Sunday, October 18, 2009

Car Insurance Could Provide A Roadmap To Health Care Reform

Posted by: Lisa Matthys

Written by: Shamara Riley

One of the arguments that has been made by supporters of President Obama's health care reform plan is that a government requirement for individuals to have health care coverage is comparable to state requirements that drivers have car insurance. One must possess insurance to drive on the nation's roads, they say, so should it be for health insurance.

However, the analogy does not quite work. Nowhere in the Constitution does the federal government have an enumerated power or responsibility to mandate health care insurance. It's not outlined in Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution, nor in any subsequent amendments. Thus, the health care coverage issue belongs to the states and the people, as per our 10th Amendment, which states: "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."

Aside from the potential unconstitutionality of a health care mandate on individual liberty, an individual can opt out of paying for car insurance by not driving a vehicle. Living in a big city like Chicago, I find that public transportation pretty much handles my daily travel needs. I prefer to spend my money on other priorities. In addition, the priorities of health insurance and car insurance are different. Unlike health insurance, the often-standard liability insurance is designed to protect other people from negative results of your driving actions.

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