American Journal of Law & Medicine
healthcare, Obamacare, individual mandate, Commerce Clause
There was an argument that the Obama Administration's lawyers could have made—but didn't—in defending Obamacare 's individual mandate against constitutional attack. That argument would have highlighted the role of comprehensive health insurance in steering individuals' healthcare savings and consumption decisions. Because consumer-directed healthcare, which reaches its apex when individuals self-insure, suffers from several known market failures and because comprehensive health insurance policies play an unusually aggressive regulatory role in attempting to correct those failures, the individual mandate could be seen as an attempt to eliminate inefficiencies in the healthcare market that arise from individual decisions to self-insure. This argument would done a better job than the Obama Administration's of aligning the individual mandate with existing Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause precedent, and it would have done a better job of addressing the conservative Justices' primary concerns with upholding the mandate. This Article lays out this forgone defense of the individual mandate.
Moncrieff, Abigail R., "The Individual Mandate as Health Care Regulation: What the Obama Administration Should Have Said in NFIB v. Sebelius" (2013). Law Faculty Articles and Essays. 1281.