Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Finally Some Original Thought 

Reason's Ron Bailey pointed me towards an article by Karl Manheim and Jamie Court of the Christian Science Monitor in which the authors claim that forcing people to purchase private health insurance may be unconstitutional:

A health insurance mandate is essentially a forced contract, in which one party (the insurer) gets to set the terms. You must buy their policies, even if you prefer to self-insure, rely on alternative medicine, or obtain treatment outside the system. In constitutional terms, such mandates may constitute a violation of due process or a "taking of property."
Here's the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for all of you who don't have it memorized:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The mandate that people purchasing health insurance (an idea as a libertarian I have never been comfortable with) is put forth by politicians like Hilliary Clinton and Barak Obama for a public purpose. They don't want the costs associated with treating people without coverage shifted to those who do. Looks to me like if this idea really caught on we would be going straight to the Supreme Court.

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