The Sun Journal editorial of Jan. 15, "Founders began the first national health-care plan," misses the point regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the health care reform bill.
Nowhere in the Constitution is the authority given to the federal government to compel citizens to purchase a product or service from another person or business.
Congress has the ability and authority to levy taxes on the citizens and, if they so choose, to create a program for health care funded by those taxes. That is not the route they chose to take.
As to the intent of the Founders, it is obvious to any literate person who has read the Constitution that the intent of the Founders was to limit the authority of the federal government.
If you believe, as has been argued by some, that the "common welfare" clause of the Constitution gives the government the right to compel individuals to enter into involuntary transactions with other persons or businesses for any reason, then, logically, there would be no limit to what the federal government could compel us to do.
The Founders also made it clear that they in no way felt the Constitution was a perfect or complete document and left the amendment process to allow changes to the law as times and culture changed. The process is difficult by design to make it difficult to give the federal government more authority and to make sure that we, as a society, agree that the degree of change is of such necessity to change the law of the land.
You need not be a lawyer or constitutional scholar to understand the Constitution. You don't need to "interpret" the Constitution. It says what it says and if you don't like what it says, by all means begin the process clearly laid out in the document to initiate the changes you seek.
Do it the right way and you will have a lot more support from people of all walks of life, not just those who consider saying something because it is politically to their benefit.
Marc Tetenman, Wilson, Wyo.