The Supreme Court case on the individual mandate in “ObamaCare” – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – was handed down this past Thursday, June 28, 2012. The name of the case was “National Federation of Independent Business Et Al v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Et Al”. A link to the decision document itself is HERE.
I have not yet read the document (it’s long), but I am going to and I recommend everyone do so also. I have read a lot of opinion from various blogs, the news media, etc. The opinion is mixed. Is is a victory for President Obama? Is it a defeat?
Basically, from what I’ve read, the “Individual Mandate” was upheld with the help of Chief Justice John Roberts. But in upholding it, he stated that it was not Constitutional as a mandate under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution,
“The Congress shall have the Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”
and that Congress could not regulate economic inactivity under the Commerce Clause. So in that respect, whereas our government tries to justify everything it does under the sun through the Commerce Clause, the Supreme Court just weakened the powers that can be claimed through the Commerce Clause.
However, the Chief Justice did state that the Individual Mandate could be viewed “as a tax” and that Congress did have the authority to tax people of greater means more than those of lesser means. Hence the individual mandate could stand in that form.
My initial reaction to that was that the Supreme Court was just playing word games to try to justify expansions of the government’s power in controlling the populace. And that opinion could be correct.
I hope to finish reading the Supreme Court decision this weekend. Hopefully then I will be able to provide an educated opinion.
Here is my initial opinion: From the way the media has reported the opinion, I don’t like it. It sounds like word games to me, saying “it’s not a penalty, it’s a tax”. It is still an expansion of political power, over and against the people. Also, if ObamaCare had been struck down in full, then the horrific HHS Mandate would have gone away as well.
I will have a more educated opinion once I read the decision. If I have something better after reading the opinion, I will post it. If anyone has a useful link that analyses the decision, feel free to post it in the comment box.