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Supreme Court Expected to Review Democrats’ Unpopular Requirement to Purchase Government-Approved Health Coverage

October 03, 2011

The United States Supreme Court starts its new term today and the Court is expected to hear and issue a landmark opinion that will determine, “whether the federal government can issue a mandate that Americans purchase and maintain health insurance from a private company for the entirety of their lives.”

While Democrats are already politicizing and trying to trivialize this critical issue, there is no denying that the requirement that Americans purchase government-approved health coverage, the “individual mandate,” remains incredibly unpopular.   

Documents filed with the Court illustrate that, if not overturned, the individual mandate in the Democrats’ health law will pave way for the government to dictate what the American people buy, how much they spend, and what kind of product or service they purchase.  

Unprecedented Power to the Government

In finding the individual mandate unconstitutional, the 11th Circuit makes clear the significance of the issue for the American people, noting:  

The fact that Congress has never before exercised this supposed authority is telling … Few powers, if any, could be more attractive to Congress than compelling the purchase of certain products. Yet even if we focus on the modern era, when congressional power under the Commerce Clause has been at its height, Congress still has not asserted this authority. Even in the face of a Great Depression, a World War, a Cold War, recessions, oil shocks, inflation, and unemployment, Congress never sought to require the purchase of wheat or war bonds, force a higher savings rate or greater consumption of American goods, or require every American to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle … ‘“[I]f . . . earlier Congresses avoided use of this highly attractive power, we would have reason to believe that the power was thought not to exist.’”

 As Speaker Boehner’s Amicus Brief in the 11th Circuit case details, even the Obama Administration fears the Democrats’ health care law could have disastrous effects:

The Obama Administration ‘claim[s] the Individual Mandate is necessary to avert the harmful consequences of the PPACA itself … [and] constitute a string of stunning insights into the harsh consequences of the PPACA without the Individual Mandate.’”

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a plaintiff in the multi-state lawsuit wrote in its brief:

As the district court correctly held, ‘[n]ever before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States.’”

“In short, as the district court correctly held, ‘[t]he problem with this [the government’s] legal rationale … is it would essentially have unlimited application,’ because ‘[t]here is quite literally no decision that, in the natural course of events, does not have an[aggregate] economic impact of some sort.’”

Finally, even President Obama, as then-candidate Obama argued in 2008,
outlined concerns about the individual mandate that were later echoed by the 11th Circuit:  

Both of us want to provide health care to all Americans. There’s a slight difference, and her [Senator Clinton] plan is a good one. But, she mandates that everybody buy health care. She’d have the government force every individual to buy insurance and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance, it’s that they can’t afford it … if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t.”

Clearly, the individual mandate, along with the rest of the Democrats’ health care law, must go.