Does the Individual Mandate Coerce?

18 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2012 Last revised: 16 Dec 2013

See all articles by Raphael Boleslavsky

Raphael Boleslavsky

University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Sergio J. Campos

Boston College - Law School

Date Written: April 23, 2012


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes an individual mandate which penalizes individuals who do not purchase health insurance. Critics of the individual mandate, including a majority of justices on the Supreme Court, contend that Congress cannot use its Commerce Clause power to coerce individuals to buy a product. Supporters concede that the mandate coerces but argue that it is otherwise permissible under the Commerce Clause. This Article questions whether the individual mandate coerces. It uses a simple economic model to show that, under certain conditions, the individual mandate induces insurers to sell health insurance at a price each individual would voluntarily pay. Accordingly, the Article concludes that the premise underlying the debate over the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause should not be taken for granted.

Keywords: individual mandate, patient protection and affordable care act, commerce clause, necessary and proper clause, health care, insurance

JEL Classification: I11, K32

Suggested Citation

Boleslavsky, Raphael and Campos, Sergio J., Does the Individual Mandate Coerce? (April 23, 2012). University of Miami Law Review, Vol. 68, No. 1, 2013, University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-16, Available at SSRN: or

Raphael Boleslavsky

University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 248126
Coral Gables, FL 33124-6550
United States

Sergio J. Campos (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
East Wing 316
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617.552.4387 (Phone)

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