The 11th Circuit court of appeals in Atlanta has dealt another blow to Obama’s health care law ruling it unconstitutional to require Americans to purchase health insurance.
The majority stated in its opinion that the mandate ” represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives”.
According to Betsy McCaughey of Defend Your Healthcare the effects of this ruling might be visible almost immediately.
The impact of the 11th circuit ruling is likely to be substantial and immediate:
- State governments will slow down or halt their preparations to implement state insurance exchanges as required under the law.
- Pressure will build on the administration to scale back or repeal its two costly new health entitlements, which have not gone into effect yet: (1) a costly expansion of Medicaid eligibility and Medicaid benefits and (2) subsidies for middle income people to pay for private health plans on state exchanges. The decision today blew a hole in a major source of revenue to pay for these new entitlements: the penalties on individuals who fail to enroll and employers who fail to provide it to their workers. Without this revenue, the remaining provisions of the law create a large budget deficit.
- This is good news for employers who have held off on hiring because of concerns about future mandatory health insurance requirements on employers. If this decision is confirmed by the United States Supreme Court next term, it will remove a barrier to job growth.
While dealing the controversial law a blow, the court also struck down a lower court’s ruling that the entire law is unconstitutional despite the lack of a severability clause.
This court marks the last stop before the Supreme Court for the law suit that was filed by the Attorney Generals of 26 states who want the law repealed. The highest court in the land is expected to take the case in October 2011 when they convene, but a decision may come as late as next Summer which would put it right in the middle of the 2012 Presidential election.
In an effort to downplay yet another negative ruling against the Affordable Care Act, a statement from an Obama aid said, “Today’s ruling is one of many decisions on the Affordable Care Act that we will see in the weeks and months ahead. In the end, we are confident the Act will ultimately be upheld as constitutional”.
The single dissenting opinion was held by a Clinton appointee on the panel and expresses the typical progressive stance that the commerce clause has grown to let Congress do just about anything and should continue to be interpreted that way. Judge Stanley Marcus said that this ruling ignores “the undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries and is now generally accepted as having afforded Congress the authority to create rules regulating large areas of our national economy”.
Should the law be struck down by the Supreme Court, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid may well see the only major accomplishment of their political careers erased.