In the Declaration of Independence, America’s founding fathers said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As our nation became independent, the Constitution of the United States of America was written, spelling out the rights of citizens based on the idea that a government would be created of the people, by the people, and for the people. Over time, the Constitution has gone through amendments intended to clarify and adjust based on changing times and circumstances. For example, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, which was legal at the time the Constitution was created. Over time, the constitutionality of laws has been questioned and the existing document either determined legality or the Constitution was amended to account for changes. Today, some citizens and organizations are questioning whether or not the implementation of Obamacare is constitutional.
When the founding fathers created a nation based on equality and inalienable rights, were they including the right to basic medical care? In addition, would they have agreed with a law that required every citizen to purchase health insurance? It is difficult to determine what the creators of the Constitution would have thought about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or as it is more commonly called, Obamacare. What is certain, however, is that they had clear notions pertaining to what a government can and should do for its people and what might fall under the category of personal responsibility. U.S. citizens were granted certain freedoms that were not available under British (or other) rule at the time the Constitution was created. With those freedoms came a greater responsibility, as well.
In truth, there are probably valid points on either side of the debate since the Constitution does not specifically cover the onus of providing for medical care. However, this is not a case that can be tried in the court of public opinion. Instead we rely on the judicial branch of the government, including elected and appointed officials, to determine whether or not any law passed is constitutional or not. Along those lines, there have been dozens of lawsuits launched seeking to overturn Obamacare or parts of the Affordable Care Act. Thus far, two major lawsuits have made it to the Supreme Court: NFIB v. Sebelius and King v. Burwell. In both cases the Supreme Court ruled in favor of and upheld the legal status of the primary components Obamacare.
Meanwhile, some individuals, states, and other organizations continue to question the constitutionality of certain tenets of Obamacare or the program as a whole. Additional lawsuits continue to make their way through the court system and it may be years before all Obamacare litigation has been ruled on. The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest authority on legal matters and to date has ruled against any arguments that effectively dismantle Obamacare. In other words, the law has been deemed constitutional and remains in effect. In time, the hubbub surrounding the ACA will likely die down as the nation transitions through healthcare reform and Obamacare becomes the norm. Like any change of this magnitude, there are bound to be hiccups. But to date the U.S. Supreme Court has determined the constitutionality of the law.