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Campaign 2020 Donald Trump Election 2020 health insurance Intelwars Joe Biden Obamacare presidential debate

Biggest lie of the night? Joe Biden says no one lost their health insurance under Obamacare

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told a brazen lie about Obamacare Thursday evening during the final presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee, claiming that no one lost their private health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump attacked Biden’s health care plan, accusing the Democratic nominee’s plan of being “socialized medicine” that would terminate “180 million” private insurance plans.

In response, Biden said that if the Supreme Court declares Obamacare unconstitutional he will pass new health care legislation “with a public option.” He declared his support for private health insurance, arguing that a public option would increase competition by giving private health insurance plans something to compete against.

Then he told a whopper.

“The reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination was I support private insurance,” Biden said. “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.”

Biden’s claim is demonstrably false. After the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2013, more than 5 million Americans received cancellation letters from their insurance companies, informing them that the health insurance plans they had did not meet the standards of Obamacare.

President Obama’s promise that “if you like your health care pan, you can keep your health care plan” was rated as PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2013.

“So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong,” Politifact wrote.

In fact, NBC News reported in 2013 that the Obama administration knew that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance under Obamacare. While the Affordable Care Act had a provision that allowed for some health insurance polices to be “grandfathered” in, meaning consumers could keep their plans even if they didn’t meet the essential benefits mandates required by Obamacare, the provision was written so narrowly that many of the plans didn’t qualify.

At the debate, Biden promised that his plan to expand Obamacare with a public option would also reduce insurance premiums. But the Obama administration made similar claims about Obamacare, and the truth was that Obamacare significantly increased health insurance premiums by as much as 24.4% beyond what they would have been if costs rose naturally, according to one study.

Many individuals who remember having their insurance plans cancelled spoke out on social media.

Watch:


Biden claims no one lost their private insurance plan under Obamacare

www.youtube.com

(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

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CURRENT EVENTS Donald Trump federal power Federal Programs healthcare Intelwars Obamacare Trumpcare

Trump’s “New and Improved” Obamacare

At an appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month, President Trump unveiled his replacement for Obamacare that “puts patients first, families first, and — perhaps most importantly for all of us — America first.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the PPACA, ACA, or Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It consisted of numerous “reforms” to health care and health insurance and a bevy of new taxes and tax increases to pay for them.

Obamacare expanded Medicare; created state health-insurance exchanges; began federal subsidies for the purchase of health insurance; and required that insurance companies provide policies with minimum standards, cover all applicants without regard to their pre-existing medical conditions, eliminate annual and lifetime caps on benefits, eliminate co-payments and deductibles for selected health-insurance benefits, and allow children to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until their 26th birthday.

Obamacare increased taxes on wages and investment income for higher-income taxpayers, decreased the medical-expense tax deduction (thus effectively raising taxes), and imposed new taxes on indoor tanning services, drug companies, health insurers, medical-device manufactures, and comprehensive health-insurance plans.

Obamacare also instituted employer and individual mandates. The employer mandate dictated that all employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time-equivalent employees must offer them “affordable” health insurance that provides “minimum value” or pay an annual tax penalty of $2,000 per employee. The individual mandate dictated that every American not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance must purchase health insurance or pay up to $285 per family or 1 percent of taxable income (2014), up to $975 per family or 2 percent of taxable income (2015), and up to a maximum of $2,085 per family or 2.5 percent of taxable income (2016 and beyond) as an “individual shared responsibility fee.”

Said Trump in his speech about Obamacare, “It was terrible and very, very expensive. Hurt a lot of people. Premiums were too high. Deductibles were a disaster. Patients had no choice. You couldn’t keep your doctor. But, by far, the worst part of Obamacare was this thing called the ‘individual mandate.’”

But in spite of many attempts, Republicans could not bring themselves to just simply repeal Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel. To their credit, Republicans did eliminate the individual mandate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and a federal district court and a federal appeals court then ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. Democrats and Republicans united in 2019 to repeal the medical-device tax and the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost, employer-sponsored health-care plans. The rest of Obamacare still stands.

But according to Trump,

Obamacare is no longer Obamacare. As we worked on it and managed it very well. We stabilized it and got premiums down very substantially.

But it’s still unacceptable to me because it’s too expensive and doesn’t really do the job as well as we could have. So what we have now is a much better plan. It is no longer Obamacare because we’ve gotten rid of the worst part of it — the individual mandate — and made it much less expensive. A lot of that was through good management. We manage it properly. We have tremendous people working on it. Simultaneously with all of this, we are joining in a lawsuit to end this ill-conceived plan. I’m in court to terminate this really, really terrible situation.

If we win, we will have a better and less expensive plan that will always protect individuals with preexisting conditions. If we lose, what we have now is better than the original — the original version of Obamacare, by far. Much better. Much better. Again, we will always protect patients with preexisting conditions.

The president’s new and improved version of Obamacare is called “An America-First Healthcare Plan”:

We will ensure the highest standard of care anywhere in the world, cutting-edge treatments, state-of-the-art medicine, groundbreaking cures, and true health security for you and your loved ones. And we will do it rapidly, and it’s in very good order, and some of it has already been implemented.

My plan expands affordable insurance options, reduces the cost of prescription drugs, will end surprise medical billing, increases fairness through price transparency, streamlines bureaucracy, accelerates innovation, strongly protects Medicare, and always protects patients with preexisting conditions.

The “three pillars” of Trump’s plan are choice, lower costs, and better care. Here are the highlights:

Under our plan, you’ll have the freedom to shop for the option that is right for you and your family. These options include new, affordable choices that cost up to 60 percent less than Obamacare.

Through a massive expansion of health reimbursement arrangements, millions of Americans will be able to shop for a plan of their choice on the individual market and then have their employer cover the full cost.

My plan will also revolutionize access to telehealth.

We will end surprise medical billing.

My plan also includes the vital reform of price transparency.

I’m taking on the lobbyists and the special interests to lower the price of prescription drugs.

We will finally allow the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

Under my plan, 33 million Medicare beneficiaries will soon receive a card in the mail containing $200 that they can use to help pay for prescription drugs.

Under my plan, hundreds of thousands of Medicare patients will see their insulin costs capped at just $35 a month.

We’ll ensure that all seniors pay the same price for the same service, whether at a hospital, a surgery center, or a doctor’s office.

As long as I’m President, no one will lay a hand on your Medicare. Your Medicare is going to be safe and it’s going to be solid.

The historic action I’m taking today includes the first-ever executive order to affirm it is the official policy of the United States government to protect patients with preexisting conditions.

We’ll require doctors to make your records available electronically, and you’ll own them, and you’ll control them, and they will be portable, and you’ll be able to work seamlessly with all of your medical providers.

Trump then issued an executive order (no. 13951) about his health-care plan that mostly recounts, in a very long section 1, “Purpose,” his administration’s health-care accomplishments. Section 1 concludes,

Taken together, these extraordinary reforms constitute an ongoing effort to improve American healthcare by putting patients first and delivering continuous innovation. And this effort will continue to succeed because of my Administration’s commitment to delivering great healthcare with more choices, better care, and lower costs for all Americans.

Section 2, “Policy,” merely says, “It has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States to give Americans seeking healthcare more choice, lower costs, and better care and to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.”

Section 3, “Giving Americans More Choice in Healthcare,” merely says, “The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall maintain and build upon existing actions to expand access to and options for affordable healthcare.”

Section 4, “Lowering Healthcare Costs for Americans,” relates to expanding access to “affordable medicines,” “facilitating the safe importation of affordable prescription drugs from abroad,” ending “surprise billing,” and reducing “waste, fraud, and abuse in the healthcare system.”

Section 5, “Providing Better Care to Americans,” concerns improving “quality in the delivery of care for veterans,” and government promotion of “medical innovations to find novel and improved treatments for COVID-19, Alzheimer’s disease, sickle cell disease, pediatric cancer, and other conditions threatening the well-being of Americans.”

Would it be good if the United States and its citizens had the highest standard of care anywhere in the world, cutting-edge treatments, state-of-the-art medicine, ground-breaking cures, true health security, affordable insurance options, reduced prices on prescription drugs, no surprise medical bills, price transparency, more choice, lower health-care costs, increased access to telehealth? Would it be good if waste, fraud, and abuse in the health-care system were reduced?

Of course it would.

But a government plan is not the way to do those things. Everything the government touches it distorts and corrupts. And aside from the fact that Trump’s health-care plan is a government health-care plan — and therefore not only illegitimate but doomed to fail — there are a number of troubling aspects of his plan.

  1. It “strongly protects” Medicare. Trump criticized socialism nine times in his remarks in Charlotte. But what is Medicare if it is not socialized Medicine?
  2. It ensures “that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.” It actually makes it “the official policy of the United States government” to do so. This is pure Obamacare. It is like buying a fire insurance policy for your home after it has burned to the ground.
  3. It gives “33 million Medicare beneficiaries” $200 “to help pay for prescription drugs.” This is simply a government handout to seniors — the largest class of voters — right before an election.
  4. It caps insulin costs for “hundreds of thousands of Medicare patients” at $35 a month. This is either blatant government price control or a massive subsidy to the pharmaceutical industry, or perhaps a little of both.
  5. It requires doctors to make your records available electronically. Perhaps electronic records are a good thing or perhaps not. My point is that the government shouldn’t be requiring doctors to do anything with medical records.
  6. It tasks the government with promoting “medical innovations to find novel and improved treatments” for diseases. But it is simply not the proper role of government to engage in or fund such activity.
  7. It is blatantly unconstitutional. Trump doesn’t mention the Constitution in his remarks. How could he have? The Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have anything to do with health care, health insurance, medical devices, medical treatment, medical records, medical research, clinical trials, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives, vaccination programs, hospitals, physicians, nurses, medical schools, or drugs, or to have Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, the National Institutes of Health, federal laboratories, the FDA, or the Department of Health and Human Services.

This article was originally published on the Future Freedom Foundation website

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affordable care act Court Cases CURRENT EVENTS Intelwars Obamacare

Can the Government Force Us to Eat Broccoli?

With President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is back in the news. Barrett expressed constitutional misgivings about Obamacare 10 years ago when she was a professor at Notre Dame Law School, and some folks who oppose her nomination have argued that should she be confirmed in the next month, she should not hear the Nov. 10 arguments on Obamacare.

Wait a minute. Didn’t the Supreme Court already uphold Obamacare in 2012? Yes, it did. So why is the constitutionality of this legislation back before the Supreme Court?

Here is the backstory.

The ACA of 2010 marked the complete federal takeover of regulating health care delivery in America. It eliminated personal choices and mandated rules and regulations on almost all aspects of health care and health care insurance. It created a complex structure that, at the back end, directed the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars on health care and, at the front end, received health insurance premiums from or on behalf of every adult in America.

To assure that every adult obtained and paid for health care coverage, the ACA authorized the IRS to assess those who failed to have health insurance about $8,800 a year and use that money to purchase a bare-bones insurance policy for them.

The requirement of all adults to maintain health care coverage, and the power of the IRS to assess them if they don’t, is known as the individual mandate.

When the ACA was challenged in 2012, the challengers argued that Congress lacked the constitutional power to micromanage health care and to enforce the individual mandate. The feds argued that this was all “interstate commerce” and Congress’ reach in this area is broad and deep.

Yet, both the challengers and the government agreed that the IRS assessment was not a tax. The challengers argued that it was a penalty for failure to comply with a government regulation, and thus those not complying with the individual mandate were entitled to a hearing before they could be punished.

The government argued that the assessment was triggered by people choosing freely to have the feds purchase their insurance for them. The feds could not argue that this assessment was a tax because President Barack Obama had promised that his health care programs would not increase anyone’s taxes.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the individual mandate was a tax and since, under big government constitutional jurisprudence, Congress can tax anything it wants, the ACA was constitutional.

This logic was deeply disconcerting to those of us who believe that the Constitution doesn’t unleash the federal government but restrains it. The Constitution was written to keep the government off our backs. Yet, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, along with his four liberal colleagues, that while Congress cannot order us to eat broccoli, it could tax us if we don’t. The same, he reasoned, is the case for maintaining health care insurance.

In 2017, Donald Trump became president and the Republicans retained control of Congress. During a massive reform of American tax law, Congress did away with the tax on those who fail to maintain health insurance by reducing it to zero. Then, 18 states challenged the ACA again, this time arguing that since there was no longer a tax associated with the ACA, and since the tax formerly associated with it was the only hook on which the Supreme Court hung its constitutional hat, the ACA was now unconstitutional.

A federal district court and the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed, and the lawyers representing the federal government filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. I wrote “the lawyers representing the federal government” because the Department of Justice, which defended the statute in the district court, withdrew from the case under Trump’s orders.

Then, the House of Representatives hired a team of private lawyers to defend the statute. This is very irregular. The presidential oath requires that the president “faithfully execute” his office. James Madison — who wrote the oath and many other parts of the Constitution — insisted on using the word “faithfully” because he anticipated the presidential temptation to enforce only statutes with which a president agrees. The word faithfully was intended to remind presidents of their oath of fidelity to the Constitution and all laws written pursuant to it, whether they agree with those laws or not.

Now, back to Judge Barrett.

When she questioned the chief justice’s logic about congressional taxation used to bootstrap a 2,700-page regulatory takeover of the delivery of health care, she did so in an academic setting designed to stimulate student understanding; she did not do so as a judge. Having taught law school for 16 years, I can tell you that professors of law often make provocative remarks just to see how students will analyze them. Their remarks are hardly a textual commitment to a legal position.

Yet, Barrett’s remarks were well-grounded, and Roberts’ broccoli example is telling. What is the effective difference between ordering me to eat broccoli and taxing me if I don’t? Nothing except a rejection of the Constitution as an instrument designed to preserve freedom — a design that rarely works that way today.

Its original end was that the government leaves us alone. But that end is no longer in sight.

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circus Coronavirus COVID-19 elections are selections elitists Headline News Hoax hot mic moment Intelwars lawmakers liars in suits Masks New World Order Obamacare occult ritual Pennsylvania plandemic political theatre ruling class scamdemic show smoke in mirrors takeover Tom Wolf Wendy Ulman

Hot Mic Moment: Lawmakers Admit Masks Are All “Political Theatre”

In a hot mic moment, Pennsylvania lawmakers admitted that the masking ritual is all political theatre. The huge scam is being pushed on us from all sides, and it is beyond time to wake up to what is going on.

Pennsylvania State Representative Wendy Ullman and Governor Tom Wolf were caught joking off-camera about taking their masks off just before they spoke at a press conference touting the need to defend Obamacare during COVID-19. Politics is smoke in mirrors and a distraction at this point. Nothing more. The goal is the New World Order, and it’s being rolled out as I type this.

Are Face Masks & COVID Rituals Occultist Symbols For Submission?

The admission that masks are nothing more than “political theatre,” took place yesterday. Just as Ullman was preparing to speak behind the podium on Tuesday at a press conference north of Philadelphia, Wolf can be heard off-camera to her left, saying: “So Wendy, I’m gonna take, I’m gonna take my mask off when I speak.”Ullman walked toward Wolf, off-camera, and said: “I will as well, just, I’m waiting so that we can do a little political theater.” Wolf replies, “OK,” and the two Democrats share a laugh. Ullman then walks back toward the podium and finishes her sentence, saying, “so that it’s on camera.”

 

Ullman then took her mask off from behind the microphone, just before she spoke, according to a report by RT. Wolf did the same when it was his turn to speak. They called the press conference to speak about the need to protect Obamacare from being dismantled, especially amid the pandemic, by blocking Supreme Court justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett from being confirmed by the US Senate.

But, fortunately, people are beginning to figure out the ruling class is causing all of the trauma to everyday people.

 

It’s all a scam and a hoax.  The evidence is clear. It’s time to do the hard work and admit we’ve been swindled by liars in suits.

The post Hot Mic Moment: Lawmakers Admit Masks Are All “Political Theatre” first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Birth Control Clarence Thomas Intelwars Little sister of the poor Neil Gorsuch Obamacare religious freedom Samuel Alito SCOTUS Supreme Court

SCOTUS rules religious, moral objection exceptions to Obamacare’s birth control mandate are lawful

The Supreme Court handed religious freedom and the Trump administration a significant victory on Wednesday.

In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the Trump administration acted lawfully when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that forces employers to provide free contraceptives to employees.

The case — Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania — centered on whether the executive branch may lawfully make it easier for organizations with religious objections, including some for-profit businesses, to opt out of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

What’s the background?

From CNBC:

The Supreme Court challenge came after Pennsylvania and New Jersey had successfully halted implementation of the regulations in the lower courts. The states argued that the federal government failed to follow the legal protocol known as notice-and-comment in creating the rules.

The states said that if the rules went into effect, they would be saddled with increased costs to run their taxpayer-funded family-planning programs. A federal district court sided with the states and prevented the new rules from going into effect. That decision was affirmed by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia.

The Trump administration, via the Department of Justice, and the Catholic nonprofit Little Sisters of the Poor, asked the Supreme Court to reverse those rulings.

What did the Court say?

The court reversed the rulings of both lower courts. Justice Clarence Thomas, in writing the majority opinion, explained that the Trump administration had the “statutory authority” to issue the exceptions.

In a concurring opinion, Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch pushed back against the ruling’s dissenters — Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer — for claiming the Trump administration’s rule imposes a burden on employers.

“A woman who does not have the benefit of contraceptive coverage under her employer’s plan is not the victim of a burden imposed by the rule or her employer. She is simply not the beneficiary of something that federal law does not provide,” the justices explained. “She is in the same position as a woman who does not work outside the home or a woman whose health insurance is provided by a grandfathered plan that does not pay for contraceptives or a woman who works for a small business that may not provide any health insurance at all.”

Going a step further, Alito and Gorsuch argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 compelled the government to issue the religious and moral objection exception.

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affordable care act Intelwars Obamacare SCOTUS Supreme Court

SCOTUS agrees to hear landmark case that could topple Obamacare forever

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review a GOP-led challenge to the Affordable Care Act, setting the stage for the possible dismantling of former President Barack Obama’s signature achievement once and for all.

In late 2018, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that Obamacare became unconstitutional after Republicans gutted the law’s so-called individual mandate in their 2017 tax reform passage. In overturning the mandate, Republicans removed the basis for which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare in 2012.

In an appeal last December, the 5th Circuit Court agreed that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded the case to the lower court to decide whether Obamacare could stand without the individual mandate.

That is the question that Democrats have pressed the Supreme Court to answer.

In January, Democrats asked the court for an expedited hearing, arguing uncertainty created by the court rulings will have “adverse consequences,” according to NBC News. But the Supreme Court rejected the request.

Instead, the high court added the case to their docket for next term, which begins in October. It’s not yet clear when the court will hear oral arguments, but given the current timetable, it is almost certain that the ruling will not impact the election in November.

However, the political implications of the court’s decision cannot be understated. Not only is Obama’s signature presidential achievement on the line — which Republicans have opposed from its inception — but the toppling of Obamacare could create unintended backlash for Republicans.

One facet of the law that has enjoyed overwhelming support is its requirement about Americans with pre-existing conditions. If the law is gutted for good, Republicans will undoubtedly have to answer the estimated 54 million Americans who have “pre-existing conditions” and could be adversely impacted by the court’s decision.

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2020 democratic primary 2020 Election 2020 presidential candidates Health Care Intelwars Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Obamacare

Bloomberg claims he’s a ‘fan’ of Obamacare at debate after previously calling it a ‘disgrace’

During Wednesday night’s Democratic primary debate, 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said that he supported Obamacare despite previously calling the 2010 health care law “a disgrace” shortly after its passage.

Responding to a criticism from rival candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and a moderator’s related question about his earlier criticism of the health care law, the former New York City mayor said, “I am a fan of Obamacare.”

“Since when, Mr. Mayor?” the former vice president shot back, interrupting Bloomberg’s answer.

Bloomberg responded that he initially supported the legislation, but that it ultimately didn’t go far enough for his liking.

“Mr. Vice President, I just checked the record, because you’d said one time that I was not,” the mayor said. “In ’09, I testified and gave a speech before the mayors’ conference in Washington advocating it and trying to get all the mayors to sign on. And I think at that time I wrote an article praising Obamacare. It was either in the New York Post or the Daily News. So the facts are I was there.”

“Didn’t you call it a disgrace, though, Mr. Mayor?” Biden persisted, interrupting the answer yet again.

“Let me finish, thank you,” Bloomberg told Biden.

“I was in favor of it; I thought it didn’t do as, go as far as we should,” the former mayor continued. “What Trump has done to this is a disgrace. The first thing we’ve got to do is get the White House and bring back those things that were left and then find the ways to expand it: another public option, to having some rules about capping charges, all of those things.”

Being given a chance to respond by one of the debate moderators, Biden once again went after Bloomberg’s past comments.

“The mayor said when we passed it — the signature piece of this administration — it’s a disgrace,” the former vice president said. “They’re the exact words, it was a disgrace. Look it up, check it out: It was a disgrace.”

The remarks that Biden was referring to came just months after Obamacare was passed at a July 2010 appearance at Dartmouth College, CNN reported over the weekend.

“We passed a health care bill that does absolutely nothing to fix the big health care problems in this country; it is just a disgrace,” the former mayor said at the time. “The president, in all fairness, started out by pointing out what the big problems were, but then turned it over to Congress, which didn’t pay any attention to any of those big problems and just created another program that’s going to cost a lot of money.”

He also voiced concerns that there wouldn’t be enough doctors for the newly insured “and unless they fix immigration and let people who come here for medical education stay here, those people are just going to do the same thing. They’re going to have to go to the emergency rooms where they’ve been except that now it’s going to cost a lot more money.”


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An Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies Health Care Intelwars James Wilson Obamacare

More evidence that the Obamacare insurance mandate was unconstitutional

When Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the law featured a mandate that individuals buy health insurance. People who did not comply would be fined. Obamacare advocates defended the constitutionality of this mandate by arguing that it was an exercise of Congress’s power to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several States.” If you are into politics, you should check out the new Member of Legislative Assembly in North Delta so you can stay updated about what’s going on in the country. 

(The Supreme Court had earlier held—in defiance of the original understanding and a century and a half of precedent—that insurance was a form of “commerce.”)

Obamacare opponents responded that ordering people to engage in commerce was not part of regulating it. Obamacare advocates claimed that there was no realistic line between regulating commerce and ordering it.

The Supreme Court ultimately agreed with the opponents. It held that the mandate was not justified by Congress’s power to regulate commerce, although the court did uphold the fine as a form of tax.

What almost everyone overlooked at the time is that the legal distinction between forcing and regulating has an honored place in America’s founding. In the 1760s, Great Britain imposed taxes on goods imported into the colonies. Americans therefore organized a Non-Importation Agreement, essentially an embargo on most British goods.

The British argued that the Non-Importation Agreement showed that the Americans were disloyal because almost everyone on both sides of the Atlantic agreed that the King and Parliament had power to regulate commerce among units of the British Empire. Refusing to buy goods, they argued, was an attempt to override parliamentary regulation.

In early 1776, James Wilson, a member of the Continental Congress, wrote “An Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies.” In it, he defended the Non-Importation Agreement in this way:

“Was the Agreement not to import Merchandise from Great Britain or Ireland; nor after the tenth Day of September last, to export our Produce to those Kingdoms and the West Indies—was this a disrespectful or an hostile Measure? Surely we have a Right to withdraw or to continue our own Commerce. Though the British Parliament have exercised a Power of directing and restraining our Trade; yet, among all their extraordinary Pretensions, we recollect no Instance of their attempting to force it contrary to our Inclinations.” (Emphasis added.)

In other words, refusing to engage in commerce was not a defiance of Parliament’s power to regulate because forcing commerce was not part of regulating it.

What gives Wilson’s comment special importance is that he later became one of the Constitution’s most influential framers and ratifiers. Wilson favored a very strong federal government, but it is highly unlikely that even he would have agreed that Congress’s authority to regulate commerce included authority to compel it.

Congress eventually repealed the mandate. But the issue remains relevant because America is now afflicted by a cohort of federal politicians who think their power has no limit. If they win control of Congress, they may try to re-act the Obamacare mandate or others like it. Founder James Wilson reminds us that such efforts are unconstitutional.

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