Once “lowering health care costs” is a legitimate governmental purposes, every regulation on individuals can be justified

June 2nd, 2012

Nothing else is off limits. Everything people do to themselves may at some point increase the cost of their health care. And if the state has a legitimate interest in lower such a cost, there is a legitimate justification for regulations that infringe on¬†individual¬†autonomy–subject only to the restraints in the BIll of Rights.

Say the Court upholds the mandate, and this rational becomes embedded in the norm–this frightens me much, much more than abuses of commerce or necessary and proper clause power.

Congress will always boundaries, but with such a rationale, any law would go.

Update: I think this blog post may have been subconsciously inspired by this WSJ op-ed I glanced at (but did not read) yesterday.

Nobody thought about taking away your Big Gulp until the government began to pay for everyone’s health care.

Call it the growing chattelization of the beneficiary class under government health-care programs. Bloombergism is a secular trend. Los Angeles has sought to ban new fast-food shops in neighborhoods disproportionately populated by Medicaid recipients, Utah to increase Medicaid copays for smokers, Arizona to impose a special tax on Medicaid recipients who smoke or are overweight. New York itself, with private money, some of it from Mr. Bloomberg’s own pocket, has also tried the carrot approach, dangling direct payments to encourage beneficiary families to adopt healthier habits.

So perhaps the famous “broccoli” hypothetical during the Supreme Court ObamaCare debate was not so fanciful after all. It flows naturally from the state’s fiscal responsibility for your health that it will try to regulate your behavior, even mandating vegetable consumption.

In any event, I have been batting this idea around for some time.