Thursday, March 18, 2010

Congressman Charlie Wilson, are you being dishonest to your constituents?

Congressman Charlie Wilson's office. Marietta, Ohio. March 17, 2010.

About 200 people showed up at Congressman Wilson's Ohio office to urge the Congressman to vote "no" on the unpopular healthcare bill. About 50 of Obama's personal army "Organizing for America" staged a counter protest. Pay attention, Mr. Wilson. The "Nays" outnumbered the "Yeas" by 3 to 1.

During the rally, I spoke to a man who expressed the feelings of many that day and he showed me a very interesting packet he received from Congressman Wilson's office.

Now Mr. Wilson is supposedly "undecided" about how he's going to vote. Yet this packet he is handing out to constituents is titled:
O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
Legal Solutions in Health Reform: The Constitutionality of Mandates To Purchase Health Care.
The document defends the government's right to mandate healthcare and even goes so far as to explain how to defend the healthcare bill in court. The entire document is a law project of Georgetown University and partly funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a pro healthcare philanthropy. Here is the Institute's stated purpose:
As health reform legislation continues to move through Congress, complex policy, management, economic, and legal issues are being raised. Due to the diverse interests involved, these issues are leading to a series of high-stakes policy debates. Therefore, it is critical that advocates of reform strategies anticipate such issues in order to decrease the likelihood that legally resolvable questions become barriers to substantive health reform. In an effort to frame and study legal challenges and solutions in advance of the heat of political debate, the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, crafted the “Legal Solutions in Health Reform” project.
After examining all the legal "barriers" to healthcare, the legal minds at Georgetown summarized as follows:
The Constitution permits Congress to legislate a health insurance mandate. Congress can use its Commerce Clause powers or its taxing and spending powers to create such a mandate. Congress can impose a tax on those that do not purchase insurance, or provide tax benefits to those that do purchase insurance. If Congress would like the states to implement an insurance mandate, it can avoid conflicts with the anti-commandeering principle by either preempting state insurance laws or by conditioning federal funds on state compliance. A federal employer mandate for state and local government workers may be subject to a challenge; however, such a challenge is unlikely to be successful. Individual rights challenges under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause or RFRA are unlikely to succeed, although a federal insurance mandate should include a statement that RFRA does not apply or provide for a religious exemption. Fifth Amendment Takings Clause challenges are also unlikely to be successful. The legal analysis presented is likely to endure, as the Supreme Court’s current position and approach to interpreting relevant Constitutional issues appear to be stable.
Mr. Wilson, why are you handing out a very detailed legal defense of the healthcare bill? That doesnt' sound "undecided." So I decided to visit Mr. Wilson's office. To find out how he is voting for the healthcare bill. Apparently, his office is "always open" except when they are slamming doors in your face for asking how the Congressman is going to vote.

Undecided? Congressman Wilson, again, are you being dishonest?