Obama and Federalism

by Bill O'Connell on March 3, 2011

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So here’s the bottom line.  Once fully implemented, I’m convinced the Affordable Care Act will do what it was designed it to do — cut costs, cover everybody, end the worst abuses in the insurance industry, and bring down our long-term deficits.  I am not open to re-fighting the battles of the last two years, or undoing the progress that we’ve made.  But I am willing to work with anyone — anybody in this room, Democrat or Republican, governors or member of Congress — to make this law even better; to make care even better; to make it more affordable and fix what needs fixing. – President Barack Obama addressing the National Governor’s Association.


Is President Obama addressing members of the House of Representatives or the Senate? No. If he were, I would have no problem with what he said. Both he and the members of both houses of Congress are part of the federal government. No law gets passed until all three play their part. There are checks and balances between them, but they do negotiate and can take various positions.


But the president is addressing governors and telling them what he will and will not accept. What he doesn’t seem to realize, or callously disregards if he does realize it, is that the states are separate sovereign entities, not subsidiaries of the federal government. It should be remembered that it was the states that created the federal government, not the other way around.

By his overreach through ObamaCare he caused twenty-seven states to sue the federal government to stop it. But where is the outrage following his speech? The Tenth Amendment was added to the Constitution for a reason. Perhaps a lesson should be learned from Governor Scott Walker, when he told President Obama to mind his own business about the budget standoff in Wisconsin. We need to fight to return to the concept of federalism and put the federal government back on the footing it was created to do and stop meddling in those areas where the states are better able to handle them.

That’s my opinion; I’d like to know yours.  Please comment below.

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