Obama's mandate for individual health insurance is irresponsible, unfair...and unconstitutional. Don't take my word for it, here's how Team Obama disparaged individual health insurance mandates, circa 2008:
"[The] Plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it... and you pay a penalty if you don't."
"...the way [the plan] covers everyone is to have the government force uninsured people to buy insurance..." [emphasis mine]
...Or as Jackie Chiles might say, "It's Outrageous, egregious and preposterous!"
But Obama has come a long way since those halcyon days of yesteryear. Now the uninsured are in his crosshairs. If you dare to go without health insurance, watch out. Obama knows where you live:
"The problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don’t sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for those people’s expensive emergency room visits. If some businesses don’t provide workers health care, it forces the rest of us to pick up the tab when their workers get sick, and gives those businesses an unfair advantage over their competitors. And unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek – especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions – just can’t be achieved. That’s why under my plan, individuals will be
forced required to carry basic health insurance."
There's a small problem with all of this — the Constitution:
The elephant in the room is the Constitution. As every civics class once taught, the federal government is a government of limited, enumerated powers, with the states retaining broad regulatory authority.
It is the authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce that—in one way or another—supports most of the elaborate federal regulatory system. If the federal government has any right to reform, revise or remake the American health-care system, it must be found in this all-important provision. This is especially true of any mandate that every American obtain health-care insurance or face a penalty.
...Of course, a health-care mandate would not regulate any "activity," such as employment or growing pot in the bathroom, at all. Simply being an American would trigger it.
...Taxation can favor one industry or course of action over another, but a "tax" that falls exclusively on anyone who is uninsured is a penalty beyond Congress's authority. If the rule were otherwise, Congress could evade all constitutional limits by "taxing" anyone who doesn't follow an order of any kind—whether to obtain health-care insurance, or to join a health club, or exercise regularly, or even eat your vegetables.
The Wall Street Journal distills the latest iteration of ObamaCare down to it's essence: "Everyone would be forced to buy these government-approved policies, whether or not they suit their needs or budget. Families would face tax penalties as high as $3,800 a year for not complying, singles $950. As one resident of Massachusetts where Mitt Romney imposed an individual mandate in 2006 put it in a Journal story yesterday, this is like taxing the homeless for not buying a mansion."
Health care by government force? ...In 2008, Obama had the sense to ask, "Is that the best we can do for families struggling with high health care costs?"
Outrageous, Egregious, Preposterous...
Why an individual mandate could be struck down by the courts.
Obama opposed individual health insurance mandates
The Obama-Baucus plan would make health insurance even more expensive.
ObamaCare...a return to rugged individualism? Obama: “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for anymore.” h/t: The 46