Legal scholar says biosecurity should spur need for individual healthcare mandate

Columbia University legal scholar Phillip Bobbitt recently wrote an article arguing that it could be shown that Congress could have concluded that the individual mandate for healthcare would be justified by the need for biosecurity.

Bobbitt said that the advance of biotechnology has yet to reach a point where mass casualties could result from a biological attack, but that this period is likely to end, and the United States will need to prepare itself, according to

"This period of respite will shift as the techniques of microbiological recombination become more widespread," Bobbitt writes, reports. "It will be possible for well informed persons to alter the molecular structure of viruses in nature, producing a lethal infectious disease that, once exposed to human beings, can spread by contagion."

Bobbitt said that, as a consequence of these developments, the healthcare of all of the people living in the United States is bound together collectively.

"The protection of every American is no stronger than the weakest protection of any American," Bobbitt said, according to "A person who is deterred from seeking medical care because he does not have health insurance unwittingly jeopardizes other people; in the future, this jeopardy can have mass consequences."

Congress, Bobbitt said, has determined that it is necessary to create a national network of disease reporting, and such a national network would be, in essence, an intangible successor to the national highway network, which was justified on the basis of national defense.

"To deny Congress the power to implement an essential part of this strategy-a strategy to preclude the consequences of biological attacks through reporting of presentments-would jeopardize such a monitoring and reporting system," Bobbitt said, reports.