The Cato Institute's Gene Healy has a great column in today's DC Examiner explaining why Congress has no legitimate authority to force every American to buy health insurance:
In answer to the question "by what authority?" Reid's bill offers the Commerce Clause—the go-to provision for friends of federal power. That clause gives Congress the power "to regulate Commerce … among the several states."…
In its "Findings" section, Reid's bill hits all the jurisprudential buzzwords: The individual mandate "substantially affects interstate commerce," and regulates "activity that is commercial and economic in nature." Activity like standing around without health insurance? Apparently so….
But members of Congress swear an oath to uphold the Constitution—not the court's funhouse-mirror version of it.
Supporters of national health care are counting on congressmen not to take that obligation very seriously. Their attitude toward the rule of law echoes that famously expressed by FDR in 1935. Trying to push through a key New Deal measure, Roosevelt wrote to an important congressman: "I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation."