Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Moot Question

Opponents of the recently enacted health care reform legislation are arguing that it is unconstitutional – that while federal government is authorized by the constitution to regulate commerce, it is not authorized to require individuals to engage in commerce by making it mandatory for them to purchase health insurance.

I’ve listened to people arguing both sides of that issue and while I’m no constitutional lawyer – or a lawyer of any other kind – it seems to me that nobody is making the most cogent argument, which would go somewhat as follows:

With the exception of the relatively few people who decline health care on religious grounds, we know that anyone who contracts an illness or suffers an injury will seek and receive treatment, thereby entering into the commerce of health care.

That being the case, the argument about forcing people to engage in commerce seems moot to me. Since we know that people will seek treatment if they need it, it seems to me that the issue of whether people will engage in the commerce of health care is already decided. If there remains concern about those who refuse care on religious grounds, let them be exempted.

I don’t know if the Supremes would find that argument persuasive, but I do.

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