2012-08-31 "GOP Platform Declares Medicaid Unconstitutional" by Ian Millhiser from "Think Progress"
immediately after President Obama took office, many Republican
politicians seized upon a distorted vision of the Constitution’s Tenth
Amendment that would leave America nearly incapable of governing itself.
Indeed, top Republicans — including U.S. Senators, governors and
members of Congress — have claimed that everything from Social Security
to Medicare to federal disaster relief to national child labor laws all
violate the Constitution [http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2011/09/pdf/tea_party_constitution.pdf]. A similarly erroneous vision of the Constitution has now infected the GOP’s party platform:
support the review and examination of all federal agencies to eliminate
wasteful spending, operational inefficiencies, or abuse of power to
determine whether they are performing functions that are better
performed by the States. These functions, as appropriate, should be
returned to the States in accordance with the Tenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution. We affirm that all legislation, rules, and
regulations must conform and public servants must adhere to the U.S.
Constitution, as originally intended by the Framers. . . . Scores
of entrenched federal programs violate the constitutional mandates of
federalism by taking money from the States, laundering it through
various federal agencies, only to return to the States shrunken grants
with mandates attached. We propose wherever feasible to leave resources where they originate: in the homes and neighborhoods of the taxpayers.
GOP platform closely echoes a brief filed by GOP mega attorney Paul
Clement on behalf of several Republican elected officials challenging
the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court [http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/23/450960/scotus-preview-part-iv-the-big-scary/].
According to Clement, because federal revenues are “composed of tax
dollars collected from the States’ own residents,” it somehow follows
that state governments have a claim on federal revenue. The GOP platform
suggests that this claim is so strong that any federal program which
grants money to the states is unconstitutional if it also requires the
states to comply with certain rules in order to receive that money.
are many federal programs which fit this description, but the biggest
one is Medicaid. Medicaid offers funding to the states to provide health
services to the poor. States are free to take this money or to leave
it, but they must agree to follow certain rules before they can take the
money. In other words, Medicaid is exactly the same kind of grant “with
mandates attached” that the GOP finds constitutionally objectionable.
also covers more than 62 million Americans, all of whom would lose
their health coverage if the GOP’s apparent vision of the Constitution
were to prevail.