Letter: States' role is different from feds'
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Reading his June 19 column, “Auto, home policies a must, why not health?” it appears that columnist Carl Hiaasen doesn’t understand the basic issue in the case against President Obama’s health care reform. The reason many states are arguing that the mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitutional is the 10th Amendment. Many scholars interpret this amendment to mean that the federal government cannot pass laws that are not within the powers explicitly described in the U.S. Constitution. Any governmental actions not described in the Constitution can only be performed by the states.
The Supreme Court has not interpreted the 10th Amendment very strictly; and the federal government performs a lot of actions not explicitly described in the Constitution.
No one says a state cannot require its citizens to buy health insurance. Each state does require its citizens to buy auto insurance, but this mandate does not come from the federal government. We buy homeowner’s insurance because mortgage lenders require it to protect their interest in our homes.
The basic premise of Hiaasen’s column is incorrect. Just because a state requires us to buy auto insurance or a lender requires us to buy homeowner’s insurance does not mean that the federal government can require us to buy health insurance.