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Supreme Court Health Care Decision

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LANDRY. Thank you, Mr. Graves.

Mr. Huelskamp was just on the mark. I will venture to say that today's ruling actually extinguishes the fire of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It destroys life, liberty, and that pursuit.

The question today for this country can best be summed up by President Ronald Reagan when he said, back in the 1960s, in a speech:

Will history write that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening?

This is a sad and tragic day for the Constitution. Where are the limits of our government? While the Court has answered that the Commerce Clause does have its limits and gives us that ruling, it takes away by saying that Congress has unlimited taxing power. Its limits are unlimited. I guess that Congress now, when it sees fit to regulate an issue, an industry, need only now to turn to its taxing power, as Mr. Huelskamp said.

This law was sold to us as a mandate and not a tax. It was reaffirmed by the President that this is not a tax. Yet, when the arguments were made to its constitutionality, this administration took the position that it was a tax, and the Court agreed.

Let's see the taxes. In 2010, an excise tax on charitable hospitals was enacted; the codification of the economic substance doctrine; a tax hike of $4.5 billion was implemented; a black liquor tax hike, a tax that increases on the type of biofuel; a tax on innovator drug companies was enacted; a BlueCross/BlueShield tax hike was enacted; a tax on indoor canning services was enacted; a medicine cabinet tax, so that Americans are no longer able to use their FSAs, flexible spending accounts, or HRAs, their health reimbursement pretax dollars to purchase nonprescription over-the-counter medicine was implemented; the HSA withdraw tax hike was implemented; a tax that will take effect this year, the employer reporting of insurance on W-4s.

Where are they going with that, Mr. Graves? Where are they going with that?

Remember, not long ago we had a big debate about that, that now we're going to report to the IRS the amount of your insurance policy that your employer gives you on your W-4, because they want to tax that as income.

And then taxes that will take effect in 2013: a surtax on investment income; a hike in the medical payroll tax.

Wait, the medical payroll tax? I thought we had a payroll tax holiday. Not in 2013. We're going to get an increase.

A tax on medical device manufacturers; a flexible spending account cap that is going to affect those parents who have special needs kids.

So those parents who have special needs kids that the other side of this aisle claims to always want to represent, this health care law is now going to tax.

An elimination of the tax deduction for employers that cover prescription drugs; a $500,000 annual executive compensation limit; an individual mandate excise tax; an employer mandate excise tax; a tax on health insurers.

And last but not least, in 2018, an excise tax on comprehensive health insurance plans, which will affect union employees.

This ladder of success that we had in this country has now had three rings of it removed, because now the government tells the individual, if you live below a certain poverty line, you will be given food, shelter, and now health care tax free, no requirement by you who is receiving these, to pay anything back to the government, zero.

What is the incentive to climb? Because the moment you start to climb, you lose these amenities and the government starts to take from you. So the decision becomes, can I jump high enough to grab a rung so that I can then start paying back and get more of the amenities that the government was giving us and I was provided?

Let me conclude as I began, by asking: Will those who have the most to lose do the least to prevent it from happening? And as I spend time in this city, I have come to realize that the giants of America who have been memorialized for their great contributions to our society did not contribute with the goal of being memorialized but did what was right and just in the eyes of the Lord, with no ego and no agenda other than for the greater good. And that is what this country so desperately needs. We need those giants.


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