There’s nothing interesting going on in the news these days anyway, so let’s talk about Obamacare! (I checked to see if there was anything newsworthy on. Couldn’t find anything but a dumb House of Representatives channel talking about something to do with Ukraine. Booooring!)
Obamacare is a dead duck. Its wings are still flapping for the moment, but it should stop quivering soon, thanks to the death blow delivered to one of the most hated “laws” of the 21st century. Here’s what happened.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that the requirement that all Americans pay for health insurance is unconstitutional. The court then kicked the entire “Affordable” Care Act back to a lower court to decide whether the entirety of it has to be thrown out.
This is really significant for all Americans, because of the delicate house of cards that the Supreme Court set up years ago when it ruled that Obamacare was legal and constitutional.
Chief Justice John Roberts stunned America when he ruled that the penalty for not purchasing health insurance was a tax and therefore, that made Obamacare legal. This prompted most Americans to wonder whether Barack Obama had some compromising photographs of John Roberts. And to hate the Supreme Court even more than we already did.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has now agreed with the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from the Obamacare ruling, in which he said that the high court was essentially ruling that the government could now force you to eat broccoli, so long as it was couched as a “tax.” This wasn’t just a slapdash opinion from the 5th Circuit, either. The majority decision runs 98 pages to explain why the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
So, now we have a situation where the Supreme Court has said Obamacare is legal because of the penalty under the individual mandate. But the 5th Circuit has said Obamacare is illegal because of the individual mandate itself (which the Supreme Court should have ruled in the first place).
Something that was a flimsy justification to begin with from the Supreme Court has now been ruled no justification at all by a lower court. And now a District Court will get to decide whether Obamacare itself, as a whole, is a legitimate law.
And now we can start to see the huge importance of why President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are making massive structural changes to the federal courts, by appointing constitutional originalist judges. Two of the three judges on the 5th Circuit Court that just overturned Obamacare… were Trump-appointed judges.
The dissenting judge was an Obama appointee who claimed that the Republican states challenging the law had no legal standing to do so. The logic of her ruling was basically, “Shut up and obey, peasants!”
As for what impact the ruling will have on your life, the short answer is nothing. During President Trump’s first year in office, Congress and the White House nullified the Obamacare penalty for individuals. The taxing power of Congress was the sole reason why the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in the first place. And now that justification has completely evaporated. The majority ruling states that the “attributes that saved the statute because it could be read as a tax no longer exist.” (Emphasis added.)
Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas was the judge who ruled a year ago that the entirety of Obamacare was unconstitutional. He will now get to decide, thanks to the 5th Circuit ruling, whether or not there is any justification for Obamacare to remain a federal law. Hahahahahaha! I wonder how he’s going to rule this time?
One of the most hilarious aspects of this case, in which 18 Republican states have sued the federal government to overturn Obama’s signature piece of legislation, has been the Justice Department’s response. Normally when the federal government is sued by the states over a federal law, the DOJ and the Executive branch act as defense attorneys for the federal government. But when it comes to Obamacare, the DOJ has basically said, “No thanks, we’re too busy.” This leaves us with a bizarre scenario in which the California Attorney General, an Obama sycophant and former Member of Congress, is rushing to defend Obamacare.
Obamacare is still, for the moment, lingering like a dead skunk next to the highway. But by hook or by crook, President Donald J. Trump is keeping another one of his signature campaign promises. It’s just taking a little longer than we expected. Good thing he’s going to be around for a second term!