6th Circuit Rules Obamacare Constitutional
Judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Obamacare’s individual mandate is “a valid exercise of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause.” The 6th Circuit covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The ruling reflects what we already know: the Supreme Court of the United States will eventually decide the matter.
As The Heritage Foundation lays out (in great detail), the individual mandate is unconstitutional:
Individuals’ decisions not to enter certain economic transactions have never before subjected them to the federal regulation of a market that they have chosen not to enter. The health bill’s individual mandate provision would have the unprecedented effect of subjecting an individual’s decisions to federal control by virtue of the fact that the individual merely resides within the borders of the United States. No such result was supported or even contemplated by the Supreme Court in Katzenbach or Heart of Atlanta Motel.
A U.S. District Court Judge in Florida made a similar argument:
A thorough survey of pertinent Constitutional case law has yielded no reported decisions from any appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or the General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme. The unchecked expansion of Congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police power. At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage. It’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.
Many on the Left like to avoid the constitutional arguments and craft a straw man argument: the government can compel you to buy auto insurance, so it can do the same for health insurance. Heritage debunks that one, too:
- 1. No Police Power. Congress has never been thought to have police power, and the Supreme Court has always denied that such plenary federal power exists.
- 2. Voluntary Act. Automobile insurance requirements impose a condition on the voluntary activity of driving; a health insurance mandate imposes a condition on life itself.
- 3. Public Roads. State auto insurance requirements are limited to those who drive on public roads. The public roads are mostly constructed, owned, and maintained by the government, or in some other cases, are built on public rights of way or through the use of eminent domain.
- 4. Third Party Liability. States require drivers to maintain auto insurance only to cover injuries to others. The mandate does not require drivers to insure themselves or their property against injury or damage.
Heritage concludes “comparisons between a federal mandate for personal health insurance and the state auto insurance requirements are specious.”
Although Obamacare is clearly unconstitutional, today’s ruling should serve as a reminder that we cannot leave our fate up to the judiciary. Congress must repeal Obamacare in its entirety.