By: Kent Masterson Brown

Although the American public has been and is being bombarded with continuous news coverage of the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchanges – and the corresponding escalation of costs of health insurance, even for those obtaining subsidies – there are many other aspects of the 2,700 page Obamacare bill and its 20,000 pages of regulations that remain completely “under the radar.” Among those provisions that have not generated any news are those that mandate the transformation of our communities, and interfere with our lifestyles and home and work environments.

No provision more represents the intention of Obamacare to completely take over our way of life more than Section 4201, entitled “Community Transformation Grants.”1 should alarm everyone. Under the provision, the Federal government, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control, will “award grants to State and local governmental agencies and community-based organizations for the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based, community, preventive health activities in order to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base of effective prevention programming.” The grants will be used to create “healthier school environments, including increasing healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, and promotion of healthy lifestyles, emotional wellness, prevention curricula, and activities to prevent chronic diseases.”

The Section further provides that, outside of schools, the grants will be used to create “the infrastructure to support active living and access to nutritious foods in a safe environment.” They will be used to develop and promote “programs targeting a variety of age levels to increase access to nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation, improve social and emotional wellness, enhance safety in a community, or address any other chronic disease priority identified by the entity receiving a grant.”

The provision also demands that the grantee assess and implement “worksite wellness programming and incentives,” “highlight healthy options at restaurants and other food venues,” and implement “strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, including social, economic, and geographic determinants of health.” Simply speaking, the grants will be used to “transform communities” into what the Federal government prescribes. Rest assured, it will be a freedom-restricting nightmare of “dos” and “don’ts” and behavior modification rules, implemented by unelected, Federally-financed community planners.

What is so curious – and absurd – is that Obamacare’s mandate of “community rating” and guaranteed health insurance destroys any incentive for anyone to take care of himself/herself because their health insurance premiums will no longer be predicated upon their good health and well-being; he/she must pay the rate of those with the poorest health and habits. Now Obamacare will expend billions of tax dollars in an effort to “force” individuals to eat right, exercise and have healthy habits.

Has there ever been a more incredible leap in Federal power? Obamacare places the Federal government in the position of determining who gets health care and who does not. Health care will be offered to certain groups so as to “reduce racial and ethnic disparities.” That means the government will choose who gets health care and who does not. It seeks to control what restaurants serve and what any food service may provide. It will even make it difficult for groceries to offer certain foods. It will direct how we work and where.

Defenders of Obamacare will claim that Section 4201 only provides grants, and there is nothing mandatory about it. States and “community organizations,” like ACORN, it must be understood, routinely take those grants and perform the requirements. They will do so here; this provision represents the sum of everything the Left has agitated for over the last 60 years. These Obamacare grants are meant to be given to organizations like ACORN, the SEIU and other leftist entities. Once the “evidence-based community evaluations” are complete, the provision calls for their “implementation” by not just the Federal and State governments but by these community

In this age where the Federal government acts as though it has no Constitutional or the legal boundaries, Section 4201 poses a significant threat to every citizens’ personal freedoms, home life and work, as well as privacy.

Kent Masterson Brown has practiced law for nearly 40 years from offices in Lexington, Kentucky and Washington, DC. Emphasizing the practice of Constitutional and administrative law, Mr. Brown has prosecuted some of the notable cases challenging Federal and State government abuse of power, including the successful challenge to open up the meetings and records of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Health Care Task Force in 1993-1994, leading to the defeat of the Clinton Health Security Act of 1993.