The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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October 4, 2013

Constitution guides health care "right"

The federal government seems in continuous crisis mode. Obviously something is wrong there. Difficult to tell if House and Senate leaders have too much control, or lost control. But life here goes on pretty much as usual, so I offer some thoughts on Ron Yezzi’s Sept. 28 Your View letter.

He asserts Medicare, among other things, “...are well established programs...founded on recognition of a right to health care.” He also proclaims those who opine that health care is a privilege, not a right, must apply the same philosophy “...equally well to education, welfare, food stamps...”

Mr. Yezzi’s opinions are thought provoking. Ponder them in conjunction with Article I Section 8 in our Constitution which enumerates what powers the states delegated to the federal government. Yes, those enumerated powers include the so-called general Welfare clause. But James Madison, hailed as “The father of the Constitution” as well as “The father of the Bill of Rights,” said that clause applies only to those enumerated powers. Amendment X in the Bill of Rights is clear that powers not delegated are reserved for the states.

Having said that, many federal social entitlement programs have already taken root. That is behind us. What concerns me now, and I think many in the younger generations, is how many federal social entitlement programs taxpayers can realistically afford.

Our society is no longer rich enough to support all existing federal social entitlement programs, well intentioned though they might be, let alone entrench ourselves in more by simplistically calling them positive rights. The age demographic has caught-up with us.

Legislating outside the Constitution, and by emotion over reason, often results in fiscally devastating unintended consequences. That is not “a delusion” Mr. Yezzi.

Bob Jentges

North Mankato

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