Florida Attorney General Finds Health Care Bill Unconstitutional
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate setting forth the basis for his finding that the proposed federal health care bill is unconstitutional. The letter calls into question provisions of the health care bill that would require every American to purchase health insurance or face a monetary penalty. According to McCollum, Congress may use its powers under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to regulate the channels of interstate commerce and the instrumentalities of interstate commerce. He contends, however, that Congress lacks authority to regulate individuals’ decisions not to purchase products.
McCollum asserts that if Congress were to exert its authority into areas of personal inactivity, there would be “no private sphere of individual decision-making beyond the reach of federal powers.” He further argues that by attempting to regulate an individual’s decision not to purchase insurance, Congress would be eroding the meaning of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves powers to the states and to the people.
The Attorney General contends that both individual citizens and the various states would have authority to challenge the congressional mandate. He pledges to work with the Attorneys General of other states to pursue legal action if the mandate is contained in a bill that becomes law.