Is National Health Insurance Constitutional?

Julia Shaw /

We have heard a great deal about the costs and benefits of a “public option” and  “single-payer system.”  We have heard about the financial costs—and the other costs—of allowing the government to interfere with matters of life and death.  However, we haven’t heard whether the Constitution gives Congress the power to enact these plans. What does this say about the status of the Constitution in the minds our policymakers today?  If a concerned citizen asks a proponent of nationalized healthcare to point to the constitutional authority for such a law, he may hear that the “General Welfare” clause, the “Necessary and Proper” clause, or the “Interstate Commerce” clause enables Congress to create national public health insurance to act.

None of these clauses—or any others found in the Constitution—gives Congress the power to create a government healthcare system. (more…)