Judge rules health care law's insurance mandate unconstitutional
September 13th, 2011
04:34 PM ET
11 years ago

Judge rules health care law's insurance mandate unconstitutional

(CNN) - A Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Tuesday that the provision in President Barack Obama's health care initiative requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

The bill, which was signed into law last year, has faced a deluge of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate.


Filed under: Health care • Pennsylvania • President Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Johnson

    One way or another at some point in your life you ARE going to need it, either you pay or your family but it IS going to happen. Health Care is one of the main reasons why we cannot compete globally when it comes to manufacturing, Obama is right. I wish the republican party did not water the bill down but it can be fixed, at least the country has something to work with.

    September 13, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Don't get too excited. If this doesn't get it repealed, the next next Administration and congress will. In any event, it will never fly. We can do better and we will.

    September 13, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    I suspect it was a conservative judge's ruling. Nothing new here. If a mandate is unconstituional, that means Massachusetts law is unconstituional. Hell, I'm just not going to pay my car insurance this month. Let's see how long it takes before my car gets towed.

    September 13, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Beacon

    Unconstitutional? I sure woukd like to read the language. Where can I find it?.

    September 13, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    Last night I watched these candidates for the GOP nomination squirm when asked what their answer was for somone who doesnt have health insurance and needed long-term care. The fact is that they dont have an answer. Using the TP logic – the person in that hypothetical would either die for lack of funding, or be saddled with an insumountable debt that would take the rest of their lives to pay off (sound familiar? Try to keep up).

    And oh by the way – While the TP says that the insurance mandate will cost us Buh-Zillions, an objective look at it (by the OMB) says that this will save America a lot of money over the long run.

    September 13, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    I hope all the people who need healthcare get their checkups and 'procedures' done in the next 14 months... Stock up on your prescriptions, too.

    September 13, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. R

    @ ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists
    Not paying your car insurance doesn't mean they tow your car – they'll tow it if you stop making payments on your car.

    And the whole "car insurance vs. health insurance" comparison has been beaten to death, and still compares "apples to oranges."

    September 13, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Dubya appointee. And, consistent with other morons in this country suffering from a severe case of magical thinking, he somehow found his way to concluding that the pre-existing conditions mandate (the thing that has the insurance companies angriest) can't be severed from the mandate, but the rest of the bill can, which is senseless idiocy. Completely ridiculous and unjustifiable holding....a mockery of our justice/legal system. Of course, legality and justice aren't what it's about, as I'm sure Roberts and Alito will confirm for us once they get their corporate-bought hands on it.

    September 13, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    The President's mother had cancer and a hard time with the disease. He kjnows how hard it is.
    @voice of reason – first of all you can't stock pile prescriptions and you are anything but the voice of reason.
    Go back to your bunker!

    September 13, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Church

    Face it, folks, this is unconstitutional. What’s next? Will they require that we go to church? Why is the high cost of health care not even being discussed?
    A 2% reduction in doctor payments by Medicare had the doctors all screaming, “UNFAIR!” Is a $25.00 Q-Tip on your hospital bill fair?

    September 13, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "We can do better and we will."

    So you're saying the GOP/teatrolls are going to back off and stop blocking a public option...or...gasp...maybe even single payer? Those are the only things that would be better, whether you like it or not. 70 years of "free market" private insurance failed to lead to the innovation and "better mouse traps" that would ensure that the entirety of our population was receiving the medical care that it needs. Rather, it led to a system institutionalizing the greed-is-good amoral exclusion-for-profit valuation of net revenue above human life and the welfare of our own fellow citizens and, by extension, our society as a whole. Don't tell me that regulation was the problem either, as every regualtion governing the insurance industry in each state grew out of the need to address clearly apparent problems and abuses as the industry grew from the ground up. Arguing that "if we just leave it alone it will flourish" is like claiing you can take your baby home from the hospital and leave it ints crib for 6 months by itself and expect it to "flourish." Complete BS. When CEOs are taking home paychecks large enough to pay for 600 to 1,000 people's cancer treatments precisely because they found new and inventive ways to prevent people from getting cancer treatments, then something has gone horribly horribly wrong not only with the industry, but with our values as a society in the first place.

    September 13, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |

    It's a damn shame!!! Yes I am insured, and gainfully employed just in case you cons reading this want to know.
    It's a damn shame!!! Obama 2012!!!

    September 13, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Is a $25.00 Q-Tip on your hospital bill fair?"

    You pay ridiculous prices like that because people without insurance go to the ER and receive necessary treatment pursuant to EMTALA. The costs get shifted to the peolpe who actually do pay via their insurers, which is why tylenol costs $100 per pill, a cotton swab runs you $25 and 3 sutures after an accident trying to emulate Emeril might run you upwards of $750 or more. This in turn is the reason insurance premiums skyrocket, because once the excuse to jack them up at an insane rate is built into the system, premiums can be jacked up ad infinitum. It's a wonderful little feedback look for insurers: all they have to do is exclude people from the insurance pool for pre-existing conditions or other reasons (or drop their coverage when they get sick by claiming it and giggling as they die during the lawsuit), thereby causing the ER and non-payment problem that forces the rest of the people to pay $100 for tylenol, and then enjoy using the $100 tylenol bill as their excuse for jacking up the premiums. Poof. Instant self-perpetuating premium inflation feedback loop.

    September 13, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Tired of the nonsense

    If it's unconstitutional to force people to buy health insurance, then it's unconstitutional to force people to buy car insurance. No one will lose a license or be fined for not having car insurance and getting into a wreck. Insurance companies will NO LONGER be the albatross of car ownership.

    September 13, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    ok so a Republican appointed judge says it's unconstitutional, a Democrat appointed judge in VA. says that it is. So WHICH is it going to be? If we're going to continue this party line crap why even send it to the SC where it's a conservative court. It is either one or the other and these judges need to stop playing along party lines.

    September 13, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    "We can do better and we will."
    So you're saying the GOP/teatrolls are going to back off and stop blocking a public option...or...gasp...maybe even single payer?
    Not at all. The only thing that will work long term to get full access to health care insurance is to drive the price down. The only way to do that without sacrificing quality is to introduce real competition to healthcare insurance. This is the answer, not a single-payer or government option. Competion in a market improves technology, quality and cost. ObamaCare does not do this. Healthcare is important enough to go for the best that can be delivered and not just to settle for access at the expense of everything else.

    September 13, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Josh

    @Church... It is unconstitutional for them to force you to go to church due to separation of church and state... Heathcare mandates are not due to the fact that you hurt other people when you dont have insurance... When the ones who go to the hospital dont pay... you and other patients get stuck with portions of their bill... hence hurting others... understand? It is the same as states requiring people have atleast liability coverage on your cars...

    September 13, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Steve

    To give a SOUND legal reason why it most likely be ruled uncostituional is the language and how it was passed. It was passed as a penalty, not a tax or tax credit. Case precendent has always thrown out "penalties" but allows for tax credits for responsible people. To make this work legally, they would have had to raise taxes on everyone, then credit those taxes if one could prove they have insurance. They didn't pass it that way because it would have never flown in the house, and the whole Ted Kennedy election debacle, so when it gets thrown out I will not shed a tear. I'm for the legislation, but they need to follow rules when passing such.

    September 13, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Anthony

    If it is unconstitutional for the federal government to force people to buy health insurance, it should also be unconstitutional for the federal government to force hospitals to provide emergency treatment to people who do not have insurance. The Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor Act of 1986 (EMTALA) does exactly that, because it forces hospitals to sell their services to the uninsured, for free. Why is the EMTALA not unconstitutional?

    September 13, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Cdwag

    I'm a life long Dem, but Obamacare is bad policy. Not because of the mandate but because it does not address the fundamental problems of health ins that are the drivers of cost. The big problem due to the employer delivery system which remove the users from shopping for the lowest cost provider. Thus we don't have a competitive market. I hope Mitt Romney get the Republican nomination. His experience with universal health ins in Mass and ubderstanding of the free enterprise system should serve us well. Obama is a inexperience leader who is a Master politician. If we want the health care we deserve we need to vote him out of office. I wish we could call a special election so we can end this misery

    September 13, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Anthony

    I omitted the word "Active" in the name of EMTALA. It should be the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.

    September 13, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. Mr. Marcus

    Regardless of what your position is, I hope all of you are disturbed by the fact that 3 different appelate districts have such widely varying interpretations on the same thing. This is politics, pure and simple. Politics is an extension of lawyering.

    If you ask an engineer will an airplane fly and how fast, you don't get answers all over the map like you do from a lawyer , a judge or a politician.

    September 13, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |