Utah's senior U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch's stewardship has been increasingly questioned by Utahns - particularly by those who are conservative - over the past few years. He's been widely perceived as having done little of note except hold Ted Kennedy's hand since his [Hatch's] marginal Presidential campaign in 2000.
But perhaps the rank statism promoted by Barack Obama and his Congressional allies since January 2009 has jolted Senator Hatch awake. In particular, Hatch has become alarmed at many of the aspects of what has become known as "Obamacare". According to CNSNews, Hatch says he does not believe the Democrats’ health-care reform plan is constitutionally justifiable, noting that if the federal government can force Americans to buy health insurance “then there is literally nothing the federal government can’t force us to do.” Hatch also said if the federal government starts ordering Americans to purchase specific products without being able to plausibly justify that mandate through the Commerce Clause of the Constitution which empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, it will mean “we’ve lost our freedoms, and that means the federal government can do anything it wants to do to us.”
Both the House and Senate versions of the health-care reform plan would force all individuals who are citizens or legal residents of the United States to buy health insurance. President Obama has endorsed this provision. Watch CNS video of Hatch's remarks below:
Senator Hatch rejected the argument some have made that the federal government forcing everyone to buy health insurance is no different than state governments mandating that people who want to drive must buy auto insurance. “You know, the illustration they give all the time is: Well, states require people to buy auto insurance. Yeah, they do, if they want to drive,” said Hatch. “But here would be the first time where our [federal] government would demand that people buy something that they may or may not want..."
The bottom line - a person can legally evade auto insurance requirements by not owning and driving a motor vehicle. In contrast, the only way a person could legally evade health insurance requirements would be by not breathing.
It's good to see that Senator Hatch is waking up and taking a stand against the rampantly onrushing extraconstitutionality of the Obama regime and its hod-carriers in Congress. Perhaps he's learning a lesson from the robust intraparty challenges faced by Bob Bennett. And his objections to Obamacare may be slowing down the headlong rush in that direction; on November 3rd, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that a health care bill is no longer considered likely this year. Reid is no longer confident he can line up the 60 votes necessary to prevent a filibuster.