A glimpse into Chief Justice Roberts’s views on health care in NASA v. Nelson?

October 5th, 2010

Probably not. But this is interesting nonetheless.

During oral arguments in NASA v. Nelson, Roberts asked whether the government could inquire about a person’s dietary habits on an employment background check:

Your diet, right? That’s certainly relevant in the employment, context, right? They are going to have to pay for your healthcare, worry you might miss things, miss days of work.”

This reasoning–that the government should have an interest to inquire into an employee’s diet because the government pays for healthcare–seems to allude to one of the issues lurking in the individual mandate debate.

I’m sure the issue has crossed the Chief’s mind.

President Reagan often joked that the most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Roberts paraphrased his old boss’s classic line:

“…whenever the government comes and says, ‘this is for your own good,’ you have to be … a little suspicious.”