Sen. Lautenberg Declines To Say Where Congress Gets Constitutional Authority To Mandate Health Insurance

by Edwin Mora
Monday, December 28, 2009

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) declined to say where Congress gets the constitutional authority to require every American to have health insurance, as both the Senate and House health care bills mandate.

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 22, asked Senator Lautenberg, “Specifically where in the Constitution does Congress get the authority to mandate that individuals have health insurance?”

Lautenberg said, “I am not going to answer that,” and then walked away…

…Back in 1994, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) examined the individual health insurance mandate, which was then being proposed by President Bill Clinton’s health care reform effort, and described the idea as an “unprecedented form of federal action.”

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States,” the CBO analysis said. “An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”…

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