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Kevin O’Brien’s opinion columns are always worth reading; here are a few excerpts from yesterday’s Plain Dealer online, Obamacaredoes include a death panel, and the separation of powers is its first target:
As the months have ticked by and the ludicrously misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has wobbled into reality, Americans have seen one promise after another come crashing down.
. . .
But the people still have some recourse — at least eventually. They can raise hell with Congress, which is still at least occasionally responsive. They can appeal for help from the courts.
Unless something that the forces of dictatorship want is purposely put out of reach of Congress and the courts.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Independent Payment Advisory Board — the relatively tiny, incredibly powerful item in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that is designed, on purpose, to have dictatorial powers.
Some people call it the death panel, and it is, but there’s more to it than that. If it’s allowed to work, it certainly will kill a lot of Americans — any sick person who is deemed to be too great a drain on the federal government, an entity already deep in debt.
Worse than that, though, it’s a potential Constitution killer. There’s no way a nation like ours can abide a monstrosity like the IPAB. If we end up being forced to abide it, we will cease to be a nation like ours.
The IPAB is designed to centralize the powers that this nation’s founders worked so hard to separate.
The IPAB will legislate, setting all policy related to Medicare. It will be in a position to declare what will be acceptable regarding health care costs, patient access and quality.
. . .
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says IPAB decisions are not subject to judicial review.
So, let’s recap. Here we have a 15-member board appointed by the president that will make life-and-death decisions about which treatments will be allowed to which kinds of patients and what the people involved will pay and be paid, and the board is a law unto itself. Congress has no practical way of stopping it and the courts can’t intervene in what it does.
The time to stop the IPAB is now, before it becomes invincible. Fortunately, a lawsuit that takes aim directly at its consolidation of executive power, usurpation of legislative power and denial of judicial power is working its way through the federal court system.
The law that created the IPAB is so blatantly unconstitutional, even the reliably wacky 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should get this call right on Coons v. Geithner.
Read the rest here.