Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Uphold the Constitution? What Constitution

In their heedless rush to get something, anything which they can label "health care reform" through Congress before the 2010 election season makes such questions utterly irrelevant, it's perhaps wise that someone make the observation that it's entirely possible the bill in question won't survive judicial review. Among the myriad reasons for this are two biggies:
  • The individual mandate: Congress is requiring citizens to purchase a privately sold product, under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment, namely a health insurance policy. States can do this, but it is far from clear that the federal government has such a power, even under the broadest reading of the Interstate Commerce Clause, since interstate commerce in health insurance is actually prohibited by the bill.
  • Equal Protection: Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana got the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase, respectively, in exchange for their votes for the bill. Landrieu got $300 million in special favors for Louisiana. Meanwhile, Nebraska will get all of its future bills for Medicaid expansion paid for by the rest of us in perpetuity. Somehow, the idea of "equal protection" never entered this Congress' mind, did it? Under the Constitution, citizens of one state cannot be exempted from costs imposed on other states. We are still a nation of laws, and not of men, at least last time I checked.

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