Federal Judge: It’s Unconstitutional For Obamacare To Require Americans Buy Health Insurance

Judge Henry E. Hudson, a federal benchwarmer in Virginia appointed by George W. Bush, has struck down as unconstitutional the government’s requirement that all Americans purchase health care insurance, saying it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by overstepping congressional authority. But he’s not forcing Obamacare to come to an immediate halt, which means the program can carry on during the appeals process. The decision echoes party line judgments, with Democratic-appointed judges ruling the health care bill constitutional.

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  • Fitz

    This says 2 things to me: it really shows why presidential appointments are so important, and it really shows me that Obama just can’t get anything right.

  • Polyboy

    So does this mean Romneycare in Mass is also going down? Romney did it first.

  • Lawrence

    I have never been so glad to be a Canadian…

  • Steve

    The proper way to do this is called “universal coverage”. The premium should be collected as a “tax”, and the health care should be provided to everyone, as needed. Then the insurance underwriter (aka, the government) can set the coverages and fees that are paid to providers, or even hire providers on salary, just like they do in dozens of other countries.

    The most economical insurance pool is the largest pool, and includes absolutely everyone. Any opt-out, especially with opt-in-on-demand, just allows adverse selection. The largest and most efficient insurance pool is the whole population. And, the least-overhead way to collect the premium is by taxes.

    Anything else just allows profiteering, at the expense of almost everyone.

  • Paul Mc

    Universal health care is what marks civilised societies out from relatively uncivil ones.

  • Joe

    And Obama with another major-league screw up.
    Hillary said over and over that UNIVERSAL health care was the way to go.
    But, our favorite community organizer (what a joke) didn’t even attempt to go for universal.

    Can this idiot do anything right?

  • Polyboy

    That had better strike down Colorado’s Universal Auto Coverage law.

    And the PUMAs are out in force today.

  • Kevin

    Wow. Some of you don’t understand Constitutional Law at all. A judicial ruling that the Federal Government doesn’t have the right to require the purchase of health care bears not one iota on whether or not a state has such a right.

  • GayGOP

    In response to the above who claim that state mandates must be overruled, the *Federal* Constitution has no bearing on whether *States* can mandate a purchase. It merely means that the *Federal* Government cannot force somebody to purchase something.

    Secondly, one of the major reasons that this law was thrown out is the royal screw-up in the tax penalty provision. The Federal Government has only one real limitation on the taxation power, in that the Federal Government is barred from imposing a tax whose purpose is solely to fine people for inappropriate behavior. In other words, the Federal Government cannot impose a purely punitive tax, like the tax penalty in this case.

    Thirdly, I don’t think that the severability clause insertion is going to stand. Judge Hudson read into the text of the law a severability clause which does not exist therein. The Judge inferred that Congress would have wanted to keep the law on the books even if one part of it was unconstitutional, and so created out of whole cloth a severability clause.

  • GayGOP

    Furthermore, if I was to do this law, I would have kept the mandate, but used the spending, not the commerce, power, so it could survive.

  • Silent J

    If it is unconstitutional for the Federal Government to mandate that someone purchase health insurance, then Medicare should be done away with! Clearly, the elderly are forced to participate pay premiums for an insurance which I bet some people would rather not have.

  • GayGOP

    @Silent J: Big difference with Medicare. Medicare is a tax-funded, single-payer system, whereas the measure at issue in this case is a mandated purchase of health insurance on the private market. In other words, a single payer system would be more constitutional, if funded via taxation.

  • Brandon

    For all of you guys who keep saying that Obama screwed the health care coverage thing up aka Obamacare…remember that he tried to have the public option and it was shot down by our fellow democrats and republicans.

  • reason

    A ruling by this partisan judge doesn’t hold water, and means absolutely nothing. 14 judges have ruled it constitutional, and it also fits under Justice Scalia’s view of the power of the government to regulate interstate commerce. This is a prime example of why the justice department doesn’t let low level federal rulings stand as in the case of DADT that I argued ad nauseum. It feels good to be vindicated again. It is funny how republicans show up and try to throw bombs about universal health care, no one is falling for your tricks. Even high level GOP strategist agree that the judges ruling holds no water and the health care bill is constitutional sound. If that is all the GOP had to attack the bill in the court, it shows how pathetic they have become.

  • Daez

    @Steve: How is this the proper way to do this? Seriously. You are talking about countries with years long waiting lists for non-elective surgery. You are also talking about countries that collect 80% of your pay check in taxes. You are also talking about countries that are more in danger of being bankrupt than the United States.

    The proper way to handle this would be to allow people to chose rather they want health insurance or not. If they chose to want health insurance then they should be reimbursed in tax law for that insurance. If they chose to not want insurance, hospitals and doctors should have every right to refuse to treat them. After that is accomplished, you require insurance companies to pay the full cost of any non-elective treatment and eliminate the ability for people to claim non-elective treatment as tax deductible.

  • Daez

    @Paul Mc: In the United States, you get this thing called FREEDOM of choice, and sometimes you chose the wrong thing. We need to stop rushing in and coddling people that chose the wrong thing. If you chose not to have health care and you get sick and die because of it, its not the countries fault its your own.

    On another note, now that this has been ruled unconstitutional, if the ruling stands the same ruling should be held up to states that force you have car insurance. Of course, if you chose not to have car insurance you should be held accountable for any accidents that you cause.

  • Daez

    @Joe: Yes, and Clinton had so much luck with trying for universal health care that it almost cost him his reelection and most likely contributed to why Hilary lost the primary. This country is not a socialist society and never will be. Capitalism and universal health care don’t get along. As an American, I should have absolutely no obligation to pay for people that want to have unprotected sex (therefore getting STIs), smoke four packs a day, drink excessively, weigh 300+ pounds, refuse to exercise and refused to generally care for themselves. Every single one of those thing are what raises the cost of health care in this country and you can bet that every single one of them would have been covered under universal coverage through the use of taxpayers dollars from people that actually do take care of themselves.

  • Daez

    @Kevin: Wrong. The states are bound by the US Constitution. So, if the federal government can’t do it because its unconstitutional than neither can the states. Why do you think so many cases of laws being ruled unconstitutional started at the state level? Row v Wade, Brown v BOE, etc.

  • Daez

    @GayGOP: Also, Medicare is an OPT IN program, which means you have the choice of rather you want it or not. If you opt out of health insurance you get a tax penalty. If you refuse to pay such a tax penalty based on principle then its called income tax evasion. You go to jail for income tax evasion.

  • John

    @Polyboy: Do you even know what Federalism is? Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause has absolutely nothing to do with the powers exercised by the States.

  • John

    @Daez: If this had been struck down because it violated the Establishment Clause or the Equal Protection Clause, you’d be right. However, since this was ruled to be unconstitutional due to Congress lacking the power under the Commerce Clause to enact such legislation, you are wrong. States have every right to enact their own “RomneyCare” or “ObamaCare”, as long as it doesn’t violate their state constitutions or the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution. This was an interesting ruling and of course not at all the last word. How SCOTUS will deal with this I haven’t a clue.

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