Breaking: Eleventh Circuit Rules Obamacare’s Individual Mandate is Unconstitutional – Forbes
This is a 300 pg. opinion, so more comments to follow. 11th Circuit decision on Constitutionality of Healthcare
In sum, the individual mandate is breathtaking in its expansive scope. It
regulates those who have not entered the health care market at all. It regulates
those who have entered the health care market, but have not entered the insurance
market (and have no intention of doing so). It is overinclusive in when it regulates:
it conflates those who presently consume health care with those who will not
consume health care for many years into the future. The government’s position
amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence
substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate
them at every point of their life. This theory affords no limiting principles in
which to confine Congress’s enumerated power.
Ultimately, the government’s struggle to articulate cognizable, judicially administrable limiting principles only reiterates the conclusion we reach today:there are none.
The federal government’s assertion of power, under the Commerce Clause,
to issue an economic mandate for Americans to purchase insurance from a private
company for the entire duration of their lives is unprecedented, lacks cognizable
limits, and imperils our federalist structure.
After finding that the individual mandate is severable, because it is likely that Congress would have enacted the the other provisions even without the mandate, the weakest part of the decision by far, the court does note that this seems to even be inconsistent with the Government position taken in the litigation:
We acknowledge that the government, in arguing for the individual mandate’s
constitutionality, stated summarily that the individual mandate cannot be severed from the Act’s
guaranteed issue and community rating provisions because the individual mandate “is integral to
those sections that . . . provide that insurers must extend coverage and set premiums without
regard to pre-existing medical conditions.” Government’s Reply Br. at 58. But as explained
above, whether a statutory provision is “integral” or “essential” to other provisions for
Commerce Clause analytical purposes is a question distinct from severability. And in any event,
the touchstone of severability analysis is legislative intent, not arguments made during litigation.