A national healthcare-policy expert charged that President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms have “decimated Medicare,” even as a three-judge panel in Atlanta prepares to hear oral arguments on whether those reforms are constitutional.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to provide the most authoritative opinion yet stemming from the spate of lawsuits triggered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In January, federal Judge Roger Vinson ruled that Obamacare’s individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase healthcare insurance exceeded the federal government’s constitutional authority.
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Vinson also ruled the individual mandate is inseparable from the overall law, and therefore voided the entire Act passed by Congress. The federal government’s appeal of Vinson’s ruling is being heard Wednesday by the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court.
Former New York Lieutenant Gov. Betsy McCaughey, a Newsmax contributor, patient advocate, and author of “The Obama Health Law, What It Says and How to Overturn It,” tells Newsmax that Wednesday’s oral arguments in Atlanta will mark a “very big day” in the battle to nix Obamacare.
“The most important issue they’ll be addressing is the constitutionality of the federal government compelling Americans to enroll in a one-size-fits-all, government-designed health plan,” McCaughey says in her exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV. “And the argument made by these 26 states is that nothing in the United States Constitution permits the federal government to force individuals to buy any kind of product.”
McCaughey says she strongly objects to Democratic charges that GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to rein in entitlement spending would destroy Medicare and unfairly shift the burden to the nation’s poor and elderly.
“I was so distressed to see the vilification of Paul Ryan and the Republicans over Medicare,” McCaughey told Newsmax, “because the Obama health law decimated Medicare.
“It took $575 billion out of Medicare over the next decade, took it out of that program, and moved it to fund a vast expansion of Medicaid. It’s literally robbing Peter to pay Paul -- only it’s robbing grandma to pay Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Other highlights from McCaughey’s exclusive Newsmax interview:
- Regardless of the outcome of the current lawsuits, once the Affordable Care Act takes effect additional suits will be filed, she says. “For the first time in history, the federal government will be dictating how doctors treat privately insured patients,” she says. McCaughey believes requiring doctors to report on the care they have provided their patients violates citizens’ privacy rights.
- She would like Republicans to make repeal of Obamacare “the price of raising the debt ceiling.” Getting rid of the Affordable Care Act would save $750 billion over a decade, says McCaughey.
- Obamacare is already a major drag on the economy, according to McCaughey. Businesses and states are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare for a law that may never go into effect, she says. Companies are hesitant to add employees because they don’t know how much their healthcare benefits will cost. “So it is a deterrent to expanding the workforce,” she says.
- Obama’s healthcare reforms will add 85 million people to Medicaid, which already consumes 22 percent of the average state’s budget, she says. But state leaders will no longer have the freedom to design programs that the taxpayers in their particular states can afford. “Under the Obama health law, the states have no freedom to design Medicaid. They are forced to pay for part of these expanded benefits,” she says.
After hearing oral arguments, the 11th Circuit Court is expected to take several months to issue its ruling.
Two other state lawsuits against Obamacare are proceeding independently of the 26-state lawsuit.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli have filed separate legal actions seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, generally considered the president’s signature piece of legislation.
Legal scholars say it is all but inevitable the fate of Obamacare will ultimately end up in the hands of the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. But first the various lawsuits must work their way through the appellate courts, legal experts say.
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