Un-Healthy! Struck down in it’s Prime
Since the idea of reconciliation entered the minds of congress as a way to pass the Health Insurance bill there has been raging debate on the constitutionality of the bill. Not for the way it was imposed on the American people but for what it imposed. We could argue all day about parts of the bill but one Judge in Florida had made a very clear and somewhat wordy argument for the unconstitutional nature of the individual mandate.
Since Judge Vinson issued his ruling the Department of Justice has already issued an appeal. As you read Judge Vinson’s ruling you are amazed by the depth to which this man researched one of the most important issues of our time. It took this judge 78 pages to decide 2 items. What people don’t realize is that it was a split decision. The reality is that the matter of the individual mandate due to the governments own contention on its importance to the legislation. Striking down that mandate would hollow out the law entirely. Not being able to sever as most court decisions can do makes this law useless. But let’s take a minute to reflect on the governments win.
Judge Vinson ruled that the Medicaid expansion forced on the states by this law was constitutional. The states contended that the law would create a new and much larger class of people covered by medicaid. This being an unfunded mandate would place undo strain on the coffers of the individual states. The judge ruled that there would be no coercion on the part of the government due to the voluntary nature of Medicaid. I don’t see anyone applauding this decision. But say that the government can’t force you to buy health insurance and you get labeled a Tea party judge and a nut.
Once more some law scholars are debating two passages in the ruling that seem to contradict each other. On page 62 the judge discusses some of the goals of the bill i.e. preexisting conditions. The judge correctly notes that this is well within the governments rights to fix but the method (Individual mandate p63) is the problem. For some odd reason lawyers can’t seem to separate the two. Seems so simple to a layman. Yes the government can say to insurers that they have to stop overcharging people with preexisting conditions but you can’t do it by making people with no insurance buy it.
One more important point. In a footnote on page 76 Judge Vinson plants this little gem
It is undisputed that there are various other (Constitutional) ways to accomplish what Congress wanted to do. Indeed, I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that “if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.”
Imagine! The man who said this signed this bill into law against the will of the American people. Call it what you will.