In 2010, a bitterly divided Congress passed President Obama’s signature legislative effort, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA, Pub. L. 111-148) — also called “ObamaCare.” PPACA practically federalizes control over the entire U.S. health care system, which accounts for a near 17% share of the U.S. economy.
Opponents of PPACA believe the law is an overreach of federal powers into the personal medical decisions of American citizens. Supporters argue that the law properly exercises federal power under the Interstate Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.
PPACA relies, in no small measure, on a Supreme Court case that was hastily decided during America’s most desperate days in World War II. Back then, in the depths of war, the Supreme Court decided that the federal government can control personal economic decisions. Yet the circumstances of the case were, to say the least, quite odd.
Indeed, if this old case is what justifies ObamaCare, it’s fair to ask if PPACA truly rests on a valid constitutional foundation. At the very least, it’s time for the Supreme Court to revisit an extreme point of law that was established in a time of military crisis, during a war that ended 66 years ago.