The talk of mandated health insurance as a fix for health care costs has raised the interesting question of whether mandates are constitutional.
A health insurance mandate is essentially a forced contract, in which one party (the insurer) gets to set the terms. You must buy their policies, even if you prefer to self-insure, rely on alternative medicine, or obtain treatment outside the system. In constitutional terms, such mandates may constitute a violation of due process or a "taking of property."While I support a better method for providing health care - I oppose mandates, mostly because it's a way for legislators to tax without appearing to. The issue for farmers, of course is any time mandates are discussed in a legal context, the ethanol mandate might be used as a precedent.
Requiring Person A to give money to Person B is a "taking," whether or not something of value is given in return. Let's say the state required every resident to buy milk, on the rationale that milk consumption benefits public health. That's either a constitutionally forbidden taking (of money) or a violation of due process.
These constitutional rights aren't absolute. Given a compelling enough reason, government can interfere with your person and property. It can require, for instance, that your child be vaccinated before attending public school. But there is usually an opt-out, such as private or home schooling.
We are not aware of any opt-outs for most people in the mandatory health insurance plans being discussed. [More]
Ethanol backers really don't want a right-leaning Supreme Court to open that can of worms.