Sen. Lincoln: Congress Can Force Americans to Buy Health Insurance Because Constitution ‘Charges Congress With the Health’ of the People
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By Nicholas Ballasy
(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) told CNSNews.com that Congress has the authority to force individual Americans to buy health insurance because the U.S. Constitution “charges Congress with the health and well-being of the people.”
The words “health” and “well-being” do not appear anywhere in the Constitution.
The Congressional Budget Office has determined that in the entire history of the United States the federal government has never mandated that Americans buy any good or service. Both the House and Senate health care bills, however, include provisions that require all legal residents of the U.S. to purchase health insurance, a provision whose constitutionality has been qiuestioned by, among others, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, CNSNews.com asked Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Blanche Lincoln the following question: “What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate that individuals have to purchase health insurance?”
Lincoln did not answer the question during the press conference but spoke to CNSNews.com in the Dirksen Senate Office Building immediately afterward. CNSNews.com asked her there: ‘You didn’t respond to my constitutionality question during the press conference, and what was your reaction to, your answer to the question?”
“Well, I just think the Constitution charges Congress with the health and well-being of the people,” Lincoln said.
Really, Senator? And do you care what I think?
© Janet Crain
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