11th Circuit Court Rules Against Obamacare – The Insurance Mandate is Unconstitutional and We Don’t Have to Eat Peas – Dan Miller
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued its 301 page decision on ObamaCare on August 11. The majority (Chief Judge Dubina and Judge Hull) opinion consists of 207 pages, the dissent (Judge Marcus) of 94. The majority affirmed the decision of Judge Vinson holding the medical insurance mandate unconstitutional as beyond the limits of the Commerce Clause. However, it overruled his holding that ObamaCare must therefore fall in its entirety. Judge Marcus’ dissent opined that the individual mandate was within the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause. The three judges had been designated to hear the case on May 3 and I provided a bit of information about them here. The White House of course expressed displeasure with the ruling.
The majority opinion is rather less acerbic than was Judge Vinson’s. If the Supreme Court agrees with it, there might be enough wiggle room to permit Congress to enact major amendments to get around some of the problems. The court noted in its conclusion:
The power that Congress has wielded via the Commerce Clause for the life of this country remains undiminished. Congress may regulate commercial actors. It may forbid certain commercial activity. It may enact hundreds of new laws and federally-funded programs, as it has elected to do in this massive 975-page Act. But what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.
The present Congress is unlikely to try to patch ObamaCare and, for now at least, it seems that the next Congress will be even less likely.
The court tried to analyze whether the failure to purchase insurance constitutes “economic activity.” It said that while a decision not to buy “insurance and to self-insure for health care is a financial decision” whether it amounts to economic activity is less than clear…
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