Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives
Statement on Introduction of End the Mandate Act
Madam Speaker, today I am introducing the End the Mandate Act. This legislation repeals the sections of the recently-passed health reform bill that force all Americans to purchase federally-approved health insurance plans.
Forcing every American to obtain health insurance is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Defenders of this provision claim the Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate “interstate commerce” gives Congress the power to mandate every American obtain a federally-approved health insurance plan. However, as Judge Andrew Napolitano and other distinguished legal scholars and commentators have pointed out, even the broadest definition of “regulating interstate commerce” cannot reasonably encompass forcing Americans to engage in commerce by purchasing health insurance.
Forcing every American to obtain a congressionally-approved health insurance plan is not just unconstitutional; it is a violation of the basic freedom to make our own decisions regarding how best to meet the health care needs of ourselves and our families.
Madam Speaker, the new law requires Americans to have what is defined as “minimum essential coverage.” Some people may claim that the requirement to have “minimal essential coverage” does not impose an unreasonable burden on Americans. There are two problems with this claim.
First, the very imposition of a health insurance mandate, no matter how “minimal,” violates the principles of individual liberty upon which this country was founded.
Second, the mandate is unlikely to remain “minimal” for long. The experience of states that allow their legislatures to mandate what benefits health insurance plans must cover has shown that politicizing health insurance inevitably makes health insurance more expensive. As the cost of government-mandated health insurance rises, Congress will likely respond by increasingly subsidizing health insurance for an ever increasing number of Americans.
When the cost of government-mandated insurance proves to be an unsustainable burden on individuals, small employers, and the government, Congress will likely impose price controls on medical treatments, and even go so far as to limit what procedures and treatments mandatory insurance will reimburse.
Madam Speaker, Congress made a grave error by forcing all Americans to purchase health insurance. The mandate violates fundamental principles of individual liberty, and will lead to further government involvement in health care. I therefore ask all of my colleagues to join me in correcting this mistake by cosponsoring the End the Mandate Act.
[Photo by Fibonacci Blue; CC BY 2.0]