Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Four Constitutional Limits that the Minimum Coverage Provision Respects

Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 27, p. 591, 2011

29 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2011 Last revised: 29 Dec 2014

Neil Siegel

Duke University School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2011

Abstract

Opponents of the minimum coverage provision in the Affordable Care Act charge that if Congress can require most people to obtain health insurance or pay a certain amount of money, then Congress can impose whatever mandates it wishes - or, at least, whatever purchase mandates it wishes. This Essay refutes that claim by identifying four limits on the Commerce Clause that the minimum coverage provision honors. Congress may not use its commerce power: (1) to regulate noneconomic subject matter; (2) to impose a regulation that violates constitutional rights, including the right to bodily integrity; (3) to regulate at all, including by imposing a mandate, unless it reasonably believes that the regulation will ameliorate a significant collective action problem involving multiple states; or (4) to impose an economic mandate unless it reasonably believes that other regulatory means would be less effective or more coercive.

Keywords: Commerce Clause, health insurance mandate, Affordable Care Act, collective action federalism, congressional powers

Suggested Citation

Siegel, Neil, Four Constitutional Limits that the Minimum Coverage Provision Respects (December 1, 2011). Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 27, p. 591, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1930249

Neil Siegel (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
227
Rank
113,462
Abstract Views
3,526