Constitutional scholar and patient advocate Betsy McCaughey tells Newsmax that Obamacare is in “legal limbo” and may never be implemented following a court ruling that part of the healthcare bill is unconstitutional.
She also says the fight against Obamacare’s individual mandate is not about health insurance but “about freedom” — and declares that most members of Congress are “shockingly ignorant” about the Constitution.
McCaughey, who was lieutenant governor of New York from 1995 to 1998, has a Ph.D. in constitutional history and has written two histories of the U.S. Constitution. She also is the founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a Newsmax contributor.
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In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, McCaughey discussed Monday’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson that Obamacare’s individual mandate — requiring Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty — is unconstitutional. The judge upheld a challenge from Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli.
“This is a very, very important day,” McCaughey says.
“I would say that Henry Hudson’s ruling that Congress can’t compel Americans to buy health insurance ought to be required reading for every member of Congress.
“After all, members of Congress take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, but most members are shockingly ignorant of what that document says and they routinely enact laws without giving the Constitution a moment’s thought.”
Following the ruling, “there will be a lengthy appeals process, with a final decision by the U.S. Supreme Court sometime before the 2012 presidential election — probably in June of 2012,” McCaughey says.
She acknowledges that the judge ruled against only one provision of the law, the individual mandate — the only part of the bill that Cuccinelli challenged.
“Nevertheless many states will probably delay implementing Obamacare, delay spending billions of dollars creating insurance exchanges and making other costly preparations for a law that may never be implemented,” she tells Newsmax. “Obamacare is in legal limbo.
“The next really important decision will be made in a federal district court in Florida, probably before January 1. Twenty other states have also challenged portions of Obamacare, specifically the individual mandate and the section on Medicaid, and it’s very likely that [the judge] in Florida will also make a decision that mandatory health insurance is unconstitutional.
“This is real firepower — 42 percent of all the states are challenging the constitutionality of this law. This is not mere partisan politics. In Virginia, for example, the legislature passed a law of its own saying that nothing could compel people in the state to buy health insurance. That law was passed with strong support from Democrats, not just Republicans, because there’s a fundamental principle at stake: If the federal government can require you to buy insurance, it can force you to do literally anything.
“This is not about health insurance, this is about freedom.”
There have been calls to convene hearings on how the healthcare reform bill was crafted, and the incoming GOP leadership is expressing a willingness to do that. Asked whether hearings would be a good idea, McCaughey responds: “Absolutely. Ken Cuccinelli in his argument before the court raised this issue.
“This law was passed in a suspect way. Members of Congress ignored the few warnings that it was unconstitutional. It was passed in the dead of night, on Christmas Eve. Very few people read it. There were a lot of venal deals slipped into it in order to get sufficient votes for it.
“This is not a model of how legislation should be enacted.”
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