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Health Care Reform: An Unprecedented Expansion of Federal Power

  • December 14, 2010

    Yesterday, in a 42-page opinion, a Virginia Judge struck down the Individual Mandate portion of President Obama’s health care reform bill. This mandate requires that every U.S. citizen purchase “acceptable” health care insurance by 2014, or pay a fine to the government. While Obama and his fellow Democrats (not a single Republican voted for the final version) contend that they have the power to do this under the Constitution’s interstate Commerce Clause, the Judge ruled otherwise.

    Specifically, he found that the mandate is an “unprecedented expansion of federal power that cannot be supported by Congress's power to regulate interstate trade.” He then went on to find that "neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]”

    This ruling deals a blow directly to the heart of this expansive and intrusive legislation. Government cannot compel you to purchase something from a private market against your will. Unlike a government mandate to purchase car insurance, where you have the option not to drive, here there is no alternative to simply living your life as a U.S. citizen! Virginia’s Attorney General, Ken Cuccinnelli, has already called for this case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. This would bring the case outside of the normal judicial procedure, but this case is of significant national importance. This bill affects the lives of every U.S. citizen. Allowing its programs to continue to be implemented while the judicial process continues is a travesty. The Supreme Court must act now to stop this bill, and its ill effects.

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