January 4, 2010

Abortion Healthcare Bill is Unconstitutional


Congress lacks the authority to force healthcare coverage on people and businesses

www.LC.org

Washington, DC – The current healthcare bills pending in the Senate and the House are unconstitutional, because Congress lacks the authority to mandate insurance coverage for individuals or private businesses. If a bill passes that mandates individual coverage or requires private employers to provide coverage, Liberty Counsel will file suit challenging the constitutionality of the bill. Liberty University, the largest and fastest-growing Christian university in the world, with over 50,000 students, will be one of the plaintiffs in such a suit. Other plaintiffs include individuals, private nonprofit and for-profit businesses and organizations, and religious institutions.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said: “Congress does not have unlimited authority to regulate private actions. If the Constitution does not give Congress the power to act, then Congress cannot act. Congress clearly lacks the constitutional authority to force individuals to have, or private businesses to provide, health insurance. Congress’s attempt to force health insurance coverage on the nation is a stunning example of what Congress cannot do.”

The Taxing and Spending Clause and the Commerce Clause are the two primary provisions of the Constitution that enable Congress to act. The healthcare bills do not fall under the Taxing and Spending Clause. Moreover, unlike some other laws Congress passes which impose requirements on states that accept federal funds, the healthcare bills impose requirements on individuals and private employers who refuse to accept the government mandate.

In order to regulate under the Commerce Clause, the activity must affect interstate commerce. Individual decisions about health insurance do not, in most cases, affect interstate commerce. Yet, the proposed bills force coverage on individuals and private employers, no matter how far removed their activities are from interstate commerce. The U.S. Supreme Court has cut back on Congress’s authority to regulate private or local matters of concern.

“If Congress had the power to force each person to have health insurance, then individual liberty would be meaningless. No matter the desires of some elected officials, there are some things Congress cannot do. No one wants the federal government or a pencil-pushing bureaucrat in Washington policing private medical decisions. The threat to liberty posed by the healthcare bills goes beyond healthcare. If Congress can get away with this expansive power grab, then individual liberty and state sovereignty will vanish. The healthcare bills are patently unconstitutional.”

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