Saturday, October 9, 2010

Health Care Reform Helps Everybody - 2

In the first post of this series, Health Care Reform Helps Everybody, a guest post, we focused on the non-legal aspects of health care reform.

This post focuses on the legal aspects of the health care reform law.

Three cases are pending in which health care reform legislation (“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”), which the president signed into law on March 23, 2010, is being challenged as being unconstitutional.

One is in Michigan, another in Virginia, the third one is pending in Florida.

Federal District Court Judge Steeh of the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, in Case No. 10-CV-11156, Thomas More Law Center, et al. v Obama, has issued a decision upholding the law as constitutional.

The specific section that was at issue, and which is at issue in all three cases, is the requirement that everyone (a few exceptions apply) purchase a health care policy by 2014 or face a tax penalty which must be reported on the individual's tax form in 2015.

Three days after the bill was signed into law Dredd Blog covered the specific issue, stating:
The weakness in the neoCon case lies in a well worn path, already travelled by the states, that is in contrast, in basic principles, to their "you can't make me do it" argument.

Clearly states mandate auto insurance, which has been held constitutional, and not only that, it is actually universally mandated insurance coverage ("socialists did it!").

Those who advocated not having auto insurance raised the same "you can't make me do it" arguments, but lost because it is obvious that a requirement on everyone is not biased against anyone, and it benefits all of us.
(The Rise of The Machine Hypocrisy). This will not be the end of the matter, because the other federal district courts that are considering the issue are more conservative, sit in different federal circuits, and are likely to differ in whole or in part with Judge Steeh's decision.

Thus, in the final analysis, it will be The Supreme Five (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy) who ultimately decide the issue, some years from now.

Bush v Gore may not be the end of The Conservative Coup in the federal judiciary.

UPDATE (10/15/10): A federal district court judge in Pensacola, Florida has issued a ruling in one of the other cases now pending, leaving an impression that he will hold the law unconstitutional. If so this would lead to appeals to two federal circuit courts of appeal, which could lead to a split in circuit decisions on the issue. That would open the door to a case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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