Congress sanctioned Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as the Obamacare in 2010 with the main aim of increasing the number of Americans covered by health insurance while at the same decreasing the cost of health care (Mann 79). The heated controversies surrounding the enactment of the federal health reform as well as the ensuing legal challenge are however in large part battles over the manner in which the federal government ought to relate to states. This paper aims at examining the effect of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act on federal state relations by examining whether the enactment is consistent or inconsistent with the provisions for federalism while giving my opinion on whether its enactment was constitutional or not.
The Affordable Care Act has an adverse effect on state federal relations. In my opinion, the fact that different states have different policies implies that different people are treated differently on the basis of where they reside. As Wilson et al (62) argue, states were for instance obligated to expand the Medicaid to provide health insurance to the working poor or else risk losing funding for the program. While some states have expanded, others have not, a phenomenon that reveals that some residents in low income class may qualify for the benefit in some states but not others. This implies that the benefit of the policy requires states to pay some price in terms of equality.
The enactment of the Affordable Care Act was not consistent with the provisions for federalism in the sense that the law as evidenced in the Medicaid expansion viol...
ates the constitution by threatening states with the risk of losing their federal funding. I believe that the federal government lacks such power to pass such an extensive piece of legislation that mandates citizens’ to purchase health insurance. This however happened due to the presence of the Commerce Clause as stipulated in the Article one of the constitution.
Regardless of the fact that the Supreme Court upheld the health act with the ruling that it was constitutional, I believe that the way in which the Affordable Care Act came about was unconstitutional. The fact that the American constitution does not give the federal government the right to dictate the morals of the society as evidenced in obligating all hospitals and care facilities to provide free contraceptives to prevent birth implies that the act violates the first amendment.
In my thoughts, the opponents of the Affordable Care Act are on firmer grounds constitutionally following their argument that the act is a federal overreach in the sense that it places the government in the middle of decisions regarding health care that are better left to private individuals. According to the opponents, the constitution does not allow the congress to pass such laws due to the fact that it does not fall under the purview of the federal government, a phenomenon that reveals that the constitution does not have the power to authorize the federal government to force state to expand their medical coverage (Aguilera 603). While the proponents argue that the act would promote universal coverage thereby creating health exchanges to
improve transparency, competition as well as the development of health providers, it is evident that regardless of the fact that the changes are deemed to have significant effects, they are more likely not to be momentous as expected (Hough 82).
- Aguilera, Barchet B. A History of Western Public Law: Between Nation and State. , 2015. Print.
- Hough, Douglas E. Irrationality in Health Care: What Behavioral Economics Reveals About What We Do and Why. , 2013. Internet resource.
- Mann, Richard A. Business Law and the Regulation of Business. Place of publication not identified: Cengage Learning, 2016. Print.
- Wilson James Q., DiIulio John J., Jr., Bose Meena,& Levendusky Matthew S. American Government: Institutions and Policies. Cengage Learning, 2016. Print
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