Mr. WEST. I want to thank my colleague from New York (Mr. Reed), and I want to thank my colleague from South Carolina (Mr. Gowdy) and the previous colleague, Mr. Duncan, my freshman class president, my brother from Georgia, and also my colleague from the great State of Arkansas (Mr. Griffin).
Mr. Speaker, very simply, the Supreme Court has begun to consider the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as ObamaCare. The High Court will pore over article I, section 8 of the Constitution to determine the meaning behind the words: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States, to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States and with Indian tribes.
The 2012 Supreme Court must now determine whether the Founders had any intention of mandating the behavior of private enterprises and American citizens. To me, Mr. Speaker, the answer is obvious--absolutely not.
Our Nation was founded on the Declaration of Independence. Freedom of choice and a free market are at the core of our Nation's soul. A governmental mandate for the behavior of individuals and private enterprises is anathema to what our Founders intended. The prospect of having an unelected panel of bureaucrats determining fundamental decisions about our individual health is perhaps the most personal and intimate intrusion into our lives.
This concept is absolutely absurd and dangerous law, which surely ranks with the grievances laid down 236 years ago in the Declaration of Independence. Grievances such as: He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance unless suspended in their operation until his assent should be obtained, and when so suspended he is utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation; for imposing taxes on us without our consent; for taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments.
That's why, Mr. Speaker, each and every day I carry this Declaration of Independence and Constitution right here next to my heart. Because in January of 2011, Florida Federal District Judge C. Roger Vinson ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, stating ``never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company essentially for life just for being alive and residing in the United States.'' If the government has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a transaction, it is not hyperbolic to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted, just as my colleague from South Carolina articulated so well.
Today, this prediction is being attempted before our very eyes. With ObamaCare, insurance companies will be forced even to provide contraceptive products free of charge.
But, Mr. Speaker, why just contraception? Will the government next force insurance companies to provide surgical procedures free of charge? Where does it end? Perhaps supermarkets will be compelled to offer apples and carrots free of charge to ensure children have access to healthy food.
Beyond exerting oppressive control over individuals and private enterprises, ObamaCare circumvents the foundation of our own legislative structure.
At the heart of the Affordable Care Act is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, made up of 15 unelected officials appointed by the President to one simple purpose: to reduce Medicare spending. The IPAB will be tasked with and given the authority to reduce costs to the government by, among other things, limiting reimbursements to doctors. It doesn't take a brain surgeon, Mr. Speaker, to recognize that this will lead to more physicians leaving the Medicare system, reducing access to care for our seniors, and limiting available treatments.
But this isn't the most frightening part. Any recommendations that the IPAB automatically brings forth becomes law. The only way around this unprecedented amount of power for Washington bureaucrats is an act of Congress with a three-fifths supermajority in the Senate. In other words, the unelected IPAB, appointed by the President, essentially becomes its own shadow legislative body.
The fundamental structure of our government with three co-equal branches and a careful system of checks and balances is being usurped. Our freedoms and liberties are being chipped away bit by bit. Our country is being transformed step by step, incrementally, into a centrally planned, stringently controlled, bureaucratic nanny State.
What I find most frightening is that a portion of our populace willingly dons these shackles and like lemmings will march this great constitutional Republic off to its own demise.
Perhaps some Americans are simply unaware of the exorbitant monetary cost of this governmental behemoth. But numbers don't lie, Mr. Speaker, and they are dangerous: $1.76 trillion from the American taxpayers to pay for ObamaCare over 10 years, nearly double the $940 billion that was forecast when the bill was signed into law. As a previous Speaker said, ``We have to pass the bill in order to find out what is in it.'' Fifty-two billion in new taxes on businesses as employers are forced to provide health insurance, $47 billion in new taxes on drug companies and medical device-makers, costs that will surely be passed down to patients, particularly our senior citizens.
[Time: 20:20] Families earning more than $250,000 a year will see more taxes as ObamaCare adds a new tax to investment income, including capital gains, dividends, rental income, and royalties; 16,000 new IRS agents; 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies; $575 billion in cuts to Medicare.
Insurance premiums are expected to increase 1.9 percent to 2.3 percent in 2014 and up to 3.7 percent by 2023 because ObamaCare adds a premium tax on health insurers offering full coverage.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unworkable and destined to fail. One need only look back a few years ago to the last Big Government program with the word ``affordable'' in it. Our colleague from the other side, Barney Frank, brought forth the National Affordable Housing Act, and it, in less than a decade, managed to demolish the housing market, weaken financial institutions, and wipe out the net worth of millions of Americans.
What makes anyone, Mr. Speaker, think government intervention in health care will be successful? ObamaCare is unconstitutional. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, it is anti-constitutional. It violates those great, inalienable rights that Thomas Jefferson said do not come from man, they come from our Creator--of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It violates our individual sovereignty. And most certainly it is probably one of the most awful pieces of American policy.
Mr. Speaker, I pray that after next week's Supreme Court decision--or whenever it comes--that this Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act becomes the most short-lived piece of legislation in American history.