Heartland Institute Responds to 11th Circuit Court Declaring Obamacare Mandate Unconstitutional

August 12, 2011

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Friday ruled 2–1 that Obamacare’s mandate that Americans purchase health insurance or pay a penalty to the federal government is unconstitutional.

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“Today’s ruling by the 11th Circuit against Obamacare not only reflects a building trend in the courts that Obamacare is, indeed, unconstitutional. It indicates that there will be at least five votes in the Supreme Court to strike it down, given the now consistent reasoning of like-minded judges.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
pferrara@heartland.org

(Ferrara filed a brief on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union in support of this challenge. He is also the author of the books, The Obamacare Disaster and America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb.)


“With yet another court finding President Obama’s individual mandate to be an unconstitutional exercise of government power, following on the heels of the discovery this week that the Congressional Budget Office may have underestimated the cost of the entitlements under Obama’s law to the tune of $500 billion in the first decade, the question now becomes: When will the White House admit that this massive nationalized health care policy is simply untenable?

“Just like so many other aspects of his presidency, Obama’s health care law turns the American people into crash-test dummies for a big-government policy experiment. It does not allow Americans to keep the coverage they like, it does not lower costs, and it is based on an unconstitutional expansion of government power.

“Americans deserve high-quality care at competitive prices, with providers and insurers operating in a transparent marketplace, where decisions are made by patients and doctors, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington. The American people deserve better than Obamacare. It’s time to end this charade and get serious about real reform of health policy which puts the American people first.”

Benjamin Domenech
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Health Care News
bdomenech@heartland.org

(Domenech has recorded a podcast about this ruling at Heartland's Web site, and written a story at The Heartlander digital magazine.)


“In a case brought by 26 states, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the individual mandate is unconstitutional. But, in the second part of its ruling, the court refused to rule the rest of Obamacare falls with the individual mandate clause.

“The bill signed by President Obama did not include a severability clause, routine boilerplate language stating that if one part of a law is found to be unconstitutional, the rest of the law may be ‘severed’ and remain intact and valid. Thus, the states argued that if the individual mandate was unconstitutional, the entire act was invalid. The Obama administration in effect joined this argument. Its position in court was that the revenues raised by the individual mandate were needed to fund implementation of the rest of the law.

“This case will reach the Supreme Court, given rulings in other courts both for and against the individual mandate. This may take a year or more.

“Meanwhile, if Congress’s debt reduction super-committee wants to do the right thing, a thing reflecting the will of a majority of the states and a majority of the taxpayers, it should repeal Obamacare now.”

Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
mmartin@heartland.org


“A ruling against the individual mandate is a ruling in favor of the American people. Never before has such an overreaching exercise of congressional authority been used to rob the American people of their liberty, and this court decision brings the nation one step closer to repealing and replacing the disastrous health care overhaul.

“This decision proves the American people are no longer lost in the Obama administration’s rhetorical smokescreen. The nation needs an effective and lawful reform that promotes consumer choice, not stifles it; that lowers costs, not generates new ones. The American people need elected leaders to act within both their economic and constitutional limits, and the court’s ruling sends that message.”

Kendall Antekeier
Legislative Specialist, Health Care
The Heartland Institute
kantekeier@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“We now have two conflicting decisions from different appeals courts, making an expedited review by the U.S. Supreme Court an urgent necessity. Many millions of dollars have already been spent on compliance by private companies and state and local governments, and will continue to be spent, on a law that is of questionable legality. None of these organizations can afford to throw away money. They, and the American people, need clarity about our futures.”

Greg Scandlen
Senior Fellow, Health Care
The Heartland Institute
greg@chcchoices.org
312/377-4000


The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.