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  • Is there a Constitutional Basis for Mandatory Health Insurance?

    Does the Constitution allow the federal government to force individual citizens to buy health insurance? Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) have been waging a war to force Members of Congress to include a concise explanation of the constitutional authority empowering Congress to enact legislation as part of every bill. The legislation titled “The Enumerated Powers Act” would not allow the House or Senate to consider any legislation not containing an explanation of the constitutional authority for legislation. Clearly this is needed, because Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) had a hard time responding to a simple question from a CNS News reporter that strikes at the core of Obamacare: “Does the United States Constitution give the United States Congress the authority to mandate individuals to have health insurance, to carry health insurance?”

    Members of Congress should be able to provide the constitutional authority for the federal government mandating the purchasing of health insurance under the penalty of fines and jail time if they support that idea. For that matter, they should be able to recite a constitutional basis for all legislation they support. It should be the first issue a member considers. Not true with Obamacare. In a report released today, Nicholas Ballasy of CNS News asked Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) a simple question concerning authority for individual mandated health insurance.

    Akaka responded by saying “I’m not aware of that, let me put it that way. But what we’re trying to do is to provide for people who have needs and that’s where the accessibility comes in, and one of the goals that we’re trying to present here is to make it accessible.”

    Later in the interview this exchange occurs:

    Ballasy: “Is there any specific area of the Constitution that would give Congress the authority to be able to mandate individuals to have to purchase health insurance?”

    Akaka: “Not in particular with health insurance. It’s not covered in that respect. But in ways to help citizens in our country to live a good life, let me say it that way, is what we’re trying to do, and in this case, we’re trying to help them with their health.”

    All Americans should be deeply troubled that a United States Senator can’t argue the constitutional basis for Obamacare. Andrew Grossman wrote an excellent paper for The Heritage Foundation Titled “The Enumerated Powers Act: A First Step Toward Constitutional Government.” Grossman explains that the simple requirement of a constitutional explanation “would empower those few Members of Congress willing to stand up and call attention to Congress’s routine disregard of the Con­stitution’s division of powers, especially its limitations on federal power.” Grossman argues further that by requiring “legislation to state the basis of its authority would reveal the hollow­ness of the constitutional doctrine underlying so much congressional action. Every bill would be an opportunity for Americans to think seriously about our constitutional order, the wisdom of its design, and the consequences of departing from its strictures.” We clearly need to be having that debate right now, because at least one of the advocates for Obamacare in the Senate has not provided any constitutional basis for an individual mandate that all Americans purchase health care.

    Co-authored by Shawn Ryan.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    63 Responses to Is there a Constitutional Basis for Mandatory Health Insurance?

    1. Jesse, Tx says:

      First, let me say I think having to consider the Constitution when passing legislation is a good idea. It's also WHY we have the Supreme Court; to decide the Constitutionality of laws and their enforcement. However, let's not jump on this Congressman when the anti-healthcare right is led in part by a Senator who quotes the Declaration of Independence as the Constitution on national television as part of what I would assume was a well-planned out rally in Washington! I find that far more inexcusable than being unable to cite specific Constitutional references. Lawyers don't just waltz in to court and start arguing a case and any 6th grader could have told Sen Boehner that he was citing the preamble of the Declaration.

    2. Tony, Florida says:

      There is a constitutional basis for separation of church and state though. And yet, there we have faith-based initiatives. Bleh.

    3. Sonya, Missouri says:

      There is nothing in the Constitution about separation of Church and State. Also, Faith based initiatives are not limited to one religion.

    4. Scott, Arizona says:

      The Constitution does not call for the separation of church and state. It merely prohibits the federal government from establishing a State religion. Faith-based initiatives are not establishing a State religion. At least, I have not received any notice from the government saying that I must participate in them.

      Now forcing all citizens to bow at the altar of Obamacare, that's a different matter.

    5. Sue, Port Huron says:

      You are partially right. The constitution calls for separation of Church and state. However,if you go back to the original reason for this rule you will realize the intent was NEVER to totally say the

      Church should never be involved in any way with the government…in fact they were diests and included God in most everything else they ever wrote. It was the other way around. These people had just come from England where there was total control of religion by the government. The intent was to tell the Government they could not control the religion of American citizens.

    6. Tim Wallace says:

      There is a constitutional basis for BOTH separation AND for faith-based initiatives-reread the First amendment, and check recent Supreme Court firt-amendment jurisprudence.

    7. Brendan, New Jersey says:

      No there isn't a constitutional basis for separation of church and state. The 1st amendment frees the people from government intrusion into their religion or an attempt to outlaw any religious beliefs and prevents the establishment of a "state religion" "Faith based initiatives" are programs sponsored by the govt. but left to the various faiths to implement through their charitable organizations and individual congregations.

    8. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      The obvious answer is no. Health care is not covered either. The feds have stuck their nose into too many things that are the purview of the States or people. They should stick to National Security/Defense. By the way Tony, as most people interpret "separation of Church and State" it doesn't exist in the Constitution. I hope that if the health care bill or the cap and trade (or whatever name it gets)bill passes, they will be tied up in the courts long enough to get the progressives out of congress.

      • POLS Student says:

        Mandated health care is constitutional, there just hasnt been a strong enough precedent of being told you have to give money to a private party. It is covered by the interstate commerce clause. A majority of insurance firms operate on an interstate basis. States can either accept obamacare and receive federal funding, deny it and receive no money, or come up with a health care plan of their own.

    9. Trent, Boise Idaho says:

      I love this idea. I am so tired of these elected Representatives who take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution constantly passing legislation that is not rooted in any constitutional authority whatsoever. They despise the constitution because it is a document which restrains the federal government and limits it's power and they are all trying to expand the power and reach of the government.

    10. DEBBIE STEVENSON says:



    11. Sundowner04, TN says:


      Please show me in the Constitution where it states there is a separation of church and state. It doesn't exist.

      There is, however, in the Bill of Rights, Article 1 which states…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      That was simply to keep the government from ever organizing a religion (i.e. Church of England)for the country to follow.

      The Constitution does NOT give elected officials the right to take taxpayer monies and arbitrarily spend it on programs they are NOT entitled to start.

    12. kennyc, Massachusett says:

      Note how liberal democrats all start to hesitate and babble a lot when they are asked questions about the constitution….like they just want to avoid the question? This is like a guilty man trying to look someone in the eyes and saying I didn't do it! I say "You Lie!"

    13. Mike, North Dakota says:

      Tony, the constitutional basis for separation of church and state doesn't exist in the Constitution except to say that the government shall make no law establishing or prohibiting the free exercise there of. Don't buy the lies. Read the Constitution on your own and see if you can find this separation in there. Not there.

    14. Dexter, San Francisc says:

      Too bad that the idea of 'separation of church and state' is so often used by people with a bipolar disorder.

      As we can see, without ethics and morality, law and governance are merely the playthings of the rich and powerful, so pervasive in the New America where sophistry is now The State Religion.

      As they wish to trash the Constitution they also in the same stroke trash their authority, support and protections.

      More to the point, The Constitution is the best expression of natural laws and it will prevail; as those laws cannot be broken, we will soon see the abusers fail. An undeserved expensive lesson for the innocent, but that too is the real world.

    15. Jack Ryan says:

      A separation of church and state in the Constitution? Really? Please point me to where it says that?

    16. Judy, Monroe, GA says:

      Thank you for pointing out that it is unconstitutional to force citizens to buy healthcare. I couldn't agree more.

      God bless you, Heritage, in all you do!

      And as for Tony in FLorida's comment..you have it all backwards..our constitution protects us from government restricting the free exercise of religion. Look it up. It was written to protect the religious people from government control of religion.

    17. Robert - Southern MD says:

      If we don't clean out the Senate and House, we will all be in the "Poor House." And we won't have a window to throw "IT" out of.

    18. justin; philadelphia says:

      you all act as if the constitution isn't up for both interpretation and amendment. a document that originally made possible the enslavement of an entire group of people by not outlawing it? you think that change should have never been made? or are you supposed constitutional purists just going to say that there are always exceptions…

      in a quick perusal of the document, just within the powers delegated to the legislative branch, Article 1, Section 8:

      "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States"–hmmm, providing for the general welfare seems like a pretty vague statement. one could find evidence there.

    19. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Thank you Brian and Shawn for pointing out the typical left wing feel good empty rhetoric. Senator Akaka's statement "But what we’re trying to do is to provide for people who have needs …" is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution's preamble. The role of federal government is to provide for a common defense. This in turn promotes the welfare of people by creating a secure environment so that the individual states may govern and free markets prosper. Although the constitution does not specify a separation of church and state, it most definitely calls for limited federal powers.

    20. TerryP, Nebraska says:

      Justin, nobody here to my knowledge has said that the Constitution is not up for amendment. In fact, I would gather most if not all the people here are big proponents of using the amendment process to the Consititution. And to the point if you want the Constitution to say that the gov't can provide universal healthcare then go through the process of amending the Constitiution, don't try and circumvent the process by just ignoring the Constitution.

      As far as intrepretation goes, if it is vague such as the "general welfare" then look at other items that our Founding fathers wrote to find out their meaning. I can find little to back up your claim that the "general wlefare" clause allows them to pretty much do whatever they want to, irregardless of what was in the rest of the Constitution. The Constitution was written to limit and define the gov'ts power, not give them free reign to do whatever they want.

    21. RF, North Carolina says:

      There is not a Constitutional basis for mandatory participation in the health care bill. It violates numerous clauses in the Constitution including the one that the powers not specifically listed as granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people.

    22. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      It's too bad the members of Congress are not REQUIRED to READ the Constitution, and that they have to sign an afadavit stating so as well as one saying they read the entire bill before they can vote on it. Seperation of Church and law is a man interpertation of the liberals, nowhere does it state this, for over 200 years there has been a Chaplain in both houses. It also gives the states inaleinable rights, and it does not ever say your are intitled to get anything FREE, our early settlers required that you work unless you were elderly, infirmed and children under 7, gold brickers were put in the docks, maybe we ought to bring this back. Medicaid provides for the real poor,Chip for children, those who Choose not to get insurance should not become MY BURDEN, it's called priorities. I pay $166 a mo. for Medigap, that's over what comes out of my check. I worked hard, I am a nurse(ret)and put in many 16hour shifts as well as 12hour shifts to support my family after my husband died. I have no use for goldbrickers.

    23. Tim Az says:

      Justin you're arguement concerning slavery being constitutional is completely wrong. It starts out saying all men are created equal. Through the Civil War conservatives forced the liberals to live by the constitution and not own slaves. This was possibly the first example of liberals bastardizing the constitution to serve their desires. Liberals still refused adhere to the constitution and chose to engage in descriminate behaviors. Concervatives then added a civil rights amendment to the constitution which would not have passed with out the conservative votes. So the question truly is do we really want to allow anyone especially govt. to bastardize the constitution to serve themselves at the peoples expense of freedom.

      How's that hope and change working out for you?

    24. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      Why so much focus on State/Religion from this feature? It seem to me that even here people are about to be pushed towards missing the points…

      Al THE VILLAGES and SUE are Smart-Right

      JUSTIN : NO the Constitution'writters found a situation with which they had to deal smartly, meaning being practical and wise in giving the States the time to deal with slavery abolition according to their pace, otherwise could jeopardize the formation of this new entity which is the US.

      Since now people see the non constitionality of Mandates, especially on healthcare, it become crystal clear that the GOOD QUESTION is: What or who made them think and almost ride away rush to apply these ideas?

      The Woman is not far…

    25. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      The "general welfare" clause does not authorize Congress to enact any of the health care-wealth share reforms being discussed in Congress. The enumerated powers that follow this clause are all that Congress is permitted to do…at least that is what the original 13 colonies and 37 other states thought when they ratified or adopted it upon entrance to the union.

      General welfare means that all citizens must benefit. Do we not all equally benefit from a common currency, armed forces, bankruptcy laws, patent laws, immigration laws, interstate commerce, etc.? Would we all benefit from a health care law that penalizes with fines or imprisonment those individuals or businesses who do not buy government-approved health insurance?

      Note also that "all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." Taxing some to subsidize others is not authorized in Article 1, Section 8, and I did not find an amendment to that effect.

    26. D J Stewart, Florida says:

      justin, philadelphia wrote:

      The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States”–hmmm, providing for the general welfare seems like a pretty vague statement. one could find evidence there.

      Take note that Article 1, Section 8 calls for the "general welfare of the United States"…not the people of the United States.

      Also, The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

      The Federal Government, and the States governments, for that matter, should NOT be doing for the people what they have the right to do, and are able to do for themselves.

    27. Mike Dodson, Midland says:

      Justin from Philadelphia points out the "general welfare" phrase in Article I, Section 8, and comments (as I read it) that "one could find evidence there." When the Constitution was written the definition of welfare had nothing to do with medical care, medical insurance did not exist, and, instead had more to do with safety and security. The responsibility of the government in assuring our "general welfare" has to do solely with setting things up so we can pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

      Notwithstanding Daniel Akaka's efforts to "help people live a good life," Obamacare is not constitutional.

      Where is Sam Ervin when we need him?

    28. Larry Bennett Dalles says:

      justin; Philadelphia

      The constitution should be interpreted by going back and finding out what the framers meant when they wrote it. What the current crop of politicians and judges want to do is to interpret it so that it means what they want it to. Here is what James Madison said about the welfare clause and he ought to have known what it meant as he was there.

      James Madison's view of the General Welfare Clause of Article 1. Section 8. This response is from a letter written to Edmund Pendleton on January 21, 1792;

      “Having not yet succeeded in hitting on an opportunity, I send you a part of it in a newspaper, which broaches a new Constitutional doctrine of vast consequence, and demanding the serious attention of the public. I consider it myself as subverting the fundamental and characteristic principle of the Government; as contrary to the true and fair, as well as the received construction, and as bidding defiance to the sense in which the Constitution is known to have been proposed, advocated, and adopted. If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions. It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated is copied from the old Articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers."

      "With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." –James Madison

    29. jlw indiana says:

      John Boehner, Ohio is a member of the House of Representatives. He is not a Senator. I am unaware of a Senator Boehner.

    30. Jimmy in TEXAS says:

      Tim Wallace writes:

      There is a constitutional basis for BOTH separation AND for faith-based initiatives-reread the First amendment, and check recent Supreme Court firt-amendment jurisprudence.

      Tim is a perfect Democrat.. everything is both ways, no matter what it is. I bet he thinks the sun comes up in the east and west. There is nothing about separation of church and state. That comment was written in a private letter from Thomas Jefferson. Google “Wall of separation Thomas Jefferson” and read it for your self.

      Recent Supreme Court first Amendment jurisprudence hasn't been constitutional for the past 40 years. They have barely supported the constitution on any matter much less the first amendment.

    31. Larry, Calif. says:


      Do you really believe the phrase "provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States" was intended to stand as authority for Congress to enact any law choose? Why, then, did the framers seek to limit the powers of the federal government? Think about it.

    32. Michael W. says:

      Listen to him. He said it twice. His lack of conviction shows he also is a puppet. VOTE HIM OUT.

      Elections have consequences.

    33. Pingback: Sorry, Sen. Akaka, “We’re helping people” isn’t Enough | www.statehousecall.org

    34. Michael W. says:

      To Jack Ryan: It doesn't. Keep voting the bums out.

    35. Michael W. says:

      To Justin in Philadelphia

      general welfare

      When the Constitution was written welfare had a WHOLE different meaning. The lazy bums who are on welfare have distorted the definition.

      Can you say fare well?

    36. Peter Asher says:


      "Providing for the general welfare" is then referred to only through the enumerated powers!

    37. David, Florida says:


      The Constitution did end slavery in the sense that it outlawed the importation of slaves within 20 years and counted them as 3/5 for voting purposes. I wish they would have ended it immediately but the Southern States would not have adopted the Constitution in this manner. Slavery is a horrific condition that existed all over the world for most of man's existence. America eventually got it right and many lives were lost in the process.

      On the general welfare clause, which is commonly used by progressives. How about we look to what the founder's said about this particular clause.

      I give you James Madison on the general welfare clause in Federalist no. 41:

      For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.

      The general welfare clause confers no authority on the federal government, it just introduces the specific, enumerated powers that follow it.

      Please find where they discuss health care?

      Don't create false arguments like we 'act like the constitution shouldn't be amended'. We have a process for that. If you are so confident that the majority of American people want government run health care, the Democrats should propose a "Constitutional Amendment" to do so. It would never pass and you know it.

    38. Ross writes from Bra says:

      I heard of this proposal several months ago. I understand that Arizona Representative John Shadegg has been trying to introduce this law since 1995. That the Senate did not have as sponsor until last year, now 22 members. The most co-sponsors in the House has been 54 members since his first try in 1995.

    39. Bill Sumner, Scottsd says:

      Buy health insurance of go to jail:

      Nancy Pelosi defended a section in the House Health Bill which provided for sending to prison anyone who refuses to purchase health insurance. A couple of talk radio hosts broadcast her saying this to an interviewer on Tuesday. This provision isn't widely known. It should be publicized!

    40. John, Colorado says:

      This Senator has a low level of intelligence and knowledge. Along with the U.S. Constitution, he ought to read, "Racketeering in Medicine", "World Without Cancer", "Vaccinations: Deception and Tragedy", "Natural Cures", "More Natural Cures", just for starters.

    41. John W Ross, PE---Su says:

      I have one thing to say to "Sonya, from Missouri" with regard to separation of church and state, and that is AMEN and AMEN if you other blind people will pardon the pun. The only thing the constitution says about religion is that the government cannot establish a State Church or State Religion. Why don't some of the people so against faith based ideas ( which work very well with regard to education) just go and READ THE CONSTITUTION before they start swinging their fists at the first good idea that comes along?

    42. Bobbie Jay says:

      This is and always has been wrong. Health insurance is a privilege. If people choose not to afford it that is their business. We've done without much to have it and so can anybody else! Get the minority of uninsured to figure it out at their expense like the insured majority did. No government option necessary!

    43. Gina, Illinois says:

      "To help them with their health" Is that right? How about upholding the Constitution and quit making the American people stress out about the direction of this country? That would help our health. How about not putting toxins in our food that MAKE people sick? That would help with our health!!!! and what about not making us worry weither you are going to stab us in the back when you are behind your closed doors? That would help our health.

      I would like to remind all of you reading that there will be the Copenhagen meeting where obama is to meet and sign away our soveringty.


      this is the link, if it works here. If not then please type the address in. If you are worried about the obamacare then you will definately be scared as heck of what he is planning on doing. If he gets away with this then we will no longer have a constitution to stand behind!!!!!! It is disguised global warming. Find petitions, write your reps because i promise you this is far worse than healthcare.

      God Bless the USA

    44. Sam says:

      There is nothing in the Constitution about separation of Church and State. The argument for this is based on a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote explaining his feeling about the spirit of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was not even one of the original authors of the Constitution, he was in France when it was written. People have grabbed onto this letter and sentiment from Jefferson using it as the basis of getting religion out of the public square. The framers of the Constitution did not want a State sponserd Religion, although many of the original colonies did have State religions in their own states, for instance in Penn. The United States was based on tolerance of Religion, we came here to escape intolerance of our religions. Of course the new state religion is climate change it is currently the only religion that can be taught to children in public schools, science politicized is always dangerous.I find it amazing that the new polutent worse than Nuclear Waste is carbon dioxide, something that every living creature expels.

    45. Ken Harkins, NJ says:

      The problem with slavery was that it already exsisted when the constitution was written. Slavery was considered an evil inherited by the south and in the first generation after the adoption of the constitution headway was being made toward abolishing it. The overlying trouble was the question of what to do with the slaves once they were freed. The institution of slavery was not defended or justified until many years later when extremist of the emancipation movement not only attacked slavery itself but the morals and character of the slaveowners with bitter and insensitive personal attacks. Within a generation the general outlook on slavery had changed. Men bitterly attacked will react with bitterness, even the churches and ministers of the south began to justify the practice by noting parts of the bible which showed slavery exsisted during christs time however if Jesus did not condemn the practice

    46. Ken Harkins, NJ says:

      As far as health care we as citizens have sat back far too long and allowed the goverment to slowly and methodically take more and more liberties from us all while insituting more and more poorly run programs, in the process becoming the model of inefficacy and waste on a scale so large is sinful. Now we will pay the price of our own passiveness. The Declaration of Independence states that we are born free with unalienable rights (those being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) which were given to us by GOD and that the goverment exsists to simply protect those rights the goverment derises irs powers from the people it governs not the other way around and God not the goverment has given us our rights. I think the “GENERAL WELFARE” clause needs to be looked at with the declaration in mind to see what the framers intended.

    47. Greg, Springfield To says:

      I don't like to be grammar police but "irregardless" is NOT a word.

    48. Charles, Alexandria, says:

      Much very intelligent and informed discussion here. Thanks to all.

    49. Publius Huldah, Cook says:

      I've posted two articles: One proves that the so-called "general welfare" clause does NOT authorize Congress to force us to buy health insurance, and the other proves that the "interstate commerce" clause does NOT authorize Congress to force us to buy health insurance. Here are the links:



      I hope you find these helpful in your discussions and correspondence. PH

    50. Publius Huldah, Cook says:

      I have also shown why health care can NOT be a "right"!


      We have surrendered the moral high ground to the hard left! This paper shows why OUR side is the one with the moral position!PH

    51. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      To help somebody help himself and help you, you need to know what he needs. As a matter of facts you KNOW what a homeless jobless penniless needs..to continue the job he started… and you've seen some of its results…

    52. Adam, Charlotte says:

      Way to beg the question there. This is why we cannot have nice things, because the "opposition" is being quite dishonest. The obvious answer is, no there isn't a constitutional basis for health insurance, but what difference does that make? Everything the government cannot do is outlined, not everything the government can do.

    53. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      These Demolition Plutocrats want nothing less than total domination of your entire life (and to make money running things into the ground). Mandatory Health Care Insurance which destroys the quality and availability of Medical Care is about as legal as a mandatory gambling law, you Shall Play The Lotto. The game is Risk Management not Health. Even the best doctor can't save an idiot from themselves, so it is Self Determination, ie. Liberty, Life and Pursuit of Happiness.

      I am absolutely sure the Government Option will not actually pay for medical care at crunch time, "You stupid citizens did it to yourselves!" If that's how it ends, then leave it alone. The Bills I have seen make it worse. So, "Is it Constitutional to mandate lose-lose propositions for the Citizens?"

      Free Health Care! Take a number, your wait will be a very long painful one. (Go to Mexico!)

    54. david, arkansas says:

      if health care passes both houses it's apparent that it will become a federal LAW. is it constitutional for them to exempt themselves from ANY federal law? comments please.

    55. Clint, Murray says:

      I read an article about another journalist that asked Pelosi the same question. Her response…"Seriously?" "Are you serious?" That was pretty much the brunt of it. Ask a logical, meanigful question and get an empty defensive answer. Anything else I guess would have been a shock. Must be hard for criminals to be open and honest.

    56. Al New Hampshire says:

      The constitution, specifically Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 is known as the Taxing and Spending Clause. It is the clause that gives the federal government of the United States its power of taxation. Component parts of this clause are known as the General Welfare Clause and the Uniformity Clause.

      Constitutional text

      “ The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"

      Under this clause the Congress has the power to pass laws that they alone consider meet the general welfare clause. The SCOTUS has ruled conclusively that Congress is free to interpret the clause as they see fit (within reason) and to raise money (taxes) to fund laws that are passed.

      While there is no specific language in the constitution that provides for universal healthcare neither is there anything that prohibits it.

    57. Butch, Northern Cali says:

      What a concept that the Congress should actually know what authority they are "limited to" by the Constitution. Somehow "provide for the general welfare" sounds considerably different than MANDATING for universal health insurance and it obviously means something much different as well. Vote the bums out at the first opportunity.

    58. Kelley, Colorado says:

      If the Government wants to help people "live a good life" build more recreation centers, give tax breaks for those of us who spend earnings on yoga. Offer more wellness clinics. Please do not mandate I spend more money with insurance companies, mandate car insurance rates, mandate car registration costs- cut the crazy waste of money and apply to health care! Regulate insurance companies and give americans more choices, majority will chose wisely! Burden individuals to not waste insurance benefits, ask any Dr. how much money is wasted by careless visits of highly insured individuals. Please give drug companies credit for programs they offer to help people receive prescription drugs- keep those programs going and make them easier to receive and apply for.

    59. frank says:

      Many of the points in the posts can be summarized in this good posting at Lew Rockwell,

    60. Ken Harkins, NJ says:

      Al New Hampshire writes:

      "While there is no specific language in the constitution that provides for universal healthcare neither is there anything that prohibits it."

      Al I guess you forgot that there are these things called amendments and the 10th limits the powers of the federal government to those specifically delegated by the constitution to ensure it would not infringe upon the rights of the people or allow it to get so full of itself as to believe it has the only proper solution for everything.

      James Madison who was one of the most instrumental people in the framing said that the greatest difficulty in setting up a government was first to enable it to control the governed as well as obliging it to control itself. He knew that without adding that specific clause eventually it would branch out well beyond the scope necessary to maintain the fine balance between tyranny and anarchy. That balance is called FREEDOM. Washington warned the nation in his farewell that if the people desire amendments to the constitution then amend it but to sidestep it, while the intention may be good to do so would lead to the death of a free government.

    61. Pingback: No Constitutional Authority « Craving Sanity

    62. Tom says:

      It is clear that those who feel that the federal government has the right to regulate and control every aspect of our lives for the general welfare of the people believe that the Commerce Clause provides the justification to require whatever the government needs. Those that believe the Founders purposely limited the power of the Federal Government to promote liberty for the citizens do not. The commerce clause allows congress to regulate commerce not to require it.

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