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Hagerstown residents express opinions on health care law

Even those who do not support the legislation want some kind of health care reform

March 29, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
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By Caleb Calhoun, Staff Writer

Richard Brown does not support the U.S. health care law in its current state.

“I want the government to pay for health insurance,” he said. “I think it’s unconstitutional for the government to force people to pay for their own insurance.”

Brown, 52, was among the Hagerstown residents who offered their opinions Wednesday on whether Congress was within its rights to pass the health care bill signed into law by President Obama in 2010.

He said that he would support an individual mandate if the government paid for everybody’s health care.

“I want the government to give everybody a card that will give assistance when their insurance won’t,” he said. “I support Medicare for everyone.”

Brian Moore, 67, said he is against the mandate, but supports the government paying for health care.

“I don’t think we should be forced to take it,” he said. “We need what Canada has.”

Wednesday marked the third and final day of arguments before theU.S. Supreme Courtchallenging the health care law. The central issue was whether the individual mandate requiring everybody to have health insurance is constitutional.

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Jim Stone, 65, said that the federal government had the right to pass it.

“The Congress has the power to require insurance under the commerce clause,” he said. “It has the power to regulate commerce among the states.”

The commerce clause is Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which reads: “The Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Stone said that he also supports the law.

“The idea of it is necessary,” he said. “Some people can’t get insurance or adequate health care, and in this country that’s a disgrace.”

Joshua Morris, 53, said he supports the law and thinks that the Supreme Court should let it stay as it is.

“Everybody is going to need it. If they don’t need it sooner, they’re going to need it later,” he said. “They should make everybody have health care. We’re going to end up paying for it anyway.”

Mark Lewis, 48, said the mandate is unconstitutional unless it is considered a tax.

“They shouldn’t ever be able to make us pay a fine just for not buying something,” he said. “It has to be done as a tax, or it’s unconstitutional.”

However, Lewis said that he does support some form of health care reform.

“They need to come up with something different,” he said. “The law is very expensive the way they put it together.”

Mark Rini-Stevens said he also thinks the law is unconstitutional.

“The federal government shouldn’t mandate our health care choices,” he said. “The entire bill itself doesn’t belong at the federal level.”

Rini-Stevens, 38, said the health care system is a problem that needs to be fixed, but “addressing it in the manner Obama has done is not the right way.”

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