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    Federal Judge kills Obamacare

    Federal Judge kills Obamacare

    If the ruling holds up on appeal, Obamacare is dead. As a doorknob. Not just the mandate or some other particular provisions. He killed the WHOLE THING.

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Obama_and_Joe_Biden_react_in_the_Roosevelt_Room_of_the_White_House,_2010.jpg

    Reed O’Connor, a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas, just killed Obamacare.

    If the ruling holds up on appeal, Obamacare is dead. As a doorknob. Not just the mandate or some other particular provisions.

    He killed the WHOLE THING.

    The Order (pdf.) is embedded in full at the bottom of this post.

    Here’s the short version. Texas and other states sued to declare the individual mandate unconstitutional because in the recent tax reform the penalty for failing to pay the mandate was removed. (2nd Amended Complaint here) With the removal of the mandate penalty, the mandate no longer was a function of Congress’ taxing power, which was the basis upon which John Roberts and the liberal Justices on the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the mandate in 2012. The Court conservative and Roberts had ruled the mandate violated the Commerce Clause, but Roberts broke with the conservatives on the tax power issue.

    But there’s more.

    The district court ruled that the mandate was an essential and inseverable part of Obamacare. Because the mandate was held to be unconstitutional and inseverable, the judge held the remainder of Obamacare to be unconstitutional.

    The Court did not grant an injunction, so the Trump administration is under no obligation to terminate programs under Obamacare unless and until the Order holds up on appeal.

    From the Order:

    Resolution of these claims rests at the intersection of the ACA, the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB, and the TCJA. In NFIB, the Supreme Court held the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause but could fairly be read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power because it triggered a tax. The TCJA eliminated that tax. The Supreme Court’s reasoning in NFIB—buttressed by other binding precedent and plain text—thus compels the conclusion that the Individual Mandate may no longer be upheld under the Tax Power. And because the Individual Mandate continues to mandate the purchase of health insurance, it remains unsustainable under the Interstate Commerce Clause—as the Supreme Court already held.

    Finally, Congress stated many times unequivocally—through enacted text signed by the President—that the Individual Mandate is “essential” to the ACA. And this essentiality, the ACA’s text makes clear, means the mandate must work “together with the other provisions” for the Act to function as intended. All nine Justices to review the ACA acknowledged this text and Congress’s manifest intent to establish the Individual Mandate as the ACA’s “essential” provision. The current and previous Administrations have recognized that, too. Because rewriting the ACA without its “essential” feature is beyond the power of an Article III court, the Court thus adheres to Congress’s textually expressed intent and binding Supreme Court precedent to find the Individual Mandate is inseverable from the ACA’s remaining provisions.

    Construing the Plaintiffs’ Application for Preliminary Injunction, (ECF No. 39), as a motion for partial summary judgment, the Court therefore DENIES Plaintiffs’ request for an injunction but GRANTS summary judgment on Count I of the Amended Complaint.

    More:

    The Court today finds the Individual Mandate is no longer fairly readable as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and continues to be unsustainable under Congress’s Interstate Commerce Power. The Court therefore finds the Individual Mandate, unmoored from a tax, is unconstitutional and GRANTS Plaintiffs’ claim for declaratory relief as to Count I of the Amended Complaint.

    * * *

    Applying these standards, the Court finds the 2010 Congress expressed through plain text an unambiguous intent that the Individual Mandate not be severed from the ACA. Supreme Court precedent supports that finding. And in passing the TCJA through the reconciliation process, the 2017 Congress further entrenched the intent manifested by the 2010 Congress.

    * * *

    All told, Congress stated three separate times that the Individual Mandate is essential to the ACA.25 That is once, twice, three times and plainly. It also stated the absence of the Individual Mandate would “undercut” its “regulation of the health insurance market.” Thirteen different times, Congress explained how the Individual Mandate stood as the keystone of the ACA. And six times, Congress explained it was not just the Individual Mandate, but the Individual Mandate “together with the other provisions” that allowed the ACA to function as Congress intended….

    On the unambiguous enacted text alone, the Court finds the Individual Mandate is inseverable from the Act to which it is essential.28 ….

    “In sum, Congress passed the minimum coverage provision as a key component of the ACA.” Id. at 599 (Ginsburg, J., joined by Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor, JJ.) (emphasis added); accord id. at 539 (majority) (“This case concerns constitutional challenges to two key provisions, commonly referred to as the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.” (emphasis added)). Not a key component of the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions, but of the ACA. The Supreme Court’s only reasoning on the topic thus supports what the text says: The Individual Mandate is essential to the ACA….

    In sum, the Individual Mandate “is so interwoven with [the ACA’s] regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand.” Wallace, 259 U.S. at 70.

    * * *

    The Court finds the Individual Mandate “is essential to” and inseverable from “the other provisions of” the ACA.

    FLASHBACK

    Severability was a major subject of oral argument the first time Obamacare came before the Supreme Court. See my March 28, 2012 post, Obamacare Oral Argument, Day 3 – Severability.

    REACTIONS

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1073763695807877120

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1073761497866747904

    https://twitter.com/LegInsurrection/status/1073748643340042240

    ———————————

    Texas v USA – Obamacare Case – District Court Order Holding Obamacare Mandate Unconstitutional (12!14!2018)… by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

    [Featured Image: Barack Obama reacts to the passing of Healthcare bill March 2010]

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    Comments



     
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     5
    Demonized | December 15, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    If this survives appeals, can we delete Obama from the history books?

    So sad.


     
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    beagleEar | December 15, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    This will probably not survive on appeal. Unfortunately.


     
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    beagleEar | December 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    @PrincetonAl
    Thanks. I threw out a bone, you provided some meat. Health problems, I can’t assemble so many thoughts now. Fortunately, I do not have Obamacare, with that I’d by now be dead.


     
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     1
    Milhouse | December 15, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    I disagree with this decision, and here is the key point where I think the judge went wrong: ” And because the Individual Mandate continues to mandate the purchase of health insurance, it remains unsustainable under the Interstate Commerce Clause—as the Supreme Court already held.” But it doesn’t. That was a key part of the Supreme Court’s holding in NFIB. Roberts’s majority decision said Congress can’t force anyone to buy health insurance, but that this didn’t matter because it hadn’t. The ACA gave people a choice: buy insurance, or pay a tax, whichever each person prefers.

    Congress has since repealed that tax, so it seems to me that under NFIB the choice became: buy insurance or don’t buy insurance, whichever you prefer. Therefore there is no mandate to strike down.

    As for the severability argument, the non-mandate tax was not severable by the courts, but Congress itself severed it. The original congress that passed the ACA surely did intend the “mandate” to be an essential and inseverable part of the whole act, and would not have passed the rest of it without it; but the later congress that repealed it obviously had a different opinion, and the rule is always that the later congress’s will prevails.


       
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      rdm in reply to Milhouse. | December 15, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      Gee, Milhouse pops up to defend the lefty side – what a surprise.


       
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      Richard G. in reply to Milhouse. | December 16, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Every one argues ad nauseum over all these years about peripheral legal issues like severability, individual mandates, tax vs penalties, essentiality, and off we go barking down legal rabbit trails while studiously and persistently avoiding and ignoring the real reason the ACA is unconstitutional: it violates the commerce clause.

      From this article: “The Court conservatives and Roberts had ruled the mandate violated the Commerce Clause”…
      And then the rabbit is introduced … “but Roberts broke with the conservatives on the tax power issue.” and off we go on a Nantucket Sleigh Ride baying through the fever swamps of Washington politics.

      From the ruling:”The Court today finds the Individual Mandate is no longer fairly readable as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and continues to be unsustainable under Congress’s Interstate Commerce Power. The Court therefore finds the Individual Mandate, unmoored from a tax, is unconstitutional and GRANTS Plaintiffs’ claim for declaratory relief as to Count I of the Amended Complaint.”

      In plain speak the ACA is congressional over reach of the commerce clause:
      “Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, of the Constitution empowers Congress “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The term commerce as used in the Constitution means business or commercial exchanges in any and all of its forms between citizens of different states, including purely social communications between citizens of different states by telegraph, telephone, or radio, and the mere passage of persons from one state to another for either business or pleasure.

      Intrastate, or domestic, commerce is trade that occurs solely within the geographic borders of one state. As it does not move across state lines, intrastate commerce is subject to the exclusive control of the state.” https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Commerce+Clause

      That Insurance is intrastate is self evident by the fact that insurance is regulated by individual (the several) states, through state licensing.

      “Congress adopted the McCarran -Ferguson Act in 1945
      to declare that states should regulate the
      business of insurance and to affirm that the continued
      regulation of the insurance industry by the states was in the public’s best interest.”
      https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_state_reg_brief.pdf

      McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 USC §§ 1011 — “Congress hereby declares that the continued regulation and taxation by the several States of the business of insurance is in the public interest, and that
      silence on the part of the Congress shall not be
      construed to impose any barrier to the regulation or
      taxation of such business by the several States.
      §1012(a) — The business of insurance, and every person
      engaged therein, shall be subject to the laws of the
      several States which relate to the regulation or taxation
      of such business.”

      ^^^THIS is the bone in the throat of Obamacare.

      Please accept the following simple challenge to test this. Move your domicile from state A to state B. You will have your insurance contracts terminated in state A and you will be forced to obtain new contracts in state B. Res ipsa loquitur.

      A Supreme Court majority (including Roberts) has already found the ACA to be in violation of the commerce clause. That is the precedent this ruling deferred to. The ACA imposed Federal regulations (read mandates for minimum coverage standards) on health insurance contracts sold and regulated by state law, only within the respective states. Insurance contracts are not portable across state lines.

      Health care and medical practice is also licensed and regulated by the individual states (not unlike the practice of law).

      It is up to the Swamp Dwellers to conjure up out of odious swamp gas other ways to increase their power and erode our power over our individual health insurance and health care decisions.

      My health insurance was immediately cancelled after passage of the ACA. High deductible catastrophic policies are NOT ALLOWED. I Lost my insurance. How dare I exercise free responsible choice of coverage.
      SOD OFF SWAMPYS!


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