Mandatory Health Insurance As Constitutional As Taxes!

22 10 2009


According to Matt Cover of, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that Americans are required to buy health insurance, “like paying taxes.” He added that Congress has “broad authority” to force Americans to purchase other things as well, so long as it was trying to promote “the general welfare.”

Hoyer’s astonishing claim is completely contrary to what the Congressional Budget Office said in 1994:

A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

Steny Hoyer is a very small man

Steny Hoyer is a very small man

At his weekly press briefing yesterday, Oct. 20, Hoyer was asked by where in the Constitution was Congress granted the power to mandate that a person must buy a health insurance policy. Hoyer said that, in providing for the general welfare, Congress had “broad authority.” He compared a health insurance mandate to the federal government’s power to levy taxes, saying “we mandate other things as well, like paying taxes.”

The section of the Constitution Hoyer was referring to, Article I, Section 8, outlines the powers of Congress, including raising taxes, but not the purchasing any type of product or service. Section 8 partly reads:

“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

The Constitution then details the specific powers of Congress, including raising an Army and Navy, regulating commerce between states, and to “make all laws necessary and proper” for the carrying out of these enumerated powers. “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof,” concludes Section 8. also asked Hoyer if there is a limit to what Congress can mandate that Americans purchase and whether there is anything that specifically could not be mandated to purchase. Hoyer said that eventually the Supreme Court would find a limit to Congress’ power, adding that mandates that unfairly favored one person or company over another would obviously be unconstitutional.

Hoyer insisted that the insurance mandate was constitutional because Congress is not forcing Americans to buy one particular policy, just any health insurance policy. “We don’t mandate that they buy a particular insurance [policy] but what we do mandate is that like driving a car — if you’re going to drive a car, to protect people on the roadway, and yourself, and the public for having to pay your expenses if you get hurt badly – that you need to have insurance,” said Hoyer.

Under all five of the health care bills currently being considered in Congress, every American adult would have to have a policy that conformed to government standards for coverage and premiums. Each bill creates Bronze, Silver, and Gold health insurance plans and mandates that Americans buy one of them, either through their employer or through government-run exchanges.

David B. Rivkin, a constitutional lawyer with Baker & Hostetler, told that Hoyer’s argument was “silly,” adding that if the general welfare clause was that elastic, then nothing would be outside of Congress’ powers. “Congressman Hoyer is wrong,” Rivkin said. “The notion that the general welfare language is a basis for a specific legislative exercise is all silly because if that’s true, because general welfare language is inherently limitless, then the federal government can do anything.





3 responses

22 10 2009
When Will The Insurance Lobby Force Us To Have Medical Insurance Like The Did Auto Insurance?

[…] Mandatory Health Insurance As Constitutional As Taxes … […]

22 10 2009
Individual Healthcare Insurance — Steps You Should NOT Miss | Affordable Health Insurance

[…] Mandatory Health Insurance As Constitutional As Taxes … […]

1 11 2009
Joe DuPont

Great article . Mandatory Health Insurance is an affront to every concept of freedom we have. OUr military should be back in the United States and protecting our freedoms.

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