Despite a veto threat from President Bush, the House is approving another key measure the Democrats want.
It’s a bill that would force the government to negotiate with drug companies to get lower prices for Medicare patients. Supporters say the government has more muscle than private insurance plans. And many Democrats complain the year-old Medicare prescription program tilts too far toward profits for the drug and insurance industries.
Let’s be clear here. There’s nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the government to engage in Medicare at all.
A strict constructionist, of course, would find this quite unconstitutional. In fact, to do anything otherwise would be a violation of the words of James Madison, the “father” of the Constitution
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
Medicare is ripe with fraud and waste. There’s millions of dollars of fraudulent claims each and every year. Doctors have to follow rules forced on them by politicians or bureaucrats – not a good way to provide health care, is it?
But then again, to argue against Medicare solely on reasons of cost, need, efficiency, and the like is missing the point entirely.
The constitution does not authorize the federal government to get into the medical insurance business.
Therefore, according to the tenth amendment, the federal government needs to stay out of it. And that’s the law.