Here’s a little bit of good news to end the week. Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson has ruled that the 19 state lawsuit against Obamacare can proceed. He didn’t have much good to say about the law in his ruling.
Politico: In his ruling, Vinson criticized Democrats for seeking to have it both ways when it comes to defending the mandate to buy insurance. During the legislative debate, Republicans chastised the proposal as a new tax on the middle class. Obama defended the payment as a penalty and not a tax, but the Justice Department has argued that legally, it’s a tax.
“Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing, after which the defenders of that legislation take an “Alice-in-Wonderland” tack and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely, thereby circumventing the safeguard that exists to keep their broad power in check,” he wrote.
Vinson ruled that it’s a penalty, not a tax, and must be defended under the Commerce Clause and not Congress’s taxing authority.
Heritage has more:
With the Alice-in-Wonderland taxing argument taken away, the government is left with only one constitutional rationalization for the mandate: that forcing individuals who are not engaging in commerce regarding insurance contracts to enter into contracts for insurance with private, third-part insurers is somehow a regulation of interstate commerce. The government argued that this use of congressional authority was nothing unusual, and that the case should be dismissed. The Court disagreed, finding the question of whether to allow the claim “not even a close call.” The Judge found that “[t]he power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent”—contrary to the government’s “nothing to see here” argument. Demonstrating the breadth of the regulatory scheme, the Court noted:
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.
The decision is yet another loss for the Obama administration, which now will have to defend the mandate at a hearing on December 16.
Update: Speaking of Obamacare, the Obama administration announced that health insurers may raise rates on sick kids’ policies. They’re making things up as they go along. The New York Times calls the problem with rising premiums an “unintended consequence” of Obamacare. As if that makes it all better.