In 1994, the Congressional Budget Office reported the following about health insurance mandates: “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”
Under all five of the health care bills currently being considered in Congress, every American adult would have to have a policy that conformed to government standards for coverage and premiums. Each bill creates Bronze, Silver, and Gold health insurance plans and mandates that Americans buy one of them, either through their employer or through government-run exchanges.
David B. Rivkin, a constitutional lawyer with Baker & Hostetler, told CNSNews.com that Hoyer’s argument was “silly,” adding that if the general welfare clause was that elastic, then nothing would be outside of Congress’ powers.
“Congressman Hoyer is wrong,” Rivkin said. “The notion that the general welfare language is a basis for a specific legislative exercise is all silly because if that’s true, because general welfare language is inherently limitless, then the federal government can do anything.
“The arguments are, I believe, feeble,” he said.