The supreme court has made the decision to hear arguments by both side in the constitutionality Obama cares insurance mandate program. Under the laws insurance
mandate, every individual must purchase health insurance; failure to purchase insurance will lead to a fine (penalty) instituted by the federal government.
The constitutionality of Obama care has less to do with the powers vested by the constitutional to the executive branch (president) then the power that are vested in the legislative branch (congress of the federal government. Under the constitutional the federal government and by extension laws passes by the legislative branch of the federal government must be enumerated in the constitutional. Under the 10 amendment of the bill of rights whatever powers not vested (enumerated) in the constitutional are the purview of the states.
According to the Obama administration, congress has the power to institute an insurance mandate. While this opposed to Obama care argue that the federal government (ie congressional legislative power) does not have the authority vested in the constitution to implement Obama cares insurance mandate. In other words the congress cannot pass a law which forces individuals to purchase insurance.
The two powers which are at issue here are (1) Congressional tax and spending power and more significantly (2) Congresses power over interstate commerce.
Under the tax and spend power the federal government has the power to institute taxes on goods and services as it sees fit for the purpose of generating revenue. One of the Obama administration s arguments for the constitutionality of the Obama cares insurance mandate is that the mandate and subsequent penalty of one does not purchase insurance constitute a tax. If it is a tax then under congresses tax and spending power the law would pass constitutional muster. However the Obama administration and supporters of Obama care have in the pas vociferously explained to the American people that the Insurance mandate was NOT a tax. More so the law in no way states the this is a tax (ie for the purpose of generating revenue).
If not a tax then the law would have to prove its constitutionality via the Commerce clause. Congress has the power over interstate commerce. Under the broad interpretation of the commerce clause, in place since the late 1930’s federal laws have been instituted to control vast and numerous aspects of our economy. The key Supreme Court decision displaying the vast power of the federal government over our economy came in 1942. In that case a farmer wanted to sell his wheat. The federal government stated that the individual was not able to sell his wheat so that the price of wheat cold be stabilized. The Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the power to PREVENT and individual from selling his goods in the market place since under the stream of commerce theory the selling of the wheat would have a substantial impact on interstate commerce.
However, there has never been an instance where the federal government has forced an individual to purchase something in the marketplace. In other words congress has the power to prevent you from doing an act witch has an effect on interstate commerce, however there has not been a case in which an individual was required (obligated) to purchase an item, ie purchasing of insurance because of Obama cares insurance mandate.
By following this principle to the extreme one could contemplate the massive increase of the power of the federal government if it was constitutional for congress to pass a law which forced an individual to purchase an item (good or service). In the future congress may force all citizens to purchase helmets while walking so as to prevent traumatic brain injury
if something for tall building fell on your head.
The key issue which will have to be resolved is whether the federal government has the power to compel individuals to purchase a product and face fine if that product is not purchased.