Hatch, Other Conservatives Argue Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is leading the Republican movement against the proposed individual mandate to buy insurance, arguing "Congress has no constitutional authority to tell people what to buy with their money, Salt Lake Tribune explains. "'If we have the power simply to order Americans to buy certain products, why did we need a Cash for Clunkers program?' Hatch said during a debate in the Senate Finance Committee. 'We can simply require Americans to buy certain cars.' Democrats brush aside these arguments and say the proposal is not only good policy, but also is well within Congress's established powers. However, nonpartisan researchers are not as confident. In a report released in July, the Congressional Research Service said it 'seemed possible' that Congress could create a requirement to buy insurance that passed constitutional muster, but that legitimate legal questions remain unanswered. Republicans have seized on this argument as they try to defeat the Democrats' bill and are likely to tout it during the upcoming Senate debate."
"But tucked deep into the Senate's more than 2,000-page reform bill are five pages devoted to defending the constitutionality of the individual mandate and making a case that the requirement would benefit interstate commerce" (Canham, 11/21).