The Speaker of the House takes the living constitution idea to its logical limit: "Since virtually every aspect of the heath care system has an effect on interstate commerce, the power of Congress to regulate health care is essentially unlimited."
If we follow a long line of cases dating back to the New Deal era, I fear that she is not entirely wrong. In effect, the Constitution now gives the U.S. government the right to regulate all commerce, and not merely interestate commerce, as the government has defined non-interstate commerce out of existence.
On the other hand, just because our national government no longer is restrained by any limits with regard to what problems it may tackle, that does not mean there are no limits to the means it might use. I am fairly certain the Speaker would object to racial discrimination in the provision of health care. In that sense the right of the U.S. government to regulate health care is limited. That leaves the constitutionality of an individual mandate to buy health insurance an open question, at least in principle. Is such a mandate a constitutional means to what is now, for all practical constitutional purposes, a legal end?
(H/T: Mary Katherine Ham)