ObamaCare's mandate

ObamaCare's mandate

December 11th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

There is enormous irony in the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to consider a 26-state constitutional challenge to ObamaCare.

Key to the challenge is ObamaCare's rule that Americans buy government-approved medical insurance or be penalized. But back when he was running for president, Barack Obama himself opposed that rule. In fact, during his primary contest with Hillary Clinton, then-Sen. Obama vigorously denounced such a mandate.

"If things were that easy," he said on a talk show in early 2008, "I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn't."

Unfortunately, when Obama was elected president, he reversed course. He became a supporter of forcing Americans to buy insurance deemed adequate by Washington.

So here is the irony: It is entirely possible that if Obama and Democrats in Congress had not insisted on including the mandate, ObamaCare might not have faced a major constitutional challenge -- and might not now face the possibility of being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The high court is likely to issue a decision on ObamaCare -- the highest-profile piece of legislation backed by the president -- in the heat of next year's presidential campaign. A defeat for ObamaCare at that point -- though far from certain -- would be disastrous in next November's elections for the president and for the Democrats who supported the ObamaCare legislation.

It would be a victory, however, for the American people, who decidedly dislike ObamaCare and the mandate that comes with it.

The unpopularity of ObamaCare, however, is not why it should be overturned. The law's insurance mandate is unconstitutional, and that is ample reason for the court to strike it down.