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Sen. Schumer Defends Health Care Law

Sunday, April 01, 2012

General public with tickets to listen to a hearing on the Obamacare line up for entering the U.S. Supreme Court March 27, 2012 in Washington, DC General public with tickets to listen to a hearing on the Obamacare at the U.S. Supreme Court. (Getty)

Senator Charles Schumer is warning that if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Obama administration's healthcare law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it could put long standing social programs at risk.

Appearing on NBC's “Meet The Press,” New York's senior Democratic senator, healthcare in the U.S. accounts for one-sixth of the nation's economy, so Congress is well within its authority to regulate it under the Constitution's commerce clause.

“If they were to throw out the health care law, things like Medicare, Social Security, food safety laws could be in jeopardy on the very same grounds,” said Schumer, who serves on the Judiciary Committee and chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. He added it "would be a dramatic, 180 degree turn of the tradition of the commerce clause.”

On Friday, the Supreme Court cast its initial vote on what critics call "Obamacare" after three days of oral arguments.  In a rare move, the court authorized the release of the audio recording of the proceedings at the end of each day. While intended to shed light on the constitutional questions raised in a major public policy issue, the audio released also provided evidence that the Obama administration was having trouble articulating its position.  U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who argued for the administration, appeared to struggle at times, especially on Tuesday when questioned about the constitutionality of the law's individual mandate to buy health insurance or face a fine.

Senator Schumer defended Verrilli's performance, saying he did a good job explaining why the mandate was necessary.  Verrilli was challenged by Justice Antonin Scalia, who wondered why the government couldn't also force Americans to buy a vegetable, which hadn't been in the political spotlight since President George H. W. Bush invoked his presidential authority to say he "never, ever, wants to see another sprig of broccoli on his plate."

"He distinguished between broccoli, for instance, and healthcare. If you don't eat broccoli it doesn't raise the costs for your neighbor. It doesn't mess up the whole market," Schumer said.

Schumer added that the Justices' tough questions are no indication of how they will decide the case.

A decision is expected in June.

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Comments [1]

Rider I from USA

Health care crisis. will be solved by forcing everybody into the health care system to pay for the worlds worst unregulated industry. I agree with some of the regulations which government can do. However, forcing everybody into a bad industry will not fix a horrible unregulated industry. It would be better to create usury laws where a three hour procedure does not cost 3 million dollars or a finger being sewn on that takes ten minutes costing $10,000. The idea is the precedent being set. It is not just the idea of this industry. You have to see it as a law and not an industry. If the law states that one can force everyone into this industry as the President thinks it is necessary for everyone. Then what about surveillance which Romeny owns a huge portion in while President Obama owns a huge portion in Insurance Health Care. As the US has the worlds worst crime problem way worse than the health care problem. Would it not be the same precedent that we could force everyone into the survelliance industry by forcing to pay for cameras at every second of our lives? The idea is the precedent. Remove the industry and see the law being set. The government is not allowed to force monopolized industries. As guess what if we do we end up like Soviet Union where everyone stands in line for forced food industry that you pay labor to get then everyone lives in shacks as forced housing which everyone pays for forces us to not compete to be better or healthier as a system. The epidemic of 60 million not having health insurance is plainly because they do not go and get it or the part I do believe in which is the regulation against discrimination which is already a civil acts law against disability discrimination. However, for the other part the forced industry, its a failure, a system that costs us this much is not going to change because everyone is paying into it. As those not getting the insurance are the ones who cant afford to pay for it. So you do not solve for your financial problem. As those who have not cant pay for it so the government will still be paying for it and those that can afford it will have it. The idea is stop usury laws. This law does not do that, the discrimination part should be upheld but forced surveillance, health, food, housing nooo. It makes me want to scream really German Socialist Hitler did the same thing with a forced monopolized industry that major Socialist owned so his party could destroy the Democracy. Soviet Union forced everybody into monopolized industries of everything. A better solution in a Democracy free system is regulation of a very horrible industry. Why the US pays 17% of is GDP into the system when insurance companies take home billions per company,. and insurance sales folks make millions while doctors who basically read a book like an attorney make 1000 times what attorneys make even though they are just prescribing things.

Rider I

Apr. 02 2012 12:20 AM

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