Is mandating health insurance unconstitutional

They would wait until they get sick and then you’d buy health insurance, right?” Obama told an audience at the first stop of his bus tour in Cannon Falls, Minnesota on Monday.(CNSNews.com) – On his bus tour, President Barack Obama said the federal health care law’s individual mandate, which requires every American to purchase health insurance, “should not be controversial.” To date, 26 states have sued the federal government, arguing that the individual mandate is unconstitutional because the U. Constitution does not grant Congress the power to require Americans to purchase a good or service.

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There are no Constitutional barriers for Congress to legislate a health insurance mandate as long as the mandate is properly designed and executed, as discussed below. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and University of North Carolina. Hall specializes in health care law and public policy, with a focus on economic, regulatory and ethical issues.

This paper also considers the likelihood of any change in the current judicial approach to these legal questions. His present research interests include consumer-driven health care, doctor/patient trust, managed care regulation, genetics, and insurance market reform.

This individual mandate, if passed, would be an unprecedented federal directive that might call into question the constitutionality of such an action under Congress's taxation or interstate commerce "regulatory" authority, as well the ramifications of such a mandate under the First Amendment's "free exercise" protections and Fifth Amendment protections against governmental "takings." An "individual mandate" to buy health insurance has been a component of most health care reform plans proposed over the years, starting with President Bill Clinton's 1993 health care reform proposal.

The policy justification for an individual mandate is based on the premise that if everyone had health insurance, health care costs would be equally spread among everyone, and the individual cost for health insurance would be reduced.

Such cost reductions would arguably take place because "free riders" - individuals without health insurance - would no longer have the cost of their health care borne by individuals with health insurance.[1] This cost-shift arguably takes place because health care providers - doctors and hospitals - who provide free or uncompensated care to the uninsured "shift" the cost of providing that care to insured or paying patients.[2] The hospital or doctor then "shifts" the cost of that unpaid-for-care to paying, insured patients in the form of higher charges in order to cover the cost of uninsured patients.

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