Tuesday, March 27, 2012

‘Republicans For Mandating Coverage’ Calls On The Supreme Court To Uphold Health Reform

March 26 – Republicans For Mandating Coverage (RMC) — a 51-member coalition representing Republicans who supported a federal health care mandate before President Barack Obama endorsed it — urged the Supreme Court on Monday to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate:

As Republicans who have co-sponsored or supported legislation requiring all Americans to purchase individual health insurance in 1993, 1994, 2007, and as recently as 2009, RMC believes that the mandate is based on the fundamental American principle of personal responsibility, rooted in conservative jurisprudence surrounding the Constitution’s Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses.

In the words of Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Republicans “don’t think the free market ever envisioned an idea that people would be able to do something and make other people pay for it.” “People are either going to buy insurance or they’re going to pay for their own care. They’re not going to say, ‘I got care and you Mr. Tax Payer or You Mr. Premium Payer are going to pay for me.”

‘Republicans For Mandating Coverage’ believes that this is an “American principle” — a principle of “personal responsibility” — that can be constitutionally enforced by the federal government.
Since nearly all Americans are already part of the health care marketplace and health care affects 17 percent of the economy, Congress is authorized to regulate health care behavior under the Commerce Clause. As conservative Judge Laurence Silberman put it: “At the time the Constitution was fashioned, to ‘regulate’ meant, as it does now, ‘[t]o adjust by rule or method,’ as well as ‘[t]o direct.’ To ‘direct,’ in turn, included ‘[t]o prescribe certain measure[s]; to mark out a certain course,’ and ‘[t]o order; to command.’ In other words, to ‘regulate’ can mean to require action, and nothing in the definition appears to limit that power only to those already active in relation to an interstate market.”

The Supreme Court can also find justification for the mandate in the Necessary and Proper Clause. In Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court decided not to strike down a provision of law when that provision is an “essential part of a larger regulation of economic activity.” Justice Antonin Scalia explained in a concurring opinion that “where Congress has the authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective.”

Whole article at Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/26/451406/rmc/

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