Remember that joke about members of Congress not reading the Constitution? Well, it turns out to be true. When asked what part of the Constitution authorized Congress to mandate that everyone buy health insurance, Rep. John Conyers replied that the ‘Good and Welfare Clause’ did. Trouble is, the ‘Good and Welfare Clause’ doesn’t exist. From CNS News:

During an interview Capitol Hill Friday, asked Rep. Conyers, “The individual mandate in the bill requires individuals to purchase health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that never before in the history of the United States has the federal government required any one to purchase any good or service. What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance?” 
Conyers said: “Under several clauses, the good and welfare clause and a couple others. All the scholars, the constitutional scholars that I know — I’m chairman of the Judiciary committee, as you know — they all say that there’s nothing unconstitutional in this bill and if there were, I would have tried to correct it if I thought there were.”

      It’s possible that the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee was referring to Article 1, Section 8, which lays out the powers of Congress. It reads, ‘The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”. The word ‘welfare’ does appear, but the powers that follow (to borrow money, regulate commerce, declare war, etc.) don’t include forcing everyone to buy a product as a condition of citizenship.

      The word “good” only appears in Article III, which states that judges may hold their judgeships during good behavior. This clause has even less to do with the constitutional status of the health care bill.

      I’m not sure who the constitutional scholars are who informed Mr. Conyers that the health care bill passes constitutional muster. They might have advised him to reread the document, though. Congressional Democrats insist that the bill is constitutional, but they are putting their lack of knowledge on the subject on display.