Monday, January 31, 2011

Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional! Administration Baffled by Principled Ruling

One of the most absurd policies within Obamacare is the provision that forces insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions.  As I posted previously, the notion of forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions obliterates the concept of insurance.  That is because no one would ever buy insurance if he knew he could simply buy it once something went wrong!  Denying insurance to those with pre-existing conditions is the essence of insurance.  If insurance companies wrote policies to those ready to file claims under the policy, the insurance company should be shut down and the owners thrown in jail for negligence. Of course, Obamacare advocates understand that, and the logic of this provision necessarily leads to the linchpin of this entire statist welfare scheme: legally requiring that individuals purchase insurance under threats of fines or imprisonment.      

About a year ago, I posted about a state lawsuit seeking to strike down Obamacare on constitutional grounds.  The primary argument is that the federal government may be able to regulate commerce but it cannot force one to engage in commerce, namely, by forcing the purchase of a particular product such as insurance. Consequently, I'm thrilled by the news that a federal judge in Florida has struck down Obamacare as unconstitutional.  Of course, the fed's are appealing the ruling, but I was particularly impressed by the principled ruling issued by Judge Roger Vinson. I found it humorous that the judge cited a prominent politician to support his ruling: Obama!      
“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.
It's not surprising that Obama opposes his own bill, as evidenced by his adminstration's issuance of more than 700 waivers to political supporters, i.e., those that paid bribes! More importantly, Vinson actually discussed the principle and logically extrapolated the consequences of allowing such a precedent:
Much of Judge Vinson‘s ruling was a discussion of how the Founding Fathers, including James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, saw the limits on congressional power. Judge Vinson hypothesized that, under the Obama administration‘s legal theory, the government could mandate that all citizens eat broccoli.
In other words, if the federal government can force you to buy insurance, they could force you to do anything they deem vital by their standards, such as eating broccoli.  How would you expect the administration's pathologically unprincipled pragmatists to react to this simple logic?
“There’s something thoroughly odd and unconventional about the analysis,” said a White House official who briefed reporters late Monday afternoon, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Indeed, thinking in principle is thorougly "unconventional" in today's intellectual environment.  Kudos to Judge Vinson for giving us a glimpse of objective law.

6 comments:

HaynesBE said...

Vinson's opinion is worth reading in its entirety. Unfortunately he still accepts that "the end of regulating the health care insurance industry...is clearly 'legitimate' and 'within the scope of the constitution' "--but on the whole, it is a well written opinion with an excellent review of key Commerce Clause cases. He has chosen to remain constrained by precedent, rather than challenging the absurdity of decisions like Wickard and Reich, but within those constraints, he offers a formidable attack on the individual mandate. It will be very interesting to see how the Supreme court deals with his arguments.

Doug Reich said...

Thanks Beth. What was the Wickard and Reich case about?

HaynesBE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HaynesBE said...

Wickard v. Fulburn is the 1942 New Deal era case where the Supreme Court ruled a man growing and consuming wheat on his own land could be regulated under the Commerce Clause even without being directly "commerce" or involving interstate activity:

"[E]ven if appellee's activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce...
That appelle's own contribution to the demand for wheat may be trivial by itself is not enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation where, as here, his contribution, taken together with that of many others similarly situated, is far from trivial."

Gonzales v. Raich in 2005 was about someone growing marijuana for personal medical use--legally under California law--in which the Supreme Court ruled Congress has the authority to prohibit that action under the Commerce Clause because:

"Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself 'commercial' in that it is not produced for sale, if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut regulation of the interstate market in that commodity...{the} production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat of marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for the commodity."
(emphasis added)

Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Using Obamacare denigrates the idea that the government was trying to give healthcare for all Americans. Call it "universal healthcare" and leave Obama's name to do other things.

Doug Reich said...

Obamacare is the name of the specific health care legislation advanced by the Obama administration.

I think "universal healthcare" is a more evil concept and didn't want to put it down that much.