The Coming 'Monstrosity' Battle
After the Republican election sweep, presumptive House Speaker
Interesting that in an election in which secret corporate donors poured hundreds of millions of dollars into political attack ads to defeat Democrats, Boehner chose the word "monstrosity" to describe a program that benefits average folks. I can think of other apt uses for the word.
We'll soon see whether Boehner launches his congressional attack through frontal assault or death by a thousand cuts. Meanwhile, various legal challenges to the measure's constitutionality, filed largely by Republican state attorney generals are percolating through the courts.
These cases will test the objectivity of the
Central to the argument of health reform opponents is their claim that the federal government doesn't have the power to require Americans to buy health care coverage or pay a tax penalty, because inaction -- the decision not to buy health insurance -- doesn't impact interstate commerce.
The Commerce Clause gives the federal government the authority to broadly act in any area of economic activity that affects interstate commerce. To get a sense of just how far into personal economic decisions
After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, hotels, motels and restaurants in the segregated South claimed they could refuse to serve African American patrons since their local businesses didn't impact interstate commerce. That argument didn't fly.
In cases involving
Just like the opponents of health reform, the owners of Heart of
The court has accepted highly attenuated connections to interstate commerce as the basis for regulation. Consider the case of
Although Filburn's demand for purchased wheat "may be trivial," the court said, when it is combined with others similarly situated, it "is far from trivial."
The high court reiterated this reasoning as recently as 2005 in Gonzales vs. Raich. Here, in a 6-to-3 ruling, the court upheld a federal ban on marijuana possession against two
Doesn't this reasoning directly apply to people who refuse to buy health insurance? The individual mandate is necessary because without it people would wait until they became sick to purchase health insurance, skewing the market and driving up insurance costs. Or they would never buy health insurance, shifting the cost of their inevitable medical needs to everyone else. One person's decision to forego coverage may be trivial, but that of thousands or millions is not. It would literally bring down a national health care system.
Under current precedent, health reform is constitutional. An intellectually honest
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The Coming 'Monstrosity' Battle | Politics
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