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Is The Individual Mandate Constitutional?

Posted By Conn Carroll On August 24, 2009 @ 12:07 pm In First Principles | Comments Disabled

We’ve already identified some possible constitutional issues Obamacare raises including whether the delegation of power to the “Health Choices Commissioner” violates the separation of powers [1] and whether a government run health plan is one of the enumerated powers granted to Congress. [2] David Rivkin and Lee Casey also have constitutional concerns. Their Washington Post op-ed [3] argues the individual mandate would not pass muster:

President Obama has called for a serious and reasoned debate about his plans to overhaul the health-care system. Any such debate must include the question of whether it is constitutional for the federal government to adopt and implement the president’s proposals. Consider one element known as the “individual mandate,” which would require every American to have health insurance, if not through an employer then by individual purchase. This requirement would particularly affect young adults, who often choose to save the expense and go without coverage. Without the young to subsidize the old, a comprehensive national health system will not work. But can Congress require every American to buy health insurance?

In short, no. The Constitution assigns only limited, enumerated powers to Congress and none, including the power to regulate interstate commerce or to impose taxes, would support a federal mandate requiring anyone who is otherwise without health insurance to buy it.

Read their whole argument, here [3].


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/08/24/is-the-individual-mandate-constitutional/

URLs in this post:

[1] the delegation of power to the “Health Choices Commissioner” violates the separation of powers: http://www.foundry.org/2009/08/14/morning-bell-is-obamacare-consistent-with-our-first-principles/

[2] a government run health plan is one of the enumerated powers granted to Congress.: http://www.foundry.org/2009/08/20/is-national-health-insurance-constitutional/

[3] op-ed: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/21/AR2009082103033_pf.html

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