When, in 2009, the American Medical Association (AMA) endorsed President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform bill, many Americans probably assumed that most physicians therefore backed the legislation. In fact, that was not the case at all.
In the original Star Wars, rebels fighting for freedom from the Empire destroyed Darth Vader’s Death Star, which was capable of obliterating an entire planet. The Empire was reluctant to part with such an instrument of death, however, so the Death Star was rebuilt in Return of the Jedi.
Score one for the Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, in Richmond, Virginia, ruled December 13 that the ObamaCare individual mandate and its related penalties are unconstitutional, a welcome change of pace from two earlier rulings in favor of the Obama administration.
You win some; you lose some. In October, a federal judge in Michigan dismissed a lawsuit challenging ObamaCare’s individual mandate, arguing that Congress has the power to impose such a mandate under the Commerce Clause. A week later a federal judge in Florida permitted a similar lawsuit to proceed because he believed that the individual mandate stretched the Commerce Clause beyond the breaking point, saying that for him it “is not even a close call.” A Virginia federal judge had previously permitted another lawsuit to proceed on similar grounds.
“They passed it without even reading it. But we’ve read it now. And it’s even worse than we thought.”
Republicans are hoping to ride a wave of anti-Democrat, and specifically anti-ObamaCare, sentiment into control of at least one chamber of Congress. Not one Republican voted for ObamaCare, and the GOP has been making a big deal out of its desire to repeal, or at least defund, some or all of the new law.
The Food and Drug Administration, in its role as enforcer of politically-acceptable medical practice, has just “sent warning letters to several companies notifying them that the substances they sell without a prescription for a procedure known as ‘chelation’ are ‘unapproved drugs and devices,’ which makes them illegal,” according to a report in the Washington Post. Chelation therapy is a well-established treatment for patients who have been exposed to high levels of heavy metals such as lead; there are even FDA-approved prescription-only products for administering the treatment. However, as the Post points out, “the companies that received the warning letters sell products without a prescription, often as ‘dietary supplements,’ and describe multiple health benefits, none of which have been proven, the agency said.”