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Health Insurance Reform DAILY MYTHBUSTER: 'Constitutionality of Health Insurance Reform'
Date:9/16/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Reform opponents continue to spread myths about components of America's Affordable Health Choices Act, including the nonsensical claim that the federal government has no constitutionally valid role in reforming our health care system -- apparently ignoring the validity of Medicare and other popular federal health reforms.

MYTH: "Health insurance reform could be unconstitutional... or violate the 10th amendment."

FACT: As with Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government has the Constitutional power to reform our health care system.

The 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that the powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states... or to the people. But the Constitution gives Congress broad power to regulate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce. Congress has used this authority to regulate many aspects of American life, from labor relations to education to health care to agricultural production. Since virtually every aspect of the heath care system has an effect on interstate commerce, the power of Congress to regulate health care is essentially unlimited.

The 10th amendment does not authorize states to constrict Congress' power under the commerce clause. As the Supreme Court has held, Congress can bar racial discrimination in Ollie's Barbeque in Alabama (Katzenbach v. McClung) or the growing and sale of medical marijuana in California (Gonzales v. Raich), even in the face of state laws permitting such behavior.

The 10th amendment does place one significant limit on Congress and the federal government: Congress cannot "command
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SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House
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