Ignoring Florida Court Ruling, ObamaCare an Affront to Liberty


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The Cato Institute’s Michael F. Cannon and Ilya Shapiro discuss uncertainty surrounding the debate over Judge Vinson’s ruling on ObamaCare and the mixed reactions among state officials.  Whereas Wisconsin’s Attorney General feels a sense of relief at Vinson’s decision, Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell is looking for advice. However, one thing is clear: as of now ObamaCare is unconstitutional on grounds of the individual mandate. Below is a passage stating what Vinson’s ruling means and its impact on specific areas of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Moreover, it is not unreasonable to argue that Vinson’s ruling applies to the nation as a whole. After all, this lawsuit facially attacked the law rather than just challenging its application to particular parties. This interpretation of Vinson’s ruling would stop ObamaCare dead in its tracks. Under that reading, and absent further judicial action:

ObamaCare’s so-called “consumer protections” — which are driving premiums higher, pushing Americans out of their health plans, and exposing patients with pre-existing conditions to medical underwriting — are now invalid.

ObamaCare’s tax hikes, including the 10-percent tax on indoor tanning services and higher taxes on consumer-directed health plans, are now void.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services may no longer distribute grants to states to fund ObamaCare’s high-risk pools, review premium increases, or set up health insurance exchanges.

ObamaCare’s political payoffs, including the $250 checks Medicare is sending to millions of seniors, the direct subsidies to employers who offer retiree coverage, and the infamous “Louisiana Purchase,” must now cease.

HHS must stop implementing the long-term care entitlement program that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.) called “a Ponzi scheme of the first order.”

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As Cannon and Shapiro argue, ordinary citizens, employers, and insurance companies are at a loss.  It could be at least six months before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the Obama administration‘s appeal.  With billions of dollars and the entire restructuring of the health care system at stake, many feel the only constitutionally and fiscally prudent avenue is to rescind all aspects of the legislation until the judicial process plays out.

However, the Justice Department is not sitting down without a fight.  Peter Suderman points out that Vinson’s failure to issue an injunction has prompted clarification.  Tracy Schmaler spoke on behalf of the Justice Department: “We believe it is important to put to rest any doubts about the ability of states and other parties to continue to implement these critical programs and consumer protections provided under this statute.”

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In addition, the brief submitted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services calls on issues of instability and uncertainty:

“The Court’s declaratory judgment potentially implicates hundreds of provisions of the Act and, if it were interpreted to apply to programs currently in effect, duties currently in force, taxes currently being collected, and tax credits that may be owed at this time or in the near future, would create substantial uncertainty. Because of the sweeping nature of the declaratory judgment, such an interpretation would pose a risk of substantial disruption and hardship for those who rely on the provisions that have already been implemented.”

As the Obama administration reinforces its familiar consumer-protection line of reasoning along with the fear-mongering associated with “substantial disruption and hardship,” it says nothing to the effects of such legislation on rising premiums and increased patient exposure to medical underwriting (see first bullet above).  Again, Tracy Schmaler of the Justice Department made it abundantly clear that the Obama administration has no intention of following Vinson’s ruling.

“We are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any — including seeking a stay — are necessary while the appeal is pending to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides.”

Perhaps the Obama administration should have thought about issues of uncertainty before implementing a law creating that very reality.  The act of requesting states to follow a judgment contrary to their case renders the Obama administration desperate to say the least.  Perhaps the only avenue left to the President is to follow the voice of the people.  As Cannon and Shapiro emphatically conclude:

“If President Obama shows contempt for court orders that go against him by pretending that ObamaCare still enjoys the full force of law, public antipathy toward the legislation will only grow. The course that shows respect for the Constitution, the courts, and the American people is for the administration to cease implementing the law’s regulations, taxes and new bureaucracies immediately.”

To the people and to the courts, I suspect, the issue is simple.  Is ObamaCare constitutional?  Judge Vinson says no, so for now the Obama administration ought to honor that decision while pursuing their next course of action.


About Jeremiah Dow
I have a B.S. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Economics. I finished school in 2010 and am currently working on independent research in various areas including political and economic philosophy, government, and history. I am also currently looking for work in research, particularly the social sciences dealing with public policy work. I aspire to a top-level graduate institution, but would first prefer some professional research experience. Some of my primary influences are Ayn Rand, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn among others.

One Response to Ignoring Florida Court Ruling, ObamaCare an Affront to Liberty

  1. Pingback: Dr. Yaron Brook on Government, Healthcare, and Individual Rights « kapitalcon

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