There are great goings on in what will be the legacy of American liberty today, as the Individual Mandate passed under the auspices of Obamacare has rightly come under fire for extending the role of the Federal Government far too deeply into the personal freedoms of U.S. Citizens. Discussions initially begun yesterday among the Supreme Court Justices continued today, with the more conservative Justices challenging the edict that every American must purchase healthcare. Due to the potential impact of the ruling, we’ll touch on this topic today as it would be remiss not to.
I’m sure visitors to this site are familiar with the basic rudiments of Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [PPACA]), but to briefly touch upon it, PPACA does not provide a public option for universal healthcare. The government will not be taking on the costs for every citizen as with Canada or the UK, however it does extend coverage of Medicaid, which will add massively to the budget due to increased eligibility for a large number of Americans. What Obamacare really does is demand that every American have healthcare coverage either through work, private coverage or Medicaid/Medicare – and to forgo this forced coverage would mean a financial penalty and even potential jail time for noncompliance.
This is a slippery slope – this is the Federal Government telling Americans that they must purchase a product to ensure their own well being. And unlike auto insurance, which only requires liability insurance (to protect others, not the driver), the government is taking a massive step forward in deciding what is in every American’s best interest, regarding that person’s personal health, and making it a mandatory requirement.
Several Judges astutely inquired today about where the line ends if this act passes – will the government next require all Americans to “purchase cell phones in case of emergency”, asked Judge John G. Roberts Jr. And Judge Scalia questioned if we would be forced to buy broccoli because it’s so good for us.
The government is taking a stance of assumed negligence on the part of every American – that we don’t know enough to do what is in our own self-interests and that they must act to prevent theoretical threats from befalling us. Once the precedent is set that the government is our unofficial caretaker and well-being watchdog, there is nothing to stand in the way of constant sweeping mandates to the way in which we live our lives under the auspices of keeping America healthy. There are no limits in the Obamacare bill to reign in the government in any way should it pass unchallenged through this most recent gauntlet.
The Government’s argument for this unconstitutional power play is that healthcare is a business that takes up 1/5th of the U.S. economy and thus falls under The Commerce Clause, which gives it the power to pass laws governing economic activity among the states. However that argument makes little to no sense. As as of right now, it is still illegal to purchase health insurance across state lines, making healthcare a state-by-state issue. Unlike state-by-state laws requiring helmets or seatbelts (both of which I view as infringements on personal liberty and as pure money-making schemes for state governments) the Federal Government doesn’t have the right nor the jurisdiction to enact such a broad requirement.