Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Part IV: Contract On America

When asked whether any compulsory insurance purchases are constitutional, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was genuinely astonished: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" l

Because of socialized medicine imposed on us from on high, for the first time in American history, the federal government is requiring each American citizen to enter into a contract with a third party (a health insurance company). Should you fail to do so, you will incur a criminal penalty (a fine). There are no exceptions. It applies to all citizens and permanent residents. (While it does not apply to illegal aliens, that is a mere formality as Obama plans on offering Amnesty to illegal aliens. He actually refuses to use the term "illegal aliens", instead he refers to them as "soon to be registered Democrats".)

Now whenever Congress passes a law, we should all be in the habit of asking "Where do they get the power to do so?" Congressional power & authority is limited by the U.S. Constitution. Usually, in the law itself, you will find language that cites the specific provision in the Constitution that grants Congress the power to enact that law.

In the socialized medicine bill, Congress says that the commerce clause of the Constitution gives them the authority to require that every American purchase health insurance.

While there is no question that Congress has the right to regulate interstate commerce, this bill compels Americans who choose to NOT engage in interstate commerce to enter into a contract or face a criminal penalty.

So the Constitutional Question is: Does the reach of the commerce clause extend to Americans who choose to NOT engage in commerce? In other words, if I don't want to buy health insurance, does the federal government have the authority to make me do so under the penalty of law?

Now our liberal friends, who are soft of mind and bleeding of heart, argue that since there is a "social good" that comes out of mandating that we all purchase health insurance, it is perfectly acceptable to require Americans to enter into a contract against their will.

That is a very scary argument to make my friends.

If you think that compelling Americans to enter into a contract or buy a product against their will is constitutional because: (1) the underlying activity affects interstate commerce; and (2) there is a "social good" that comes from requiring them to so, then where does it end?

What other products and services can we be compelled to buy?

If the President tells us that energy conservation is important, can he compel us to purchase a windmill or solar panels or face a criminal penalty? If you think mandatory health insurance is constitutional, you HAVE to think this would be constitutional as well. Energy use, like health care, is an interstate activity, right? And energy conservation much like universal health insurance, is a common good, correct?

Can the Congress pass a law requiring that FAT BASTARDS like Baldman purchase a StairMaster from a government approved manufacturer? Can they put an ankle bracelet on Baldman's FAT ankle to ensure that he is using it? Why not? Doesn't the costs of obesity effect interstate commerce? Wouldn't it help society if the Baldman's of the world lost weight?

You may try to shrug off the examples above as being extreme. But they are not. Requiring Americans to enter into a contract against their will is the extreme thing. And the unconstitutional thing.

And that is now the law.


Anonymous said...

This is nothing but talking points. We are mandated by the gov to pay income tax don't we? The gov also mandates hospitals to treat people free for charge when coming to ER without insurance/ability to pay. What is wrong with you paying for your health care if you are able to afford it. If one refuse to buy insurance for preventive care then the ER should refuse he or she when such individual shows up there half dead with no money to pay the bills. Similarly, If you refuse to wear a seat belt, you will pay a fine. This also gov mandate. You can take this loophole and run as much as you want with it but the bill will prevail.

Alex Baldman said...

A little constitutional housekeeping: the power Congress has to compel Americans to pay income taxes comes specifically from the 16th Amendment. If there were no 16th Amendment, Congress would not have the power to tax. Thus, I would never argue that Congress does not have the right to tax. Again, the theme of the post is that Congressional power does not extend to force Americans to enter into contracts or buy a product. Which makes your seat belt analogy flawed. Once you choose to buy a car, you are subject to laws regarding safety etc. But Congress cannot pass a law that would require you to buy a car, right? Similarly, they can't force you to buy any other product, including health insurance. Regarding your comment on right or wrong, with all due respect, it does not matter whether you think it is right, or I think it is wrong. What matters is that Congress exercise powers granted to it under the constitution. And in this case, it has not. Finally, please note that I agree with you on one point: as much as I disagree with it, this bill is here to stay. Thanks for reading & writing.

Anonymous said...

How does the fact that by law we have to have auto insurance differ from health insurance? Just checking.

Alex Baldman said...

Here is the difference: you only have to have auto insurance once you decide to purchase a car. You make the choice to buy a car, and with that choice comes certain requirements, including auto insurance. Under this bill, you have to buy the product--health insurance--NO MATTER WHAT. There is no underlying transaction -which you freely entered into-that triggers you having to purchase health insurance. Its a big difference.

Anonymous said...

I figured that's why you tried the water aerobics class...couldn't agree with you more, Don Quixote

Danny said...

Just found your blog. I support aspects of the bill but your argument about forcing one to enter into a contract is valid. As a matter of fact due to contract law it actually makes the entire bill invalid, because a contract is null and void if any party can be proved to have been forced to enter into it under duress.

Alex Baldman said...


Very nice weaving of the Baldman water aerobics experience into the health care debacle. If I tried to do it now, I would need to fill out endless forms before they let me into the pool.

Alex Baldman said...


Great point. The contract would be signed under duress because it is done so under penalty of law.

Thanks for reading & writing.