce Clause gives them the authority.
I couldn’t disagree more.
The Interstate Commerce Clause does not empower Congress to force people to buy something. If Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause is read to extend that far, we will have lost the central tenet of our constitutional order expressed in the Tenth Amendment – that the federal government has limited, enumerated powers and that all other powers are reserved to the states and the people.
In addition, the purchase of health care and health insurance is generally not interstate commerce. Most health care is provided locally and involves a transaction purely between residents of a single state. And under current federal law, it is nearly impossible to purchase health insurance across state lines.
I was criticized last fall by our friends in the media when I raised these constitutional issues regarding states rights and health care. Today the list of states making the very same arguments through a federal lawsuit is at 15 and growing.
I hope when Attorney General Swanson is finished with her reading of the bill, Minnesota will join the fight to protect our constitutional freedoms.