Hearing on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act

Senate Judiciary Committee
February 2, 2011

Testimony of Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Former U.S. Solicitor General, Reagan Administration, 1985-1989

As I recall, the great debate in the Senate was between this device (the individual mandate) and something called the government option. And the government option was described as being something akin to socialism, and I think there’s a bit of a point to that. But what is striking, Senator, is that I don’t think anybody in the world could argue that the government option, or indeed a single payer federal alternative, would have been unconstitutional. It would have been deplorable. It would have been regrettable. It would have been Western if not Eastern European, but it would not have been unconstitutional. And it’s odd that this (the individual mandate), which is an attempt to keep it in the private market, is now being attacked.

(96 minutes into the video)


By Don McCanne, MD

Harvard Professor Charles Fried may not like single payer, but he emphatically agrees that single payer is constitutional. This is something we can do if the people of this nation demonstrate their desire to have it.

Re-posted with permission from pnhp.org.