Federal Judge Strikes Down Part of Obamacare Law

  1. This is breaking, and completely unexpected (by me, that is).

    The lower courts haven't tried to limit Congress' authority under Commerce since the New Deal, as far as I know. It is now within the realm of possibility that Congress may have finally overstepped its tolerable authority in the eyes of the court.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.co...parts-of-health-care-reform-unconstitutional/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  4. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    (I merged the two threads, since you have different links posted)
     
  5. lisab

    Staff: Mentor

    There will be an appeal, I'm sure.
     
  6. Thank you.
     
  7. This will be in the courts for a long time - something like 28 state Attorneys General involved. I think the bigger battle in the next few months will be in Congress over funding of the Bill -a massive expansion of the IRS is currently on the table.
     
  8. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    At this point, two out of three Federal courts have upheld the mandate. One of them was also in Virginia.
     
  9. To clarify, are you saying that at this point, 1 Federal court has struck down this mandate?
     
  10. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes. Two thumbs up, one thumbs down.
     
  11. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

  12. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    In the end, the judge severed the mandated minimum coverage provision from the health-care reform act and denied plaintiff's claim that inapplicability of the Commerce clause to individuals invalidates the entire act.

    I feel that the mandated minimum requirement will be upheld. For instance, the permission to operate a motor vehicle is not a "right" - it is a privilege. Here in Maine, if you don't carry liability insurance on your vehicle, you cannot register it or (legally) operate it. Uninsured people who made the decision not to purchase insurance or who cancel it soon after obtaining an insurance card that allows them to register their vehicles are putting the general public at risk, as well as the insurance companies of innocent people that they injure through accident or negligence.

    Redistribution of financial risk by the uninsured is not a small thing. My uncle was very badly injured by an uninsured driver several years ago and had to undergo extensive and expensive surgeries. He can hobble around now without crutches, but it is always in pain, and it affects his ability to conduct his business (HVAC). Since he is self-employed he had limited resources while he was under treatment. It takes years to get any kind of disability claim processed through SSDI, so by the time he managed to get any financial help from them, they owed him back-payments. When his doctor released him to go back to work with some restrictions, SSDI contacted him and told him that he must pay back the entire sum of the back-payments. Now he'll be tied up in appeals, paying lawyers and expert witnesses to avoid being victimized yet again.
     
  13. I don't think this can be compared to auto insurance. I can opt out of car insurance, I just won't be able to drive. The government can't require us to insure our bodies. That's a bit much.
     
  14. Does the law require that you purchase a car? Does the law require that you have a driver's license? Does the law require that you learn to drive? Does the law require that you drive a car?

    The answer is no - the law basically says if you choose to have a vehicle and operate it - then you must have insurance to protect other people from your actions.
     
  15. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    We'll see what happens. The VA AG argued that Congress could not apply the commerce clause to individuals, but what have the hospitals to say about that? Their situation does not appear to have been considered in this narrow ruling. Requiring hospitals to provide emergency care to uninsured individuals certainly impacts their ability to conduct commerce, and that costs billions every year, according to the Secretary's response. Still she focused on the very narrow question of the motivation of Congress to impost a mandate. The health care industry has some pretty big shoes to drop, IMO, and will likely be filing amicus briefs of behalf of the Secretary as the case moves up the appeals chain.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  16. FlexGunship

    FlexGunship 740
    Gold Member

    Unless you choose to opt out of living.

    I think this is the most important distinction to be made. This is the first time the U.S. federal government has tried to force its populous to purchase a product or service under penalty of law. It will often reward someone with a tax break, but never penalize someone with a fee.

    Simply being alive is enough to require that you buy something.
     
  17. I understand your arguments turbo-1, but just because one can make an argument that everyone should buy health insurance doesn't mean the government has the actual power to force people to.

    That's why the Constitution includes the amendment process. There have been multiple times in this nation's history where the Constitution was found to be wrong or in need of some additions or in need of a change or upgrade, which is why we can amend it.

    The Constitution exists to limit the powers of the Federal government. It says the Federal government can only do this, this, and that, with some broad interpretations here and there, not that the Federal government can do whatever it wants with a few minor exceptions.

    Just because one sees a law or policy as reasonable doesn't mean it is constitutional. The inverse also is true: just because something was constitutional didn't mean it was reasonable (or morally right).
     
  18. Let's not forget that hospitals are licensed and highly regulated. Additionally, their fee structure is basically dictated by Medicare reimbursement schedules (already).
     
  19. Also, if i end up in ER and don't have insurance, I end up paying the ER bill anyway. If I can pay for insurance then I must be able to make payments. If people that go to ER can't pay for it, then it's likely they can't pay for insurance either. IMO.
     
  20. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

  21. lisab

    Staff: Mentor

    Wow, you must have not seen a hospital bill lately! In my experience, (hospital bills) >> (insurance premiums)
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?