Monday, January 31, 2011

Individual Mandate is Unconstitutional

We were assured that objections to the constitutionality of the individual mandate were frivolous. Judge Vinson found them quite convincing, especially the objection that if the individual mandate is not limited by the Constitution, then damn near nothing is. He found the individual mandate unconstitutional.

With prejudice.

In subsequently dealing with the issue of severability, Vinson wholly accepted the government's oft-repeated assertion that the individual mandate was inextricably integral to the entire bill, and accordingly struck down ObamaCare in its entirety, saying it was not the function of the judiciary to re-write legislation when it failed to pass judicial review. That, he said, remains the job of Congress.

Hoist with their own petard.

Vinson's Summary Judgement decision can be read HERE.


mw said...

This is really interesting. I opposed the Obamacare hairball on the basis of it's fiscal irresponsibility and the simple fact that it does not do what its proponents said it did.

I did support Wyden-Bennett, which also included the individual mandate. My rationalization:
"There are elements of Wyden-Bennett that cannot be reconciled or rationalized with anything that resembles libertarian principles. This is where I have my greatest heartburn with this bill. Chief among them, this bill has mandated coverage. The bill does not work financially without mandated coverage. It works very well with it. It could be rationalized that individuals will have a much wider range of choices under Wyden-Bennett. But I won’t call that a libertarian argument, because individuals will not have the option to not participate.

The trade-off for this mandated coverage is that we get a fiscally sound health care system that covers everyone, that puts no one at risk of financial ruin from getting sick, and does it without raising the deficit or requiring net new taxes. I am willing to take that trade-off. This is why I describe myself as libertarian-leaning as opposed to libertarian or Libertarian. Once in a while, I feel compelled to lean another way.”

I always knew it was clearly anti-libertartian, but had no clue whether it could be successfully challenged on a constitutional basis. I could not be happier with Obamacare being struck down, but it does pose quite the conundrum for both supporters and detractors. If Americans really want (as some polls show) something approaching universal coverage and protection for all Americans against financial ruin from getting sick - there may not be any other path to get there other than single-payer and socializing the system.

Chris Taus said...

It will now become abundantly clear, if it wasn’t after the drilling ban, that the left only bothers to acknowledge court decisions when they agree with them. They will continue to implement Obamacare as if the ruling never happened and dare the judge to try to do something about it.

Tully said...

The trade-off for this mandated coverage is that we get a fiscally sound health care system that covers everyone, that puts no one at risk of financial ruin from getting sick, and does it without raising the deficit or requiring net new taxes.

Well, um, no. The mandate is simply a one-time revenue boost. It would do nothing to address the real problem we have with health care, which is excess cost growth. It simply grabs a new pool of money to spread around for a while.

I've said (LOUDLY AND OFTEN) for years that the healthy uninsured were the inevitable victims of the "universal health care" schemes as proposed, and the facts support it. In large part they are healthy younger people who have made a logical and fiscally sound decision to pay out of pocket rather than subsidize less healthy people by vastly overpaying for "community rated" coverage they don't need. They are NOT shoving costs onto the system at any rate over and above their numbers, as the rerformers would like you to think -- far from it. They're much more cost-conscious HC consumers than the insured.

The numbers support this. Over 15% of the population is uninsured, yet uncompensated care amounts to less than 3% of overall health care expenditures. The gap is what those intentionally uninsured are saving by not buying insurance while still getting their crucial health care, and that gap is the enormous money pool that "reformers" want to capture and re-distribute to others.

That money pool is what the reformers want to use to pay for all the new "reforms" they're loading onto the system. If forcing those uninsured into insurance was not a major net profit revenue-generator for the system, it would not be required as a key element in the "reform" scheme. Translation: Those forced into acquiring insurance would be (collectively) getting a really lousy deal for their money.

Capturing that money pool will not make our HC system fiscally sound other than temporarily, because it does nothing to address the actual major cost drivers of excess cost growth and indeed adds new demand pressure to the system. The uninsured are cost drivers only in specific areas, and not the major ones "reformers" make them out to be.

Funny how those used as the poster children for reform (the intentionally uninsured) are the ones who in large part will take the biggest hit from reform, isn't it? If pulling them into the system wqas actually all that good for them, one would expect their reward to approach or exceed their out-of-pocket cost. But it doesn't.