Obama’s Proposal Includes Individual Health Insurance Mandate Thanks Tpgow

Posted: 02/23/2010 by Lynn Dartez in NewsMax

CNSNEWS

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer


President Barack Obama speaks in the White House press briefing room on Feb. 9, 2010. (AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Washington (CNSNews.com) – The health care plan proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday includes an individual mandate requiring every American to have health insurance despite concerns from Republican lawmakers and legal experts that the provision is not constitutional.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the longest-serving Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called the constitutionality of an individual mandate into question. Meanwhile, more than 30 state legislators have either passed or are considering legislation that would not require residents of their states to buy health insurance.

Nevertheless, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNSNews.com that he is not aware of any legal review of this question by the White House.

CNSNews.com asked Gibbs, “President Obama’s proposal includes an individual mandate, which many Republicans, Orrin Hatch and others, have said is not constitutional. Will the White House have any sort of legal analysis explaining why that is constitutional?”

Gibbs said, “I don’t know the answer to that. I have not heard anybody discuss the constitutionality of that. I don’t pretend to be a lawyer, but this is a concept that has been around for quite some time.”

Both the House and Senate bills require individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The House bill’s penalty-payment is a percentage of income, while the Senate sets the penalty as a flat dollar amount or percentage of income, whichever is higher.

“The president’s proposal adopts the Senate approach but lowers the flat dollar assessments, and raises the percent of income assessment that individuals pay if they choose not to become insured,” the White House plan released on Monday says.

“Specifically, it lowers the flat dollar amounts from $495 to $325 in 2015 and $750 to $695 in 2016,” the proposal states. “Subsequent years are indexed to $695 rather than $750, so the flat dollar amounts in later years are lower than the Senate bill as well.

“The president’s proposal raises the percent of income [from the Senate bill] that is an alternative payment amount from 0.5 to 1.0% in 2014, 1.0 to 2.0% in 2015, and 2.0 to 2.5% for 2016 and subsequent years – the same percent of income as in the House bill, which makes the assessment more progressive,” the proposal says.

Obama’s plan further says that a married couple earning less than $18,700 will not have to pay the penalty.

Hatch told CNSNews.com in November that if Congress can mandate that citizens buy health care, or mandate the purchase of anything, “we’ve lost our freedoms, and that means the federal government can do anything it wants to do to us.”

Many Democrats have relied on the Commerce Clause, in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, as the authority for their health insurance mandate. That section says: “The Congress shall have power to … regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal government has never before mandated that Americans buy any good or service. In 1994, when Congress was considering a universal health care plan formulated by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, the CBO studied the plan’s provision that would have forced individuals to buy health insurance and determined it was an unprecedented act.

The CBO stated: “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.”

Meanwhile, Virginia’s Legislature passed a bill stating that state residents will not be required to pay the federal penalty if they do not buy health insurance, The Wall Street Journal reported. Meanwhile, the paper said, the House in the Utah Legislature passed a similar bill as did the Tennessee State Senate.

The Legislatures of Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota are expected to have votes on this legislation in the coming weeks, the Journal said.

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Comments
  1. Very helpful article – Thanks

  2. Longknife 21 says:

    Totally UnConstitutional!!
    Obama and the DEMS will lie their butts off to pass something, than put all the really bad stuff back in piece by piece! Anyone that votes to pass this mess must be replaced. By Ballot if possible, by bayonet if necessary. The American people are getting tired of this Obamunist Totalitarian Socialist destruction of our Constitutional Republic.

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