In an interview with The Daily Caller, Senator Ron Johnson warned of dire threats to individual liberty if the Supreme Court were to confirm the constitutionality of president Obama’s individual health care mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or a pay a fine.
“Can the federal government actually force Americans to buy a product?” Johnson asked, incredulous, at a “Hands Off My Health Care” rally on Capitol Hill. “That would be a sea change in constitutional law. … The Commerce Clause [in the U.S. Constitution] has been expanded far beyond anything the founders ever envisioned anyway but this is our, kind of, last shred of freedom.”
“This really is a very pivotal moment for America and we just have to hope and pray the Supreme Court does the right thing and rules this thing unconstitutional.”
The Wisconsin Republican, who endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president on Sunday, said this is a “very simple” case.
“Can the federal government force you to buy a product? Can they really remove that … last shred of freedom?” he asked.
Johnson compared the case to the Supreme Court’s Wickard v. Filburn decision, which he said the court should overturn.
“It told an Ohio farmer that he could not grow enough wheat for his own consumption. … Most people don’t realize how simple that court case was and how profound it was,” he said. “It has resulted in all these others encroachments on our liberty.”
TheDC also asked Johnson about the relationship between the individual mandate and President Obama’s requirement that health insurance companies must issue policies to Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.
“Of course, that thing couldn’t remain part of the bill because one is predicated on the other. I mean, you really simply can’t have pre-existing conditions — you know, a guaranteed issue — without a mandate to purchase insurance,” he said.
“I mean, people realize that but what you do is utilize high-risk pools. Most states have them. They work phenomenally well: They subsidize care, the insurance rates are subsidized for people that get denied coverage by insurance carriers, and they get put in the high-risk pools.”
“The problem conservatives always have,” Johnson warned, “is we don’t have sound-bite arguments. … For example, the Democrats say, ‘We’re going to protect your Social Security. We’re going to protect your Medicare.’ And my response to that is, ‘with what?'”
“I mean, we’re bankrupting this nation.”