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Constitutional Scholar Michele Bachmann: Congress Can’t Reform Health Care


At The Minnesota Independent, Andy Birkey flags the always-entertaining Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” last night. During the interview, Bachmann asserted that Congress’ health care reform proposals are unconstitutional. To illustrate why, she broke down the U.S. Constitution for us laypeople:

“[I]t is not within our power as members of Congress, it’s not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution for us to design and create a national takeover of health care. Nor is it within our ability to be able to delegate that responsibility to the executive.”

It is true, of course, that the power of Congress “to design and create a national takeover of health care” is not stated anywhere in the founding document.

However, as Birkey notes, Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution — where the “powers” of Congress are “enumerated” — includes the following:

The Congress shall have Power To … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

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It also includes this power:

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

I’m no constitutional scholar, but enacting laws to reform the health care system to help provide insurance to the roughly 45 million Americans currently going without sounds like it might be covered under a reasonable reading of the “general welfare” clause.

Maybe Bachmann can be forgiven — interpreting the Constitution never really was her strong point.

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