Monday, August 17, 2009

The Constitution of the United States of America and What It Provides For

There are many (conservatives, libertarians, religious extremists--it takes all kinds...) who say that the Framers of the Constitution of the United States of America never intended for health care to be included in the list of rights that the Constitution grants. Ignoramuses then go on to say that the Constitution only guarantees "certain unalienable Rights, [...] among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," and not universal health care. Of course, the latter quote is not from the Constitution, but from the Declaration of Independence.

Ignoramuses aside, the above-mentioned categories of ill-informed or misleading Americans like to say that the government should provide for the common defense of the United States and little else, and that health care is certainly not what the Framers had in mind.

Remind them, then, that Article I of the Constitution reads:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Emphasis added.)

As if that were not enough, Article I, Section 8 states "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". (Again, emphasis added).

So forgive those of us who consider the general welfare of the United States to include the guarantee and access for all to affordable, non-discriminatory, health care services. Perhaps opponents of health care reform and their shills are not too familiar with the Constitution. Invite them to read it, before they dare to speak again.

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