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Category Archive: Healthcare

  1. How is the Affordable Care Act Different from Medicare?

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    If Social Security and Medicare are constitutional, why isn’t the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act also constitutional? Law professor Elizabeth Price Foley explains that the Social Security and Medicare laws are based on a different congressional power than the Affordable Care Act. Social Security and Medicare fall under Congress’s power to tax and spend on behalf of U.S. citizens, while the individual mandate is based on the power to regulate commerce.

    The question before the Supreme Court is whether the power to regulate commerce includes the power to compel people to participate in commerce. Is it within Congress’s constitutional authority to require individuals to buy health care if they do not want to do so?

    Professor Elizabeth Price Foley says Congress could have solved the problem of access to health care for the uninsured without using its commerce power. It could have simply invoked the same principle it used with Social Security and Medicare. If that had happened, the Affordable Care Act would not be in a case pending before the Supreme Court.

     

  2. Can the Federal Government Mandate Health Insurance?

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    Most states require individuals to possess insurance for their automobiles. So why can’t the federal government be able to set a similar requirement?

    According to Professor Elizabeth Price Foley, the Constitution outlines specific powers for the federal government. Any law Congress passes must be able to prove that it falls under these powers. States have different powers.

    The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the individual mandate for health insurance falls under the powers given to Congress in the Constitution. But just because the states have the power to establish mandates for health insurance or car insurance does not suggest that the federal government has the same power.

  3. Is the Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional?

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    Does Congress possess the constitutional power to force its citizens to purchase health insurance?  Prof. Elizabeth Price Foley says that’s the key question in the Supreme Court challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court must decide whether the “individual mandate” portion of the law falls under Congress’s power to “regulate commerce,” as enumerated by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Prof. Foley argues that whether or not you personally support the health care legislation, you should be worried about the precedent that the individual mandate would set. If the power to regulate commerce is interpreted as including the power to force people to buy something, then that power doesn’t just apply to health care. It would give Congress the power to make individuals buy anything, which poses a significant threat to individual liberty.

    Prof. Foley worked with the Institute of Justice to submit an amicus brief on the case, arguing that the individual mandate is like forcing a contract. Yet for hundreds of years, contracts have been understood as voluntary agreements between two parties. Thus, a forced contract is a contradiction in terms, and therefore unlikely to have been the kind of power intended to fall within the power to “regulate commerce.”

    Prof. Foley worked with the Institute of Justice to file an amicus brief on the case: http://www.ij.org/health-insurance-reform-a-the-supreme-court

     

  4. Top Three Health Care Policy Proposals

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    One year after the passage of major health care legislation, Harvard economist Jeff Miron says more reform is still needed. Dr. Miron gives his top 3 policy proposals for fixing the U.S. health care system: 1) Throw away the notion that health care is a right; 2) Repeal Obamacare; and 3) Phase out Medicare.

  5. What Do We Mean By “The Uninsured?”

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    In the healthcare reform debates, one commonly cited statistic was “there are 47 million uninsured Americans.” Economics professor Antony Davies examines this number, and asserts that based on the evidence, the actual number of uninsured Americans was far smaller.