Three Cheers for Romneycare –

Posted: February 2, 2012 by ShortTimer in Health care, Regulation, United States Constitution


Ann Coulter proves she’s trying to be as good at bending ideas as Bender is with when she came up with this bizarre convoluted column that seems out of place with almost all of the rest of her work:

The only reason the “individual mandate” has become a malediction is because the legal argument against Obamacare is that Congress has no constitutional authority to force citizens to buy a particular product.

The legal briefs opposing Obamacare argue that someone sitting at home, minding his own business, is not engaged in “commerce … among the several states,” and, therefore, Congress has no authority under the Commerce Clause to force people to buy insurance.

No one is claiming that the Constitution gives each person an unalienable right not to buy insurance.

Now, I know Ann Coulter is a professional troll, but usually she directs it at the left.  But what is this garbage?

Here, Ann, I’ll claim it.  The Constitution gives each person an unalienable right NOT TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE.  We are, after all, specifically talking about health insurance.  Car insurance is a premium you pay in order to enjoy the priviledge of driving.  You’re still free to move about the country, not as an airline gimmick, but any way you choose.  If you choose to be a car, states require you to have car insurance.  Health insurance is an insurance based on the act of simply being alive.  So if you expect to say that government can mandate you to purchase a product as a condition of your own existence, you’re going to have to find it.

Here’s the powers of Congress: Article 1 Section 8.

Ann goes on:

States have been forcing people to do things from the beginning of the republic: drilling for the militia, taking blood tests before marriage, paying for public schools, registering property titles and waiting in line for six hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to drive.

There’s no obvious constitutional difference between a state forcing militia-age males to equip themselves with guns and a state forcing adults in today’s world to equip themselves with health insurance.

The hyperventilating over government-mandated health insurance confuses a legal argument with a policy objection.

The militia and armed services are outlined in the Constitution.  Blood tests before marriage, paying for public schools, property titles and the like are state issues that one could argue are unconstitutional based on the limits of power of individual states or the fedgov.  The DMV, as addressed, is a priviledge, not a right.  You have no right to a car.  You have the priviledge to purchase one, and then deal with sometimes sensible, sometimes asinine regulations on driving.


To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Now when you go back to the state level, the states are obligated by fedgov to provide that militia.  It’s part of the Lockean govt contract we got in our Constitution.

Telling you “you get Blue Cross or you got to jail” is absurd.  If you go to jail for felony not purchasing health insurance and you lose your vote, is it a poll tax?  Heck, if states can make you buy anything, why isn’t a poll tax legal?  It’s for your own good and to cover societal costs of voting, right?  If you don’t pay for your vote, who will?

If life itself requires you buy something merely to exist, are we all not being born into a state of immediate slavery?  This isn’t paying taxes as a citizen of your nation to provide for the common defense.  This is subjecting yourself to a purely personal bill that then becomes the province of the state.

Allahpundit over at HotAir notes:

Once you accept that State Mandate Y should be tolerated because people already tolerate State Mandate X, you’ve built yourself a self-perpetuating government expansion machine. Why not let the state mandate people’s diets while we’re at it? After all, we let them force militia-age males to carry guns. And the punchline, of course, is that the federal/state distinction she’s drawing isn’t nearly as bright as we wish. Fully half of RomneyCare was paid for with federal tax dollars through Medicaid, i.e. by you and me. Romney’s ostensible big solution to Massachusetts’s free-rider health-care problem actually required Massachusetts to be something of a free rider.

This is known as the “just the tip” line of reasoning favored by teenage boys everywhere.

Oh, and in another convenient piece, there is an argument for the state to mandate people’s diets:

Sugar meets the same criteria for regulation as alcohol, the authors wrote, because it’s unavoidable, there’s potential for abuse, it’s toxic, and it negatively impacts society.  …  She thinks regulation could eventually be possible, since many local governments are already enacting policies to curb sugar in schools or tax sodas.


If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. . . . In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. . . . Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.
. . . .

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

  1. […] – should be Ann Coulter’s new mantra if she’s defending absurd expansions of the commerce clause. […]

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