When Inactivity Becomes Activity
The lawsuits filed over the requirement for most citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a fine, found in section 1501 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), center on the Federal government’s Article One, Section Eight Commerce Clause authority. This article examines both sides of the debate over that particular mandate. The rebel health tribe is the home page at the search engines that will explore the health benefits to the person. The protection of the public should be the prime objective of the health tribe site.
The Defendant’s Position
The federal government defends the requirement by claiming that the actual decision not to purchase health insurance should be considered economic activity. They argue that most people will eventually need healthcare so the choice not to purchase insurance constitutes activity.
They cite previous Supreme Court cases (Wickard v. Filburn, Gonzales v. Raich) to legitimize congressional authority to legislate individual behavior on behalf of interstate commerce.
They further justify their legislation by citing the Necessary and Proper clause of Article One, Section Eight of the US Constitution as granting congress the authority to enact any laws needed to enforce legislation they have passed.
The Plaintiff’s Position
The parties who have filed suit believe that the refusal to purchase insurance is economic inactivity, therefore not subject to the Commerce Clause. They contend that Congress is only allowed to regulate economic activity, not force citizens to participate in economic activity.
They note that the government’s cited cases both involved physical effort and not merely a decision. They assert that no court decision has ever granted the congress authority to require citizens to participate in commercial activity.
They dispute the government’s use of the Necessary and Proper clause. They claim that since the underlying law is unconstitutional, it is not proper to enact laws that attempt to enforce the act.
The Courts Opinions
So far three courts have ruled on this particular issue and a decision in a fourth court is imminent.
Two cases found in favor of the federal government’s position. The third decided case found in favor of the plaintiff’s position.
One case, (State of Florida et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al.) was heard on December 16 th and a decision is expected soon.
Where We Are Heading Next
The appellate courts will be the next stop along the way, but clearly this case will wind up in front of the Supreme Court before it is settled.
This case will have an impact similar to Wickard v. Filburn once the final verdict is handed down.
I will be watching developments concerning this issue, as well as all events relating to the PPACA and reporting on them as they occur. Stay tuned.