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Obama on the Affordable Care Act

President Barack Obama explains the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. They ruled that the individual mandate was no more than a tax.

More from ScotusBlog:

Although the Court had four questions before it, the focus of the challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the so-called individual mandate – the requirement that almost all Americans buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. Defending the constitutionality of the mandate, the government’s primary argument was that Congress can require everyone to buy health insurance using its power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, because the failure to buy insurance shifts the costs of health care for the uninsured to health care providers, insurance companies, and everyone who does have health insurance. Five Justices – the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – all rejected that argument. But the government still won, because a different set of five Justices – the Chief Justice, and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan – agreed that the mandate was constitutional, but for a different reason. (more…)

By |2012-07-01T00:21:13-04:00June 29th, 2012|Healthcare|Comments Off on Obama on the Affordable Care Act

30 years of conservative judges – healthcare reform unconstitutional

We sat back and smiled and cheered even as Ronald Reagan took office. He and his minions then began to change the government little by little, almost imperceptibly at first. When he took office we had a government that was for the people. By the time he left office we had a government that was for the corporations. This type of government has continued more or less unchecked. Judicial appointments became more and more conservative as the years went by. Appointments under George W. Bush were so conservative that they would label Richard Nixon and even some of Ronald Reagan’s ideas liberal.

From TP:

A district judge in Virginia ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual requirement to purchase health care coverage violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, but did not issue an injunction baring enforcement of the provision. “The power of Congress to regulate a class of activities that in the aggregate has a substantial and direct effect on interstate commerce is well settled,” Judge Henry Hudson — a George W. Bush appointee — writes in the ruling, before adding, “but these regulatory powers are triggered by some type of self-initiated action”:

Neither the Supreme 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. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article 1.

Because an individual’s personal decision to purchase — or decline to purchase — health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause does not provide a safe sanctuary. …The Minimum Essential Coverage Provision is neither within the letter nor the spirit

The opinion represents a victory for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), but the decision stands alone within the broader context of existing court challenges. Since President Obama signed health reform into law on March 23, opponents have filed at least 20 separate suits against the legislation. Federal judges have dismissed 14 of these challenges, and at least two separate judges disagreed with Hudson’s interpretation and questioned the merit of the plaintiffs’ claim that compelling individuals to purchase insurance fell outside the purview of the Commerce Clause. As Judge George Caram Steeh of the Eastern District of Michigan put it in October, forgoing insurance and putting off needed care only increases the costs of coverage and raises everyone’s premiums:

There is a rational basis to conclude that, in the aggregate, decisions to forego insurance coverage in preference to attempting to pay for health care out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance. The costs of caring for the uninsured who prove unable to pay are shifted to health care providers, to the insured population in the form of higher premiums, to governments, and to taxpayers. The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket, is plainly economic. These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers, and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance. These are the economic effects addressed by Congress in enacting the Act and the minimum coverage provision.

Editor’s Note: The Attorney General in this case and the Honorable Judge Henry Hudson seem to have some financial ties. Ethics?

By |2010-12-13T17:26:14-04:00December 13th, 2010|Healthcare|Comments Off on 30 years of conservative judges – healthcare reform unconstitutional

Let the Lawsuits Begin – Health-Care Reform

Back in March, I had a very long post on the commerce clause of the Constitution. It seems that a lot of the health-care debate focused around what the commerce clause actually meant. Basically, the Constitution says that Congress has the power to regulate commerce among the states (Article I, Section 8). That’s about it. It doesn’t specifically say what kind of commerce or how to regulate it. The Constitution simply says that Congress has the power. So, as we know, several states banded together and challenged the constitutionality of healthcare reform. Well, the first verdict is in. For now, health-care reform is constitutional. (This will not be the last challenge of healthcare reform. There are several cases in the courts. This is just the first verdict. I think it is clear that this case will end up in the Supreme Court.)

From Scotus-Blog:

A federal judge in Detroit, in a broad ruling upholding Congress’s power to require all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, decided Thursday that the mandate is necessary to prevent the “extinction” of the nation’s entire health care insurance market.  U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh said the requirement was well within Congress’s power to regulate commerce among the states.  The decision is the first by a federal court to rule directly on the constitutionality of the buy-or-be-penalized provision of the sweeping new health care reform law.

But Judge Steeh refused to accept that view of what the insurance mandate is.   “Far from ‘inactivity,’” the judge wrote, “by choosing to forgo insurance [the challengers] are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now through the purchase of insurance, collectively shifting billions of dollars, $43 billion in 2008, onto other market participants.”

This “cost-shifting,” the opinion added, “is exactly what the Health Care Reform Act was enacted to address.”  Thus, he rejected the argument of the challengers that he would have to go through “metaphysical gymnastics” in order to find a link between a failure to buy insurance and Congress’s power to regulate the interstate market for health insurance.

“There is a rational basis to conclude,” the judge said, “that, in the aggregate, decisions to forego insurance coverage in preference to attempting to pay for health care out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance….The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket, is plainly economic.  These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers, and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance.”  Those are the economic effects Congress had in mind, the judge found. (more…)

By |2010-10-08T10:46:23-04:00October 8th, 2010|Healthcare|Comments Off on Let the Lawsuits Begin – Health-Care Reform
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