This afternoon (Friday) the individual mandate of the Affordable Health Care Act has been found unconstitutional. A three panel court of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Florida upheld a lower court ruling that had held the entire ACA to be unconstitutional. The ruling determined that individuals cannot be forced to purchase expensive private health care insurance from birth to death or face penalties. The court allowed the rest of the law to stand.
– It is immaterial whether we perceive Congress to be regulating inactivity or a financial decision to forego insurance. Under any framing, the regulated conduct is defined by the absence of both commerce or even the “the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities”-the broad definition of economics in Raich… To connect this conduct to interstate commerce would require a “but-for causal chain” that the Supreme Court has rejected, as it would allow Congress to regulate anything.
– In sum, the individual mandate is breathtaking in its expansive scope. It regulates those who have not entered the health care market at all. It regulates those who have entered the health care market, but have not entered the insurance market (and have no intention of doing so). It is over inclusive in when it regulates:it conflates those who presently consume health care with those who will not consume health care for many years into the future. The government’s position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.
In June, the 6th Circuit in Ohio had ruled that the mandate was constitutional for Congress to mandate Americans buy health care insurance. As David Kurtz at TPM makes a couple of very important points:
- usually these suits are only ever get heard before a three judge panel but because of the legal significance of this case the entire court may decide to hear the case. Either way this will in all probability be fought out in the Supreme Court.
- Because of the conflicting rulings between legal authorities, it is more likely than not that the case will get decided by the Supreme Court