Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Health insurance mandate ruled unconstitutional

By JONATHAN STEMPEL
September 14, 2011

Uninsured patient Donaji Cruz, 3, has her blood pressure measured by hospital assistant Rosalinda Galvan during a health check-up at Venice Family Clinic in Venice, California. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A federal judge in Pennsylvania said the insurance-buying mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional, the latest ruling over an issue likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner in Harrisburg said the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution did not give Congress power to require nearly all Americans to buy health insurance, whether they want it or not. The requirement is scheduled to take effect in 2014.

“The nation undoubtedly faces a health care crisis,” Conner wrote on Tuesday. “Scores of individuals are uninsured and the costs to all citizens are measurable and significant.

“The federal government, however, is one of limited enumerated powers, and Congress’ efforts to remedy the ailing health care and health insurance markets must fit squarely within the boundaries of those powers,” he added.

Obama, a Democrat, pushed for the law to help stem soaring health care costs and provide coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

Many Republicans have pledged to undo the law, and at least two dozen lawsuits have challenged it.

Three federal appeals courts have reviewed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

One in Atlanta voted down the individual mandate, one in Cincinnati upheld it, and one in Richmond, Virginia let it stand by rejecting challenges on jurisdictional grounds.

The Supreme Court often takes cases to resolve disputes among federal courts. Its 2011-2012 term begins next month.

Tracy Schmaler, a U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman, said after Tuesday’s ruling: “We believe, as other federal appeals courts have held, that the law is constitutional.”

The Pennsylvania case had been brought by a York County couple, Barbara Goudy-Bachman, 48, and Gregory Bachman, 56.

They said they dropped their health insurance coverage in 2001 because their premiums exceeded their mortgage payments, they had only limited use for such insurance, and they preferred to pay for medical costs on their own.

If appealed, Conner’s ruling would be reviewed by the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

Conner was appointed to the bench in 2002 by U.S. President George W. Bush.

The case is Goudy-Bachman et al v. Sebelius et al, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, No. 10-00763.

5 Responses to Health insurance mandate ruled unconstitutional

  1. Carl Nemo **==

    September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I would hope if this issue makes it to SCOTUS that they too would affirm these lower court rulings to the effect that ‘Obamacare’ is unconstitutional.

    Unfortunately they are corporation friendly and the Obama sponsored healthcare plan definitely plumps the bottomline for corporate medicine along with “Big Pharma”.

    The Supremes never cease to disappointment with their “We the People” unfriendly rulings.
    When in doubt they always pull the old “Commerce Clause” out of the hat, for one of their smoke and mirrors arcane rulings.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Carl Nemo **==

      September 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      “…cease to disappointment…”

      should read:

      …cease to disappoint…

      My apologies.

      Carl Nemo **==

  2. Jon

    September 15, 2011 at 3:00 am

    This is a good thing. The act, as written and proposed by Republicans, is horse-pucky. However, the promise to “life, liberty, and happiness” given to us by government, rules out a profit motive.

    Perhaps, by losing in the courts, the people can win.

    J.

    • Almandine

      September 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Given by govt, eh Jon?

      Bogus as ever…

      • Jon

        September 17, 2011 at 3:13 am

        If you say so.

        I might be tempted to point out that although high-minded language might call them ‘inalienable’ human rights, without some government they will get cheerfully ‘alienated’ from you.

        It is government that punishes those who would take them from us, and yes, “gives to us” an environment to enjoy them in.

        Taxes are the price you pay for civilization.

        Jon