Krauthammer discusses ObamaCare’s ‘reckoning’

Charles Krauthammer‘s latest column previews the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court review of the federal health care reform law.

Beginning March 26, the Supreme Court will hear challenges to the law. The American people, by an astonishing two-thirds majority, want the law and/or the individual mandate tossed out by the Court. In practice, however, questions this momentous are generally decided 5 to 4, i.e., they depend on whatever side of the bed Justice Anthony Kennedy gets out of that morning.

Ultimately, the question will hinge on whether the Commerce Clause has any limits. If the federal government can compel a private citizen, under threat of a federally imposed penalty, to engage in a private contract with a private entity (to buy health insurance), is there anything the federal government cannot compel the citizen to do?

If Obamacare is upheld, it fundamentally changes the nature of the American social contract. It means the effective end of a government of enumerated powers — i.e., finite, delineated powers beyond which the government may not go, beyond which lies the free realm of the people and their voluntary institutions. The new post-Obamacare dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out and maintain spheres of autonomy.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

Reader Comments

  • Pops

    Krauthammer’s rhetoric is unfounded and way over the top. First of all, the supreme court will uphold the law for this reason: Health insurance is not like buying a car or a generic product. Everyone–bar none–participates in health care. If you choose not to buy insurance, you still get the care you need in an emergency room. For example, if you are in an accident and need a doctor, you don’t think, “Gee, do I want to participate in the health care system?” That’s ridiculous!

    Fundamentally changes the nature of the social contract? Give me a break. That kind of unfounded and poor reasoning will not work with the supreme court.

    Has Krauthammer ever heard of public education? Gov takes money in taxes and spreads it back out guaranteeing–actually, forcing– everyone to participate in education. Health care works THE SAME WAY. I challenge anyone to show me how this is different from health care.

    Social contract? Get off your high horse; reality does not support your rhetoric.