Here is a link to the Senate’s health care bill.
Perusing some of its 2000 pages, I came across the following, SEC. 1501 (p. 320), which should put to rest any argument that an individual mandate exceeds Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause:
Congress makes the following findings: In GENERAL.—The individual responsibility requirement provided for in this section . . . affects interstate commerce, as a result of . . . the following:
(A) The requirement regulates activity that is commercial and economic in nature: economic and financial decisions about how and when health care is paid for, and when health insurance is purchased.
(B) Health insurance and health care services are a significant part of the national economy. . . . Private health insurance . . . pays for medical supplies, drugs, and equipment that are shipped in interstate commerce. Since most health insurance is sold by national or regional health insurance companies, health insurance is sold in interstate commerce and claims payments flow through interstate commerce.
(C) The requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will add millions of new consumers to the health insurance market, increasing the supply of, and demand for, health care services. . . .
(E) Half of all personal bankruptcies are caused in part by medical expenses. By significantly increasing health insurance coverage, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will improve financial security for families.
(F) . . . if there were no requirement, many individuals would wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care. . . . The requirement is essential to creating effective health insurance markets in which improved health insurance products that are guaranteed issue and do not exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions can be sold….
(H) . . . . By significantly increasing health insurance coverage and the size of purchasing pools, which will increase economies of scale, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will significantly reduce administrative costs and lower health insurance premiums.
Good job, Senate drafters.
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The views reflected in this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law or Georgetown University. This blog is solely informational in nature, and not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed and retained attorney in your state or country.