Policy in the Pit Discussion Examines Constitutionality of the Individual Healthcare Mandate
Harrisburg Correspondent - Published: October 16, 2011
Associate Professor Michael R. Dimino led a Policy in the Pit discussion on Thursday, October 13th, that cosnidered whether the individual mandate of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is constitutional or not. Well over fifty students and faculty attended the hour-long discussion.

Professor Dimino explained to students that the controversial part of the act requires individuals to obtain health insurance coverage. If an individual chooses not to obtain coverage, they must pay a penalty in their income taxes based in part on what the cost of health insurance is and on their income.

He explained that the point of the mandate was to bring down premiums for people with pre-existing conditions and the like. Under the act, a healthy 25 year-old physically fit nonsmoker is mandated to have health care in order to subsidize “the old fat smoker that needs the money.”

The issue is now before the Supreme Court because people have challenged the individual mandate as beyond the scope of congressional power. A constitutional law professor, Dimino gave a thorough background on relevant precedential cases.

“If we allow the young healthy people to opt out, that will undermine national regulation,” stated Professor Dimino.

Dimino predicted that the Court will sustain the act by an eight to one vote with Justice Thomas as the lone dissenter. Some students were skeptical of Domino’s analysis and questioned whether the court will focus on ideology or whether Justice Thomas may recuse himself as his wife is connected with organizations that clearly oppose the Act.