End the Mandate

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Last
week I introduced a very important piece of legislation that I hope
will gain as much or more support as my Audit the Fed bill. HR 4995,
the End the Mandate Act will repeal provisions of the newly passed
health insurance reform bill that give the government the power
to force Americans to purchase government-approved health insurance.

The whole bill
is rotten, but this provision especially is a blatant violation
of the Constitution. Defenders claim the Congress’s constitutional
authority to regulate “interstate commerce” gives it the
power to do this. However, as Judge Andrew Napolitano and other
distinguished legal scholars and commentators have pointed out,
even the broadest definition of “regulating interstate commerce”
cannot reasonably encompass forcing Americans to engage in commerce
by purchasing health insurance. Not only is it unconstitutional;
it is a violation of the basic freedom to make our own decisions
regarding how best to meet the health care needs of ourselves and
our families.

The new law
requires Americans to have what is defined as “minimum essential
coverage.” Some people may claim that the requirement to have
“minimal essential coverage” does not impose an unreasonable
burden on Americans. There are two problems with this claim. First,
the very imposition of a health insurance mandate, no matter how
“minimal,” violates the principles of individual liberty
upon which this country was founded.

Second, the
mandate is unlikely to remain “minimal” for long. The
experience of states that allow their legislatures to mandate what
benefits health insurance plans must cover has shown that politicizing
health insurance inevitably makes it more expensive. As the cost
of government-mandated health insurance rises, Congress will likely
respond by increasing subsidies for more and more Americans, adding
astronomically to our debt burden. An insurance mandate undermines
the entire principle of what insurance is supposed to measure —
risk.

Another likely
response to rising costs is the imposition of price controls on
medical treatments, and limits on what procedures and treatments
mandatory insurance will have to reimburse. This is happening in
other countries where government is intrinsically involved in these
decisions and people suffer and die because of it.

This will only
increase the bottom line of the very insurers the legislation was
supposed to control. Meanwhile, alternate methods of healthcare
delivery and financing, such as concierge doctors, alternative medicine,
or physician-owned hospitals will be greatly harmed, if not put
out of business altogether, when the entire country is forced into
the insurance model. It will be difficult for families to come up
with extra money to pay for alternate healthcare of their choice
when their budget has been squeezed by this mandate to buy insurance.
This will in turn reduce competition for healthcare dollars. Health
insurers, like many other corporations in other industries, have
now used the legislative process anti-competitively to corner the
healthcare market. Instead of calling this socialized medicine,
we should call it corporatized medicine, since the reform is to
force us all into being customers of these corporations, whether
we like it or not.

Congress made
a grave error by forcing all Americans to purchase health insurance.
The mandate violates fundamental principles of individual liberty,
and will lead to further government involvement in health care.
It is time for legislation that fights back for the freedom of the
people on this issue. It is time to End the Mandate.

See
the Ron Paul File

April
20, 2010

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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