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Thread: Federal judge throws out Obamacare!!!

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    Senior Member huntinman's Avatar
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    Default Federal judge throws out Obamacare!!!

    Judge Rules Health Care Law Is Unconstitutional

    Published January 31, 2011 | FoxNews.com


    A U.S. district judge on Monday threw out the nation's health care law, declaring it unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause and surely reviving a feud among competing philosophies about the role of government.

    Judge Roger Vinson, in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that as a result of the unconstitutionality of the "individual mandate" that requires people to buy insurance, the entire law must be declared void.

    "I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and
    regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute
    has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here," Vinson wrote.

    "While the individual mandate was clearly 'necessary and essential' to the act as drafted, it is not 'necessary and essential' to health care reform in general," he continued. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void."

    The decision will likely face an immediate filing by the federal government for a stay, and the case is undoubtedly headed to the Supreme Court.

    But for now, opponents of President Obama's signature domestic legislation exalted while supporters denounced the decision.

    "I applaud the ruling today by Judge Vinson," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who prior to getting elected in November, helped lead the charge against the law. "In making his ruling, the judge has confirmed what many of us knew from the start -- Obamacare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people. ... Patients should have more control over health care decisions than a federal government that is spending money faster than it can be printed."

    "Judge Vinson's decision is radical judicial activism run amok, and it will undoubtedly be reversed on appeal. The decision flies in the face of three other decisions, contradicts decades of legal precedent, and could jeopardize families' health care security," said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. "If this decision were allowed to stand, it would have devastating consequences for America's families."

    Vinson's decision, while surprising, was not unforeseen. In October, the judge dismissed four of the six counts in the suit led by then-Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and joined by 25 other states. But he allowed two counts, including one challenging the law's controversial requirement that Americans buy health insurance, to proceed. Arguments were heard in December.

    In his earlier ruling, Vinson said that a government report called the requirement to buy insurance legally unprecedented and worth examining in court.

    "The individual mandate applies across the board. People have no choice and there is no way to avoid it. Those who fall under the individual mandate either comply with it, or they are penalized. It is not based on an activity that they make the choice to undertake. Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive," he wrote.

    Nearly two dozen suits have been filed in federal courts, but Monday's ruling is the biggest judicial decision to come down the pike since Congress last March passed the bill aimed at covering 30 million uninsured Americans whether they want insurance or not.

    In other cases, a federal district judge in Richmond, Va., ruled the individual mandate is unconstitutional but left standing other parts of the law. In Michigan, the argument concerning the "individual mandate" -- the central tenet that requires Americans to start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty -- was thrown out by another federal judge.

    "That judge, under his mind-set, said basically if someone thought that I were overweight, if they rule this way, the federal government would be able to mandate that I go down to the Gold's Gym and fill out an application and contract with Gold's Gym to lose weight and lower my cholesterol," said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, whose state is among the parties filing the multi-state suit. "That is the kind of logic that we're going to right now where you're actually telling people that they have to engage in an activity and that is simply too broad a policy for the federal government."

    Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a repeal of the 10-year, $1 trillion plan that critics say will cost closer to $2.6 trillion. But the repeal bill will likely die in the Senate, meaning Vinson's ruling is the newest grounds on which supporters and opponents proceed.

    Defenders of the law say that Americans need to be covered from ruthless insurance companies that either refuse to insure children with illnesses and adults with pre-existing conditions or charge exorbitant amounts for individual coverage. The law aims to provide a federal umbrella under which Americans can purchase and keep insurance regardless of their health, career changes or ability to pay.

    But Vinson said that is not the U.S. government's job.

    "Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution. Again, this case is not about whether the act is wise or unwise legislation. It is about the constitutional role of the federal government," he wrote.

    Supporters of the law also note that Congressional Budget Office figures that show if repealed, government deficits will climb by $230 billion over the next 10 years.

    Critics counter with a "junk in, junk out" description of the CBO's estimates, claiming the numbers used to reach the conclusions are bogus and based on best-case scenarios that don't realize additional spending and unlikely savings, particularly as the law, in the first decade, collects taxes for 10 years though it only pays for six years of coverage and relies on money to be collected for a separate health program -- Medicare.

    In his State of the Union address, Obama said he was willing to open his mind to changes in the law if they made dollars and sense and didn't prevent patients with pre-existing conditions or other barriers to insurance companies from gaining coverage.

    He pointed to the near-universally hated 1099 provision that orders businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service all purchases exceeding $600 as the first provision to be scrapped.

    Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley repeated the president's position on Sunday, adding that the law was intended to help employers as much as patients.

    "The president has said he's open to changes to this. He is not open to re-fighting the entire fight of health care," Daley told CBS' "Face the Nation."

    "I absolutely believe, having been in business and hearing from business people, the importance of a need for the reform of health care. It was the business community that was really saying to the politicians, this is costing us too much, it's too much of a wet blanket on the economy," he said.
    Bill Davis

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    Months ago I raised the issue of the severability clause on this forum.

    If Congress had inserted such a clause, this would not have been so drammatic. As it stands, the mandate has been declared un-constitutional and absent a severability clause, that means the whole thing is tossed out. Inserting a severability clause is so fundamental that I have to wonder if Congress didn't hope for this outcome...."We tried to pass a bill but the court threw it out" while breathing a sigh of relief.

    The real bottom line is that this wasn't about healthcare but about health insurance. What good is universal health insurance if you live in the vast parts of the country that are medically underserved? You can have health insurance but what good does it do you if no physicians are available. Pair this with the fact that the bill was encouraging physicians to retire.

    Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Johnson View Post
    Months ago I raised the issue of the severability clause on this forum.

    If Congress had inserted such a clause, this would not have been so drammatic. As it stands, the mandate has been declared un-constitutional and absent a severability clause, that means the whole thing is tossed out. Inserting a severability clause is so fundamental that I have to wonder if Congress didn't hope for this outcome...."We tried to pass a bill but the court threw it out" while breathing a sigh of relief.

    The real bottom line is that this wasn't about healthcare but about health insurance. What good is universal health insurance if you live in the vast parts of the country that are medically underserved? You can have health insurance but what good does it do you if no physicians are available. Pair this with the fact that the bill was encouraging physicians to retire.

    Eric
    Interesting theory in the first paragraph Eric. But something tells me that neither "side" likes having any legislation...much less a cornerstone accomplishment of an Administration....ruled unconstitutional. But who knows....DC never ceases to amaze me.

    As for the medically underserved....it is possible that the poor payment and constant battles endured by physicians who would otherwise serve these patients has "run them out". While I personally know many physicians who make the vast majority of their income from the MMS crowd, they would say it's a very tough way to make a living.....especially if they have $200-300k in student loans to pay off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Johnson View Post
    Months ago I raised the issue of the severability clause on this forum.

    If Congress had inserted such a clause, this would not have been so drammatic. As it stands, the mandate has been declared un-constitutional and absent a severability clause, that means the whole thing is tossed out. Inserting a severability clause is so fundamental that I have to wonder if Congress didn't hope for this outcome...."We tried to pass a bill but the court threw it out" while breathing a sigh of relief.

    The real bottom line is that this wasn't about healthcare but about health insurance. What good is universal health insurance if you live in the vast parts of the country that are medically underserved? You can have health insurance but what good does it do you if no physicians are available. Pair this with the fact that the bill was encouraging physicians to retire.

    Eric
    I'll have to look, but I thought we talked about this before, and I pointed out that there actually was a severability clause. Maybe I'm mixing it up with something else...
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    You nailed it Eric. It may have some conspiratorial aspects to it, but I suspect it was mostly ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance that was involved in the fashioning of this fiasco. The fact that it wasn't read by the vast majority of those that voted in favor of it, made it suspect from the getgo.

    By that token, it was just an Obama attempt at upholding a campaign promise. And since he had the numbers in both houses of congress, and a couple of truly air-headed leaders pushing the bill through, he flexed his bully pulpit powers and shoved it down the throats of the people.

    This judge's decision should be upheld in the SCOTUS as well. In fact, the strength of this judge's decision, may do more to start the ball rolling towards more jobs opening up soon, than any of the Obama musings in the SOTU address. With that apparent monkey off the back of business, many small companies can go forward with plans to expand, and not be penalized. Let's all hope so.

    UB
    Last edited by Uncle Bill; 01-31-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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    Here's part of my first post on the issue of the severability clause...

    ********
    The absence of a severability or severence clause means that if any of the various suits filed by the states results in a section being declared unconstitutional.....the whole thing is thrown out! What is not clear to me is whether this would apply to all the states or just to the state that had filed that particular suit.

    Mr Cuccinelli said that there were two possible reasons for this. First of all, sheer short-sightedness.

    The second reason is that he suspects the Senate bill really wasn't supposed to pass. They voted it out in the middle of the night during Christmas. The expectation was that the House would pass a bill and then the houses would have to resolve the differences. The election of Scott Brown meant that the House couldn't send an amended bill back to the Senate with any hope of passage so the House just passed it. Now everyone is learning just how screwed up it is.
    ********

    I actually feel that the second reason Cuccinelli gave is probably the real truth. The Senate forgot the clause and then couldn't bring it up for amendment with Scott Brown's election. Then the House took it up and as then-Speaker Pelosi argued, "Pass it and then read it."

    Eric

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    "Supporters of the law also note that Congressional Budget Office figures that show if repealed, government deficits will climb by $230 billion over the next 10 years.

    Critics counter with a "junk in, junk out" description of the CBO's estimates, claiming the numbers used to reach the conclusions are bogus and based on best-case scenarios that don't realize additional spending and unlikely savings, particularly as the law, in the first decade, collects taxes for 10 years though it only pays for six years of coverage and relies on money to be collected for a separate health program -- Medicare."


    From the article cited in the OP's original post, this statement is the crux of what bothers me the most associated with politicians that support Obamacare. Obama himself quoted that the healthcare bill "reduced the deficit" - bogus to say the least, more like an outright lie.

    A 1st grader could correctly reason that if the government decides its going to provide free health care to 30,000,000 who currently don't have it, that it will cost & cost dearly.
    David Didier, GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Granddaddy View Post
    "Supporters of the law also note that Congressional Budget Office figures that show if repealed, government deficits will climb by $230 billion over the next 10 years.

    Critics counter with a "junk in, junk out" description of the CBO's estimates, claiming the numbers used to reach the conclusions are bogus and based on best-case scenarios that don't realize additional spending and unlikely savings, particularly as the law, in the first decade, collects taxes for 10 years though it only pays for six years of coverage and relies on money to be collected for a separate health program -- Medicare."


    From the article cited in the OP's original post, this statement is the crux of what bothers me the most associated with politicians that support Obamacare. Obama himself quoted that the healthcare bill "reduced the deficit" - bogus to say the least, more like an outright lie.

    A 1st grader could correctly reason that if the government decides its going to provide free health care to 30,000,000 who currently don't have it, that it will cost & cost dearly.
    That's assuming he had even the vaguest of ideas what was in the bill.
    I propose he did not.
    He did what he was told, he said what was written on the teleprompter.



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    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    if this doesnt prove that the country needs to vote a conservative into the White House in 2012 because a SCOTUS swing vote will be up for grabs, it will also give candidates something to use to show that the debate over this bill is FAR from over
    All my Exes live in Texas

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    Here's an interesting quote from Judge Vinson's decision (footnote on page 76).

    ********
    “I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.
    *********

    Hoist!

    Eric

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