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In a ruling out of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola Justice Roger Vinson has declared that the primary mechanism whereby the health reform achieves universal insurance coverage–the individual mandate–is unconstitutional. “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” he writes.
With this ruling, and a similar one in December by Judge Henry Hudson in Virgina, it’s likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will be the final arbiter of whether ObamaCare stands. (Two other lawsuits–one in Michigan and one in Virginia–were thrown out by other federal district judges last year who disagreed with the constitutional challenge.)
Henry Hudson, the Virginia judge who ruled in favor of that state’s legal challenge, focused on whether Congress has the ability, via the Commerce Clause, to force uninsured people to buy insurance. He concluded that it does not. Vinson, on the other hand, signaled in an earlier ruling that he was interested in whether the federal fine for not buying insurance is a tax or a penalty. If it’s a penalty, the legislation relies on a broad Commerce Clause interpretation. If it’s a tax, it’s much more difficult to make a constitutional claim against it.
In today’s ruling he writes: “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”
Originally posted by MindSpinWe will see what the Supreme Court says...they can only rule the mandate unconstitutional...they can't void the entire bill....THAT would be unconstitutional.
Originally posted by MindSpinAnd just for the record...I think the Supreme Court will uphold it because they love the Commerce Clause and wouldn't want to weaken it.
Originally posted by Matrix Rising
reply to post by pirhanna
I hate to say it but I agree with you. By the time this gets to the Supreme Court businesses will be strongly in favor of a mandate and this might be declared Constitutional.
Some employers – particularly those who hire lower wage or part time employees – offer their employees only limited benefit plans, also known as “mini-med” plans, with high deductibles and low annual dollar limits on their benefits.
In 2014, American workers will have access to a choice of affordable, comprehensive health insurance plans that cannot use annual limits to cap their benefits. Mini-med plans will become a thing of the past. Until then, however, we need to make sure that people can maintain their best available insurance option.
The health law requires insurers to phase out the use of annual dollar limits on benefits. Mini-med plans can’t meet the new limits – starting at $750,000 in 2011 – without dramatically increasing their premiums. The high cost would make coverage unaffordable for many workers and force them to go uninsured.
To allow individuals with mini-med plans to keep their coverage, the law allows plan sponsors (usually employers) to apply for a one-year waiver of the annual limit rule. To receive a waiver, the plan must show that a waiver is necessary to prevent either a significant increase in premiums or decrease in access to coverage.