The Supreme Court only has to answer one simple question in ruling on Obamacare, insists former judge and Texas Rep. Ted Poe in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV. What does the Constitution say?
“There is no place in the Constitution that gives government the authority to force citizens to participate in interstate commerce — in this case forcing citizens to buy government-approved insurance,” said Poe on Tuesday as the high court heard arguments over the individual mandate component of Obamacare that has rallied conservatives like few issues in recent memory.
“There is nothing in the Constitution that gives government that authority and that’s really the basis for the entire bill is the individual mandate,” he explained.
If the high court strikes down the individual mandate, as a number of court observers theorized following what was widely considered to be a poor performance by U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. in defending the law today, Poe believes that the court should strike down the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“If it fails, the bill should fail as well and I hope that the Supreme Court understands that if they allow government to buy government insurance, what’s next? The government can then force us to buy their car — their green car, force us to buy their particular type of house — and it goes on and on, whether it’s food or some other product,” Poe argued.
He said that the individual mandate violates the principle of limited government. “If we don’t participate in the program by the government, we could be fined under the law, and I think all of that violates the constitutional standard of limited government,” he said. “It makes government unlimited.”
Poe agrees with many other conservatives that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not provide a basis for Obamacare.
“The Commerce Clause regulates commerce and if the Supreme Court says government under the Commerce Clause can force you to buy this government product, then there is no such thing as limited government,” said Poe. “The Commerce Clause would give the federal government the authority to do anything the federal government wants to. That’s why this is a very dangerous precedent and why the Supreme Court should go back and look at the Constitution and not misinterpret the Commerce Clause.”
No matter how the Supreme Court ultimately rules in this case, Poe said that he intends to proceed with legislation he introduced in the House to prohibit funds from being used to implement Obamacare and also to defund it.
“Regardless of what the Supreme Court does, Congress has a responsibility to rein in this absurd oppressive law,” he said, noting that the House has already passed legislation that would repeal Obamacare.
To be successful, he said, conservatives will not only need to send President Barack Obama packing in November but to also retake the House and Senate.
“It makes no difference who the president is if we can’t get legislation through the obstinate Senate,” he said. “Therefore, we need to take the Senate. We also of course need to take the White House back and have someone more that is in tune with the American public on this specific idea.”
While acknowledging that there’s room for improvement in American Healthcare, he said that Americans have some of the best healthcare anywhere in the world.
“It costs too much, but it’s the best,” said Poe. “We’re going to turn that over to the federal government and let them decide how to take care of America’s health?
I mean if we like the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the Post Office and the competence of FEMA, we’re going to love the nationalized healthcare system that we’re getting ready to go into.”
He said there has to be what he describes as a public conscience based on individual responsibility rather than a government mandate.
“There are some things we can do to encourage people to take care of themselves if they can. But not expect the rest of this country who are responsible Americans to pay not only for their healthcare, but to pay for everybody else’s,” according to Poe. “That’s the system the Affordable Health Care is moving us to.”
Referring to President Obama’s open-mic gaffe earlier this week, Poe said that he is more concerned than ever that Obama will not be accountable to the American people if he is re-elected. Obama was caught on camera on Monday assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the presidential election.
“It’s somewhat concerning to me what he would do if he was re-elected — not held accountable by anyone and how much more government — big government — he would push down on the American public,” said Poe.
“So he told actually the truth — that he’s not accountable, and he will get with maybe changing his policies and be a little more progressive after the election if he’s re-elected — if he is.”
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