I am writing in regard to “The Great Obamacare Scare” [May 24, City Weekly]. As soon as I grabbed it, I knew the constitutionality was going to be brought up. To be clear, I am not a Republican, but I am passionate about repealing Obamacare.
The author touches on the importance of having health insurance (without going into the Constitution until the very end) as well as the costs to the people of insuring those without insurance. This is true; however, it is not a reason to have Obamacare, nor does it address constitutionality. People need health insurance and health care, but they also need to buy food, houses, clothing, etc. If Obamacare were constitutional, then a mandate on other necessities would be, as well.
Looking at the founders’ original intent in regard to the Interstate Commerce Clause, we see that commerce is simply trade. It was not only about the balance of power between the federal government and the states, but also the economic welfare between the states. Regulating commerce between the states was to regulate trade, so states couldn’t put up trade barriers or sanctions that could lead to war.
To defend Obamacare on the grounds of the commerce clause is to defend the overreaching and unconstitutional ruling of Wickard v. Filburn, which itself was wrongly decided and needs to be overturned.
If you don’t buy the insurance as mandated, then you get fined. Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress allowed to “fine” citizens; therefore, it is a tax.
There are two problems with this. First, it goes against Obama’s pledge to not raise taxes. Second, this tax would not be tied to income, which means it is a direct tax. The Constitution is very clear that direct taxes must be apportioned according to population.
Since this tax would be based upon whether or not you’ve got insurance, not according to population, under Article 1 of the Constitution, it is invalid.
Jeff Peterson II
Salt Lake City