Federal Judge: HCR Mandate is Constitutional
U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh has ruled that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance is a constitutional exercise of Congress’ power under the commerce clause.
The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market…
As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check. How participants in the health care services market pay for such services has a documented impact on interstate commerce…
Obviously, this market reality forms the rational basis for Congressional action designed to reduce the number of uninsureds.
The Supreme Court has consistently rejected claims that individuals who choose not to engage in commerce thereby place themselves beyond the reach of the Commerce Clause. See, e.g., Raich, 545 U.S. at 30 (rejecting the argument that plaintiffs’ home-grown marijuana was “entirely separated from the market”); Wickard, 317 U.S. at 127, 128 (home-grown wheat “competes with wheat in commerce” and “may forestall resort to the market”); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) (Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate decisions not to engage in transactions with persons with whom plaintiff did not wish to deal).
The logical extensions of this ruling, if it were to stand, are obvious. For instance, since everyone inevitably dies, Congress can require you to purchase life insurance, or a pre-paid funeral services. Similarly, we all eat, wear clothes, etc.
Essentially, this decision gives power the Congress to regulate practically any area of human necessity.
Here’s something I’ve been re-reading a lot, lately:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.