The HillTube

Sen. Kerry: Healthcare mandate isn't about 'eating broccoli'

ADVERTISEMENT
"It isn't about eating broccoli, folks," Kerry told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "There's no other economic commodity in the entire marketplace like healthcare. Like it or not, at some point in our lives, every single person will receive healthcare."

Kerry upheld hopes that the high court would find the healthcare overhaul constitutional, despite early predictions of its failure. President Obama's mandate had a rough first two days as conservatives on the Supreme Court voiced their skepticism over the law's wide-reaching ability to issue new mandates.

Chief Justice John Roberts pressed Justice Antonin Scalia to explain where Congress’s power to issue new mandates would stop. The lack of a “limiting principle” has dogged the Justice Department’s case throughout the process, prompting one lower-court judge to question whether Congress could also require citizens to buy broccoli, because a healthy diet would cut down on healthcare costs.

The Supreme Court justices continued to bring back the broccoli analogy, along with others, asking whether the government could mandate the purchase of cellphones, gym memberships, cars, prescription drugs or burial insurance.

But standing in front of the Supreme Court, Kerry said the Supreme Court should be able to look past these analogies and see a bigger picture.

"Every single person is constantly at risk, any given day, of requiring emergency services and healthcare services," Kerry said. "And I am confident that the prior precedent of the court — providing the court doesn't reach, doesn't stretch, doesn't go outside of that precedent — that this court can uphold this law."

More in International

Kerry: Critics should 'hold their fire' on Iran deal

Read more »