Today, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson declared that one of the central points of Obamacare is unConstitutional. WE ALL KNOW THIS IS GOING TO BE APPEALED, AND IF I HEAR ANY LIP FROM ANYONE, I WILL HACK THE MILITARY COMPUTERS AND TARGET A THERMONUCLEAR DEVICE ON YOUR HOUSE. AND I WILL HAVE THEM PAINT THE LETTERS "L.A.R.T." ON THE SIDE BEFORE IT LAUNCHES. Hudson refused to strike down the law entirely or even suspend it, citing the upcoming appeals, although I think it has more to do with some of the provisions actually being good, like no denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. No point in throwing the baby out with the bathwater, ya know. The only part he targeted was the individual mandate. When I last discussed this, I mentioned that there were two possible avenues that would be used to attack it. The first was a state's rights issue, forcing states to participate (with some states providing for other states, like how Illinois is subsidizing Nevada). I wasn't sure it would hold up, seeing how the Supreme Court has lately ruled less for the 10th Amendment and more for the overarching "general welfare" clause from the preamble and Article I of the Constitution. The second was an individual rights issue, with the government forcing citizens to participate in a market. Both of these fall under the same header, how far does the Constitution's Commerce Clause reach?
Before I go any further, allow me to express my stance. Longtime readers know that I oppose Obamacare, as I feel it is government intrusion. "Well, Peter," I hear some of you ask, "if the only cure for bad ideas is better ideas, what is your better idea?" The government cannot force people to buy health insurance. But it is within its rights to create its own insurance coverage program to cover people who cannot afford private insurance. As it is for people who are being frozen out of the market, the government will not be competing with private enterprise (well, the government does do that through Gieco, but you know what I mean). This does, however, feature a dividing line of, "If you can't be bothered to do this, then any health care problems you have now are YOUR problem."
All sides are agreeing that they will wait for the Supreme Court ruling. Thank you for keeping it together. This could take a year, possibly two, before it gets a hearing, so this is a long way from over. Hudson ruled that the Justice Department's argument that the requirement would come under the definition of regulating interstate commerce was bullshit. Making people buy insurance "is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution."
Now, this is actually a problem, and I already see where the challenge will come from -- Social Security. Social Security is mandated (well, for the most part. For example, railway workers were exempt, but that's just splitting hairs). The question is, what is Social Security? If you view it as a bank account, then it is not commerce and mandatory participation is legal. If you view it as commerce (which I do not), then it is illegal, but no one I am unaware has challenged it. Social Security will be used as an example, but the specific wording is what will make or break it as a defense.
Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, spent today reminding his colleagues that they were elected into office on promises to repeal Obamacare so don't wait for the courts to rule. Meanwhile, the challenge filed by 20 states in Florida? That gets underway this Thursday. In addition to the points raised by Virginia's AG, it also argues the federal government can't require states to expand their Medicaid programs. I don't think that's going to fly. After all, the government still had say in how the stimulus dollars were spent.
Please, before we start screaming, one way or the other, let's let things sort out. We are ultimately on the same side here. We want to protect ourselves and those that don't have the protections we have. But name calling and arguments that have nothing to do with the main point, we don't need that. It just makes us each other's enemies. There's no room for that in America.