Brocolli and Insurance Mandate

This is an excellent short NEJM article summarizing why the federal government does have the authority to mandate that people buy health insurance.   Written by a Harvard Law School professor.

The Irrelevance of the Broccoli Argument against the Insurance Mandate

Einer Elhauge, J.D.

N Engl J Med 2012; 366:e1January 5, 2012

Favorite passage:

“Others argue that the Constitution’s framers could not possibly have envisioned a congressional power to force purchases. However, in 1790, the first Congress, which was packed with framers, required all ship owners to provide medical insurance for seamen; in 1798, Congress also required seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. In 1792, Congress enacted a law mandating that all able-bodied citizens obtain a firearm. This history negates any claim that forcing the purchase of insurance or other products is unprecedented or contrary to any possible intention of the framers.”

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