Yet another federal judge — this one in Pennsylvania — has ruled that the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional.
On September 13, 2011, Federal District Judge Christopher Conner found that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not give Congress power to require nearly all Americans to buy health insurance, whether they want it or not.
“The federal government … is one of limited enumerated powers, and Congress’ efforts to remedy the ailing health care and health insurance markets must fit squarely within the boundaries of those powers,” he wrote.
If appealed by the Administration, Conner’s ruling would be reviewed by the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.
Three federal appeals courts have already reviewed the constitutionality of ObamaCare. One in Atlanta voted down the individual mandate, one in Cincinnati upheld it, and one in Richmond, Virginia, let it stand by rejecting challenges on jurisdictional grounds. The Supreme Court is expected to resolve the disputes among the circuit courts either in the coming term (October 2011 through June 2012) or the following term (October 2012 through June 2013).
We can’t count on the courts, however. This law must be repealed by Congress — and replaced with a patient-centered system.
Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks’ Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy