Now, there's a question that seems to have escaped debate. It is so much taken for granted that it is that when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her plan's constitutionality, her reply was essentially, "Are you serious?"
Well, some folks may not take the Constitutional seriously, but a lot of us do. And this is more than an academic question. It was raised quite well in this story. Here's an excerpt:
Randy Barnett, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, asks, "Where in the [Constitution] is the power to mandate that individuals buy health insurance?" His answer: Nowhere.
"The business of providing health insurance is now an entirely intrastate activity" beyond the regulatory sway of the federal government, he said.
Washington lawyers David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey argued in an Aug. 22 column in The Washington Post that Congress has no constitutional power to tell people what they must buy.
"The Constitution assigns only limited, enumerated powers to Congress, and none, including the power to regulate interstate commerce or to impose taxes, would support a federal mandate requiring anyone who is otherwise without health insurance to buy it," they said.
Can Congress order every American to buy insurance? It's a question that I raised early on, and none of the health overhaul advocates seem to want to address it. But if they don't do it now, it surely will be addressed in the courts and (here we go again) it will be addressed and settled by the U.S. Supreme Court