We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The feds do clearly have the power to regulate interstate commerce. And by rather creative means the laws have managed to virtually make all commerce interstate.
Therefore to find any limit we need to decide what "commerce" is. Is it the buying, selling, or otherwise exchanging, of goods and services?
Traditionally "commerce" has excluded aid by one's family or by those motivated by friendship or charity.
But those exclusions are less than we think.
e.g. voluntarily supporting another person can subject the receiver to income tax and the giver to a gift tax.
Similarly, the law has not yet told us we must buy something we do not want simply because we exist. But requiring people to buy medical insurance would do that.
Why not require people to buy wooden pencils or newspapers? The decline of sales in those industries is producing unhappiness to stakeholders.
The mandate of carrying automobile liability insurance does not apply. No one is force to drive or seek a drivers license. That insurance is not imposed because we exist but because we decide to drive.
Enforced military service is perhaps the closest we get to having a duty simply because we exist. And the feds clearly have the power to provide for national defense.
I can't find any constitutional justification for mandating health insurance. But justification can and will be found by those who wish to find it. Count on that.
The reader will notice that medical care is somehow different from routine commerce. Our society values both life and the quality of life, or says it does. And most people are willing to use the force of government to provide some level of medical care to everyone.
But where is that power given to the federal government by law? Does the constitutional power lie within the general welfare clause?
Nope. Too bad. There is no general welfare clause in the Constitution. That is in the Preamble which is a statement of intentions. But the intentions do not state whether that the federal government has the power to promote the general welfare. The Preamble states a new Constitution is being written with the hope it will promote the general welfare.
Those looking at a government's role in health care should examine the public health laws. i.e. those regarding contagion, sanitation, vaccination, etc.
Anyway, IMO the Democrats don't care what laws say provided Democrats can stay in power. The GOP cares only what laws say to the extent those words will help them regain power.
The analogy is even stupider than any of the reasons cited by Greg Knapp in his linked article because raising an army is one of the limited number of enumerated powers the US Constitution specifically grants Congress in Article I, section 8, namely, "The Congress shall have the power....to raise and support armies...to provide and maintain a Navy....[and] to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces." That would appear to include the power to enforce conscription for military service. What does NOT appear among the list of Congressional powers is the right to require citizens to purchase any commodity, including health insurance, merely to live in the United States.