Document Type


Publication Date



Health insurance mandates have been a component of many recent health care reform proposals. Because a federal requirement that individuals transfer money to a private party is unprecedented, a number of legal issues must be examined.

This paper analyzes whether Congress can legislate a health insurance mandate and the potential legal challenges that might arise, given such a mandate. The analysis of legal challenges to health insurance mandates applies to federal individual mandates, but can also apply to a federal mandate requiring employers to purchase health insurance for their employees. There are no Constitutional barriers for Congress to legislate a health insurance mandate as long as the mandate is properly designed and executed, as discussed below.

This paper also considers the likelihood of any change in the current judicial approach to these legal questions.