Commerce Clause & Health Care
The Commerce Clause was merely placed in our Constitution to ensure that states couldn’t establish laws or regulations that would hinder with trade and economic commerce, in result gave Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ” To me, the Commerce Clause was once legitimate in the sense that the economic activity was mainly trade based and to prevent the intense rivalry among states, Congress needed to have the power to control interstate commerce to render conflicts.
When creating and establishing the Commerce Clause I believe it could have been thought through and furthermore written in a more distinct and detailed way to accommodate the issues we have had.
Because it wasn’t stated, U. S. Supreme Court ruled Congress to control intrastate commerce as long as the commerce significantly affects commerce involving more than one state, resulting from Gibbons v. Ogden. Sometimes I wonder if it’s realistic to think Congress will get to the point of controlling every aspect of our life, until something like the Affordable Care Act comes into consideration and keeps me questioning, what will be next.
The Government’s argue is, under the Commerce Clause that Congress has the power to mandate the Affordable Care Act. Their philosophy is that Congress can demand people to buy health insurance, and if they refuse, then it would be affecting interstate commerce weakening the Act’s other developments. Their reasoning is that there are individuals who currently do not have medical insurance that are making a remarkable amount of visits to the doctor. In result, leaving hospitals reaching out to insurance companies to recover what they didn’t get paid for treating the non-insured.
Consequently, insurance companies will start raising premiums higher and higher which will penalize those who already have insurance and those who reach out for insurance where premiums have raised to a point that it is unaffordable for the average citizen, then the problem will get worse. The argument against the Affordable Care Act is that it violates the Commerce clause regarding the fact that Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce and intrastate commerce as long as the conflict in commerce is among more than one state.
Some states, like Virginia, have passed or are in consideration of declaring a law that the Affordable Care Act can’t be enforced in their States. In the article on the Reuter’s website it says, “State legislators in Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming have introduced bills that establish penalties, including fines and jail time, for any agent seeking to enforce the healthcare law within their states’ borders. Congress has the power to do most of which they feel capable of doing and if they can prove a good enough argument to the Supreme Court that inactivity affects interstate commerce then I think no matter what the States arguments are going to be shut down. Regarding tax, the Government argues that if their power under the commerce clause doesn’t support the mandate, then they will implement the power of Congress to tax. The mandate was Congress’s solution to those who decided they weren’t going to get health insurance, preventing cost shifting.
Cost shifting was their answer as to why they can force the individual mandate and it’s because the “failure to purchase insurance has a substantial and deleterious effect on interstate commerce. ” The Government believes that health care at some point in life is unavoidable, whether it’s an emergency or through insurance, that’s why they have created the individual mandate penalty to refrain from premiums rising. The main argument against the mandated tax is that when lobbying for the bill, President Obama stated that there would not be a new tax involved with the individual mandate requiring coverage.
But the penalty will be collected through tax filings and the Federal Government says that the fine is in their power to levy. From the Reuter’s article it says, “States say the U. S. Government does not have the authority to charge the fine and point to the discrepancy between Obama’s statements and the U. S. Government’s arguments. ” Government regulation in business is everywhere, from advertising, employment and labor, privacy, environmental, and safety and health issues.
The ultimate reason there are so many regulations is so that consumers are protected and it helps businesses to thrive at the same time. What is so interesting about the law is that we have a firm foundation, but the law will always be changing because with time there will come a new circumstance with no precedent that will cause a controversy like the Affordable Care Act itself. I just hope it doesn’t get to the point that the Government abuses its powers given to them by the framers who created our Constitution to resolve conflict, not create it.