Mandatory Health Insurance: Is It Constitutional

Simon Lazarus DC Lawyer Chapter Member and former member of President Jimmy Carter’s White House staff

December 22, 2009

In “Mandatory Health Insurance: Is It Constitutional?,” Simon Lazarus, Public Policy Counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, addresses arguments regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate that constitutes a core part of the healthcare legislation under consideration. Mr. Lazarus argues that the mandate is clearly lawful and in accord with the Constitution.

In this Issue Brief, Mr. Lazarus argues that multiple provisions of the Constitution permit Congress to enact an individual mandate as part of healthcare reform legislation. He claims that “the Supreme Court decades ago, in 1944, held that the business of insurance fell within Congress’ regulatory authority under the Commerce Clause,” and that modern cases which limit the reach of the Commerce Clause authority do not undercut the authority of Congress to legislate in this area. Mr. Lazarus also argues that the individual mandate is authorized by the Congressional authority to tax and spend for the general welfare. Mr. Lazarus concludes that no provision of the bill of rights, or text found elsewhere in the Constitution, acts to prohibit Congress from enacting healthcare reform legislation.

Read the full Issue Brief hereMandatory Health Insurance: Is It Constitutional