Forced payment for 'right' to health care

Washington Times Editorial:

Americans have grown used to Congress claiming the right to regulate and control everything they do. But by what right can Congress force Americans to purchase health insurance?

This question is at the root of lawsuits filed by 14 states challenging Obamacare's requirement that those without health insurance must obtain it or face fines of $2,085 per household or 2.5 percent of income - whichever is greater.

Defenders of the new law point to the constitutional provision empowering Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The Supreme Court has long interpreted the Commerce Clause to extend well beyond what a common-sense reading would support. In the 1942 case Wickard v. Filburn, the high court ruled that farmer Roscoe Filburn could not grow wheat in excess of limits set by the 1938 Agricultural Adjustment Act. It did not matter that the wheat was grown on his own land for his own use - in this case feeding his chickens. According to the court, "control of total supply ... depends upon the control of individual supply." If enough farmers like Filburn grew their own chicken feed, they would not buy it, and this would have an impact on commerce nationwide. The Congress that can regulate Roscoe Filburn's chicken feed can regulate anything.

Still, Congress never claimed it could force people to take up farming or any other vocation. This is the radical interpretation of the Commerce Clause embedded in the health care bill. It is not a power to regulate commercial activity, but to compel it.


Professor Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law defends the individual mandate on the grounds that the Commerce Clause "includes authority to regulate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. In the area of economic activities, 'substantial effect' can be found based on the cumulative impact of the activity across the country."

This is a significantly flawed view as applied to the individual mandate because almost everything people do or choose not to do has a "substantial effect" on commerce. It would by extension give Congress the power to regulate all human activity or inactivity. Professor Chemerinsky's interpretation of the Commerce Clause represents a significant threat to human freedom because it gives Congress essentially unlimited power. The Constitution is an instrument created to limit the power of government, not a vehicle to justify its infinite reach. Thus, any line of argument that grants limitless powers under the Constitution is inherently wrong. Any laws justified by such claims are, by the same reasoning, abhorrent to the Constitution and must be overturned.


Democrats now say that health care is a right and that they can coerce people to pay for it for the general welfare of the people as a whole. Clearly it is not an enumerated right, but let's look at one those to test their theory.

The second amendment gives us the right to bear arms. Gun ownership has been shown effective in reducing crime. If Congress passed a law requiring everyone to own a gun, theoretically crime could be reduced even more. But, I can assure you that not many Democrats would think that requiring gun ownership is a good thing, much less constitutional.

The main reason they are compelling people to buy insurance is compensate for the distortion in the marketplace caused by their other health care policies. It is a very directed tax.


  1. I don't believe we are being required to have health insurance to protect ourselves.
    It's to protect the rest of society that does have insurance.
    Up till now,
    People who didn't have health insurance because they choose not to buy were gambling that they were so healthy they wouldn't need medical care.

    But what happens when they get hit by a bus and require hundreds of thousands of dollars of expensive medical care?
    They walk out of the hospital several months later without paying.
    And the cost of their care gets passed on to those of us who pay for health insurance in the form of higher hospital costs.

    These guys who walk out of the hospital without paying are like shoplifters.
    They walk in, take what they want, leave without paying and the cost gets shifted on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

    They are irresponsible freeloaders.

    The health care bill seeks to close this loophole

    From now on everyone will have insurance to pay their medical bills so THE REST OF US DON'T HAVE TO.


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