Does the federal government have the power to require all Americans to purchase health care?

A recent article in The Kentucky Gazette, by Michael Maharrey of the Kentucky Tenth Amendment Center, says “no.”

The article says that health care is a states’ rights issue, noting that the 10th Amendment says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

No power granted in the Constitution, no right to regulate.

But some Washington politicians with their big-government shades get hung up on Constitutional provisions that have nothing to do with health care, like the commerce clause and taxing authority.

Maharrey points out that the commerce clause emerged as a means of preventing states from imposing tariffs on each other. The word “commerce,” as the framers intended, only refers to trade.

The other flawed argument lies in Congress’s taxing authority found in Article I of the Constitution that permits it to collect taxes for the “general welfare” of the people. But one need look no further than the words of James Madison to clear up any confusion:

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the details of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character…not contemplated by its creators.”

Maharrey’s argument is right in line with the Constitution. The same cannot be said about the federal government’s health care mandate.