Supreme Court agrees to hear Obamacare case
This is the suit by 26 states, where District Court Judge Roger Vinson found the Mandate unconstitutional, and then went on to point out that since the law had no severability clause, the entire Obamacare package must be struck down.
A severability clause is, of course, a statement written into the law itself, saying that it part of the law were struck down the rest would remain in force. The Obamanites had wanted such a statement in their law, but insurance companies who were being dragged in screamed about it, saying they would be thrown into bankruptcy if there weren't a way to force healthy people who didn't want Obamacare to buy into it anyway, either through joining or by paying a penalty for not joining.
One of the most significant effects of Obamacare is, of course, that it changes medical-insurance companies into medical-payment companies. An insurance company is one that pays for treatment of conditions that happen in the future AFTER the contracts are signed. Since no one knows what will happen in the future, people buy insurance to prevent sudden huge payments and debts due to illnesses, accidents etc. They know they will probably live the rest of their lives without incurring such catastrophic payments, but they buy the security of knowing they will not be impoverished, just in case.
Obamacare changes the fundamental relation between insurance companies and their customers, by (a) taking away the customers' choice of whether to buy insurance and how much; and (b) forcing the companies to pay for known conditions that already exist. In other words, the companies are no longer insurance companies, but merely payment-plan companies.
In fact a severability clause isn't likely to help Obamacare, since if the mandate forcing people to join were struck down, this would let people avoid the payment-plan companies forced to pay for all conditions including the guaranteed costs of existing conditions, and shop freely for true "insurance" plans that cost far less (or opt for no insurance at all, as many healthy people do today). Such freedom is fatal for Obamacare since Ocare still forces companies to go far outside normal "insurance" and pay for pre-existing conditions, resulting in speedy bankruptcies for the madical-payment companies that are no longer insurance companies.
So if the mandate forcing people who don't want medical-payment plans to buy them anyway is struck down, the companies know they will be paying out far more in claims to the chronically ill than those chronically ill pay in... since they are no longer selling just insurance. And that's the road to bankruptcy, since they don't have money trees.
Judge Vinson struck down the mandate, and then struck sown the rest since there was no severability clause. Then a three-judge (two appointed by Clinton, one by GWBush) panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his ruling on the mandate, though I believe they didn't strike down the rest (not that it matters, Obamacare can't survive in a free market without forcing everyone to buy it).
Now the Supremes have agreed to hear the case.
Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Health Care Law
Published November 14, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to President Obama's signature law on health care, it said Monday in an announcement that has nearly as much impact on partisan politics as the final decision has on the law itself. The challenge in the case, brought by 26 states out of Florida, is based on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act, which requires that all Americans purchase health insurance.
The nine-member court will also look at severability, meaning if the mandate falls, could the rest of the law survive since it is primarily built on the revenues collected by forcing people to buy health care.
The court is also folding in an additional case on the tax implications of the law.
The case is one that all sides want heard. But hearing the case this session -- arguments could come in March -- means that a ruling will come in June -- in the heat of the 2012 election cycle. Some argue that a defeat for Obama would be as beneficial as a victory since it would take away an economic and philosophical argument that Republicans have used to bash the law that will impact roughly 18 percent of the nation's annual gross domestic product. Others say nothing good could come for Obama if his premier legislative victory is declared unconstitutional.
If the mandate is wiped off the map but the law itself isn't, the president would be able to promote aspects that most Americans say they accept, including leaving 26 year olds on their parents insurance and not allowing insurers to reject clients with pre-existing conditions.
(Full text of the article can be read at the above URL)
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