Individual Mandate: A Constitutional Analysis

The following is a Constitutional analysis of the individual mandate to maintain health care prepared by the Congressional Research Service for Congress.

Document Excerpt

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, Congress enacted a provision that requires certain individuals to have a minimum level of health insurance. Covered individuals who fail to maintain sufficient coverage will be subject to a financial penalty beginning in 2014. Although the federal government provides health coverage for many individuals through federal programs such as Medicare, it had never before required individuals to purchase health insurance. There are various constitutional considerations relevant to the enactment of this provision. This report provides an analysis of constitutional issues raised by compelling individuals to purchase health insurance.



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