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Public Policy and Administration


Mary Bruce


The U.S. legislators may have incorrectly incorporated outlooks on liberty and natural law associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. The purpose of this case study was to use Kersch's conceptualization of declarationism and Hayek & Kamowy's construct of socialism to examine whether the ACA incorporates principles associated with the natural right of liberty as promoted by the Founders of the United States. The central research question that guided this study investigated whether U.S. lawmakers followed the intentions of the Founders in passing the ACA, as demonstrated in the legislation, related bureaucratic reports, and court cases. Data for this study consisted of seminal and foundational document such as the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution, public law, and publicly available government documents related to the enactment and implementation of the ACA. These data were deductively coded and subjected to a thematic analysis. Findings indicate there was evidence of partisanship in the bill drafting process, possible violations of parliamentary procedure, and judicial activism. The positive social change implications of this study include recommendations to policy makers to remain diligent and cognizant of the risks of drifting from the principles of liberal, constitutional democracy. Doing so may promote more equitable and efficient implementation of landmark and controversial public policy.

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