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Thread: Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

  1. #1
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560

    Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

    August 12, 2011 1:37 PM
    Appeals Court Finds Individual Health Insurance Purchase Mandate Unconstitutional
    BY Celeste Katz

    Reuters: An appeals court ruled today that President Obama's healthcare law requiring Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty was unconstitutional, a (another!!!) blow to the White House.

    The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.

    The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Isn't it great when policy has to be decided by the Supreme Court?

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
    Yep. Its going to be quite interesting. Some Appeals courts have ruled for the health care mandate and some against.

    When parties bring cases like this into the courts, it gets decided by the courts. Unless of course
    the Supreme court decides not to hear the case. It seems clear that they will. Politics, politics.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 08-12-2011 at 02:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Havakasha is offline
    byJoan McCarter

    The administration received a mixed ruling from the federal Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit today, which ruled in the case brought by Florida and 22 other states that the mandate is unconstitutional, but that it can be severed from the rest of the law and the remainder of the law stands.
    From the very long rulling (pp. 205-06):

    We first conclude that the Act’s Medicaid expansion is constitutional. Existing Supreme Court precedent does not establish that Congress’s inducements are unconstitutionally coercive, especially when the federal government will bear nearly all the costs of the program’s amplified enrollments.
    Next, the individual mandate was enacted as a regulatory penalty, not a revenue-raising tax, and cannot be sustained as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Taxing and Spending Clause. The mandate is denominated as a penalty in the Act itself, and the legislative history and relevant case law confirm this reading of its function.

    Further, the individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives. We have not found any generally applicable, judicially enforceable limiting principle that would permit us to uphold the mandate without obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers. “Uniqueness” is not a constitutional principle in any antecedent Supreme Court decision. The individual mandate also finds no refuge in the aggregation doctrine, for decisions to abstain from the purchase of a product or service, whatever their cumulative effect, lack a sufficient nexus to commerce.

    The individual mandate, however, can be severed from the remainder of the Act’s myriad reforms. The presumption of severability is rooted in notions of judicial restraint and respect for the separation of powers in our constitutional system. The Act’s other provisions remain legally operative after the mandate’s excision, and the high burden needed under Supreme Court precedent to rebut the presumption of severability has not been met.

    That means that they affirm the lower court's ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional but they reverse that court's decision on the severability of the mandate, meaning the rest of the law stands.

    Ultimately, this is going to be decided by the Supreme Court. So far, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by three lower-level district courts, while two other district courts have struck down all or part of it. This ruling is in conflict with the Sixth District Court of Appeals which ruled earlier this summer that the mandate is indeed constitutional.

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