I would love for anyone on the left, especially the buttmunches like Rep. Grayson to tell me, under which provision of the U.S. Constitution does Congress have the power to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance?
Here’s the text of the U.S. Constitution.
And while sadly, the bill being voted on in the Senate Finance Committee is not available for the public to read (transparency), here is the chairman’s mark up report.
Notwithstanding the fact that I challenge anyone who knows the law to tell me what enumerated power applies here. (I know what power the Congress is attempting to use, but it’s weak. But let’s see if all these folks out there (kind of like the ones who don’t know who is paying for those checks they’re getting) have a clue), here is what this bill will propose:
Beginning in 2013, all U.S. citizens and legal residents would be required to purchase coverage through (1) the individual market, a public program such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children‘s Health Insurance Program, Veteran‘s Health Care Program, or TRICARE or through an employer (or as a dependent of a covered employee) in the small group market, meeting at least the requirements of a bronze plan, or (2) in the large group market, in a plan with first dollar coverage for prevention-related services as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force – except in cases where value-based insurance design is used and cannot have an unreasonable annual or lifetime limit coverage or a maximum out-of-pocket limit greater than that provided by the standards established for HSA current law limit in order to meet minimum creditable coverage. Exemptions from the requirement to have health coverage would be allowed for religious objections that are consistent with those allowed under Medicare, and for undocumented aliens. An individual enrolled in a grandfathered plan would be deemed to have met the responsibility requirement.
In order to ensure compliance, individuals would be required to report on their Federal income tax return the months for which they maintain the required minimum health coverage for themselves and all dependents under age 18…
Now you know this is to require most young people to purchase insurance. And what if they don’t? The answer will lead you to the hint to the answer to the question above.
Excise Tax. The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax of $750 per adult in the household. This per adult penalty would be phased in as follows: For 2013, $0; $200 for 2014; $400 for 2015; $600 in 2016 and $750 in 2017.
The excise tax would apply for any period for which the individual is not covered by a health insurance plan with the minimum required benefit but would be prorated for partial years of noncompliance. The excise tax would be assessed through the tax code and applied as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. No excise tax will be assessed for individuals not maintaining health insurance for a period less than or equal to three months in the tax year. However, assessed excise taxes for those not insured for more than three months include the entire duration the individual was uninsured during the tax year.
Non-compliance with the individual responsibility to have health coverage shall incur no criminal penalty; and neither civil penalty nor interest shall accrue for failure to pay such assessment in a timely manner. Collection shall be limited to withholding of federal payments due.
What does the Constitution say?
Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;
Interesting huh? Now what is interesting as well is, if you don’t get insurance, you have to pay an excise tax. If you don’t pay the tax, under this plan, the only thing the government will do is garnish any tax refund check you may coming to you. Now why is this important folks? You see for this plan to work, everyone has to buy into the system. There’s no teeth to enforcement (granted, the power buttressing the legislation is weak too), so this means the plan will not be adequately funded.
So where is the money going to come from? And what’s even more amusing, this plan will not insure everybody. So you have a massive overhaul; costing gazillions of dollars, which barely changes anything vis a vis coverage from the current situation. Sounds futile no?
Well….I look forward to a healthy exchange of ideas …..