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  • Morning Bell: Heritage Files Brief Opposing Obamacare's Individual Mandate

    Yesterday, The Heritage Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, reiterating Heritage’s opposition to the individual mandate that is a key piece of the Obamacare statute. This is the first time we have ever filed such a brief—as far anyone around here can remember. But we had no other choice. In its merits brief before the appeals court, the U.S. government quoted a 21-year-old statement by a Heritage Foundation policy expert supporting an individual mandate for health insurance, when Heritage’s view today is to the contrary.

    It all goes back to late January, when federal judge Roger Vinson ruled in a 26-state challenge to Obamacare that the law’s individual mandate forcing Americans to purchase government-approved health insurance is unconstitutional.

    Over 21 years ago, Heritage analysts initially (and mistakenly) considered the idea of a limited individual mandate coupled with appropriate tax incentives as a favorable answer to the “free rider” problem—i.e., citizens who do not buy personal health insurance knowing that, in the event of illness or injury, the government will ensure they get the necessary medical care.  Of course, even that limited and qualified position did not demonstrate support for an unqualified individual mandate as structured in the Obamacare statute.

    The government’s reliance on this dated policy lecture is like arguing that a medical researcher who expressed qualified support for one therapy 21 years ago should naturally favor a broader application of that therapy today, even if his own and other research has disproved the assumptions that supported the original approach.

    The federal government used our aged position and ignored later Heritage research that showed: 1) health insurance individual mandates will fail and are bad public policy; and 2) the federal government’s attempt to force private citizens to purchase health insurance in the Obamacare statute is unconstitutional.

    We have no alternative but to file a brief in response in order to make clear the Heritage view that the individual mandate is both bad policy and unconstitutional.

    As we note in our brief: “Heritage policy experts have been involved in the debate over mandates for many years, but its own research contributed to the growing consensus among market-based economists and health policy experts that such a mandate is not necessary to achieve a high level of coverage and will never produce the mythical ‘universal’ coverage that its advocates desire.”

    For a research organization such as ours to be intellectually honest, we cannot rigidly accept an idea presented decades ago, and ignore empirical evidence presented since. That is why we changed our position on individual mandates long before President Obama ever spoke of one.

    As we note in our brief: “If citations to policy papers were subject to the same rules as legal citations, then the Heritage position quoted by the Department of Justice would have a red flag indicating it had been reversed.”

    Obamacare’s mandate will increase costs, not achieve universal coverage, and not solve the “free rider” problem. But more importantly, it violates the U.S. Constitution, because the Commerce Clause does not transform a national government of limited and enumerated powers into one of limitless authority.

    Obamacare is an abomination that must be repealed. While the courts judge its constitutionality, we will continue to fight toward that end legislatively. We will continue to advocate for smarter solutions as outlined in our plan to fix America’s debt, Saving the America Dream, which we released this week. America deserves real health reform that offers personal freedom, state innovation, lower costs, higher quality care and greater participation. Obamacare does not accomplish this—and our plan does, without mandates.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    49 Responses to Morning Bell: Heritage Files Brief Opposing Obamacare's Individual Mandate

    1. cathy, maine says:

      can we please consider The Physicians for a National Health Program? instead of Obamacare? they have all the details spelled out and it sounds like a better alternative!

    2. Kendall Svengalis, N says:

      The government's position is yet another example of its blatant intellectual dishonesty of the Obama administration. Whether arguing on behalf of the unconstitutional health care law, or attempting to take full credit for the killing of Osama Bin Laden, while still prosecuting government lawyers who provided the legal justification for the enhanced interrorogation which led us to him, Obama is intellectually bankrupt and shamelessly dishonest.

    3. 2dokie says:

      Congratulations HF!! You have probably come into closer focus in the admin's crosshairs. We all admire it as an accomplishment. If your efforts inhibit the progress of the Obama administration's destruction of our national healthcare industry it's worth it, Thanks so much!!!

    4. Judy, NYC says:

      What a shame it is when one misapplies an old quote to prove a current point – when one realizes full well that the old opinion has been amended to incorporate better principles over time.

      Mr. Romney especially should realize as Newt Ginrich does that EVERY MISTAKE CAN GENERATE A NEW AND BETTER DESIGN because of the experience of lessons learned.

      I hope Mr. Romney will become a spokesman for repeal and replace Health Care legislation, that Heritage will supply him with the info it has found, that the first hand experience of RomneyCare and how its lessons learned over time help to offer a new and better design, and that any new plan should apply to one and all without opt outs for the Pres. and others.

    5. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      5 – 12 – 11 FROM – Ken Jarvis – LVKen7@Gmail.com

      First, I want YOU ALL to know, I think HF has been FAIR to me.

      They let me post comments, and I get Emails from several of you, from time to time.

      But I will NOT post HERE on the 5-12-11 – Morning Bell

      Instead I will post a LINK to Sanity at -

      Rush Limbaugh, and Hannity are on HF board.

      I consider HF – Murdochs Empire's – Running Mate.

      Their PLAN, must be, to keep everyone from having HCare.


      To get NEEDED Publicity – The Heritage Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, reiterating Heritage's opposition to the individual mandate that is a key piece of the Obamacare statute.

      *** They may be a "friend of the court", but they are NOT a friend of the people.



      For a research organization such as ours to be intellectually honest, "

      *** When Does that Start?

    6. Aaron H. says:

      What is meant by the term "state innovation"? Great article.

    7. Chuck Lanza, Cooper says:

      The Heritage Foundation has boldly taken the proper action in amending their previous research findings of twenty years ago to encompass new assumptions based on empirical data. Unlike the government’s argument that is based on old data and political expediency, the Heritage Foundation admitted the data did not support their original assumptions and corrected them. The government’s argument is neither accurate nor persuasive.

      It will be interesting to see if the judicial panel will base their decision on the legal contention or the underlying political argument. If they decide to use the later, it will be interesting to see if they can develop a coherent written judgment. Either way, we will see you next year in the Supreme Court.

      • Honest Abe says:

        But this article merely cites the existence of research— doesn't actually link to any that SHOWS they've walked away from their advocacy of the Individual mandate. They had policy papers that walked it back? Wonderful! Where? When? Which?

    8. Walter Bowen, Mount says:

      Today I became appalled of our Education System! I have noticed that most of my co-workers

      have no idea of what I talk about. So it occurred to me to ask these two questions:

      1) Do you know the difference between Democracy, Socialism, and Communism?

      2) Can you equate any of this to the "Cold War?"

      I also mixed in this Question:

      3) Do you know what the Cold War was about?

      I asked my Manager, three of my shift leaders and approximately 10 total people.

      One of these people was confined to prison and is Black and I do respect him. He was also

      subject to Islam while there. Two are Brothers and there father works there to.

      I respect these two as moral upright christian citizens along with their father.

      one is just graduating and the other graduated one or two years ago and is going to college.

      Only three knew the answers. One is a shift leader, one may be pro-O'bama and one was in


      This does not bode well for our cause against the socialist power grab going on in this

      country right now.

      Please pass this on to "Tea for Education."

    9. B. Eric, Syosset N.Y says:

      If the Supreme Court upholds the individual mandate it means the end of limited government. It gives congress the power to compel anyone to do anything or pay a fine the amount of which is totally under the gov'ts pervue. Evertone must buy an American car or pay a fine of 5 million dollars. Most if asked the question"what is the stated purpose of the Constitution?" Don't know the correct answer which is to protect the people from Government. If law is upheld the power of gov't is unlimited. I will not live in such a country. I will simply leave!

    10. West Texan says:

      Bravo Zulu to HF on their court brief exposing the dishonest use of a citation in support of Obamacare. Thanks for sharing Rory.

    11. Frank, Florida says:

      I was dismayed to find out that:

      "Over 21 years ago, Heritage analysts initially (and mistakenly) considered the idea of a limited individual mandate coupled with appropriate tax incentives as a favorable answer to the "free rider" problem: i.e., citizens who do not buy personal health insurance knowing that, in the event of illness or injury, the government will ensure they get the necessary medical care."

      Funny how mistakes come back to haunt you later.

      We REALLY need to turn away from an out-of-control (& I say Unconstitutional) big Federal government towards a small, very limited Federal government as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. Let the States experiment with all these crazy ideas, if they want to (like MassCare). Then let the residents of those States "vote with their feet" & move to the State of their choice if they can't vote out the politicians they despise.

    12. Gary Carrinigton says:

      We need Heritage Foundation and any and all organizations to get on the legal bandwagon along with the 26 States. Each battery of lawyers can bring more

      sharp minds on different avenues of pursuit to obliterate this socialist attack on Americans.

    13. Leith Wood Richmond& says:

      Obama thinks he has limitless authority and no regard for the Constitution, Thank you Heritage and good luck.

    14. michael j mudrak car says:

      Stand tall and do-not give in for obama care is a straight path to economic disaster.

      All those who voted for it without knowing what it was about should be banned from

      public office of any kind.

    15. Lynda Schultz says:

      Bravo to my Heritage family!!!!!

      We, here in North Carolina support this initiative 100%. Obamacare must be repealed so that as American citizens can exercise our freedom of choice in matters related to our personal lives. I, for one, do not want to live in a Nanny State!

      The best thing Mitt Romney could do today is to stand up and tell people that his healthcare plan was a failure, that it is bankrupting Mass. and shortchanging its citizens on the options they have for healthcare. I think he could go a long way in making that type of declaration, stating that if Obamacare is NOT repealed, the entire country is headed in the same direction as Mass., and that the end result will be disastrous for the country.

    16. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      First to Ken Jarvis, There is Medical care available to all, there are clinics, ER's and there is not a Dr. who would reuse to treat a patient just because the cannot come up with the money, they will work our a payment plan. My son doesn't have health Ins. and had an emergency, the MD cut his fee in half and worked out a payment plan with him. As a nurse I have never seen anyone denied care they needed. Second, we have those who prefer to live off the rest of us, but that doesn't make it right for the Gov't. to mandate that I pay for their care, nor does it mean tey have the right to dictate what care I can get or what medicines I can be given and LAST the Gov't. does NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHEN I DIE, MD'sgo to school 8 years before internship, then more school to get into a specialty and residency, but a Community organizer can supercede him as to my medical care, I THINK NOT. Insurance Cos. are greedy, as well as the users who do not want to pay out of pocket, go back to pay for service and covering ER, surgery etc and let us pay for th routine stuff. That's what it used to be and whn it was called HOSPITALIZATION. Drs. increased their fees because they must spend hours on paper work which doesn't bring in money, they wait weeks for reimbursments and still have both office and home bills to pay.

    17. Steve Adams says:

      Thanks to Heritage Foundation for taking the Bull by the Horns and Running with this. I would be pleased and I know many others join with me in requesting that your plan to Fix our financial problems, be sent to all members of Congress asking that they take a public stand on your plan, so we all know how to vote in 2012.

    18. Bob Kiem, Orange Par says:

      "Obamacare is an abomination…" Let us suggest to Funk and Wagnall's the addition of a new word: Obamination. That should cover the waterfront.

    19. Robert, North Richla says:

      This debate is like being stuck in 5 1/2 feet of Mississippi muck with your mouth barely out of the quagmire arguing about irresponsibility. First, the government took over health care in 1965 – and they have increased their position every single year. Obamacare is like the last sprinkle on top of a five-layer, four-foot tall wedding cake. How do we deal with irresponsible seniors; or people with means (but no insurance); or illegal aliens and their children; or welfare recipients etc…? Second, the pharmaceutical companies and the corporate healthcare industry have played along the entire way – helping the government increase the cost exponentially. And we have second-class physicians (who could not sustain or run their own practice) earning over $300,000 per year treating illegals and welfare recipients for "free." Your republicans said they would defund Obamacare; cut spending and not increase the debt limit. But they have done NOTHING. They slipped riders onto the bill (because they knew it would pass), and then voted "no" to appease those who are appeasable.

    20. toledofan says:

      I think the brief is a great idea, even though it's taken 21 years to come clean, just kidding, but, it sounds like the deck may be stacked in Obama favor. I think that elections really do matter and the placement of judges is a prime example of why it does matter so much. So, we'll have to sit on the sidelines and wait as the drama unfolds. I was thinking about the article and the recent hypocracy regarding global warming and the litnany of people saying that man was the biggest contributor and America is the biggest offender. Now that most of the data has been debunked, the pillar for global warming sinks into the sand. So, should it be with Obamacare. The entire bill as a hoax and a way for the government to gain control of that part of the economy and gain more control of the citizens healthcare. So, I say hurrah and keep up the fight.

    21. Jim Patterson, Dulut says:

      Senator Obama said that he does not favor raising the debt ceiling. so,let's not raise the debt ceiling. Oh, but wait, the DEMS can still drag out a 21 yr old position paper and say it is still valid although repudiated. so why not let Senator Obama's take on not raising the debt limit stand?

    22. B. Eric, Syosset N.Y says:

      Here is something that is very scary about Obamacare. The IPAB or Independant Patient Advisory Board. This is already in place. It is a 15 member panel,appointed by the president approved by the senate. It regulates MD reimbursement as well appropriateness of medical treatment. The members serve at the pleasure of the president and their decisions are final. The panel does not have to include Physicians or any other health care experts. This sounds very much like a "death panel". It can rule Who gets what treatment for any reason they determine. As Pelosi said tou have to pass it so you can find out whats in it. I for one do not want medical decisions made by gov't beaurocrats.

    23. West Texan says:

      To cathy, The Physicians for a National Health Program is misguided at best. There are as many arguments to the contrary.

      To Ken Jarvis. You're far too uninformed to be so judgmental. Your whole premise about American prosperity is wrong and greatly skewed toward failed socialist ideology. You sound intelligent. Try adding some objective critical thought to the mix.

    24. Frank Schwartz , Ren says:

      Since you have filed a brief with the court for Obama Care, how about amending your brief to include Medicare Part D. I currently have not signed up for Medicare Part D because I take no drugs. Why should I be penalized when or if I decide to add this insurance?

    25. Jill-Maine says:

      Eric B. Where would you go?

    26. Zephyr, New York says:

      Kudos to you, HF, for having the courage to admit an error in judgment and for filing this brief. The Obama administration and Obamacare go too far in trying to impose huge government control over our once free country. This administration would have us all be RULED as Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran are, to name a few of the dictatorships that the USA is starting to resemble. Our Constitution is what made us great and with advocates like the HF we will regain the freedoms that we have sadly lost. Thank you for fighting for all of us who have no voice. God Bless America!

    27. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obamacare bad. Private enterprise good.

    28. mike hutchings says:

      you're doing the right thing….it's going to take action to do what needs to be done…i'm sure the flak you draw will be named and personalized by those steeped in a bi-polar political and philosophical (sic) reality….and not right and wrong…by those with less than a childish understanding of anything larger than their own ego's…to force someone to contribute is to claim a right to their labor and time and therefore their person….there is a name for that…well two actually that begin with s. and end with f and y…both in their essentials are the same state of being and mean you have a master and are not free…liberals crave control and fail to see the noose they knot for others ….works just as well on them….lets all live as free men and women without tether to an unaccountable cannabalistic machine…

    29. Ron W. Smith, Provid says:

      A friend of the court brief is totally acceptable, Rory Cooper. No apology is required, not even an explanation. Obamacare, in general, is a flawed approach to universal health coverage in this country thanks to folks on the Right torpedoing any possibility of universal coverage through single payer or, in its later and lesser incarnation, public option.

      What Heritage Foundation should also do is file a friend of the people brief. The "plan" put forward as better than Obamacare, and " without the mandate," isn't close to being in the spirit of "friend of the people" the way single payer would be.

      Health care coverage in the United States costs twice per person what it costs anywhere else in the world full health care coverage is offered. That figure is now approaching $8,000 per person annually. "Controlling costs" is not a reasonable goal that considered. And it's especially not an acceptable goal since there's nothing in the research indicating value added for the additional cost of coverage.

      It's just expensive, with a flock of reasons it is–too many to deal with here.

      The solutions to the long-duration problems in American health care offered by Heritage Foundation are inadequate and deserve a full, well elaborated, Foundry piece soon.

      Let's have it, Rory Cooper and friends. Documented with facts and figures.

    30. Margaret says:

      impeach obama

    31. Margaret says:

      i am goig to keep pushing the issue !!!!!!!

    32. Richard; Walnut Cree says:

      A BIG shout out and congratulations to the HF for filing a friend of the court brief. The commerce clause was designed to regulate "ACTIVITES" of commerce between the States due to the unmanageable situation under the Articles of Confederation. States could print their own currency and impose outrageous taxes on products coming across their state lines. That situation was untenable and called for a new more efficient document to replace it. That document became known as the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION!

      If the Federal Government can mandate that every individual purchase health insurance then where do the mandates end? In fact they end in TYRANNY. Thomas Jefferson warned us of this: "When the people fear their government, there is TYRANNY. When the government fears the people there is LIBERTY!"

      Read it; learn it; love it! = The US Constitution!

    33. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I am so proud to be a member of Heritage Foundation and here at Morning Bell! You had no choice since the Government was playing fast and loose with the facts again! (Just like they were double dealing in Judge Vinson's Court!) Oh! Good for you! Demo-crats use this dirty trick all the time as they Mold Public Opinion with taxpayer money. They always trot out some RINO to pretend they have Bi-Partisanship! Hell! Bi-Partisanship is a dirty word! That's how long Democrats have betrayed Republicans with their twisted double dealing!

      It is a Mistake by Government Prosecutors to force this Amicus Brief upon Heritage Foundation. Do you fear you are baited? I think Heritage doesn't go far enough in its Policies and Statements! Perhaps our middle of the road Conservative Stance is to become the Benchmark the Left Wing will call Extreme. (That is so the real problem will never be addressed.) If the Heritage Foundation doesn't see the Domestic Enemy in the Democratic Party as unlawful usurpers? Perhaps the TEA Party will see Heritage Foundation as RINOs, who blindly stomp out the fires that the DINOs light. Somehow Heritage doesn't have a problem with Unconstitutional Dictatorships in the Administration? As a matter of Law? Then, Double Dealing in Court opens up the real Issue at the HHS Department, they double deal because they are Gangsters in the Government.

      Michelle Bachman is right. We have a Gangster Government! Progressives have used a Strategy of Over Kill to make War on American Medicine! Obamacare is the Second Dose of Over Kill! American Medicine was already the most preposterously Over Regulated Industry. Obama says "We will quadruple that!" The President is blind to the fact the Medical Consumer pays all of it! The Cost of Medicine will 'necessarily skyrocket' AGAIN! Somehow the cost of Medicine going over the Moon is 'good for the public?' Government will make more profit off Medicine than Doctors! That's the same way that Government makes more money from Oil than the Stock Holders! Over Kill works everywhere in America! Gangster Government!

    34. Bob Howe, Pleasanton says:

      I am as alarmed as anyone about the impact that Obamacare will have on my ability to obtain quality healthcare for my family and myself. However, I have serious misgivings about the path that HF and other worthwhile organizations are taking by opposing the "individual mandate" portion of Obamacare. We got this horrible legislation because the voters elected the kind of lawmakers that wanted to push this through, or at least not put up much of an objection. The problem is the voters, and they should be forced to pay via the individual mandate for their poorly considered choices. Removing the individual mandate but keeping the rest of this horrible legislation means that the voters that brought this about get off without any consequences for their actions–no personal responsibility and free (tax payer funded) health care.

    35. West Texan says:

      If folks want single payer coverage, then let them vote for it in their home state. That's what our dual republic is about. Healthcare is a domestic matter that's the rightful and constitutional domain of state and local governments. If certain states want to form health coverage compacts between them, then let it be those respective states only. Of course with the interstate approval of U.S. Congress. Many Americans have narrowed their focus too much on the topic of health care itself that they fail to see the danger surrounding our constitutional freedoms. I'd rather have no health care at all than compromise my right to choose. Patrick Henry said this best with, "…give me liberty or give me death."

    36. Wayne, Louisiana says:

      I read some of the Health Care proposals as described in the "Saving of America" article. It basically offers another alternative to Obama Care. The issues that are confronting the American people today are High premiums for limited Health Care, High Health Care costs that make limited Health Care unavailable to some and no effort to expand health care to all people. If Obama's Health Care plan is implemented, then we still have the issue of limited coverage, expensive premiums and unreasonable taxes. The Health Care propositions listed in the "Saving of America" article should be expanded into greater detail so that the members can come to a greater understanding of the proposal?

    37. Carol USA says:

      Thank You!

    38. HT says:

      How do we know your "research" and "analysis" isn't wrong now? Give it enough time maybe you'll come back around to your original position.

    39. Corey says:

      I have my concerns of a mandate and think that the Affordable Care Act should have done more and instituted a public option so that we wouldn't be having this conversation right now, but where was the opposition from the right to a government mandate back when it was a Republican introduced idea? Two Presidential nominees in Romney and Gingrich have very recently supported government mandates on a national level. I think it is curious that as soon as a Democratic President agrees with the idea it is suddenly terrible. Plus the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause give the government the ability to do things that are not specifically listed because our Founders were genius enough to create a living document that can adapt to things that they could never foresee. There are plenty of opportunities to call for limited government (such as with getting the government out of doctor's offices with issues like abortion) or call out unconstitutional things (Benton Harbor, MI) but this isn't one of them.

    40. Ray Davenport Corbet says:

      Thank you HF.

    41. carolyn kirkland, va says:

      right on Heritage, thank you for speaking for us. ck

    42. Bobbie says:

      Awesome as usual, Heritage!

      Yep, single payer health care can be made to SOUND good. Especially when one is in authority to implement it.

    43. Pingback: Heritage: The Only Way For Us To Be ‘Intellectually Honest’ Is To Opportunistically Flip-Flop | Celebs, News and Gossips

    44. eugene reed, brookly says:

      yes! yes! that's what i'm talking about heritage! get it right in their "grill peice"! do battle!

    45. daniel says:

      writing a law and granting exemptions in my opinion is the same as just imperially granting favors for the politically connected. Take from one and give to another or restrict all then release some from that restriction. We are a land where "equal protection" doesn't hold, equal opportunity doesn't hold, and laws are written to control the less favored. Laws like Obamacare provide opportunities for the political class to exchange favors with the other power brokers at the expense of individual freedom.

    46. Frank T. McCarthy, K says:

      There is no way to logically reconcile the previous position of the Heritage Foundation supporting an individual mandate with its current position that an individual mandate is inherently unconstitutional. Surely HF would not have recommended a policy it thought was unconstitutional. So obviously HF did not think that an individual mandate was unconstitutional twenty one years ago.

      May I remind HF of The Federalist view of the enumerated powers of Congress expressed by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 34:

      “Every view we may take of the subject, as candid inquirers after truth, will serve to convince us, that it is both unwise and dangerous to deny the federal government an unconfined authority, as to all those objects which are entrusted to its management.”

      So much for Judge Vinson's effort to distinguish between "activity" and "inactivity" in his ruling. Try to find that distinction in The Federalist.

    47. HonestAbe, NY says:

      Granting that The Heritage Foundation, itself, developed the Individual Mandate in 1989, testified before Congress as to its capitalistic bona fides in fighting—- yes fighting— Socialism— while Republicans pushed 2 health care bills fostering this exact same individual mandate in 1993— just when was it exactly that The Heritage Foundation and other Conservatives abandoned the Individual Mandate— if not for abject hypocrisy in 2009 when Democrats telegraphed that they were willing to cede it to them? Republican Presidential candidates were still promoting the Individual Mandate through the Presidential campaign season in 2008.



    48. HonestAbe, NY says:

      Again— you admit as much:

      "The federal government used our aged position and ignored later Heritage research that showed: 1) health insurance individual mandates will fail and are bad public policy; and 2) the federal government’s attempt to force private citizens to purchase health insurance in the Obamacare statute is unconstitutional."

      "Your later research"— and when exactly was that? 2007. For 19 years, you advocated the Individual Mandate— and here now claim that you were ardent supporters of Socialism.

      "That is why we changed our position on individual mandates long before President Obama ever spoke of one." Yeah. You published that "change of position" in 2007. A year— ONE year—- "long before" the President, who campaigned AGAINST the mandate— ceded it to Republicans in debate.

      Your argument here is more than disingenuous. Its shameless advocacy of hypocrisy is nothing short of hysterical.

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