One summer someone asked Yogi Berra for his thoughts on slow ticket sales, to which he responded: “If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's gonna stop 'em.”
The Affordable Health Care Act is intended to disprove Yogi’s logic by means of its individual mandate, whereby if people don’t want to come out to the health insurance market and buy coverage, the federal government’s gonna stop ‘em.
As the Supreme Court takes up the case in earnest this week, defenders of Obamacare are hitting the public with any reason they can think of why Americans should fall in love with it. “The law would be the largest expansion in the nation’s social safety net in more than four decades,” gushes the AP. That sounds awful appealing, no? It’s also an historic expansion of government power beyond the allotted bounds of the Constitution, a much less warm-and-fuzzy point to make. Trotted out regularly in the past week is the wildly dissimilar comparison of Obama’s forced commerce plan with states that mandate auto insurance for all drivers. In Michigan we have required no-fault insurance, but no one who doesn’t drive or own a car has to buy it. Under Obamacare, if you breathe, you have to buy insurance.
I’m not making predictions one way or the other how the Supreme Court is going to rule. I heard one Obama supporter yesterday whistling in the dark that the administration feels they have a pretty strong case or they wouldn’t have wanted it to go to the court just yet. I draw some consolation that the administration has a lousy record at judging the merits of constitutional issues, as two 9-0 shutouts in Sackett v EPA, and Hosanna-Tabor v EEOC in the past year have made clear.