The federal government has no power to force people to buy health insurance

David Rivkin and Lee Casey argue in the Wall Street Journal that the proposed requirement that individuals buy health insurance under penalty of fines will not pass constitutional muster even under very expansive existing constitutional interpretations:

Since the 1930s, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to invalidate “regulatory” taxes. However, a tax that is so clearly a penalty for failing to comply with requirements otherwise beyond Congress’s constitutional power will present the question whether there are any limits on Congress’s power to regulate individual Americans. The Supreme Court has never accepted such a proposition, and it is unlikely to accept it now, even in an area as important as health care.

I note that in the debate on the Clinton health care bill in 1993-94, among hundreds of articles I read on the subject over an 18 month period, the only article that argued that the proposal was unconstitutional was by David Rivkin in the Wall Street Journal. I’m glad to see he’s back on the job.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 18, 2009 11:21 AM | Send

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