We just posted two articles on the Affordable Care Act: One by health-care-law expert Timothy Jost, who debunks the renewed claim that the health-care law will mean that tens of millions of Americans will be getting federal subsidies to pay for abortions, and another by the Editors on the constitutionality of the law:

[T]he mandate would be both necessary and properthe relevant constitutional criteriaeven if it were unique. For the health-care market is not like any other market.... In no other market are providers of a service required to offer it to anyone who needs it, whether or not the person can afford it. Since 1986, federal law has required that hospitals take care of anyone who comes to them needing emergency treatment, whether or not he or she has insurance or can pay for treatment out of pocket. This is, as [Solicitor General Donald] Verrilli put it, the result of the social norms to which weve obligated ourselves. To which Justice Antonin Scalia (a Catholic) replied, Well, dont obligate yourself to that. The implication of Scalias remark was chillingly clear: if victims of car accidents arrive at the emergency room without insurance, hospitals must be allowed to let them die on the curb, because thats what the founding fathers would have wanted.That seems doubtful. It is certainly not what most Americans want now, or what human decency demands. Most people want the sick and injured to get as much care as they need, and most people want them to help pay for their own treatment if they can. This is precisely what the Affordable Care Act was designed to make happen. By requiring insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions, it guarantees that the people who most need access to health care will have it. And by requiring everyone above a certain income level to buy insurance or pay a penalty, the law prevents free-riding, which drives up insurance premiums and taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid payments. While not everyone may want to buy health insurance, everyone with a pulse will eventually need health care. The only questions are when and how much. Because we cant answer those questions in advance, we need a way to distribute the risk of serious illness as broadly, and therefore efficiently, as possible. Hence the mandate. Theres nothing tyrannical about it, and even if there were, voters wouldnt need the Supreme Court to provide a cure. The Constitution itself insures an adequate remedy for tyranny. Its called the ballot box.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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