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  • Another Loss for Obamacare

    This afternoon, the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania became the latest court to strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (Obamacare) individual mandate, holding that “[t]he power to regulate interstate commerce does not subsume the power to dictate a lifetime financial commitment to health insurance coverage.” The challenge was brought by a Barbara Goudy-Bachman and Gregory Bachman, who are both self-employed and have chosen to drop their health insurance because it exceeded their monthly mortgage payments. Instead, Bachmans opted to pay for health care out of pocket. The Administration, unless it wants to concede that Obamacare is unconstitutional, will have to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

    Adopting much of the reasoning of the Judge Vinson’s district court opinion and the Eleventh Circuit three-judge panel decision, Judge Christopher Conner rejected the government’s position that the Commerce Clause could be extended to the “pre-transaction stage”— that is, regulation of the possibility that an individual would seek medical services and then fail to pay for them. The judge noted that allowing such a use of the Commerce Clause was unprecedented and would eradicate previous judicially enforceable boundaries. Judge Conner continued, “[u]nless and until [nonpayment of services occurs], an individual’s status as uninsured…has no effect whatsoever on interstate commerce.”

    Judge Conner further found that the individual mandate provision is severable from the larger law, except for three other provisions (the minimum-coverage provision, the guaranteed issue and preexisting conditions reforms, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300gg-(1)(a), 300gg-3) that must be struck down as well.

    In closing, Judge Conner stated that “[t]he nation undoubtedly faces a health care crisis…the federal government, however, is one of limited enumerated powers.” Congress’s attempts to “remedy the ailing health care and health insurance markets must fit squarely within the boundaries of those powers.” With challenges working their way up a number of circuit courts and one petition for certiorari already pending before the Supreme Court, the only question remaining is one of timing.

    Goudy-Bachman et al v. HHS

    Posted in Featured, Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Another Loss for Obamacare

    1. American says:

      "Judge Conner further found that the individual mandate provision is severable from the larger law"

      The Act HAS NO SEVERABILITY CLAUSE. Congress initially included one, then THOSE TO REMOVE IT.

      STOP LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH, OR WE THE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO "GET A ROPE!"

    2. David says:

      To "American",
      When the marxist stop passing laws against the will of the people, the Courts can stop "legislating from the bench" as you put it.

    3. Robert A Hirschmann says:

      Obamacare was unconstitutional from day 1 and should be repealed. I, for one, do not want the government or anyone else to tell me that I have to buy insurance for anything. That is my decision and mine alone. To have the government run the medical field is unsustainable and stupid. A proven fact is that anything the government runs fails. Just get the government out of our lives and let the individual decide what is best for them.

    4. Don says:

      I agree with American's statement "Stop Legislating From The Bench". Now should apply this principle to the California judge that invalidated the state's law, passed not by a legislature but by citizen referendum, that states that marriage is between a man and woman.

    5. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      How coincidental that a Bachman challenged the law and a Bachmann wants to repeal it. Even if the Supreme Court strikes down this law in its entirety or just the individual mandate, Congress should still pursue its full repeal. Michele Bachmann's passion to do so is unmistakable whether it's House floor speeches, GOP Presidential debates or legislation, she is staking her political career on it. It sets her apart from the rest of the GOP field. The others may be thinking it but unless you speak it regularly and passionately, you have no mandate to repeal it. Executive orders are not good enough, Perry. Full repeal through legitimate Constitutional lawmaking rules is the only way to be sure it doesn't resurface.

    6. Guest says:

      David- I think American's no severabiltiy statement was with the intent the whole law be abrogated, not just this particular area. Legislating from the bench is wrong no matter who benefits.
      This Judge's Legislating was in hin insertin of a severability factor.

      • Mike says:

        I believe it was at the insistence of the Obama adminstration that the Act had to include "inseveribility" of the individual mandate, therefore forcing Judge Vinson to strike down the entire bill.

    7. NeoConVet says:

      IF OBAMACARE Was The Answer…. Then How Stupid Was The Question?
      Bottom line here is we have NOT the the money to solve all the perceived ills of helathcare, social issues galore, infrastructure, etc., etc.

    8. Slick says:

      Well, it appears that the kingpin legislation for health care could be loosing its pin!!! Will it come completely unhinged? It should because, although this judge at least did NOT find in favor of the government totally, he must feel somewhat threatened that he would make up the part of his opinion which states that the mandatory mandate is "severable"!!! This judge must have had a "touchy feely moment" when he decided to throw the White House a bone, even if it is invalid!!!

      One thing about it, this is NOT going to be settled before 2012, and I can't think of a more pressing reason to vote for ANY conservative instead of Big O so we can overturn this travesty!

    9. Linda O'Neal says:

      The part of the law that should be struck down is that the Washington Elected Officials and their families are exempt from the mandatory mandate. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!!! If they have to suffer the same healthcare that they are mandating to the public the bill would be struck down immediately!!

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