The Post Office and The Health Care Debate

The Post Office and stamps are again in the news this time bearing whether or not the health care bill (so called Obamacare) that Congress passed last year is constitutional or not. Much of this case centers around the “necessary and proper” clause and the commerce clause of the Constitution. The great Supreme Court case that decided that Congress had powers to further its role of governance that were not specifically enumerated in the Constitution was McCulloch v Maryland which was decided in 1819. In this case Chief Justice John Marshall (commemorated on US Scott #1050) and the court decided that it is ludicrous for the Constitution to give Congress a power or authority without the implied power to do what is necessary to carry this out. And here, in his decision John Marshall spoke of the Post Office saying that the Constitution specifically establishes the Federal governments right to open Post Offices and that without implied powers “Congress’s power to establish post offices could not entail the ability to punish mail robbers and might not even entail the power to carry letters from one post office to another”. Every time you put a United States postage stamp in your album you are celebrating a 200 plus years tradition of the implied powers clause of the Constitution. No where does it say that Congress has the right to issue Postage Stamps (indeed how could it-like virtually every aspect of modern society stamps didn’t exist when the Constitution was written). But certainly a government that has the right to move the mail must have the right to issue stamps to facilitate it. And a government, specifically permitted authority over all commerce of the nation, must be able to regulate such a significant area of commerce as health care. Any other reading is just willful ignorance of the needs of governance and the traditions of our country. You may not agree with what Congress has done in the health care law but its hard to argue that they never had the power to do it.

Share on:
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top