Opinion
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar  

States line up to retake control of healthcare

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Karen Lugo
Director, Center for Tenth Amendment Action, TPPF
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      Karen Lugo

      Karen Lugo is the Director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Action at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She joined the Foundation in September 2013.

      As Co-Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence Center in California, Lugo has submitted circuit-level and Supreme Court amicus briefs on such issues as Structural Separation of Powers; Federalism, Commerce Clause, and Police Powers; FISA Surveillance; Healthcare Reform; Arizona’s Border Security; Gay Marriage; The Ten Commandments and Public Prayer; Eminent Domain and Property Rights; Christian Clubs on University Campuses; and Material Support for Terrorists. She was a clinical visiting and adjunct professor at Chapman University School of Law where she co-taught the advanced Constitutional Law Clinic. Lugo recently taught a 2013 Human Rights law course on the contrast between French and English Enlightenment theory in Strasbourg, France.

      Lugo is the founder of the Libertas-West Project, a center for study Islamic integration and radicalization issues. In this capacity, she writes and speaks for European and American groups on the importance of basing assimilation efforts on principles of Western exceptionalism. She presented a policy brief to the French Conseil d’Etat analyzing the legal implications of banning the burqa. Lugo has written one of the most comprehensive overviews sharia law in American courts for the Federalist Society’s journal, Engage, titled: American Family Law and Sharia-Compliant Marriages. She is currently publishing a handbook through the Center for Security Policy on mosque building permits and the Religious Land and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and she presented a white paper on the American Law for American Courts legislative initiative and its compatibility with international adoption law.

      Lugo was an appointee to the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She was president of the Orange County, California, Federalist Society lawyer chapter for seven years and currently serves on the Federalist Society National Security and International Law Executive Committee. Lugo is a member of the David Horowitz Freedom Center Board of Directors. She is also on the board of advisors for Trinity Law School in California. Lugo has been a regular guest on theOrange County PBSlocal issues debate program, Inside OC, and she is a frequent contributor to Pajamas Media, National Review Online, Townhall.com, American Thinker, and Family Security Matters. She has been interviewed by dozens of radio hosts and has spoken for hundreds of civic groups on constitutional and cultural concerns.

The states cannot rely on Washington to correct the travesty that is Obamacare. After forty-seven votes to repeal or reform the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Congress has not been able to even hold Health and Human Services (HHS) accountable for the website folly, including over $1 billion spent for federal exchange and data services contract awards.

From the opaque political proceedings, to passage by desperate arm-twisting and bribes, to the exceptions granted favored groups including members of Congress and staff, to the eighteen unilateral, politically expedient White House revisions, to the un-competitively contracted website disaster, the formation and implementation of PPACA has done grave injury to the political process.

Americans are now watching the entire Act collapse under the weight of its own illegitimacy. Obamacare has, thus far, served to discourage Americans from working, vastly expanded the Medicaid entitlement, caused the cancelation of millions of private insurance plans, pledged tax funds to underwrite insurance’s losses, increased premium costs by an average of 41 percent, and distanced doctors from patients.

Jonathan Turley, noted constitutional scholar who generally supports President Obama’s policies has said,

I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period. . . . I think that many people will look back at this period in history and see nothing but confusion as to why people remained so silent when the president asserted these types of unilateral actions. You have a president who is claiming the right to basically rewrite or ignore or negate federal laws. That is a dangerous thing.

Of course, when Americans think of federal law, this spectacle of harried negotiation and frantic deal-making that produced a 2,700 page reconciliation product called the PPACA “law” was as repugnant as Washington sausage-making gets. Key Senators and Congress-members writing in a pending federal appellate amicus brief called the law “disjointed, confusing, and even self-contradictory,” describing it as a “preliminary draft” that was pushed to preempt the filibuster after the election of Republican Senator Scott Brown.

The American public is well aware that Congress generally did not read the PPACA, nor did members deliberate the terms in reconciliation. Now that we are all “finding out what is in it,” sixty-four percent of Americans polled said that the ACA would not have passed “if we knew then what we know today.”

States seeking a way to defend the constitutional order have signed on to lawsuits challenging the legal foundations upon which Obamacare is rationalized. So far, legal challenges have failed.

There is another way that states may organize to pull healthcare back from Washington: the Healthcare Compact. Eight states have already agreed to join in a compact designed to restore control of medical services and systems to the states. An additional ten states are now actively considering adopting the Compact.

Recently, Congressman James Lankford introduced H.J. Res. 110 to authorize “member states … to implement their own health care systems without interference from federal bureaucrats.”

Interstate compacts between states have been in place since before the nation was formed. They have been used over two hundred times to address regional concerns, settle disputes, and defend state sovereignty. For example, compacts have been utilized to organize emergency management, resolve transportation issues, and establish regulatory consistency. Currently, many states are now participating in twenty-five or more compacts.