Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Beautiful or ugly we’re all in this together – or not
The massive overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system backed by President Barack Obama could face a court challenge if it is ever enacted into law.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley, speaking at the Reuters Washington Summit, said a number of people, including Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, have questioned whether it is constitutional for the government to require U.S. citizens and residents to purchase a product offered by private, for-profit companies.
But many conservatives believe that clause does not allow Congress to require U.S. residents to purchase a good or service.
Healthcare reform legislation would require U.S. citizens and residents to purchase healthcare insurance, with the federal government providing subsidies to help low and moderate income people afford it.
Grassley said he thought the mandate – which is something health insurers have insisted on in exchange for dropping many industry practices such as excluding coverage for preexisting conditions – would face a court challenge.
But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus disagreed. He said the mandate was constitutional and that all Americans share a “moral” responsibility in making sure the U.S. health system works.
“Some Americans are rich, some are poor, some are beautiful, some are ugly, some are tall, some are short, some are fat, some are skinny — when it comes to healthcare reform, everybody is the same,” Baucus told reporters on a telephone conference call. “Illness does not care if you are old or young or beautiful or ugly or whatnot. We are all in this together as Americans.”
Photo credits: Above: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst. (Grassley at Reuters summit); Blog thumbnail: Reuters/Jason Reed. (Baucus smiles after Finance Committee approves healthcare reform bill)