ANH–USA strongly opposed the recently enacted healthcare bill for a variety of reasons. We stand for the freedom of consumers to choose the type of healthcare they want, and the freedom of practitioners to practice without harassment. The healthcare reform act seriously impinges on both. So after a thorough review of our legal options, which took some time, we have decided to join a lawsuit that has been initiated by a distinguished group of physicians to have the act repealed.
One of our biggest concerns about the version of the healthcare “reform” act that was passed is that it forces citizens to buy health insurance (and only government-defined and approved health insurance) even if they prefer alternative medical care which would not be covered by that insurance. In other words, we’ll have to pay twice—once for our alternative healthcare, and again for government-approved insurance that we won’t use.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) allows the federal government to define what health is and what health insurance is. This, coupled with the mandated purchase of government-approved insurance—lest one be slapped with fines and even jail—means the government is unwittingly opening the way for special interests such as drug companies, medical device manufacturers, and the AMA to complete their takeover of medicine. Meanwhile, alternative forms of medical care will become much more expensive, if they are available at all.
We’re joining the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, a distinguished group of doctors, in the lawsuit they filed in Washington, DC, district court in March 2010. Their suit seeks declaratory relief from the PPACA, stating that it contains a number of unconstitutional measures:
- Under the Tenth Amendment, the federal government lacks authority to compel individuals to purchase health insurance or pay an offsetting penalty.
- Forcing patients to participate in Medicare Part A, at the risk of losing their Social Security benefits, is also unconstitutional. It harms physicians who operate surgery centers outside of Medicare, and the provision is beyond the powers of HHS to enact in the first place.
- Nowhere in the Constitution is there authorization for the federal government to require businesses or private employers (without direct connection to the government) to purchase health insurance for employees or to set the acceptable terms of health insurance for such individuals.
- Requiring the private purchase—by individuals or businesses—of insurance with greater coverage than the purchaser desires constitutes a “regulatory taking,” that is, a prohibited capitation or direct tax.
We are also concerned that healthcare “reform” as passed will subject physicians to greater insurance company oversight and control; deter innovation by physicians because insurance companies won’t allow it; enrich insurance companies at the expense of patient and physician choice; eliminate the growing market of self-paying patients; and cause many physicians to stop practicing, leading to shortages and long waiting lines.
We will, of course, keep you posted as the lawsuit progresses.