The Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act, referred to on orders from the Republican high command as “Obamacare,”* is being adjudicated by the Supreme Court, the decision to be announced around July 1. Some sage heads have opined that one or two of the Court’s usual majority on controversial issues will defect, upholding the law in its entirety. But these people are Democrats who I believe are wishful thinking. I’d put my money on the usual five dress suit ward heelers who made George Bush president and passed Citizen’s United, ruling true to form
While the entire law is up for review the most controversial aspect, one that could be overruled by itself to the exclusion of the rest the bill, is the mandate that every American possess, and consequently pay for medical insurance. A recent article in the New Republic by Elner Enhauge specifies instances in our early years where the Founding Fathers had laws imposing similar compulsory expenditures.
Two of them deal specifically with insurance. Owners of commercial ships were required to carry medical insurance on their crews. Crew members were later required to insure themselves for hospitalization when it became too expensive. Where this analogy breaks down is similar to the argument that equates mandated health insurance with the requirement for car owners to carry liability coverage on their vehicles. Automobiles only have to be covered by an owner who wants to them driven. Since shipping was under federal jurisdiction the government had the right to impose its rules on those who chose use the seas and our ports for commerce. The law in question today requires purchasing health coverage simply for being alive, metaphorically a horse of a different color.
But don’t despair because Mr. Enhauge mentions a third early statute which is directly to the point. Every male was required to have a gun in his home, a mandate that should warm the cockles of most right wing hearts. It specifically reveals the intent of the earliest American citizens in laws enacted by their elected representatives on the matter of federal mandates for simply the privilege of living as an American. Speaking for myself, that seems like a pretty good deal.
*Right wing “analyst” Amy Holmes in a monologue on the Bill Maher show mentioned “Obamacare” about ten times. “It” would have sufficed for the last nine, but then she was only following orders.