State Power Solutions and Obamacare Ruling

Posted on January 31, 2011. Filed under: government, Healthcare, Politics | Tags: , , , , |

 

Today a Federal Judge in Florida ruled Obamacare is unconstitutional due to the individual mandate. Because the mandate is so integral to all of the Obamacare law, he suggested the entire document is not valid.  Unfortunately, we have a few years more before this will likely reach the Supreme Court.  Until that time, many other dictates will be handed down to insurance companies, the people, and the Corporations that provide healthcare insurance to employees.

All of this does not change the fact, the system is broken.  The states who are loudly protesting the intrusion of the federal government into healthcare, must continue finding solutions at state level to avoid this overreach by the Federal government.  Below you will find a summation of various state options that I have been researching over the past months.  To protect state rights and the rights of individuals, one must strengthen the ability of the states to provide the appropriate solutions for their citizens.

Today, I am sharing an idea posited by the Honorable Ted Cruz, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and Mario Loyola.  Mr. Cruz was a featured speaker at the yearly conference of the TPPF in Austin, and a lot of education on state rights/powers was gained from this remarkable statesman.

The latest policy paper focuses on the Interstate Compacts in Our Constitution. An interstate compact is the agreement between two or more states of the United States of America.  Many interstate compacts have been created through the years.  Our Constitution dictates specific “behaviors” if you will, of the Compacts.  Interstate Compacts can regulate matters within the enumerated powers of the federal government that require congressional consent.  In prior instances of Interstate Compacts, it was accomplished by a bill or resolution that was subsequently presented to the President for his signature.  Yet, in other cases it has been an “implied” consent.

The following links are just a few examples to familiarize my readers with the numerous ways the Interstate Compacts have been used in America. Here are just a few examples of current Interstate Compacts that are successfully working today:

Operating agencies created by interstate compact

Refer to the policy perspective from the Honorable Ted Cruz and Mario Loyola for more detail on the use of interstate compacts: 

http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2010-12-PP21-InterstateCompacts-tcruz-mloyola.pdf

The use of state compacts has been used primarily when a group of states have something in common that needs regulation at a state level.  We now have multiple approaches to take back the power of the state.   The biggest question arises because there doesn’t appear to be any definition of how deeply a compact can intrude on the federal law.

When the federal government is all powerful, citizenry lose the ability to hold them accountable. Policies should reflect the values of those citizens.  The interstate compact is a tool for states to fight back against Federal overreach and more specifically Obamacare.  It is the right of a state to determine their course.

Here are the links to my prior work on the Tenth Amendment and Nullification as well:

Tenth Amendment Rights Townhall (Part 3)

https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/tenth-amendment-rights-townhall-part-3/

Tenth Amendment Rights Townhall (Part 2)

https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/10th-amendment-townhall-part-2/

We are Americans, and perseverance is one of our finest traits.  The Constitution and our laws have provided us with solutions that protect the states and it’s people.  Now is the time to stop the erosion of those state rights by utilizing the tools given in our rule of law.

“I consider the foundation of the Federal Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States of to the people.” (Tenth Amendment) To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”  Thomas Jefferson

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Healthcare and Medicaid Perspectives

Posted on January 23, 2011. Filed under: Activism, Conservative, government, Healthcare, Politics | Tags: , , , , |

Recently, I attended two days of conferences in Austin, Texas.  This was the annual conference for the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF).  The non-partisan organization examines each issue facing Texas with a keen eye for the pros and cons.  Thousands of hours are invested in research each year, yielding an overview of suggested optimum solutions.  The Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute have long been a part of their efforts and participated this year.  This conference, like the other events sponsored by the TPPF throughout the year was very well-attended by legislators and writers from across Texas.  

What I found in this conference, was a multitude of ideas that could be used by many states in efforts to combat fiscal problems and Federal Overreach.  The topics covered, represented a wide range of known challenges confronting the Texas Legislature and people of Texas this year.  This author chose to attend healthcare, state budget, and energy sessions as a focus.

The first session of note revolved around Healthcare Exchanges:  Good Deal or Raw Deal?  Distinguished panelists for this discussion included several persons of note, including Senior Research Fellow Edmund Haislmaier.  For those of you who are unaware, Mr. Haislmaier has been leading the way in his research for the Heritage Foundation  in the area of Healthcare.  I might add this session was moderated by the Honorable Arlene Wohlgemuth, Executive Director and Director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the TPPF.  Ms. Wohlgemuth, has long been recognized as an expert on Healthcare policy.

What we learned is Healthcare exchanges are a necessary component of a complete healthcare policy.  My conclusion after hearing the various opinions, is that a Healthcare exchange is a must.   All panelists agreed Healthcare exchanges are needed, and Texas and other states should proactively create what is in the best interest of it’s citizens.   Texas State Representative, Dr. John Zerwas had already filed legislation in January 2011 to establish a state Healthcare Exchange.  In theory, an exchange will enable individuals and small businesses to access the competitive rates enjoyed by large corporations simply by banding together.  The interesting point in this discussion is what is created for Rhode Island may not be suitable for Texas or any other state.  One size/type does not fit all with Healthcare exchanges, or general Healthcare.   This is the importance of each state creating the most applicable solution for their circumstance.  Demographic components of the respective state plays a large part in the definition of unique qualities of a state.  Whether a state’s population are primarily in urban or rural locations is also a primary consideration as the requirements are defined by a state.

Continuing with the healthcare theme, there was an excellent panel discussion on whether Texas should opt out of Medicaid. It isn’t possible to “opt out” for many reasons.  However, there needs to be new definitions considered for Medicaid.  The choice is clear.  Something must be done this year to address the exploding Medicaid costs.  In Texas, Medicaid costs have increased dramatically since 2000.  This is without the consideration of Obamacare. In 2000, Medicaid costs for the state of Texas were $11 Billion dollars. In 2011, the costs for Medicaid will exceed $30 Billion dollars.  Clearly hard decisions and a new approach needs to be adopted to get the spending under control in Texas.    At this time, the state contributes 30% on Medicaid costs and the Federal Government contributes 70%.  Everyone voiced concern that the massive Federal deficit is likely to reduce the amount of support from the Federal Government.  The state must develop some sort of “safety-net” for the people.  The conversation on Medicaid and overall healthcare needs to be redefined.  In Texas, State Representative Charlie Howard filed legislation to prevent Obamacare from coming to Texas.   The majority of the conservative states are actively fighting to block this travesty of Federal overreach.   This is a key component of the state solutions.

I strongly encourage everyone to read available research papers on healthcare policy by the experts.  For your convenience, links are included below to the available research.  Medicaid is but one troubling aspect of America’s healthcare dilemma.  With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare), the Medicaid recipient base will be enlarged dramatically.  This will likely collapse the Medicaid system, and bankrupt the majority of the states, if action isn’t taken immediaetly.  The time to address healthcare and Medicaid is now, prior to the enactment of the Obamacare law in 2014.  Bear in mind much of the challenge for satisfactory solutions is due to constraints placed upon Texas (and the other states) by specific Federal Regulations.  The conclusion is the entitlement program of Medicaid is in trouble, and the enactment of the Obamacare law could topple budgets and Medicaid programs across the country.

Honorable Arlene Wohlegemuth at the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2011-01-RR01-TheBigSqueeze-AnalysisofTaxIncreasesSpendingCutstoMaintainMedicaid-CHCP-arw-sh.pdf

Senior Research Fellow Edmund Haislmaier at the Heritage Foundation:

http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/h/edmund-haislmaier?query=Edmund+Haislmaier  

Senior Fellow, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Cato Institute

http://www.cato.org/people/jagadeesh-gokhale

Texas State Legislative Information:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

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Tenth Amendment Rights Town Hall (Part 4)

Posted on March 21, 2010. Filed under: Conservative, government, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

This is the conclusion of the series on the Tenth Amendment Town Hall, which was held in Plano, Texas.  This final segment covers the speeches given by Governor Rick Perry and by Judge Napolitano.

The capacity crowd at the Plano Centre had spent the morning together learning about legal options for the State of Texas and for the country.  Now the audience would hear what the Governor thinks about the situation and what steps have been taken by his administration to protect our rights.  The Governor took the stage and prepared to share his vision of where we are as a state and what is important for all of us.

Governor Perry began the discussion with what the majority of us have suspected for quite a long time.  Washington wants to be all things to all people to get the votes.  Why can’t they secure the borders?  This is a fundamental need for the citizens of Texas and for the country, yet they show little to no interest in a resolution.

Our founding fathers believed in limited government.  Do a few things really well was stated over and over in documents written by the founding fathers. What happens when government goes unchecked?  Today the government is continuing to erode our dollars.

It is time to return to our values:  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The unique possibility of an individual to pursue the American Dream without the interference of the Federal Government is what our country is about.  It is time for the Federal Government to be more respectful of the people.

The governor had some basic principles of governing which he shared with the audience: 

  • Don’t spend all the money!
  • Have a legal system that doesn’t allow for excessive suing!
  •  Have a good educational system
  •  Government should get out of the way, and leave it to the people.

There is a reason to call for a balanced budget for the Congress.  Fiscal Responsibility results in a good quality of life for all.  Abuse of money and power never ends well for anyone.  We have learned what works in Texas.  Courageous men and women have done what was right in Texas.  Supply side economics works as exhibited by the businesses of Texas. People will be sending a message at the polls – are we going to follow the Washington method of economics, or will we be following the Texas model of economics?

It is imperative that State Rights under the 10th amendment be asserted to preserve the constitution and the vision of our founding fathers for a strong republic.  With those closing comments, the Governor introduced the keynote speaker of the event, Judge Napolitano.

The Judge took all of us on a journey through our American History.  He helped each of us to understand how we have lost some of our state rights through the years.  State rights have veered far away from the original intent as outlined in the constitution.

Can an amendment ever be unconstitutional?  When the 17th amendment was added, it took away from state rights.  This began the erosion of state rights.

The original constitution demanded no taxation.  The Federal government changed the law so they could tax us.  It began as a “small” tax and has been increasing exponentially year after year.  The more money they get at the Federal level, the more they spend, and the more money they need to cover their wish list.

The Progressives choose power over freedom.  During the time of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt this was very clear.  The greatest fear of the founding fathers was that the federal government should not have too much power.  The aforementioned Presidents did much to instill the importance of power at the Federal Level.  They also opened the door to entitlements and dependence.

Since the Civil War, the concept of power dominated over liberty.  There was a shift in the priorities of the politicians.  Each decade that followed the Civil War illustrated more of a focus on new priorities rather than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness outlined in the Constitution.

The Feds have learned how to buy away the sovereignty of any state by dangling money with strings in front of any state.  Why can the Federal government get away with bribing people, when individual would be locked up for the attempt to bribe people?

If the federal government continues to try to legislate every aspect of your lives, where does it end?  None of this is in the constitution.

Take Patriot Act passage as an example of the dangers when we ignore the wisdom outlined in our US Constitution.  After 9/11, this piece of legislation was deemed necessary to “protect citizens” from terrorism.  However, it was really unconstitutional in the assumption of sweeping powers not outlined in the Constitution. Today we have learned an invaluable lesson with misuse of the Constitution.  It is extremely unsavory in the hands of the progressives.  That is why it is so important that we do not take chances by ignoring the constitution.  We cannot predict how unscrupulous people may take advantage of inappropriate laws.

This concluded the remarks of the Governor and Judge Napolitano.  What an amazing educational experience!  A good idea for Texas and other states is to put similar events on for seniors in the high schools and also college students.  Imagine a stadium of students learning invaluable information about our government over a 5 hour period of time.  This is how we ensure a strong tomorrow for our country.

For your convenience, listed below are the links for Part I, II, and III of the series of articles.

10th Amendment Rights Townhall (Part 1)

https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/10th-amendment-rights-townhall-part-1/

10th Amendment Rights Townhall (Part 2)

https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/10th-amendment-townhall-part-2/

10th Amendment Rights Townhall (Part 3)

https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/tenth-amendment-rights-townhall-part-3/

My hope is the series has given ideas and assistance to citizens of Texas as well as other states that may be looking for answers, as the Federal Government continues to push for more control over the republic.

When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty. – Thomas Jefferson.

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Tenth Amendment Rights Townhall (Part 3)

Posted on March 20, 2010. Filed under: Activism, Conservative, government, Politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |


We come now to the third segment in our series on the Tenth Amendment Town Hall in Plano Texas. This segment focuses on the states’ rights panel, and the panel on nullification.

The States’ Rights Panel was comprised of the following distinguished individuals:

  • Texas State Representative:  Bryan Hughes
  • Rachel Brand:  Attorney with WilmerHale; Former Assistant Attorney General
  • Ken Emmanuelson:  Attorney and Co-founder of the Dallas Tea Party
  • Matt Miller – Attorney, Institute for Justice, Texas Chapter

There are several options that should be considered as the states reaffirm their rights. There was a lot of discussion in this segment on how the Federal Government has chipped away at state rights for decades. Interstate Commerce became an umbrella clause used to permit almost any action the Federal Government wanted to mandate. Several cases such as Lopez as come up that are bringing the rights back into the states.

States can refuse to cooperate with federal mandates. The entire panel agreed the states need to take their power seriously and step up and control the situation. The Texas Constitution defines everything perfectly and complements the powers given to the people in the US Constitution.

This segment began with questions from the audience on specific topics. One of the most lively discussions was about immigration. Given that the 10th amendment exists, is there a way for TX to enforce the immigration laws? As a practical matter, in Texas we are allowed to enforce laws. Representative Bryan Hughes stated “We have put more people and technology in the border area, even if we cannot do specific enforcement at the border.” Ken Emmanuelson thought we need to enforce at the local level. Everyone should do their homework and hold local officials accountable. The speakers agreed the concept of sanctuary cities needs to go. The panel thought it would be useful to institute e-verify.

Ms. Brand spoke extensively about the 287 G law (cooperative immigration law that uses Federal and State authorities working together) that is in place. Immigration law is very complex between the federal and state government. There are some instances where we need to accept fed money. She acknowledged there are some unique issues such as immigration that are paid by the fed government. We can’t arrest them for entering illegal, but we can arrest them for breaking other specific laws.

Can we impound the fed tax money and use it for our purposes? Per Bryan Hughes: Unfortunately, how can we do this without fear of consequence from them? Texas is one of the few states that can say no to a lot of the stimulus and other funds. It would not be possible to refuse all of it. There are many things that should be covered by the Federal Government.

The Nullification Panel was comprised of the following distinguished individuals:

  • Robert L. Flournoy: Attorney
  • Greg Holloway: Attorney and co-founder of Common Sense Texans
  • Hiram Sasser:  Director of litigation, Liberty Legal Institute
  • Dan Mornoff, Atty. K & L Gates

The opinion of this panel was unanimous with regard to the topic of nullification. Nullification is a possibility, although it is practically very limited in scope. This is clearly not the best course of action for the state or the citizens at this time.

Enforcement of State Rights is not the only means, but is the most immediate and effective resource we have to combat the Federal expansion of power. We do our job with honor and decorum, but we as Texans will do whatever is possible to ensure this government does not succeed in expanding their power. Texas is full of great men and women who are stepping up to ensure this government is not successful in limiting our liberty.

Nullification is like using a water pistol to put out a forest fire. You will be laughed out of court if you file stating federal mandates do not apply to us. In fact, sanctions may be levied against the respective state and the citizens who file this action.

The panel of constitutional experts agreed for a successful result, we need to pursue aggressively and collectively (as many states as possible) to maintain our 10th amendment rights. Legally this is the most effective way to ensure the desired result.

From the audience, there was some discussion on the topic of immigration and what we can do to limit Texas money from being sent out of the state by the illegal immigrants. The following suggestion was made: Is it constitutional to put a transactional tax on financial transactions going from here to Mexico? The panel’s response was: This is a good example of how to affect a behavior using a legal transaction, however yet again, this would involve a cooperative effort with the Federal Government because it involves a transaction that crosses the state border and involves an international transaction.

The panel was clear in their overview on nullification. This will not work, given how far we have come from state rights due to the decisions over the past decades by the US Supreme Court. The states must use the most powerful tool at their disposal for such an obvious attempt of the expansion of Federal Power. The choice is to use the state rights to protect the citizens.

For further information on the topic, I’ve included the link to the positioning paper offered by the Texas Conservative Coalition:  http://www.txcc.org/files/TenthAmendmentIssueBrief.pdf
Thank you to Brent Connett of the Texas Conservative Coalition for assisting us with this document.

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