Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Saturday, April 3, 2010

On The Constitutional Question of State Rights vs Healthcare Rights

By Eddie G. Griffin

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Children should be taught Civics in school, due to mass ignorance on the rights between the states, and rights and responsibilities of the federal government.

Some have claimed that the President and the Congress have overstepped their boundaries, in the recent healthcare legislation. In the separation of powers, all powers, not delegated to the federal government are reserved by the states. It is upon this Tenth Amendment constitutional premise that the State Rights claim arises.

The claim dates back to the time of the Articles of Confederation, when the 13 colonies came together to fight against the British in the Revolution of 1776. There was no central federal government, and the colonists were suspicious in turning over their authority to a central governing body. What came out of it was the formation of the United States of America, as we know it.

The republics agreed in the principal of “majority rule”, but not at the tyranny over the minority. Therefore, constitutional provisions gave recognition of the claim of the minority. This principal became very important in the South, due to racial suppression, and the denial of blacks to vote.

Although traditionally, America was governed by a white male dominated society, at the time of her birth, and for some time thereafter, Conservatism was built upon the premise that this was the natural order of society, and this was the way it would always be. Hence, conservatism meant preserving existing relationships of power and domination.

The third great body, the U.S. Supreme Court, would arbitrate the claims between the federal central government and the states- and, so began an evolution of government, and the growth of federal responsibilities and authorities.

President John F. Kennedy reasoned that wherever federal funds are dispersed, there is a federal responsibility for Equal Opportunity and Equal Protection under the Law. African-Americans were not afforded either equal opportunities, or equal protection in America. This is, as we knew it then. Negroes lived under the tyranny of white supremacy in the former slave states of the South, who clung to the doctrine of State Rights.

When Negroes in Texas were set free in 1865, they began to pay taxes, like other white citizens. Their taxes went to local, state, and federal governments, but they were receiving no benefit for their money. Taxation Without Representation: Negroes were taxed, but could not vote. They had no protection from lawless night raiders and lynch mobs. Yet their taxes paid the sheriff’s salary.

While streets and sidewalks were being paved in white communities with tax dollars, the Negro neighborhoods had muddy trails to navigate home, in a restricted and neglected community, redlined by finance and insurance corporations. The Negro tax dollars went for naught. And, those who did vote had to pay a Poll Tax for the privilege in Texas, which poll tax many could not afford., especially knowing that they vote for naught to gain.

When it came to hiring public servants with tax dollars, the government workforce in the South was all white. The government “overstretched” it bounds to force the states to accept Equal Opportunity in Employment. This authority trumped over states rights because it involved the disbursement of federal funds through contracting and administration. And, federal funds were derived from all citizens, black and white.

Compliance was monitored through an ineffective EEOC system. They derided it as a “quota system”. In practice, the policy amounted to “tokenism”, where each government department and contractor hired a “token black”, in order to comply with the new federal “mandate”. Equal employment opportunity is still a problem today, due to racial nepotism in hiring and promotion.

But the federal mandate that I believe led to the killing of JFK in Dallas in 1963 was the Executive Order 10925 to integrate the colleges and universities. These heretofore all-white colleges and universities had been beneficiary of federal funds and grants. Yet the doorway of entrance into the halls of higher learner excluded the Negroes who lived in the South.

President John F. Kennedy “overstepped” the bounds of his authority, they said. This was the debate of the day. The state had the right to regulate admissions to colleges and universities in their state. The president had no right to mix the races. The South was segregated.

Alabama Governor George Wallace declared immediately after the Executive Order went into effect: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

By state rights, segregations would have prevailed. Conservatism would have fulfilled its purpose: No Change. And Southern Negroes would still be in bondage.

There has always been a state declaration against “federal intrusion”, otherwise code named, Big Government. But what is often overlooked is the Right of the Minority to be protected from the tyranny of the majority.

On the Constitutionality of the Healthcare Legislation

As for the federal mandates included in the recent Healthcare Reform Legislation, some have been called into question, on constitutional grounds.

First, I believe that no American citizen should be forced to buy health insurance, but I would not pull the plug on unborn “blue babies”, simply because they have a pre-existing condition. Why does the legislation not give the individual of opting out for the federally regulated exchange?

The Tyranny of the Majority is not always sized up in poll numbers, but in dollars and cents, the classic struggle between the rich and the poor, the haves and have nots. Such struggles have existed since the days of cave men, which descendents we seem sometimes not removed from.

Whenever a bank accepts deposits from a variety of communities, it has an obligation to reinvest funds into the places from whence the funds originate. But historically, the practice of “Redlining” allowed bankers and insurance companies to rob Peter and give to Paul, from minority customers to big businesses. The banks financed unequal community development by contracting almost exclusively in favor of white-owned business and corporations, while mom and pop business had to sell their souls to the devil in order just to get a loan, at usury racketeer rates.

Health insurance companies have also practiced redlining by excluding high-risk clients. As insurance profits go up and executives receive bonus the size of some Third World countries, we see a trend in policies that maximize profits.


A Crowley, Texas couple was about to have their third child, they had no idea that the birth would be complicated, that the newborn would require immediate surgery, that the child would be denied healthcare insurance coverage, base upon the company’s “pre-existing” condition policy.

The father wondered: How could the child have a pre-existing condition before he is even born?

It is a loophole in equal protection under the law, insofar as total discretion is at the arbitrary whims of the insurance company health insurance providers. By claiming unfair encroachment upon their business, insurers seek relief from federal law and regulation under provisions of protection under states rights. Under this doctrine, the federal government has no authority to regulate insurance companies operating inside the states. This is a power to regulate the insurance companies comes under purview of those reserved to the states.

But every insurance company that operates across state lines come under the federal jurisdiction through the interstate commerce clause. The federal government has the right to keep monopolies from forming and prevent unfair commerce and interstate business fraud.

Lost is the fact that it is a federal crime to engage in interstate commerce by defrauding a customer to believe one thing about their benefit under an insurance policy, with twisted, convoluted, complicated legalese embedded in the contract that takes some of those same benefits away. It is called bait-and-switch in the crime world, but not so in the corporate insurance world.

No one told the Crowley couple that if the wife gave birth to a “blue baby” that the baby would be denied health insurance coverage. No one knows what a “pre-existing” condition is. Any at-risk pregnant mother could give birth to a child with a pre-existing condition.

What of the Right of the Unborn Child verses these State Rights?

The new healthcare law binds the insurance companies to a new set of relationships and a new mode of practice, and changes the condition of coverage for all patients. The unborn child now has a chance to be born with the most fundamental inalienable of rights of an American citizen under the constitution: The right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, where before all such rights were jeopardized by an insurance company’s arbitrary policies.

Do the damages have to be proven if all blue babies born in America were denied healthcare coverage based upon these so-called pre-existing conditions? Under protective provisions of the Constitution and Interstate Commerce Act, the state cannot put the unborn child at risk again of llife, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

If the states seek to undo any or all the provisions of the new healthcare law, then this provisions protecting the unborn should stand constitutional challenge, separate and apart from all else.

Maybe the Court might find the law to be unconstitutional, in part, but not in all. And those young people who can now be carried on their parents’ policy, wherein they had no coverage at all, would the Supreme Court undo this coverage, and once again put the rider at risk? I think not.

Should everyone be required to buy health insurance? I think not, also. It only benefits the health insurance companies even more. There should be an “Opt-Out” provision for anyone who wants no part of the federally regulated insurance exchange. This opt-out option, however, should be the right of the individual, and not the right of the state.

Social Security recipients are already being forced to purchase healthcare coverage under Medicare through SSI deduction on benefits, whether or not the retiree has other coverage or not. And workers are already forced to pay FICA and MICA through payroll deductions, for future retirement and medical needs.

Is this not a federal mandate? Heretofore, the rich has been exempt from FICA and MICA, because of a cap on taxation at the higher income level. They pay middle income taxes and benefit the most from the healthcare system, because they can afford the luxury add-ons.

It should be noted that all companies pay federal and state unemployment taxes, for the benefit of the worker, not the state. The problem with state rights today is its tendency of states defending big corporations and businesses, at the expense of those who pay into the system through taxation.

Caveat Emptor, Let the Buyer Beware

Another problem is deregulation. The state wants less federal regulation.

We have already seen recently the consequences of deregulation, and a system of caveat emptor. The Wall Street collapse is a result thereof… Madoff, ENRON, Worldcom, Tyco, only to name a few of those companies and corporations that exploited loopholes in federal regulation and oversight.

The king found it necessary to regulate what bakers put into their loaves and the weight thereof. Before they were regulated, bakers would put substitutes into the mix, including sweepings off the floor. Each loaf varied in weight and yet had a fixed price. Without regulation, this was free enterprise commerce whereby the customer was responsible for whatever he bought. They called it Caveat Emptor, which means “Let the Buyer Beware”.

This is the natural tendency of unregulated free enterprise, and not on the goodness of men. Without regulation, the insurance companies and financial institutions would profess the same free market principal: Caveat Emptor.

Whose responsibility is it to protect the consumer from tainted bread, divers weights, and unfair balances?

It is first the sovereign right of the state to protect its citizens from illegal and corrupt commercial practices. But when the state defends the corrupters, just as the state defended slave ownership, it is the responsibility of the federal government to restore the balances of fairness, in the marketplace, and in the nation. This responsibility and right supercedes the state.

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