The growing number of lawsuits by states against the new health care reform law is bringing to light a troubling underside of American politics. I watched last night as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell explained why he would not support his Attorney General's desire to join other states in their suit against the federal government. The governor explained that doing so was a waste of time and, besides, when the opportunity was at hand for so many Pennsylvanians to get health insurance for the first time, he wasn't going to let anything stand in the way.
Not even the Constitution? The challenges being mounted by state attorneys general have to do with the constitutionality of this law, in particular, the requirement that each American purchase health insurance or be subject to fines, the collection of which would be supervised by the IRS. Governor Rendell is not the first I have heard make this response to these suits. An Illinois Congressman even went so far as to say that, when it came to matters this urgent, he wasn't going to allow the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence or anything else to get in the way.
So has politics in America been reduced to sentiment and power, merely? It would seem. Not even the health care of American citizens is more important than following the Constitution. If the current reform law is unconstitutional, we need to know, so that we can pursue one that will conform to the law of the land and satisfy the demands of its supporters.
But it seems, increasingly, that may politicians feel only the loosest of couplings to the Constitution. If that's the case, then these lawsuits are good, if only to draw such people out into the open so that they are compelled to state their views clearly.
The electorate can decide from there what must be done.
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