The Constitutionality Of ObamaCare

A lot of people have been raising the question on whether or not ObamaCare is actually constitutional. Does that document — which spells out what powers the federal government does and does not have — really grant the authority to compel each and every single American to carry health insurance?

I consider myself an amateur Constitutional scholar, and I thought not. But then I remembered that President Obama is a Constitutional scholar (albeit with a nonexistent paper trail documenting his scholarship), so I realized that I was just not looking hard enough. So let’s go through the Constitution, line by line, and see where the authority for ObamaCare’s mandate derives.

Hey, right off the bat, I got something. It’s right in the Preamble!

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

(emphasis added)

I bet “promote the general Welfare” includes “demand people take steps to preserve their own specific Welfare, whether they want to or not” comes from that.

But that’s a hell of a slim reed — skinnier than Obama’s skin. (I agree Dennis Miller when he observed “it isn’t the color of Obama’s skin that bothers me, but the thinness.”) Let’s keep going.

Hey, this isn’t quite on topic, but the first line of Article I, Section 7 says “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Didn’t ObamaCare — with its new taxes — start in the Senate?

Never mind. Let’s get back to digging.

OK, here’s Article I, Section 8 (Max Klinger would be proud of that association). It starts off with this:

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;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

ObamaCare’s got THAT in spades. It’s got Taxes, Duties, fees, and whatnot all over the place, and it will likely involve borrowing money. I doubt the Founding Fathers ever imagined a federal budget — let alone a deficit — in the trillions, but they didn’t put a limit on digits in those numbers.

And there’s that “general Welfare” thing again, this time coupled with “provide for.” Considering how fewer people there were at the time that the Constitution was crafted, it’s surprising that they didn’t include “every specific individual” instead of “general,” but that was probably an oversight.

OK, that covers how the government can consider health insurance for every American as part of their Constitutional mandate. What about the mandatory part? That’s the real sticking point.

Hey, look at the very next line in Section 8! (Klinger, get rid of the dress. You’re not getting out of the Army that way.)

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

This is what is commonly referred to as the “Interstate Commerce Clause.” It says that the federall government has the final say in any commerce that crosses states lines, and no state can put limits on interstate commerce in excess of purely intrastate business.

I guess it’s really not that much of a stretch to go from “the federal government can regulate interstate commerce” to “the federal government can compel each and every citizen to buy a product from a company.

An obvious solution comes to mind. Simply get rid of private insurance companies entirely, and make the federal government the provider of health insurance. That changes the whole thing into a simple tax situation.

But that can’t happen, because President Obama promised that “if you like your current insurance, you can keep it.” I rather like having private insurance, and would like to stay off the government plan. And we can trust Obama’s promises — after all, it’s not like Obama’s promises come with expiration dates or something.

I’ve skimmed the rest of the Constitution, and can’t seem to find anything else that might apply. But again, I’m just an amateur.

Help me out here, folks. I can’t imagine that something as big as ObamaCare, which will fundamentally reshape our very society, could be built on such flimsy Constitutional grounds as I’ve discovered so far.

Could someone point me in the right direction?

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