Constitution Day

we-the-peopleToday, September 17th is Constitution Day. This holiday, sometimes referred to as Citizenship Day recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. This year, although historic health care legislation has recently been passed, many of the worst abuses of the insurance industry are still in effect as providers plan a double digit rate increase.  So even though major provisions of the newly passed bill won’t take effect until 2014, there is still a moral imperative to make sure all Americans have access to basic healthcare.  I have heard many opponents of universal healthcare ask, “Where in the Constitution does it say that we’re entitled to universal healthcare?”. Follow me over the fold for the answer to this, and other questions about the amazing document at the core of our Democracy.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says the Congress must provide for the general welfare of the United States. Can it truly be said that Congress is fulfilling this mandate when fifty Americans die each day due to lack of health coverage? Granted, providing for the general welfare cannot be interpreted to mean that Americans are entitled to have the Federal government buy them a house, groceries or a new pony. This broad interpretation would give government powers beyond what the Constitution’s framers ever envisioned and would certainly be closer to Socialism than Capitalism.

However, Congress’s obligation to provide for the general welfare under the Constitution, along with the Constitutional provision of equal protection under the law DOES suggest that Congress has an obligation to ensure that people who work hard and save responsibly have an opportunity to secure those necessities. The new healthcare law in the US ensures that at least all insured Americans are not one emergency or illness away from having their coverage dropped by for-profit insurers who will then deny them any new coverage due to “pre-existing conditions”. The pre-existing conditions excuse has been thankfully, outlawed.  However, many of our countrymen are uninsured and are still facing no options but death when extensive, expensive treatment is necessary. This reality cannot be seen as consistent with the role of government as defined by the general welfare clause and equal protection clause of the Constitution.

With so many important debates taking place at this time in our history, and with so much at stake – from environmental degradation and green energy production to healthcare to allegations of torture sanctioned by the last administration, we will undoubtedly need to refer to the Constitution to guide us through these thorny issues. This is why it is really a civic responsibility for all Americans to know what this founding document of our Democracy contains. I have always re-read the Constitution on a yearly basis to reacquaint myself with the wisdom it contains. I urge all Americans to do the same.

Here is a link to a fantastic Powerpoint slideshow provided with permission byAES (retrieved on 09/14/09 ) that does a great job as a primer on the history and content of the US Constitution. Enjoy and Happy Constitution Day!

6 Responses to “Constitution Day”

  1. What gets me, and I know this is not wholly related, is how much money we waste on various wars and conflicts, while arguing about considerably less money being spent on our citizens.

    It almost seems contradictory to the principals of the founding fathers, especially Jefferson, more so then providing universal healthcare.

  2. Jodi MacDonald

    I so whole heartily agree, we really need medical for all, my mom is in a jam as of now she is loosing her cobra, and her status is part time, so no medical ins. She cannot get medi care till next January (a time thing). She is on several meds, one cost $800.00 a month. Not counting the rest of her things, so she is out coverage till then. She owns her own house, and has stock, CDS etc. All things are for her retirement. They say she can liquidate her things, and so on. She is suppose to get rid of her retirement things to cover her medical…not fair!!! She has always worked and has never been on any “help” from the government. Now she cant get it for a few months, because of this and that…JUST NOT FAIR! Congress does have a responsibility to help all of us with our medical needs old or young!

  3. William K. Green

    Thanks, I enjoyed reading that very much. It really bothers me that in the wealthiest country in the world so many people die needlessly. Greed is why they die. The opponents of health care claim that God gave us freedom and that somehow giving people healthcare will take it away. They must read a different bible than me. Mathew 25:32-46

  4. Dawn Walker

    I work for a company that now has mandatory enrollment for health insurance. The only way I could afford this coverage was to opt for a $5000.00 deductable, so I now pay $80.00 a month for insurance. Evan though I have been with this company for five (5) years now, my annual wages have decreased over the last three (3) years. Now that I have insurance I am now billed at the highest possible rate for medical costs, and to date my coverage has paid for nothing. I don’t think this is what they had in mind when they stated ” All men are created equal.”

  5. vicky barker

    what i do not understand is why is when you work all your life pay your taxes and all put your time in and when you reach that age you think cool time to enjoy life you retrier and then you stress out your health is need of looking out for but bam you are not able to get help for medical your ssi or ss is just enough to pay your bills if lucky you are not able to get help with food stamps because no childern under 18 so you starve yourself, you go with out your meds because you can not afford them and you can noy get medical assn because you have no childern again under the age 18 so you get sick then you rack up hospital bills and medical bills.!!
    this is what my parents are going thru
    makes me wonder what will i gat to look forward to when i get their age.
    why is when someone from another country comes here they get treated like a king or queen but we as true usa people get shit on
    tell me whats wrong with our country? why are we forgotten about?

  6. Qbaccatron2

    The insurance pirates in this country have cornered the market on the entire healthcare system. From pharnecuticalsm, to hospitals, to insurance and private practice, it’s always profit before people. They want people to be enslaved by sickness and dependence on medical treatments so they can continue to rake $$$ in hand over fist. Michael Moore has a great documentary on this subject called “Sicko” , watch it. You’ll really start thinking about moving to Canada. And if you want to prove its about money, go to any hospital with someone who has an official health plan and someone with medicaid or some public assistance medical plan and watch how right away they get sent to different floors and receive different care.

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