Federal Judge Says Congress Can’t Force Individuals To Buy Health Insurance
Almost a year ago I wrote a post titled How To Mess Up A Health Care Bill. One of my main points in that post was talking about how people who didn’t get health care coverage yet didn’t qualify for something like Medicaid would end up paying out of pocket costs that they probably couldn’t afford, and how I thought it was unfair to the middle class, the group that was going to be affected the most.
Today a federal judge stated pretty much the same thing in a ruling that said it’s unconstitutional for Congress to try to force people to buy health insurance. His actual words were:
“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]”
I’m one of those people who believes this country needs universal health care, but I’ve been on record as saying I wasn’t crazy about parts of this bill, and this was my biggest complaint. Of course, without this provision it’s now going to be interesting to see what happens because portions of the bill were going to be funded by these people who ended up not having health insurance, and now that source of revenue is potentially gone. Where will the federal government find the money to actually institute this bill now, if they still follow through with it? Will there be major modifications in coverage or some other area that will help the government save money?
I’m not necessarily happy that this bill might have problems being implemented, but I am happy that regular people won’t be penalized for something they can’t afford. In a weird way it’s forcing President Obama to stand by his statement as a candidate that he wouldn’t sign any bill that hurt the middle class. I’m not sure how I feel about that either.