• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Obamacare's Two-Year Anniversary

    Today marks the two-year anniversary of President Obama signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will go down in the history books as “Obamacare.”

    With the Supreme Court poised to hear oral argument in the 26 states’ and NFIB’s challenge to the Act next week, members of the House have been celebrating and lamenting the passage of Obamacare.  On the floor of the House Wednesday evening, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi opined that the Declaration of Independence supports Obamacare because the Act “helps to guarantee…a healthier life, the liberty to pursue happiness, free of the constraints that lack of health care might provide to family.”  Meanwhile, Congresswomen Michelle Bachmann continues to call on Congress to repeal Obamacare, arguing that it is an issue “that should be decided by the legislators” rather than the Court.  Whether the High Court strikes down or upholds part or all of Obamacare, a new Heritage Backgrounder makes the case that Congress will still need to take some action in response to the Court’s decision.  This latest report provides a roadmap of the four issues before the Court and the justices’ various options regarding each issue.

    First up, does the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) bar the parties from challenging the individual mandate to purchase health insurance before it goes into effect?  Heritage experts Robert Alt and Ed Haislmaier argue that it’s unlikely the Court will decline to reach the merits of the case and find that the AIA prohibits the current challenges, especially given the fact that the government and the challengers agree the AIA doesn’t apply.  However, if the Court fails to reach the merits now, this would not preclude another challenge once the mandate goes into effect.

    The second issue is:  has Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the individual mandate?  Alt and Haislmaier point to the Court’s Commerce Clause jurisprudence, noting that even during the Great Depression and both World Wars, “Congress never sought to require the purchase of” any good.  Further, Alt and Haislmaier argue that the consequences of upholding the mandate would have “drastic legal effects far beyond th[is] case” despite the fact that the government maintains that health care is “special.”

    Third, if the mandate is unconstitutional, can it be severed from the remainder of the law, or does the entire law fall with it?  Alt and Haislmaier lay out the various scenarios if only the mandate falls, if the mandate and related provisions fall, and if the entire law falls. The first two scenarios are problematic because Obamacare cannot operate as Congress intended without the mandate.  And if the Court starts down the road of trying to figure out what is related to the mandate, there is  “no clear and compelling logic for how and where” to draw a line between the provisions that remain and those that are severable.

    The last issue before the Court is:  did Congress unconstitutionally coerce the states into accepting onerous conditions that it couldn’t directly impose by threatening to withhold federal funding under Medicaid?  Alt and Haislmaier maintain that the Court could simply avoid this issue if it finds the mandate unconstitutional and strikes down all of Obamacare, or strikes down the mandate and enough of the Medicaid provisions which won’t operate as Congress intended without the mandate.  But if the Court gets to this question and chooses to uphold the Medicaid expansion, this would further erode “what remains of state autonomy and sovereignty” and essentially reduce the states to the “roles of tax collectors.”  By contrast, if the Court invalidates this expansion, Congress would likely need to reconsider “the design and operation of Medicaid as it currently exists.”

    Some have guessed how the justices might vote, and the six hours of oral arguments next week may provide a glimpse into some of the justices’ minds.  But let’s hope that by this time next year, instead of celebrating Obamacare’s third anniversary, Congress will have replaced it with Heritage’s commonsense plan to fix our bloated, overextended and unrestrained government and save the American Dream.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Obamacare's Two-Year Anniversary

    1. Bobbie says:

      It's unnecessary infringement, intrusion, invasion by government force when the private sector does it so much better within their means with accountability. The government underestimates their costs for creeping tax increases. Hire bureaucrats at our expense who sets costs control at our expense when the business is fully capable of handling it! Outside government control (opposed to self governing-freedom) is not reliable or dependable. They don't have to be. They use their abuse of authority to cover, ignore the necessary responsibilities with tax dollars. It's proven time and again. And Mr. Obama, my goodness. Look where he puts our money into endless, non and counter productive special interests of his own? Wherever government is in control, only we the people suffer the consequences!

    2. Erin Logrith says:

      When this law had 1st passed, I was in graduate school or just finishing, and my father couldn't figure out why I wasn't happy that I "could get insurance now." He was further surprised to find out that I could have gotten insurance through the college anyway…and further surprised that I didn't buy it because it wasn't worth paying so much for something I would barely use (why would a poor "Immortal" want to PAY for insurance!). He was further surprised that in spite of this, I had used the school health center for VERY cheap for the few times I had needed an antibiotic for a simple sinus infection, and the one time I did have an injury. I guess he would be further surprised to learn that no, I still can't get insurance through Obamacare, and I do now have insurance quite cheaply through my new graduate program as a Doctoral candidate. He should be downright flabbergasted that I obtained fewer interviews with my Masters during the time that Obama had "saved the economy" than I had gotten with my B.S. 3 years before. So I went back to school to get paid to teach as part of a doctorate program (I'm cheaper than a professor).

    3. Erin Logrith says:

      In short, if you go get a job, you can get healthcare, or go to college, or even have some crap job, the only ones available, and go talk to hospitals with Cardinal access or local programs, or teaching clinics. Those who are actually disabled, and MANY who are not (young men with "depression" or who are "bipolar" through quackery) are already on medicaid, and the elderly are on medicare.
      The people for Obamacare are living in a fantasy world where no one can buy insurance without the government, adding 30 million people won't increase demand, forcing people to buy it is fine – like car insurance – but you could choose not to drive, and dissent is now racism. I thought, when Bush was in charge, that the Patriot Act was evil and protest was patriotism. I guess dictatorship is only good when a democrat is in charge.

    4. Bethzur250 says:

      Is it any surprise that a radical transformation of the United States representative Democracy, as embraced by the Obama Administration, would have an agenda to replace our Creator as the Author of absolute truth such that government would become the arbiter of what is unalienable rights such that natural law as embraced by the Bill Of Rights is replaced by Governmental rule. May the eyes of our understanding be enlightened such that righteous adjudication prevails in the Supreme Courts deliberations.

    5. Two years and obamacare isn't in full force yet and already healthcare costs are going up at a faster rate then before this nightmare of a bill. I can see why all the Democrats are trying to run away from talking about the bill. Even when they're forced to do so on TV, they seem to down play it by saying the not many Americans care all that much. I guess that's how they were told to handle this nightmare, orders from the White House are to down play it. If this was such a great healthcare plan Obama would be reminding all us Americans about how great this is. Don't you think he'd be doing this during an election year? But no, because he knows we hate it and more and more people are beginning to realize this bill is the first major step towards Socialism. Many people I knwo are discussing this and are spreading the word.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.