How extreme ObamaCare really is
Author: Timothy Sandefur
The San Diego Daily Transcript has published the article that I coauthored with my colleague Luke Wake. Excerpt:
In Congress, no repeal effort—even if successful in the GOP House—would get past the Senate, let alone the president’s veto pen.
In answering the legal challenges to the new law, the Obama administration has given an extremely broad reading to Congress’ authority, under the Constitution, to “regulate commerce among the several states.” In the administration’s view, Washington can force Americans to buy insurance because any individual’s choice not to buy insurance has some ultimate effect, through supply and demand, on the national economy.
Consider how extreme that argument really is. Every purchasing decision a person makes has some effect, via supply and demand, on the price of products or services. If Congress can regulate any purchase—or any decision not to purchase—because it has some distant effect on supply and demand, there are simply no restrictions on the federal government’s reach. Congress could compel every American to join a gym for better health, or buy a car from General Motors to boost its sales.
If these seem like absurd possibilities, remember that when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was asked at her confirmation hearings whether Congress could force Americans to eat their vegetables every night, she refused to say no.
After all, eating vegetables does have some effect on the economy, at some point. That’s why Judge Hudson in the Virginia case declared that the administration’s argument “lacks logical limitation.”