Life Support for Obamacare; Federal Court Finds the Key Provision of the Law Goes Too Far

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President Obama's scheme to take over America's health care system is in critical condition. On Friday, a federal appellate court in Atlanta struck down the individual mandate, a key component of Obamacare. This decision conflicts directly with the clean bill of health previously given to the entire law by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Ohio. With the 4th Circuit expected to rule soon on Virginia's challenge, the circuit split sets the stage for the Supreme Court to resolve the matter in the next term, hopefully putting this expensive and unnecessary program out of our misery.

Breathtaking was the term the 11th Circuit's 2-1 decision used to describe the unlimited scope of the law that will force individuals to buy health insurance. The judges found Obamacare to be an expression of power far beyond what is granted to the federal government by the Constitution under the commerce clause. Given the economic reality of our national marketplace, any person's decision not to purchase a good would, when aggregated, substantially affect interstate commerce in that good, the majority reasoned. From a doctrinal standpoint, we see no way to cabin the government's theory only to decisions not to purchase health insurance.

Were the courts to accept the individual mandate as constitutional, there would be nothing left of the Founders' vision of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers. There are no limits left if Washington can order people to purchase certain products from cradle to grave. This is an argument that is seriously accepted in academic and political circles.

Fortunately, the 11th Circuit, just like all the others, dismissed the administration's laughable claim that the mandate was just another tax levied under the federal government's ordinary taxing power. …