The Individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, but survives as a tax, which Obama always insisted it was NOT a tax. I guess it is. Basically this means the fight continues.
The first lawsuits were filed the day Mr. Obama signed the plan in March 2010. By the end of January 2011, judges in Florida and Virginia had ruled it unconstitutional. Only then did the Senate and the House hold hearings on its constitutionality, and the administration grew worried.
“Once they lost one, two, three rulings, they had to take it more seriously,” said Michael Carvin, who represented the National Federation of Independent Business in challenging the law.
As cases moved to appeals courts, Neal Katyal, the acting solicitor general, personally took over rather than wait until they reached the Supreme Court. After some debate, he decided to speed up the process. The Department of Health and Human Services wanted the matter resolved to prepare for full implementation in 2014, and Mr. Katyal dropped procedural objections and asked for quick schedules.
The argument sold better in some courts than in others. Tough questioning from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati led Mr. Katyal to call Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to say they had probably lost. But a conservative judge, Jeffrey S. Sutton, joined a majority upholding the law. In the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Laurence H. Silberman, a conservative, also ruled for it.
A three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, however, declared the insurance mandate unconstitutional. The administration chose not to ask the full court to rehear the case and appealed directly to the Supreme Court.
And now here we are.
U.S. News and World Report wrote yesterday:
If any of the new law is struck down, it is most likely to be the individual mandate that every American purchase some form of health insurance or face fines and penalties for not doing so. Candidate Obama campaigned against the mandate in 2008. President Obama embraced it as part of his healthcare reform law—indeed the whole thing rests squarely atop it. Without the mandate, the new program moves from simply being a budget buster to a black hole of new spending that will far outstrip the U.S. economy’s ability to pay for it.
Regardless of what happens, unless the act is upheld in its entirety the healthcare debate likely moves back to square one. The question before the house, however, is who will move first.
Welcome to square one. The centerpiece of Obama’s administration. His greatest legislative achievement. Remember the backroom deals? Remember the pay outs? Obama did this instead of focusing on getting the economy going and jobs, and here we are almost at the end of his first term, and it’s back to square one.
What’s next for Republicans? In a recent memo, found at the link above Boehner wrote this:
Boehner’s plan to move forward is based on a set of principles, conveyed in the memo:
- Republicans will not repeat the Democrats’ mistakes. We won’t rush to pass a massive bill the American people don’t support.
- Health care coverage has become too expensive for too many people. The number-one health care concern of families and small business is the cost of health care, and Republicans’ health care reforms will lower costs.
- Women make approximately 80 percent of the health care decisions made for their families. Republican health care reforms will ensure families and doctors make health care decisions—not Washington.
- We want families to be able to make their own choices in health care, visit the doctor of their choosing, and receive the health care they and their doctor feel is best. Those decisions shouldn’t be made by Washington.
“The House will act in the coming weeks on legislation to repeal any part of ObamaCare that is left standing by the Supreme Court,” Boehner told his colleagues. “Such action is critical for jobs and our economy and for the health care of millions of American families.”
So, here we go again. Maybe this time it won’t be rushed, not even finished when passed, and not done in back room deals. But my feeling is that there is only one way to get rid of Obamacare. Electing President Romney.
I’ll update as needed.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obamacare:
Chairman Smith: “While millions of Americans are disappointed by today’s decision, Congress will not be deterred in our commitment to repeal Obamacare. The individual mandate may have been found to be constitutional as a tax, but that doesn’t make it good policy for the American people. The President’s promises about Obamacare have proved hollow. Obamacare costs our economy trillions of dollars, imposes new and burdensome taxes on the American people, and drives up costs for employers. Under this law, millions of Americans will be forced to abandon their current health care plans and change doctors. Decisions about treatment for certain illnesses will be made by a panel in Washington, D.C. rather than by patients and their physicians.
“Today’s decision not only upholds bad policy, it sets a dangerous precedent about the power of the federal government. Never before in our nation’s history has the federal government required people to purchase a good or service simply because they live in the U.S. – until now. Our Founders created a system of government where the power belongs to the people. Part of living in a free society means having the freedom to choose not to do something. Unfortunately, this ruling gives the federal government too much power over the daily lives of Americans.
“While President Obama may have won in the Supreme Court today, he has lost in the court of public opinion. A recent Reuters poll found that 56% of respondents oppose Obamacare and 61% oppose the individual mandate. House Republicans will continue to do our part to repeal Obamacare and enact real reforms that reduce health care costs without restricting the rights of Americans. But if the American people want to overturn today’s ruling, they must show up at the polls in November and elect a new President and members of Congress who oppose Obamacare.”
Update: The dissenting opinion by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito reads in part:
“The Act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying nonconsenting States all Medicaid funding. These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and all the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.”
The Texas Public Policy Foundation said this:
“A silver lining in this decision,” said Foundation President Brooke Rollins, “is the Supreme Court’s ruling that Congress cannot change the rules for Medicaid to force the states to comply with a massive restructuring of the program – or else lose 10 percent of their budgets. This, at least, protects to some extent the prerogatives of the states under the Tenth Amendment.”
Presidential GOP candidate Mitt Romney said this today:
“Let’s make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do,” Romney said. “What the court did do today is say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do is to say that Obamacare is good law or that it is good policy. Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was a bad law yesterday. It is bad law today.”
He continued, “What the Court did not do on the last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States, and that is that I will act to repeal Obamacare.”