Healthcare: A Problem of the Nation? On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and as a result, uproar is across the nation. This act has an insurance mandate that requires citizens to buy health insurance. Debate amongst the nation is centered around three vital pieces of the Constitution: the necessary and proper clause, the commerce clause, and the power of Congress to wage levies and taxes ("Transcript of the Constitution”). However, the federal government did not have the power to pass this bill. As a law with penalties, this plan is unconstitutional because government run healthcare is not necessary or proper for the country’s welfare, and should be controlled by states because the decision for healthcare involves intrastate commerce. Regardless of a person’s opinion on nationwide healthcare, the Constitution doesn’t grant Congress the power to enact this law. Because health-care is not mentioned in the Constitution, the enumerated powers relevant to this debate are Congress’s ability to wage taxes and its ability to work for the general welfare of the country as necessary and proper ("Transcript of the Constitution”). Supporters of the plan argue that this mandate is only a tax for those without medical insurance, but the government is punishing these people with higher payments than the uninsured (Hederman). Therefore, it is not a tax but a punishment like a ticket. Furthermore, the necessary and proper clause allows Congress to use one of its enumerated powers to create laws when necessary. However, it cannot be said that punishing citizens for not buying health insurance is necessary or proper for the general welfare of the country. While supporters claim that health-care is an interstate act and applicable to the commerce clause, health-care is actually an intra-state act. The Commerce Clause states that the
federal government may regulate interstate commerce because of the commerce clause. Almost 70 years ago in Wickard v. Filburn, the federal government declared that the government can regulate goods that may affect interstate commerce under this Commerce Clause (“Wickard v. Filburn…”). However, the government has never shown it has the right to force consumers to buy a service that it feels affects interstate commerce. This measure would open the door to Congress virtually being able to force us to buy or do anything. An individual makes a decision within his or her own state to purchase health care with little to no relation to any interstate purchasing or selling. Therefore, states should regulate health-care. If the Supreme Court decides this plan is constitutional, federalism and the power of the states will be severely weakened. The state government is a sanctuary against government regulation in our lives. States are better equipped to understand their own citizen’s needs. Michigan is not like Texas, California, or even Ohio, so therefore, it’s important for our citizens to choose our state’s policies and not someone else’s. The state government allows politicians more personal interaction with citizens and more understanding of the experiences we have. State government is the representative force of the citizens. The president’s plan requires every American to buy an insurance plan. However, the federal government does not have the Constitutional power to require Americans to do either of these. The balance of power between the federal government and state government is at a crucial crossroad. Thomas Jefferson once said “a government big enough to give you what you want, is able to take away everything you have” (“Thomas Jefferson-Quotes”). The federal government will be vastly more powerful than state governments if this law stands. America’s citizens have been called upon throughout history to restore our nation’s core principles, and we face the same situation today. The P.P.A.F.C forces every citizen to obtain insurance without being necessary
and proper, and such a decision to purchase healthcare cannot be considered interstate commerce. Works Cited Hederman, Rea. "Obamacare: Higher Taxes, More Uninsured, Says CBO." The Foundry:Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation. 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://blog.heritage.org/2012/03/14/obamacare-higher-taxes-moreuninsured-says-cbo/> "Thomas Jefferson - Quotes, Thomas Jefferson Quotes." Media Bias. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. <http://www.fightthebias.com/Quotes/thomas_jefferson.htm>. "Transcript of the Constitution of the United States - Official Text." National Archives and Records Administration. The Charters of Freedom. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html>.