Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yes Nancy, we are quite serious! VA judge rules ObamaCare’s individual mandate unconstitutional

Do you remember when Nancy Pelosi got on her high horse when asked about the constitutionality of the individual mandate?

I guess Nancy is taking things a little more seriously now.
The New York Times: A federal judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, becoming the first judge to invalidate any part of the sprawling act and ensuring that appellate courts will receive contradictory opinions from below.
The judge, Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond, said the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance exceeded the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause.[…]
 In a 42-page opinion, Judge Hudson wrote: “Neither theSupreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”
Allowing Congress to exert such authority, he said, “would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers.”
Ah, and there in lies the heart of the matter.  If government can force you to buy health insurance, then what other products can they force you to buy.  Electric cars?  Fresh fruit and vegetables?  
From the comments at the NY Times, it seems that many are convinced that the Feds already have this power because they make you buy auto insurance.  This is erroneous, because one can easily opt out of buying auto insurance by simply choosing not to drive.  There is no way to opt out of choosing to buy health insurance.  It is this clear lack of choice that puts ObamaCare on unconstitutional grounds.
In an editorial over at the Wall Street Journal, the Journal notes that some liberals are saying that mandate or no mandate, ObamaCare will stay:
The Wall Street Journal: Yesterday liberals were crowing that even if the mandate is eventually declared illegal, it's no big deal because the rest of ObamaCare's new system would remain intact. Yet they've argued for years that the mandate is essential to health reform, because the mandate is at the heart of the regulatory machine. ObamaCare without a mandate would mean individuals wouldn't have to pay into a system until they were sick, driving up costs even faster and ruining what's left of health insurance markets.
And destroying the health insurance market was the real goal of ObamaCare from the get go.
Now comes the big push to get the Supreme Court to hear this case. There was a time where the outcome could have been pretty much guaranteed.  Now a day with so many judges doing their own thing, it is hard to say with absolute certainty whether or not the individual mandate will stand.
Video h/t: Michelle Malkin


Just a conservative girl said...

Yes, I read the car insurance thing on the comments on CNN as well.

I don't understand how people can't see the three big differences

1. It is a state law not a federal one
2. Owning a car is a choice.
3. You are only required by state law to insure for the damage you may cause someone else, not for yourself. It is a protection for innocent people that you may injure.

This is far from over and I don't trust the courts to do the right thing. So, repeal is really the only answer.

I can't see anyone saying that it wasn't a well thought out ruling. Even I could understand what he was saying pretty easily.

kerwin said...

I think the "Obama Premise" was so big and huge to begin with that it was really bound to fail. The expectations coming in from the campaign was that he was the "cure-all" solution to ALL the problems. I think you can only do as much...

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Clifton, is it actually true that the federal government makes anyone purchase auto insurance? I thought automobile insurance was under the domain of the States. For example, I don't believe anyone in the state of Florida is obliged to buy any insurance, including liability insurance.

Adam said...

People do love that car insurance example. I saw many a comment on CNN yesterday that stated that not having the mandate was a great mistake because it'll cause the reform to fail. After all, to paraphrase what they said "forcing good drivers to buy car insurance is how we keep rates low". But driving is a choice, and even if you point this out many counter with "it's essential in this country" or "it doesn't matter because most everyone drives anyways". And somehow that translates into the government being able to mandate me purchasing something simply because I'm alive. Scary.

Chris said...

All the left-wing have are lies and spins. Just look at the way the Democrats cry over deficit spending when it comes to tax cuts but forget it when it comes to unemployment and another $1.1 tillion pork laden spending bill.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

I guess what I was getting at was that the power to force someone to buy something - be it car insurance, or health insurance - is not something enumerated in the Constitution, so therefore the federal government doesn't have the power to force such a thing. On the other hand, this power would be legitimate in the hands of the States.

Nick Rowe said...

Just a Conservative Girl is right on all counts.

New Hampshire does not require liability insurance. States vary in their level of enforcement of mandatory insurance. Uninsured illegal aliens in California get into accidents all the time, and they are usually released from the scene.

The Federal government does not have the power to order mandatory insurance. They are limited to the specified powers in the Constitution and prohibited by the Tenth Amendment. That's why Obama pursued this through the Commerce Clause.

States can mandate insurance through their extensive police powers which can justify almost any law in the name of the social good. That's why the Massachusetts health care plan, although foolish, was perfectly legal.

An individual mandate actually makes good economic sense. It is the only part of the law that does. If our society does not have the intestinal fortitude to deny care to people who cannot pay, then someone else must pay for it. Since health care is a private good, it is most efficiently allocated by price and paid for by the user. Since many users cannot afford the high cost of catastrophic care and the burden will fall on others, mandatory insurance removes the moral hazard. Of course, they could simply choose not to get it. Would we have an annual proof of insurance verification with our tax returns?

But just because something is economically efficient doesn't mean our government has the power to do it.

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Just a conservative girl said...

A Blessed Christmas to you and yours.

A King is Born!!!

The Conservative Lady said...

Merry Christmas and wishes for a Happy & Healthy 2011.

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