Opposing View On Insurance Mandate: Breathing Is Not Commerce
By John Boehner
As if Democrats’ new health care law — with its tax hikes, higher costs, and Medicare cuts to establish a new federal entitlement and massive new bureaucracies — isn’t already intrusive enough, at its heart lies an individual mandate that forces Americans to buy government-approved health insurance or pay a tax.
This is the first time in American history that Congress has passed a law mandating that you buy something simply because you’re breathing. Don’t take my word for it: In 1994, the Congressional Budget Office called such a move an “unprecedented form of federal action.” The feds have “never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence.”
If the federal government thinks it can get away with this kind of power grab, it will think it can do anything. In response, 21 states and the nation’s leading small business organization agree that this mandate is unconstitutional, and they are fighting to overturn it. Earlier this month, Missouri voters, to the tune of 71%, chose to reject the mandate. That’s more than decisive. That’s a landslide.
Yet the Professional Left running our government isn’t listening to Missourians or anyone else. The Obama administration is fighting to stay in the business of forcing you to buy health insurance and taxing you if you don’t. The law itself cites the power to regulate “commerce.” Democrats compare it with how nearly all states require car owners to purchase auto insurance. You don’t need to purchase a car. You do need to breathe.
With the “commerce” argument faltering, the Obama administration is now defending the mandate as a tax — in federal court, no less — a notion the president repeatedly rejected last year.
From the get-go, of course, the health care debate has been about costs, and here the mandate fails, too. As USA TODAY editorialized last fall, “The individual mandate must be accompanied by affordable insurance policies.” It is not. According to the agency that administers Medicare, the new law is unlikely to lower insurance premiums as promised.
Instead of saying and doing anything to protect this job-killing health care law, Democrats should work with Republicans to repeal it and replace it with common-sense reforms focused on lowering costs and protecting jobs.
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