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Can Obama force you to buy health insurance?

Nothing in the Constitution allows the individual mandate he proposes.

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Many liberals lambasted the Bush administration on detention policy and warrantless surveillance, often arguing that they violated the Constitution. Now the Obama administration is pushing ahead with plans to require every American to purchase health insurance.

Doesn't that also violate the Constitution?

The Constitution created a federal government limited to its enumerated powers. Everything Congress is allowed to do is spelled out in Article I. The 10th Amendment makes it explicit: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Nothing in the Constitution authorizes any federal involvement in healthcare – yet Congress may soon require everyone in America to buy insurance.

Admittedly, the Supreme Court has ruled that the language empowering Congress to "regulate Commerce ... among the several States" applies to an ever-broadening range of activity. The "commerce" clause was originally intended to prohibit interstate tariffs, a supposed problem under the Articles of Confederation.

Ironically, consumers today cannot freely buy health insurance from across state lines. If there's any legitimate application of the "commerce" clause, it would be to overturn such restrictions. But the framers never gave Congress the general power to regulate industry.

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