The common joke about statism is that it makes all allowable behavior mandatory — and bans everything else. Democrats certainly have adopted that approach when it comes to the overhaul of the American health-care system. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter told local constituents that the federal government should absolutely dictate to American residents that they “must” buy health insurance (via Now Hampshire):

The Alton Board of Selectmen invited Shea-Porter to an informal public forum to allow her to address concerns about the issues that have been boiling in the U.S. House of Representatives recently. While the selectmen touched upon state infrastructure, it was health care that really stirred up the crowd on Friday morning. …

Shea-Porter said those who have health insurance currently are fortunate to have it since many people are denied because of illness or various other reasons.

“I think when you can pay for insurance, you must,” said Shea-Porter. “For those who are blessed to have insurance through their companies, they should keep it.”

She suggested that those in attendance look back to where the country was last year and where it is now. She also said the new health care bill will make it better for senior citizens in need.

Er, what? Senior citizens already have access to Medicare, and the needy already have eligibility for Medicaid.  In fact, the situation for those cases won’t change at all, unless one considers the $500 billion in Medicare cuts that Shea-Porter voted to impose.  Those cuts will actually make it worse for senior citizens, not better, as they rob Medicare of money it doesn’t have in order to cover a broader range of people above 133% of the poverty line, the current cut-off for Medicaid. It certainly doesn’t boost Medicare benefits.

But that’s the kind of Orwellian nonsense one expects from a bill that brings 1984 to life in 2009.  Big Brother doesn’t just suggest that you buy health insurance; Big Brother demands that you do your patriotic duty.  If something is allowable by the statists, it’s mandatory, after all.

But from where does Shea-Porter think that she has the power to dictate that to American citizens?  Don’t forget what Shea-Porter had to say about the Constitution in August:

No, the Constitution didn’t cover everything, nor did it pretend to do so.  That’s why the framers included the Tenth Amendment — to circumscribe the power of Congress and ensure that the states and the people retained jurisdiction over their own choices and property.  The Tenth Amendment was a feature, not a bug, to put it in modern terms.