Nothing in the Constitution authorizes any federal involvement in healthcare – yet Congress may soon require everyone in America to buy insurance.
Admittedly, the Supreme Court has ruled that the language empowering Congress to "regulate Commerce ... among the several States" applies to an ever-broadening range of activity. The "commerce" clause was originally intended to prohibit interstate tariffs, a supposed problem under the Articles of Confederation.
Ironically, consumers today cannot freely buy health insurance from across state lines. If there's any legitimate application of the "commerce" clause, it would be to overturn such restrictions. But the framers never gave Congress the general power to regulate industry.
In the 1935 case Schecter v. United States, involving farming regulations, the court unanimously struck down parts of the National Industrial Recovery Act for overstepping Congress's commerce power. Liberal Justice Louis Brandeis informed one of President Franklin Roosevelt's aides to "tell the president that we're not going to let this government centralize everything."
The next year, the court ruled in Butler v. United States that elements of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which inflated food prices by restricting supply, violated the 10th Amendment.
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