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Is requiring health insurance even legal?

Chicago Sun Times [1]
Saturday, Dec 26th, 2009

Republican Sen. John Ensign has inserted a complicated legal question into the health-care debate: Can the federal government require Americans to buy health insurance?

The health bill approved by the Senate would mandate that all Americans carry health insurance policies by 2014, with the government providing subsidies to help low- and middle-income families pay for them.

Those who don’t buy insurance would face fines that rise gradually to $750 — or a maximum of $2,250 per family.

Since when does the government have the right to mandate that you buy something, Ensign, of Nevada, said.