Business Insider: “For 15 years, I have taken pride in paying the full cost of health insurance for every full-time Palisades Hudson employee who wanted it. This month marks the last time I will do that. . . . I wrote in this space in March that the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted later that month, is likely to make health coverage anything but affordable for those who actually pay the bills. I have no desire to stand next to the tracks in order to watch this train wreck unfold at close range.”
Business Owner Says Thanks To Obama And Health Care Reform, I’m No Longer Paying For My Employees’ Insurance
Reuters: “U.S. states can proceed with a lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform law, a Florida judge ruled Thursday. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had said at a hearing last month that he would block efforts by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.”
See the New York Times story “Challenging Health Care Law, Suit Advances.”
If you are interested in keeping up with the numerous lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare, check out Health Care Lawsuits. Another good resource is the “aca litigation blog” that says it is “a place to find news updates, legal analysis, and all official documents related to the states’ constitutional challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010).
Ilya Somin, Associate Professor of constitutional law at George Mason University School of Law, published his “amicus brief in Virginia v. Sebelius, one of the cases challenging the constitutionality of the Obama health care plan’s individual mandate . . . I hope the brief will help dispel the myth that there is an expert consensus to the effect that the mandate is constitutional (see also here). It should by now be obvious that many well-known and highly respected scholars believe otherwise”
See Ilya Somin’s post on his amicus brief on The Volokh Conspiracy.
Georgetown law Professor Randy E. Barnett has written a scholarly article called “Commandeering the People: Why the Individual Health Insurance Mandate is Unconstitutional.” Here’s the abstract:
The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” includes what is called an “individual responsibility requirement” or mandate that all persons buy health insurance from a private company and a separate “penalty” enforcing this requirement. In this paper, I do not critique the individual mandate on originalist grounds. Instead, I explain why the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the existing doctrine by which the Supreme Court construes the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses and the tax power. There are three principal claims.
First (Part II), since the New Deal, the Supreme Court has developed a doctrine allowing the regulation of wholly intrastate activity: the substantial effects doctrine. Although commonly conceived as a Commerce Clause doctrine, from its inception this doctrine has been grounded in the Necessary and Proper Clause. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court developed a judicially administrable test for whether it is “necessary” for Congress to reach intrastate activity that substantially affects interstate commerce: the distinction between economic and noneconomic intrastate activity. Because the individual mandate fails to satisfy the requirements of this test as understood under existing doctrine, it exceeds the power granted to Congress by the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses as currently construed by the Supreme Court. The mandate also fails to satisfy an alternative to the substantial effects doctrine that was proposed by Justice Scalia in a concurring opinion.
Second (Part III), because the “individual responsibility requirement” purports to be a regulation of commerce and cannot possibly be construed as a tax, it is not justified under the tax power of Congress; and, if the “requirement” or mandate is an unconstitutional regulation, there is nothing for the “penalty” to enforce. Neither is the penalty, considered apart from the regulatory requirement, a tax under current doctrine.
Third (Part IV), the Supreme Court should not further expand Congress’s power beyond existing doctrine to allow it to mandate that individuals engage in economic activity by entering into contracts with private companies. Such economic mandates are directly analogous to the commandeering of the states that the Supreme Court has held to be an improper exercise of the commerce power. The very few mandates that are imposed on the people pertain to their fundamental duties as citizens of the United States, such as the duty to defend the country or to pay for its operation. A newfound congressional power to impose economic mandates to facilitate the regulation of interstate commerce would fundamentally alter the relationship of citizen and state by unconstitutionally commandeering the people.
In Part V, I conclude with a “realist” assessment of likelihood that the Supreme Court will actually find the mandate to be unconstitutional.
Washington Examiner: “Half a year removed from the unprecedented legislative chicanery and backroom dealing that characterized the bill’s passage, we know much more about the bill than we did then. A few of the revelations:”
For more about the national nightmare called Obamacare, see a study conducted by The Heritage Foundation called “Implementing Obamacare: A New Exercise in Old-Fashioned Central Planning.” Here’s the abstract of the report:
“Obamacare—the massive health care law passed in March—constitutes the largest expansion of government since the Great Society. Americans have voiced their strong opposition, but the Obama Administration is determined to force-feed the new medicine. The Administration’s vision of health care is based on the premise that the federal government can—and must—control the details of health care financing and delivery across the country. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the scaffolding for this control. The new law gives the Administration extensive authority to achieve broadly outlined goals, allowing it to control every aspect of health care finance and delivery and to impose its view of how the health care system should operate. The Administration will issue volumes of complex regulations. Health care is being bureaucratized and politicized. The structure of the health care system will be determined by one central authority, reducing flexibility and denying Americans the ability to make their own choices. Americans will have to obtain health insurance and health care based on what the federal government deems best for them.”
The Heritage Foundation: “One the most troubling policies in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a new requirement that businesses report more information on their activities to the Internal Revenue Service. This new requirement will force businesses to divert scarce resources to complying with additional bureaucratic red tape that they could better use creating new jobs.”
Arizona Republic: “State and university employees with families can expect to see their monthly health-insurance costs rise as much as 37 percent next year . . . . [Two reasons Obamacare will cause costs to skyrocket next year] One is a requirement that insurance plans provide coverage for dependent children up to age 26. The other is the federal legislation’s ban on lifetime limits, an insurance-industry practice that cuts coverage once an individual’s medical expenses exceed a set amount over their lifetime.”
New York Times: “Faced with the need to review insurance rates and enforce a panoply of new rights granted to consumers, states are scrambling to make sure they have the necessary legal authority to carry out the responsibilities being placed on them by President Obama’s health care law. Insurance commissioners in about half the states say they do not have clear authority to enforce consumer protection standards that take effect next month.”
The Phoenix based Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to find that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Here is the text of the Goldwater Institute’s August 12, 2010, press release:
The Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit today to strike down the 2010 federal health care reforms as a fundamental attack on individual freedom and the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the U.S. Constitution.The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix is a private challenge to the health care bill championed by President Barack Obama. Arizona and 21 other states are pursuing public lawsuits against the federal law, based in large part on preserving their traditional authority to regulate health insurance. This new lawsuit, known as Coons v Geithner, argues the federal health care bill exceeds the powers of Congress, violates individual rights, interferes with the authority of states, and violates the separation of powers by setting up a new bureaucracy without meaningful congressional oversight or judicial review.
“This lawsuit is our effort to bring down one of the most sweeping invasions of individual liberty and state sovereignty in American history,” said Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Goldwater Institute. “The federal health care bill is a sledgehammer to solve a problem that needs the precision of a scalpel. This is the most overbearing and intrusive way possible to try to address America’s rising health care costs.”
Nick Coons serves as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. A small business owner from Tempe, Mr. Coons pays for all of his medical care out of his own pocket and he wants to continue making his own health care decisions. Under the federal health care bill, Mr. Coons will face significant fines from the IRS if he doesn’t buy a health insurance plan that has been approved by the government by 2014.
“The government is making me spend money on something that I don’t want,” Mr. Coons said. “Is a stranger who works for the government in some other part of the country really going to know what I need? I am the best qualified to make these decisions for myself.”
The new federal law also violates Mr. Coons’ medical privacy by forcing him to disclose his medical records to an insurance company, and those records could be accessed by the federal government and others without his permission.
Mr. Coons has been joined as plaintiff in this case by U.S. Representatives Jeff Flake, Trent Franks, and John Shadegg, all of Arizona. The federal bill created a powerful board, called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, to assure cost containment. The board will have no meaningful oversight from Congress or the courts and can’t be repealed, except during a short time in 2017. This provision of the law violates the separation of powers doctrine essential to America’s system of government.
Other plaintiffs represented by the Goldwater Institute include Arizona state House Speaker Kirk Adams and 28 other Arizona legislators. Earlier this year, these lawmakers tried to resolve the state’s budget deficit in part by voting to reduce the state’s relatively generous benefits for people receiving health care through Medicaid. But the passage of the federal health care bill forced the Legislature to restore all benefits they had reduced or risk losing $7 billion in federal funding for the program. This federal coercion violates the First Amendment rights of these lawmakers to vote solely in the best interests of Arizona citizens.
To overturn the federal health care bill, the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation is suing President Obama in his official capacity as head of the executive branch and Timothy Geithner, who as secretary of the Department of Treasury oversees the IRS and its task of fining individuals who don’t buy health insurance by 2014. The other two defendants are Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, whose department would implement the health care bill; and Attorney General Eric Holder, who oversees the Justice Department and other agencies set to enforce other provisions of the health care bill.
The Obama administration is expected to ask that this lawsuit be dismissed on the grounds that the federal bill won’t be fully implemented until 2014. But last month, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson rejected that argument against the state of Virginia’s legal challenge to the federal health care bill. Judge Hudson said Virginia deserves its day in court because the bill “radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America.”
The Goldwater Institute will host a telephone town hall about this lawsuit against the federal health care bill at 7:00 p.m. tonight, August 12, 2010. To join the town hall, call (888) 886-6603 and enter event ID number 15269.
Learn more about Coons v. Geithner here. The Goldwater Institute is a research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters. Click here to support this lawsuit or call Katie Charles at (602) 462-5000 x 249.
For more about this lawsuit, including discussions on the following subjects, see the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit summary:
- Why are we suing?
- The health care bill raises health care costs and adds more taxes
- The health care bill violates the rights to medical autonomy and privacy guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments
- The health care bill violates the First Amendment rights of elected officials
- The health care bill erodes the Separation of Powers
- Defies the purpose of the Interstate Commerce Clause
- Runs afoul of the Health Care Freedom Act
- Who are the clients?
- Whom are we suing?
- Can we win?
- The Legal Team
See also the Coons v Geithner Complaint filed by the Goldwater Institute.