Constitutional Implications of an “Individual Mandate” in Health Care Reform

Health care reform legislation remains a high priority for President Obama. In his June 2 letter to the Senate leadership he urged action no later than October of this year. Both the administration and Senate leadership have endorsed an “individual mandate” as a necessary component of any health care legislation. The imposition of such an individual mandate would be an unprecedented federal action by the Congress, and careful consideration should be undertaken by members of Congress as to whether such legislation comports with the legislative authority delegated to Congress under the Constitution.

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