By Scott Hilyard
With a front row seat to history, U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock found Tuesday's Supreme Court debate on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act fascinating, lively and at certain points laugh-out-loud funny.
One thing the discussion did not do for Schock, R-Peoria, however, was change his mind about the legislation.
"I hope the justices rule (the health care act) is unconstitutional and that the bill is overturned," Schock said Tuesday, shortly after his eyewitness view of the justices' debate inside the courtroom of the U.S. Supreme Court. "I opposed the legislation, and I still believe it is not a good bill for the country."
Schock was one of four members of the House of Representatives selected by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to be on hand during the Supreme Court proceedings.
The court will decide whether the provision in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul legislation that mandates that individuals and employers purchase health care insurance is constitutional. Mandated health insurance is a core principle of the Affordable Care Act that seeks to insure the 40 million Americans who are currently uninsured. The mandated insurance provision is a core objection of Republicans who seek its repeal.
Schock said the law is flawed, in part, because it would force a 20-something, single, healthy male to purchase health insurance for medical services like pediatrics and gynecology that he will never use.
"It's forcing individuals to buy a product that they would not otherwise buy in a clear open market," he said.
While admittedly not a lawyer, Schock said it appeared to him that the state attorneys general who argued that the law was unconstitutional had a better day answering the questions of the Supreme Court justices than the solicitor general who defended the health care law.
"I do believe the state attorneys general held ground more than the solicitor general," Schock said. "But it will still come down to the decision of a couple of justices and it wasn't real clear where they're at right now."
Schock said he was honored to be selected by Boehner to attend the hearing and easily sensed the historic nature of the two-hour debate.
"My impression was that it was quite lively, more lively than I anticipated," Schock said. "Time flew. I literally looked up at the clock and could not believe that two hours had gone by."