The LA Times argues here that the Obamacare individual mandate is constitutional. Let us dissect the argument.
LA: The Constitution's commerce clause doesn't give Congress the power to force people to buy something against their will...That may be a fine boundary to set for lawmakers...but....
Me: Actually it is a fine boundary, already set. Thank you to our founders.
LA: Congress did not cross that line in the Affordable Care Act. That's because the mandate isn't merely an attempt to regulate the purchase of insurance. It's a vital part of a larger scheme to overhaul the healthcare industry, including the way medical services are delivered and paid for.
Me: So as long as an unconstitutional law is part of a "larger scheme," the requirements of our constitution no longer apply? Really, don't you folks at the LA Times have anyone capable of producing a better argument? Can I be required to purchase broccoli so long as it is only a mere part of a "larger scheme" to overhaul the food industry?
LA: There's no question that healthcare is a form of interstate commerce subject to regulation by Congress. Nor is there any question that the adults subject to the individual mandate participate in that market, whether it be buying aspirin at a drugstore, visiting a doctor for a checkup or rushing to an emergency room for treatment.... The individual mandate affects how people pay for the care they consume, but it doesn't force them into the healthcare market — they're already there.
Me: Well, you are already in the news and opinion business. Would you hold such a view if you were mandated to pay dues to the John Birch Society as part of a "larger scheme" to regulate the news business? On a more serious note, it is true that health insurance is a subset of the health business. But so are breast implants and sex reassignment surgery. Would it be OK to mandate prepayments for those services? You name the product and I will rationalize the forced purchase of said product as part of a "larger scheme." Is there anything our government can't force us to purchase, according to your reading of the constitution? The power to force purchases is the power to destroy is it not?
LA: In that sense, what's at stake isn't Americans' cherished "right to be let alone." It's whether they'll continue to be stuck in a system in which millions of uninsured people force those with insurance to pick up at least part of the tab for their visits to the emergency room and for the untreated diseases that they spread.
Me: So a system in which people are forcibly required by government to purchase health insurance and thereby pick up a part of the tab for others is better than a system where health care consumers pick up the tab for the uninsured. Why is that better? A wash at best.
LA: Shut up.
Me: No you shut up.