Arguments for and against ObamaCare before the high court this week are complex, but they can't disguise a simple principle: The Constitution protects us from being forced to buy something.
Tuesday's Supreme Court oral arguments over ObamaCare's mandate that Americans must buy health insurance don't look good for the president.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, so often the powerful swing vote between the left and right blocs of the court, complained to Obama Solicitor General Donald Verrilli that under the mandate "the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases and that changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way."
The best retort Verrilli could come back with was that health care "is a market in which ... virtually everybody participates."
Chief Justice John Roberts asked if the government could "require you to buy a cellphone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services? You can just dial 911 no matter where you are?"
To which Verrilli unconvincingly responded, "I don't think we think of that as a market. ... This is market regulation."
As esteemed law professors Richard Epstein and David Hyman write in a Manhattan Institute issue brief this month titled "How ObamaCare Will End Health Insurance As We Know It," key provisions of the law "are calculated to undermine the long-term viability of the private insurance market by making existing coverage unaffordable or unavailable at any price."
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