ObamaCare in Federal Court: Analysis of Arguments

ObamaCare is in Federal Appeal Court. The arguments for and against the mandatory participation are being crystallized. The critical issue is that people who would choose to not purchase insurance will be penalized by having to pay hundreds of dollars each year when they file taxes with the Federal government.  In essence, the arguments are:

  • Health costs for uninsured people are shifted to those with insurance. Everybody participates with health care choices and commerce.  Hence, this constitutes interstate commerce and can therefore be regulated by Federal Congress.
  • The choice to not buy health insurance cannot be construed as participation in commerce, so Congress does not have a role regulating it. If allowed, then any lack of activity can be designated commerce and regulated. Congressional power would have no limit.

For two reasons, I have to agree with the later argument:

  1. When someone else (the poor person getting free health care and shifting cost to me) chooses to take an action, how can that commerce be contrued so as to regulate me?  If you do something, that does not give Congress the right to regulate me.  Hmm.. how does that compare in analogous issues?  The fact the someone else illegally used guns causes my gun purchase to be regulated.  Okay, I can see that.  However, that would be regulation my attempt to purchase something, not not purchase something.  Which brings me to my second reason to agree with the later argument.
  2. The cost shifting argument is specious, that would not be tolerated in any other context. Consider the tight analogy that I might choose to pickup up a hitchhiker in my pickup truck.  And, by currently choosing to give rides, I would be choosing to subsidize non-drivers.  What right would Congress have to come in and now tell me I must purchase a truck in order to keep picking up hitchhikers–and penalize me financially if I do not purchase a truck of their choice?  There’s no way this argument would carry weight.

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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