Health care mandate ruled unconstitutional

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the individual mandate provision of the health care reform legislation passed by Democrats and signed into law by President Barack Obama. The mandate would have required Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty.

Here’s some of what Hudson wrote in his decision striking down the individual mandate provision of health care reform:

“An individual’s personal decision to purchase — or decline purchase — (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution,” Hudson wrote, also stating that “no specifically articulated constitutional authority exists to mandate the purchase of health insurance.”

“Despite the laudable intentions of Congress in enacting a comprehensive and transformative health care regime, the legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds,” Hudson added. “Salutatory goals and creative drafting have never been sufficient to offset an absence of enumerated powers.”

Though I’m not as versed in the law as some in the Cheddarsphere, I wasn’t at all surprised that the individual mandate provision of health care reform was ruled unconstitutional, and I’m willing to bet Judge Hudson’s decision won’t be the last ruling against the individual mandate provision. Judge Hudson’s decision will be appealed by the federal government and the issue is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court at some point, but it seems pretty clear that the individual mandate provision will be struck down by the SCOTUS.


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10 thoughts on “Health care mandate ruled unconstitutional

  1. It’s the portion that requires Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or else you’re penalized for not buying it. It was a bullshit portion of the law that was put in by Joe Libermann and proves no purpose if we have no public option. It makes sense with a public option, so I’m glad in that respect it’s been prove unconstitutional.

    I just wish conservatives would stop tooting their horn saying they beat Obama, when it was really they beat Libermann’s stupid policy.

    1. PP, there are a lot of folks who don’t own a piece of a GOP consulting firm who think the individual insurance mandate isn’t Constitutional.

  2. True Zach but they arent “impartial judges” nor are they in a positon to stop it. There is a mandate with no penalties and you can equate it to having to buy car insurance.

    1. You can’t remotely equate the individual mandate to having to buy car insurance. The federal government does not make you buy car insurance so it’s not an apples to apples requirement. Nor do you have to buy car insurance, you can choose not to buy a car.

      1. Yeah, but you can choose to not breathe too & thus avoid the mandate to purchase health insurance. 🙂

        And what is this difference between the federal and state government you’re hinting at? There’s no such separation – you’re making that up. 🙂

      2. Car insurance isn’t for you, it’s for the guy you could maim in an accident. That’s the difference.

  3. It appears that the Bush appointed GOP consultant(who wouldnt recuse himself) judge did not give the best ruling here.

    “””I’ve had a chance to read Judge Hudson’s opinion, and it seems to me it has a fairly obvious and quite significant error,” writes Orin Kerr, a professor of law at George Washington University, on the generally conservative law blog The Volokh Conspiracy.

    Kerr and others note that Hudson’s argument against Congress’ power to require people to purchase health insurance rests on a tautology.

    The key portion of the ruling reads:

    If a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type of economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then logically an attempt to enforce such provision under the Necessary and Proper Clause is equally offensive to the Constitution.

    Kerr notes that this is all wrong. The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to take steps beyond those listed in the Constitution to achieve its Constitutional ends, including the regulation of interstate commerce. Hudson’s argument wipes a key part of the Constitution out of existence. Kerr says Hudson “rendered [it] a nullity.”””

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