The Constitution of the United States begins with the words “We the people.”
But neither the Constitution nor “we the people” will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both.
Bills passed too fast for anyone to read them are blatant examples of these end runs. But last week, another of these end runs appeared in a different institution when the medical “end of life consultations” rejected by Congress were quietly enacted through bureaucratic fiat by administrators of Medicare.
Although Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Jay Rockefeller had led an effort by a group of fellow Democrats in Congress to pass Section 1233 of pending Medicare legislation, which would have paid doctors to include “end of life” counseling in their patients’ physical checkups, the Congress as a whole voted to delete that provision.
Republican Congressman John Boehner, soon to become speaker of the House, objected to this section in 2009, saying: “This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”
Whatever the merits or demerits of the proposed provision in Medicare legislation, the Constitution of the U.S. makes the elected representatives of “we the people” the ones authorized to make such decisions.
When proposals explicitly rejected by a vote in Congress are resurrected and stealthily made the law of the land by bureaucratic fiat, there has been an end run around both the people and the Constitution.