by Andrew Crisp
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is constitutional is a "major blow to freedom," Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation executive director, said this morning.
[The ruling] "basically says that Congress can pass a law requiring people to buy something, and that if they don't, they'll be penalized," said Hoffman. "That means there is no limit to what Congress can do."
Hoffman's organization brought a bill to the Idaho Legislature, following the passage of the ACA in Congress in 2010, that attempted to nullify the bill by starving it of funding at the state level.
Hoffman said there was no good news in today's ruling.
"I'm trying to find the silver lining," he said. "There really isn’t much of one, except that for now, the American people are really engaged, they understand that this is a huge expansion of the government’s power over them, and that’s why there’s such a public resentment of the law, of this particular law. I guess there’s some value in that."
Hoffman said the opinion issued from the four dissenting justices pointed to flaws in the health insurance exchange provision. He also took issue with the individual mandate.
"They told us to buy health insurance; tomorrow, they’ll tell us to buy a gym membership," said Hoffman. "The next day, they’ll tell us to be at the gym three times a week.
"For all very altruistic reasons, there’s no real intent in any of that, I suppose. But what we’re doing, what’s happening is, politicians and the people who elect them are sacrificing freedom for security, and now they’re going to get neither."
The IFF will continue to battle for freedom, added Hoffman, who admitted the health care industry has a problem. But he said the ACA and the Supreme Court's ruling would make the problem worse, suggesting free market alternatives to bring down costs and improve options.
"We don’t know what’s going to come next, not just this administration and this Congress, but the future administration and future Congress," he said.