Health Care, Individual Mandates and the Founding Fathers

May 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

A friend of mine, David Lopez, has called my attention to an amazing piece of research by a Harvard Law Professor, Einer Elhauge, that, at least to me, proves that the current faux outrage by critics of the Affordable Health Care Act’s “individual mandate” is based either on ignorance or a gross misunderstanding of American history.  The Professor found ample evidence that, far from being unprecedented, radical and un-Anerican, Congress has, since its first session, used the commerce clause to justify enforceable requirements that American citizens buy things and services.

In an article published in the April 13, 2012 issue of New Republic, Professor Elhauge cites laws enacted during the George Washington administration, supported by several of the signers and designers of the Constitution, requiring American citizens to buy guns and requiring American sailors to purchase, through paycheck deductions, health insurance, all based on the commerce clause.

Here is a link to the article:  Individual Mandate .  Professor Elhauge has submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the pending challenge to the constitutionality of the Health Care Act.

It would be nice if CNN, MSNBC or FOX would confront some of the Republican bloviaters on this subject with a dose of the Professor’s facts.  I don’t expect that to happen because, except for Rachel Maddow and some of her collegues at MSNBC, the “mainstream” reporters rarely get beyond comparing the talking points of the two sides of every political argument.

If you enjoy some first-class historical/legal research, check out the article.  Also, if you want to see the reaction to it by other lawyers and scholars, and Professor Elhaughe’s responses to them, just do a Google search for his name and read some of the items that come up.  The professor is like Carmen Basilio, a welterweight boxer and onion farmer from New York.  He was a counter-puncher.  The more his opponents hit him, the better he got.

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