I grew up learning about the Constitution. In fact, as unique as I now realize this was, my familys dinner conversation often centered on discussion of various constitutional provisions. From an early age, I gained a deep appreciation for the genius of our republics founding document.
Two years ago, Congress passed the landmark Affordable Care Act to provide millions of Americans with access to health care and to bring spiraling costs under control.
Our countrys founders limited the scope and power of the federal government for a reason. They feared centralized power would lead to the same type of tyranny from which they had just won independence.
The Supreme Court is now considering the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, landmark legislation that seeks to guarantee comprehensive and affordable health care for all Americans.
In the history of our great nation, every major legislative initiative that has helped transform our country was forged in the spirit of compromise and cooperation. These qualities were essential to the success and longevity of crucial safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
This week, the Supreme Court will hear lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the historic health care reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010.
Where do you go when you get sick? For millions of Americans, their trust is placed in the hands of their local health care providers doctors, nurses and hospitals. We all rely on these dedicated professionals for our care, treatment and lifesaving medicines. But if the presidents health care law is allowed to stand, our future will be at the mercy of the federal government.
As a keen advocate of a single-payer health care system, I am perhaps an unlikely defender of the Affordable Care Act. But I support the ACA because it promises to remedy some of the most fundamental weaknesses in our current health care structure: It extends health coverage to 32 million presently uninsured Americans, and it emphasizes preventive care over costly crisis treatment. I believe the ACA is both workable and constitutional, worthy of validation by the Supreme Court and prompt implementation by the states.
As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case of Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, one thing is certain: The Obama administration has diametrically changed its position in arguments before the Supreme Court, revealing supreme hypocrisy and vulnerability.
Important changes are usually hard-fought, not just in the Congress but also in the courts. Its hard to believe now, but Social Security was once challenged as unconstitutional. So were child-labor laws. So was unemployment compensation.
It wont surprise readers that Im opposed to President Barack Obamas health care law. Ive voted repeatedly to repeal it and defund it. I believe our health care system is in drastic need of innovative, patient-centered reforms that encourage competition and increase consumer choice, not the bloated bureaucracy, tax increases, rationing and mandates in the presidents government takeover.
At our core, Democrats are problem-solvers. We have our ideological preferences, but we are willing to consider ideas from the other side and compromise in the name of progress.