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…
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.
Of course, these constitutional impediments can be avoided if Congress is willing to raise corporate and/or income taxes enough to fund fully a new national health system.
Here’s the best part, what I have been saying for a long time.
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.
First, the vast majority of what congress does is unconstitutional, federal jurisprudence notwithstanding. Force and coercion are mainstays of pretty much everything the government does: taxation, spending, regulation, and a whole host of other measures designed to radically alter the free, voluntary transactions between free citizens. Even worse are the subtle yet omnipotent actions like the CRA which created massive new “demand” for homes among millions incapable of paying for them. And if that’s not enough, when did Congress decide it cold create a monopolist in control of the money supply?
The fact that this too would fail to meet constitutional muster is a trifling concern. Name one administration, republican or democrat, that didn’t treat the constitutional like a checkout counter tabloid. You look at it, laugh at the headlines, and move on.
But at least the authors got their economics right: our current health care system is based on theft. Until a pure free market in heath care exists, one that is based solely on a price system, where consumers pay producers for their goods and services, where the forces of scarcity, supply and demand, guide all decisions, then we’ll just dig ourselves deeper into a health abyss.
We haven’t had a constitution in at least a century. The piece of paper might exist. The words are still there. But beyond that, they haven’t taken their oaths of office too seriously for a long, long time.