Commerce

Obamacare

Category: Commerce
Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015 12:04
Written by Charles Martel
Hits: 595

 

I insist you buy my product.  I feel so strongly about this, that I will go to my federal Representative and Senators and demand they write a bill and pass it into law making it mandatory that ALL Americans buy my product.  The law will require that if you do not buy my product you will be fined/taxed.   It does not matter one iota what my product is.

My plan is definitely in the best interest of the country.  Because of the new demand for my product I will have to hire a lot more people to make my product.  Unemployment will drop.  GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will rise.  And the government will have to hire a lot of new bureaucrats to make sure everyone buys my product, thus employing even more people.  Probably, some people won’t be able to afford my product so my Senators will include a provision in the law that allows the federal government to offer a subsidy for those financially unable to comply.  Taxes may have to be raised to pay for the new federal employees and subsidies.  Of course, I will become very wealthy.  You won’t mind, right?

And my scheme is even Constitutional: “The Congress shall have Power… To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”.  This is the infamous “Commerce Clause” of the Constitution of the United States of America.  So even if you wanted to complain, it is pointless.  I have the law on my side.

 

By now you are likely outraged at my proposal.  I suspect every citizen would be highly incensed to hear this plan.

So how is my plan different from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, ACA, 0bamacare) passed in 2010 requiring every American citizen to purchase health insurance?  And not just any health insurance:  federal government specified policy coverage.  Let’s not even get into the argument about whether healthcare is a ‘right’. (And let’s be very clear:  0bamacare is NOT about health care it is ALL about health insurance!)  There is no valid cogent reasoning that can justify ANY level of government requiring the purchase of ANY product.

We might ask how is my proposed plan different from the government requiring that an American citizen purchase and wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle?  Of course, wearing a safety device like a helmet is a prudent thing to do.  But how is it the government’s authority to mandate it?  Not wearing a helmet hurts only the rider and his family.  It is not your concern.  And you can always choose to not ride a motorcycle.

 

IN addition to the outrageous inanity of a government requiring a private citizen to purchase any private product, this is a very easy case to which we can apply some common sense to refute the applicability of the Commerce Clause.  The Commerce Clause deals with ‘Commerce with foreign Nations, among the several States and with Indian Tribes’.  The typical American citizen is not a ‘foreign Nation’ by any stretch of the imagination and thus not covered by this clause.  Equally so, the typical American is not an ‘Indian Tribe’.  That leaves ‘among the several States’.  The common sense reading of this last phrase is that the federal government shall regulate commerce BETWEEN and among States.

The original fear was that the various States might raise protective physical and commercial barriers restricting the free flow of goods and services across State boundaries, thus effectively making each State a sovereign entity.  So while a trucking firm might have to pay a toll to use a road or a ‘tax’ or ‘use fee’ in each State (which are essentially use charges to help maintain the roads it travels), it does not have to pay a import duty to each State its vehicles might pass through.  Would you be happy paying an ‘entrance duty’ or applying for a ‘visa’ to every State you traveled through on your vacation?  The purpose of this Constitutional clause was to grant Congress the ability to regulate international and optimize interstate, not intrastate, trade.

“Aha,” you might exclaim, “insurance companies are national institutions and so my health insurance policy purchase is an interstate transaction!”  Quite so.  But the Tenth Amendment is interpreted to allow each State to have a Department of Insurance and regulate all insurance sold within its jurisdiction.  And the State does not REQUIRE you to purchase a health insurance policy.

“Aha,” you may pronounce again, “I MUST have insurance on my vehicle to operate it upon the State’s roads and I MUST have hazard insurance on my house!”  True.  But your mortgage lender – not the State – requires homeowner’s insurance and the State requires liability insurance on your vehicle operation should you inflict damage to another person’s property.  AND – you can certainly choose to not drive a car or buy a house.

And before you spout “Aha!” again citing your driver’s license, the State requires a ‘permit’, really, to show proof you are informed of their traffic laws and skilled enough to operate your vehicle.  Would you want just anyone to operate a multi-ton machine at high velocities without training while you, your spouse or your child are traveling the roads?

 

Once the precedent of the federal government mandating the purchase of health insurance is established, it can require citizens to purchase only American made vehicles (on the rationale that the domestic automobile industry must be ‘saved’ or protected), or mandate every person have cosmetic surgery (on the pretense that if everyone looks identical there will be no discrimination).  Do you really want that much control over your life?

 

[And as a parting point, let me state that there IS a difference between ‘health insurance’ and ‘medical insurance’.  The latter is the traditional product.  It covered large and catastrophic health issues.  It did not cover ‘well care’, normal checkups and incidental doctor visits.  ‘Health insurance’  covers ‘routine maintenance’ like annual physicals, vaccinations, doctor visits for minor aches and pains, etc.]

 

If the REAL reason for passing 0bamacare were to ensure access to medical care, then the law should have simply stated, “Access to medical care shall not be denied to any American citizen.”  Let’s see – that took… 906 fewer pages to state than Public Law 111–148 and it didn’t require any new taxes or bureaucracy.