Friday, October 8, 2010

As Expected, Congress May Regulate Interstate Commerce; May Levy Taxes | Health Reform Held Constitutional

As I've repeatedly noted, the Health Care Reform laws are plainly constitutional exercises of the federal powers to regulate interstate commerce, and to levy taxes.

The first U.S. District Court Judge to issue a published opinion reaching that same conclusion is Judge George C. Steeh (full 20 page PDF of the opinion, here) -- in Detroit, per the Los Angeles Times, overnight:

. . . .A federal judge on Thursday upheld the authority of the federal government to require everyone to have health insurance, dealing a setback to groups seeking to block the new national health care plan.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in Michigan by a Christian legal group and four people who claimed lawmakers exceeded their power under the Constitution's commerce clause, which authorizes Congress to regulate trade. . . .

"Without the minimum coverage provision, there would be an incentive for some individuals to wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care, knowing that insurance would be available at all times," the judge said.

"As a result, the most costly individuals would be in the insurance system and the least costly would be outside it," Steeh said. "In turn, this would aggravate current problems with cost-shifting and lead to even higher premiums. . . ."

Similar challenges are pending in Virginia, and Florida. There is some NYT coverage here. We will keep you informed.

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