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Monday, December 20, 2010

Implementation: A federal offense?

Kate Blocher

Staff Writer

It’s no secret that the battle leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent months after have seen an onslaught of creative attacks from the opposition. From the threat of death panels to a government takeover of health care, the rhetoric has been over the top and constant, but this most recent attack out of the great state of Texas just might take the cake.

Last week State Representative Leo Berman of East Texas proposed a bill in the State House of Representatives that would jail federal employees who enforce the Affordable Care Act. Yes, you heard that right: He wants to charge anyone who wants to enforce the law with a felony.

Rep. Berman’s reasoning behind the bill? He believes the bill is unconstitutional and therefore in Texas is “null and void.” Where to begin with how flawed this logic is? First, it is not up to Rep. Berman, or even the Texas State House, to decide whether or not any federal law is unconstitutional, it is up to the courts. And last time I checked, of the lawsuits that have been filed against the Affordable Care Act and decided, none of them have found the entire law unconstitutional.

Obviously, Berman;sbill does not have a leg to stand on, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because like most of the talk surrounding the opposition to the Affordable Care Act, it’s just a lot of hot air churned up solely for the prospect of political gain.

What is truly galling is that Rep. Berman is not only trying to arrest federal employees for simply doing their jobs, but he is okay with charging someone with a felony for trying to implement a law that provides health care benefits that Rep. Berman himself already enjoys as a state employee.

How’s that for a kick in the pants?

Not only does Rep. Berman get to keep his health insurance but he is going to arrest anyone who tries to allow the millions, and believe me, there are millions, of uninsured or underinsured Texans access to affordable, quality health care.

The hypocrisy—that should be a federal offense.