In March of 2010, President Obama signed into law his healthcare overhaul bill known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act. Under the law, everyone is required to purchase insurance or pay a penalty, among other things. The Supreme Court has begun debating over the law after 27 states have filed suit against it. Obama Care, the bills nickname, should be ruled constitutional.Under the current health care system, any person who does not have insurance can still receive medical assistance. According to the Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act, no hospital can legally turn away a patient with a medical emergency and no public hospital can ever turn away a patient based on an inability to pay. The burden to finance hospital visits made by patients with no medical insurance falls on taxpayers. Obama Care helps alleviate the burden by mandating health insurance for all people.
The government draws its ability to regulate health care by considering it commerce. Virtually every person will, at one point in their life, have to receive some kind of medical assistance, making mandated health care constitutional as a way to protect the general public. Until it is mandated, taxpayers will continue to pick up the tab. Without a health care overhaul, the current health care system will continue to drain society of resources that could be better utilized.
Although critics argue mandated health care is unconstitutional as the government is overstepping its powers, the Supreme Court has previously ruled in favor of government regulation on commerce when necessary to step in to protect public interests. In Wickard v. Filburn the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government saying it had the authority to regulate how much grain an individual grows on a personal farm under the commerce clause. Much like in Wickard v. Filburn, health care can be be regulated if treated as commerce. Health care is not an individual issue. One person refusing to purchase insurance affects all people, making it necessary to mandate it to protect society as a whole.
The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Obama Care which, as commerce is under the federal government’s authority to regulate. Furthermore, health care is not an individual liberty that pertains to just the individual but has the ability to affect all others. Until health care is mandated, it will continue to strain taxpayers.