ObamaCare has always hung by an absurdity. ObamaCare supporters claim that the Constitution’s words “Congress shall have the Power…To regulate Commerce…among the several States” somehow give Congress the power to compel Americans to engage in commerce. This ruling exposes that absurdity, and exposes as desperate political spin the Obama administration’s claims that these lawsuits are frivolous.
This ruling’s shortcoming is that it did not overturn the entire law. Anyone familiar with ObamaCare knows that Congress would not have approved any of its major provisions absent the individual mandate. The compulsion contained in the individual mandate was the main reason that most Democrats voted in favor of the law. Yet the law still passed Congress by the narrowest of all margins – by one vote, in the dead of night, on Christmas Eve – and required Herculean legislative maneuvering to overcome nine months of solid public opposition. The fact that Congress did not provide for a “severability clause” indicates that lawmakers viewed the law as one measure.
Despite that shortcoming, this ruling threatens not just the individual mandate, but the entire edifice of ObamaCare. The centerpiece of ObamaCare is a three-legged stool, comprised of the individual mandate, the government price controls that compress health insurance premiums, and the massive new subsidies to help Americans comply with the mandate. Knock out any of those three legs, and whole endeavor falls.
Moreover, the individual mandate is not the law’s only unconstitutional provision.
These lawsuits and the continuing legislative debate over ObamaCare are about more than health care. They are about whether the United States has a government of specifically enumerated powers, or whether the Constitution grants the federal government the power to do whatever the politicians please, subject only to a few specifically enumerated restraints. This ruling has pulled America back from that precipice.