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87 Percent of Americans Agree With Conservative Supreme Court Justices on Broccoli Mandate

The Associated Press reports:  

Conservative justices on Tuesday sharply questioned whether the government can force Americans to buy health insurance. In oral arguments over the new health care law passed by Congress in 2010, justices wondered if the law could set precedent allowing Congress to require Americans to buy other products, such as cell phones, burial insurance, gym memberships and broccoli.

“If the government can do that, what else can it do?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia, referring to the individual mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He then questioned whether Congress could also require individuals to buy vegetables, such as broccoli.

The recent national Reason-Rupe poll of 1200 adults released yesterday shows 87 percent of Americans believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to mandate that you buy broccoli. Eight percent think Congress can constitutionally force you to buy vegetables.

A lower percent, but still a clear majority (62 percent) believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to require Americans to buy health insurance, and a 51 percent do not  believe Congress should require individuals to buy health insurance.

 

Proponents of the law disagree vegetable mandates logically follow from a health insurance mandate. The Obama administration’s lawyer Donald Verrilli responded to Justice Scalia: “No, that’s quite different” because participation in vegetable market is not unpredictable and involuntary.

Full poll results found here.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 10th-20th of both mobile and landline phones, 1200 adults, margin of error +/- 3 percent. Columns may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.

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  • ||

    Ridiculous. Another successful smokescreen. Everyone needs affordable healthcare insurance. If the government would focus on getting the "entitled" off the dole and into the work force, among other things.. there just might be a change. Keeping obscene healthcare costs down might not hurt either. It's those who have who want to prevent others from having.

  • Jim Treacher||

    You have a very firm grasp of reality.

  • ||

    Now that's just absurd. Everyone does not need affordable healthcare insurance. Does a lifetime smoker who gets cancer at 74 deserve $100k+ of chemotherapy? Does a morbidly obsese man without a dime of savings deserve a free triple-bypass surgery after 30years of deep-fried bacon funded by other people's insurance premiums? Does a brain-dead woman after a tragic car accident deserve millions in hospital care for the rest of her life because the family doesn't believe in pulling the plug?
    There is always a line...a crappy, unfair, terrible line. Tough decisions must always be made...that's life, deal with it. Saying everyone deserves affordable healthcare is a complete cop-out...a refusal to accept the realities of life.

  • Bill||

    Well that's mean. Absolutely correct, but mean.

    I think it's kind of funny that the same people who are so upset at the "obesity epidemic" are the same people pushing for universal healthcare. If people had to pay their own medical bills, perhaps they would take better care of themselves. If one had a choice between paying for blood pressure meds or getting in shape, more people would choose the latter than currently do.

  • ||

    And secondly, healthcare costs are not "obscene". They are high because of supply and demand. Do you have any appreciation of the cost to research, design, build, maintain, and operating most medical diagnostic equipment? To create the life-saving drugs that we currently enjoy? You don't have a clue. You want cheap?...go get some leeches and a cup of grandma's tea.

  • Bill||

    Ever been to Tea-vanna? Tea's expensive. Uncle Sam should help pay for this too.

  • ||

    There is a difference between the PRICES consumers pay for healthcare and what it COSTS the provider to provide it. Government regulations raise the COSTS and lower the PRICES...and you know what that results in.

    The real problem is the third party payer system where those receiving the product have no skin in the game. Until ALL healthcare at ALL income levels requires input from the consumers descretionary spending the aggregate system will be unaffordable in aggregate.

  • ||

    It's too bad you're not on the Supreme Court. You could tell those other justices that you and your friends should have free healthcare 'cuz, like, you really want it, and in this case they can ignore those pesky constitutional issues.

  • ||

    Its obviously not in the enumerated powers of the Federal Government. And its also obvious why the principal of limiting the power of the federal government exists.

    Find a constitutional way. Rule of law. your free grand children will thank you.

    As a by product a federal health morass my not save more lives than it kills. Lets think of another way for the sick and uninsured to be covered.

  • ||

    The Obama administration’s lawyer Donald Verrilli responded to Justice Scalia: “No, that’s quite different” because participation in vegetable market is not unpredictable and involuntary.


    Ah yes, the old "Predictability and Involuntariness" exemption to the enumeration of powers. So glad Madison wrote that in.

  • EBL||

    This is all rather epic... It is a good thing that I actually like broccoli.

  • ||

    Since food is actually necessary for life the Broccoli would have a higher priority than health insurance if that were the criteria.

    To add an element to the argument, given the regulation on Catholics and birth control, would we be setting a precedent that could force Jews and Muslims to purchase pork and Hindus to purchase beef. Of more relevance to many on the left, without any explicit constitutional protection could vegans and vegetarians be forced to purchase all manner of products to which they find morally objectionable?

  • ||

    Don't forget housing as an even more essential right. On religious grounds, I object to anything other than Maui.

  • ||

    Of course being in the broccoli market is "involuntary". I have to eat don't I. I have to decide not to eat broccoli, the same way I would have to decide not to get health insurance. Thus in the same preposterous way they claim I'm in the health insurance market when I don't buy it I am in the broccoli market when I don't buy that.

  • ||

    Brocoli - Never.
    The only green food fit to eat is mint chocolate chip ice cream.

  • Willy||

    Baskin Robbins, still the best.

  • Tman||

  • ||

    I'm busy wondering who that 8% is. Crafty liberals who understand the implications of non-mandated broccoli? Or true morons who want to force broccoli on me? In any case, it's scary that people like that vote at all. Would they mind if I constitutionally mandated that they stay home on election night?

  • James||

    Exactly, Willy. Who are the 8% who think the government can mandate broccoli? I'm guessing they are such staunch W haters that they wish to make him eat broccoli.

    That's actually the most disturbing thing about this poll.
    BTW I like broccoli.

  • ||

    It was 41 who did not eat broccoli.

  • ||

    "...87 percent of Americans believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to mandate that you buy broccoli. Eight percent think Congress can constitutionally force you to buy vegetables."

    Um. It would be the Executive Branch which would do the enforcing. Nicht wahr?

  • ||

    The real question is if the mandate is constitutional how long do you think it will take Congress to force to buy something else like broccoli of a gm volt?

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    Proponents of the law disagree vegetable mandates logically follow from a health insurance mandate. The Obama administration’s lawyer Donald Verrilli responded to Justice Scalia: “No, that’s quite different” because participation in vegetable market is not unpredictable and involuntary.

    I might have believed him if the Government hadn't made the same claims when they went after Big Tobacco.

    "Oh we're only grabbing this power specifically so we can regulate these "murderers" making cigarettes!"

    And then as soon as Big Tobacco had been brought to heel, they immediately began using the "emergency" powers they granted themselves for dealing with them on every other industry in the country...

  • ||

    Not broccoli - I like asparagus, lima beans and fresh peas. But not broccoli. I'll eat broccoli when they pry the fork from my cold, dead fingers. Or, maybe not.

  • Edwin||

    dude you're nuts, broccoli is the shit, it's lima beans that taste weird. Fuckin weird-ass weirdo beans

  • Scott Cone||

    The really disturbing data in this poll? Eight percent of our fellow citizens believe Congress can make you buy anything and another 5% are "not sure". So, 13% of the population is either fully supportive of totalitarian government or undecided about it? This is the scary figure. Extrapolate that out to the population as a whole and 40.5 million think it's a good idea to have a Federal government that can make us do whatever it pleases? Is there a way to identify all these people and have the government pass a law that would make them never vote? Because they won't mind and we'll all appreciate them never having a say. Dear Lord, our country is in trouble. Thankfully, a solid majority still believes in living in an adult world.

  • Bill||

    My thought is that the 8% are people voting that way to be dumb. I guess there may be some hard core diet Nazi out there who thinks people should be forced to eat one thing or another, but I find it hard to believe that it is 8%. I can't even venture a guess as to what the 5% were thinking, if they were at all.

  • ||

    Here's the part I really don't get: 62% think it's unconstitutional for the gov't to order individuals to buy health insurance, but only 51% think the gov't shouldn't order individuals to buy health insurance. Doesn't this mean that about 10% think the mandate is unconstitutional but that the gov't should impose it anyway?

  • Edwin||

    The broccoli comparison, forthose who aren't catching it, isn't even about government power. The comparison (and sych linguistic/logucal comparisons in general) is useful as a way to test if an interpretation actually is correct. The problem with the Obama interpretation is that "regulate interstate commerce" becomes a clause granting literally absolute power over every American, IT'S CLEARLY ABSURD, that phraseology clearly does not mean that. If to "regulate" a thing that is a direct object

  • Edwin||

    If to "regulate" something (remember, said "something" is the direct object of the transitive verb "regulate") means that you can also compel it or create it, then the word "regulate" takes on a whole new broad meaning it never had before, and the logical consequences clearly show that it isn't part of the meaning of the original wor. For example, local law may empower the zoning board to "regulate"something land use, nut that

  • Edwin||

    But that doesnt mean they can compel you to start using your land a certain way (i.e. you can do nothing with a building or lamd if you want). The construction office (inspectors, building codes) may by law be empowered to "regulate"something the construction process, but that does'n't mean they can FORCE you to construct something.
    The proposed Obama interpretation is clearly incorrect.

  • ||

    I believe my neighbor should have to buy my broccoli. My neighbor is already buying the broccoli served in schools. I won't eat it either.

  • kenneth koester||

    It's such a weak point, broccoli, we believe broccoli is good healthcare mandate is bad, we worry that they could force us to eat crushed glass.

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