Probably it is and as this Op-Ed in the LA Times notes, it is certainly unprecedented.

Are health insurance mandates constitutional? They are certainly unprecedented. The federal government does not ordinarily require Americans to purchase particular goods or services from private parties.

The closest we come is when government imposes a condition on the grant of a discretionary benefit or permit. For instance, in most states, you must have auto insurance to drive a car, or you are required to install fire sprinklers when building a new house. But in such cases, the “mandate” is discretionary — you don’t have to drive a car or build a house. Nor do you have a constitutional right to do so.

But Americans do have a constitutional right to live in the United States. Accordingly, neither federal nor state governments can require you to purchase health insurance as a “condition” for residency. The Supreme Court has drawn a distinction between requirements that are flat-out imposed by government and those imposed as a condition for discretionary benefits.

Both Clinton and Obama are proposing mandated health insurance schemes which feed into the continued privatization of essential services. There is a twist here, however….

A health insurance mandate is essentially a forced contract, in which one party (the insurer) gets to set the terms. You must buy their policies, even if you prefer to self-insure, rely on alternative medicine or obtain treatment outside of the system. In constitutional terms, such mandates may constitute a violation of due process or a “taking of property.”

This is a scary scenario and one being lobbied for by the Health Insurance industry.