Is Mandated Health Care Constitutional?

Mirage

Administrator
Staff member
V.I.P.
#1
This issue has come up a lot lately in political discussions. Do you believe it is Constitutional for the US government to mandate that people buy health insurance?

Why or why not?
 

pro2A

Hell, It's about time!
#2
Nope. You can't mandate that everyone must buy something. If someone can show me a clause in the Constitution that specifically mandates that the congress has the power to make people buy something, I'll sell all my guns.

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;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;



To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;



To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;



To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;



To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;



To establish Post Offices and post Roads;



To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;



To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;



To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;



To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;



To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;



To provide and maintain a Navy;



To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;



To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;



To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;



To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And



To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Nope, don't see "Make the people buy health care"
 

Sigurd

Internet Dig Dug
#3
I think it's Constitutional, personally I think what the republicans are doing is basically their last attempt at getting the reform thrown out and never to be brought up ever again.
 

pro2A

Hell, It's about time!
#4
I think it's Constitutional, personally I think what the republicans are doing is basically their last attempt at getting the reform thrown out and never to be brought up ever again.
The public doesn't want this piece of crap. Every poll I have seen supports that. Congress did it anyway. It gives the government WAY too much power to control what we do in our lives... Control is the opposite of Liberty, therefore it's unconstitutional. This health care thing is not about health, it's about control of you and your life. If you don't do what they want... voila, no health care for you.

Do you really honestly think that that founders wanted the government to be the arbiter of what is right and wrong?
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
#5
The public doesn't want this piece of crap. Every poll I have seen supports that.
that's funny, every poll I've seen says just the opposite - people do want reform.

anyway, I think it's interesting that people are all up in arms that the government wants us to have health insurance, but no one says anything about the fact that we're required to have car insurance or pay a very hefty fine.
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
#6
that's funny, every poll I've seen says just the opposite - people do want reform.

anyway, I think it's interesting that people are all up in arms that the government wants us to have health insurance, but no one says anything about the fact that we're required to have car insurance or pay a very hefty fine.
People want reform - just not necessarily this type of reform.

Also, there's a way around car insurance - don't drive a car. It's a bit harder to ask people to not be alive to avoid health insurance...
 

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
#8
No, as SS rightly points out in another thread we already talked about court precedent and showed that under a strict interpretation of the Constitution there is no clear clause mandating that people be forced to buy healthcare--under a looser interpretation, yes. As a history student, there is no doubt in my mind of studying the Constitutional history of the U.S. that this bill cannot be fully enforced through a strict interpretation.

BUT...

I honestly have to say that if this bill were better, like really-really amazing, then I would believe that it would be time to make another amendment to the Constitution if it were so required. I think we are at another turning point in social legislation and need to really think all this through--seeing as how citizens are throwing bricks through windows and politicians are doing the same old song and dance.
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
#9
I was thinking about putting this in a blog but I guess I can post this here.

In several thread I've made the argument that this piece of legislation is not Constitutional (and thanks SS for posting a link to my post pointing out the difference between this and buying car insurance).

The crux of my argument is that Congress does not have the authority to mandate that someone purchase a product, to force anyone to enter into a contract with another.

Now, much has been made lately about slippery slope arguments and that reminds me of the situation we have now and I'm going to go back to that in a bit.

During the Constitutional debates there were essentially three views regarding the General Welfare Clause. The most expansive view, not advocated by neither Hamilton or Madison, was that Congress can serve the general welfare in whatever way it pleases. Hamilton's view was that Congress could tax and spend to execute its enumerated powers provided only that the purpose of the tax was to promote the general welfare. Madison's view was that the General Welfare did not empower Congress to do anything beyond those particular authorizations granted in the remainder of Article I Sec. 8. Madison argued that any other interpretation would make a mockery of limited government. He advocated for the position that if Congress had an independent power to tax for the general welfare then the other enumerated powers would be excess verbiage.

For the longest time Madison's viewpoint was the accepted viewpoint. The Supreme Court struck down the 1933 Agriculture Adjustment Act as an unconstitutional tax. Justice Owen Roberts wrote "The power to tax and spend is not without constitutional restraints." The Court struck it down on Tenth Amendment grounds.

The following year however the Court held in Helvering v. Davis that the Social Security Act did not violate the Tenth Amendment and that Congress had the power to tax for the public good. As we all know the Social Security Act is a tax that is imposed on all workers in the U.S. I find it unconstitutional because 1) you are forced to pay into it 2) you are not automatically entitled to any social security benefits, you must apply for it and if denied you can appeal to a court run by Social Security. Thus they are a segment of the executive branch, they make laws regarding social security (the job of the legislative branch) and assume the job of the judiciary as they control the appeals process. Thus it's a violation of the seperation of powers.

Now, at the time there were legal scholars, some on the Supreme Court, professors, congressman etc..that argued this as well as an expansion of the Commerce Clause would lead to a government that would exercise the tax and spending clause and the General Welfare Clause to impose a fine if you do not participate in certain goverment mandates. So here we are a little over 70 years later and it's come true. Thus the slippery slope argument is not always invalid.

So, is the bill constitutional? If I were on the court I'd say no. Will it be deemed to be constitutional? I'm more and more convinced that it will be. I think Justice Kennedy will be the swing vote and my guess is he will vote along with Ginsburg, Stevens, Sotomayor and Breyer. They may use Helvering as precedent as a tax that can be used for the General Welfare, adopting the expansive viewpoint not advocated by Hamilton or Madison.

EDIT: I realized later I included Suter instead of Sotomayor.
 
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#10
No, no and no. Besides the no's it's too much government control over what we do. If anything, we need less of that and more freedom of choice. Taking away choice and charging a fee if you don't buy coverage is a little un-American way of thinking, I believe.

While I do agree with of a passing (not being able to drop once you need to use your coverage), I don't think the American people's dime should be spent covering somebody else. A few months ago I did feel we should help each other out, although now it's changed into the thinking that we should regulate how much they charge - not only the insurance companies, but the hospitals as well. $5,ooo for a broken arm? Hell no. $2oo,ooo for a surgery? You crazy? Not only are the premiums and deductibles insane, the amount you are paying without coverage is even insane-er (not a word, but roll with it. ;P)

Our government is trying... well, not trying THEY ARE playing the role of Robin Hood: steal (yes, steal) from the rich to give to the poor. As we all know Robin Hood would be classified as a socialist. Why isn't anybody outrage that the rich are going to be taxed for this? Isn't that discrimination? To have one group suffer more than the rest? Oh wait, rich, white people and in some cases men can't be discriminated against. I'm sorry, I forgot.