The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Obamacare shackles individual freedom

Beginning today, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on the individual mandate and a few other issues of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Twenty-six states and a few independent associations have collectively sued the administration saying that the individual mandate provision of the health care law infringes on the rights of their citizens.

They are correct.

This Supreme Court decision will be the most influential decision of our lifetimes. It will be one of those cases like Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Plessy v. Ferguson and Griswold v. Connecticut that we all learned about in our American history classes. The issue in this case is one that goes to the very heart of the relationship between the government and its citizens.

This question of whether or not the government can force you to buy something against your will is incredibly serious.It is therefore unsettling that the Democratic Party seems so unconcerned with this.

Right after the bill passed, Nancy Pelosi was asked if the bill was possibly unconstitutional. She responded with a guffaw and asked: “Are you serious?”

Well, Ms. Pelosi, the American people are serious. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the American people have seriously considered this bill, and they have come to dislike it intensely. A majority of people has consistently wanted it to be repealed. In recent polls, two-thirds of people have said that they believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides (and no one really knows, it could easily go either way depending on which side of the bed Justice Anthony Kennedy gets up in the morning), the American people know that there is something inherently wrong with the government having the power to force you to buy something.

No reasonable person could believe that Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton would have thought that the federal government having the authority to force a private, commercial decision was acceptable.

In fact, Americans have a long history of rebelling against government fiat. The Boston Tea Party occurred in response in part to a government mandate that colonists could only buy tea from the British East India Company.

That sounds an awful lot like the Obamacare mandate: you must buy insurance and it must be a government-approved plan. Americans also understand that once the government gets the power to do something, it will continue to try to expand its power.

The administration claims that they can regulate health care under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which states that the government can regulate interstate commerce, in this way because it is a special market. People who do not buy insurance are still engaging in interstate commerce somehow so the government claims that they have the ability to regulate it.

But, what will then stop them from declaring that anything else is also a special market? It is very easy to envision President Obama claiming that the automobile market is a special market and therefore mandating that everyone buy Chevy Volts because people who do not have Chevy Volts are affecting the environment, which affects interstate commerce.

America is not about empowering government, it is about empowering the American people. Yet nowhere in this bill is the power of the government limited. This is why the health care bill is so dangerous to the liberty of the American people, and why the Supreme Court should declare it unconstitutional.

Andrew is a sophomore majoring in finance, French and markets and culture. 

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