Obamacare struck down by judge


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A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that the entire Obamacare law is no longer valid based on changes passed by the Republican Congress in the past two years.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth sided with the argument put forward by a coalition of Republican-leaning states, led by Texas, that Obamacare could no longer stand now that there’s no penalty for Americans who don’t buy insurance.

The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the law in 2012, by classifying the legislation as a tax. But since Congress removed the individual mandate in 2017, O’Connor ruled, there’s no way the ACA can be allowed to stand.

“The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause — meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional,” O’Connor wrote. “The Individual Mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA.”

Without the system being upheld by a wide pool of mandated participants, the ACA cannot stand, O’Connor ruled.

All of this has been unconstitutional from day one, but what does that matter in the banana republic we now live in, where childish twitter mobs rule, unelected bureaucrats have more legal power than presidents, and elected officials can pick and choose the laws they obey?

Trump, returning to his liberal roots, immediately called for a new law to protect “pre-existing conditions.” To quote his tweet: “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!”

Forcing insurance companies to accept anyone, regardless of their health, makes insurance impossible. Why would anyone buy insurance when they are healthy under Trump’s system? Instead, everyone will wait until they are diagnosed with an illness, and buy the insurance then. Lacking a pool of healthy customers, insurance companies will go bankrupt.

The silver lining here is that Congress is divided, and might find it impossible to make a deal. At the same time, I would not be surprised if both parties teamed up to give voters this fake present, continuing our slide to bankruptcy.

In the meantime, expect the reappearance of low-cost catastrophic insurance plans, the kind of plans that Obama called “junk” and banned with Obamacare, but provide lower-class people without a fancy health plan an affordable way to insure themselves against a ruinous illness or accident.

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9 comments

  • wayne

    The Opinion is like’ 65 pages long.

    I’m doubting however, there is a silver-lining– Republican leadership all love obama-care and they will not get rid of it, now or ever.
    What they (RINO’s) want to do is tweak it and play democrat-lite, but they always get burned and they never learn, and we get stuck with it all, forever. It will be 2 years before it gets to SCOTUS and Robert’s loves the FDR interpretation of the Commerce Clause.
    50 years of Medicaid should have taught them, but they don’t really care.

    Ref: pre-existing conditions. If the plan is to cover those folks, it’s not insurance. We could maybe have the debate on whether those people need to be in a high-risk welfare pool, but we will not ever have that discussion. (and I mean never, ever.)10

    http://www.usdebtclock.org/

  • wodun

    Trump, returning to his liberal roots, immediately called for a new law to protect “pre-existing conditions.”

    Everyone has pre-existing conditions because no one makes it through life unscathed. In WA, we had a waiting period to prevent people from signing up only when needed. Insurers could reject an applicant but only for a certain period of time. Chronic conditions should be factored into health insurance options and they are. The way this is managed is through deductibles.

    In the meantime, expect the reappearance of low-cost catastrophic insurance plans, the kind of plans that Obama called “junk” and banned with Obamacare, but provide lower-class people without a fancy health plan an affordable way to insure themselves against a ruinous illness or accident.

    These actually never went away and rather became the standard. My pre-Obamacare plan had low coverages and low cost but also had a low deductible of $2000. That meant that I paid out of pocket for nearly everything unless there was a minor emergency.

    Under Obamacare, this plan went away because it didn’t meet some standards like providing me with birth control and maternity leave. It was replaced with a plan that had a $6400 deductible (now over $7000). I have worse coverage now than I did before Obamacare and I have both higher premiums and a much much much higher deductible.

    This is how pre-existing conditions are managed for those who buy insurance on the private market and not through an employer and also don’t have the money for Cadillac plans. People like myself pay into the system every month and will never see a benefit except for extreme circumstances like cancer or a heart attack. But even then, choices will be limited in terms of coverage and we will still need to pay our monthly premiums and yearly deductibles. A HSA with monthly contributions equal to an insurance premium would likely lead to better ability to pay for healthcare and over time be able to pay for the expensive things too.

    What the current system does is force non-wealthy people who pay in but don’t let them get benefits. Meaning they subsidize everyone else in the system getting gold plated coverage with their massage therapy and Viagra.

    The system meant to help those worse off actually harms them and farms them to support those well off. Untended? Maybe but it certainly is a system with clear perverse incentives.

  • Robert Pratt

    We had a fine high-risk pool for insurance in Texas for those with existing conditions. It was better insurance and about the same price as a general Obamacare approved policy.

  • Chris

    Lots to talk about here.
    One item many always forget is where the majority of the cost is – the last two years of life. I do not know the answer, but this is where the majority of the cost is.
    I speak to the cost since this is the driver for most people to look to government for relief. Solve this, other issues (incursions into our civil rights) are then more directly addressed.
    I do not propose ANY sort of death panel nor euthanasia. I only point to the main area of cost.

    On the other parts of the debate…some other thoughts:
    I think some of the higher cost is due to more medicine..the treatments, procedures, drugs, and therapies are becoming more plentiful and more effective. Therefore there should be more cost. But not to the extent we currently see.

    As with most systems that have no feedback the output goes out of regulation. The feedback we lack is the patient paying the cost. The entire lasik eye surgery cost structure proves that cost pressure feedback will push cost down.
    In addition, the insurance coverage that pays for all things such as every office visit will drive the cost of that visit up. The same is true for any no-pay coverage.

  • wayne

    Referencing “end-of-life-care,” depends if you have private long-term care insurance or qualify for Medicaid. (the cost is still there, who pays for it is the rub.) ((Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care.))
    If you haven’t saved any money, purchased long-term care, or are relying exclusively on SS in your retirement, you’ll generally qualify for Medicaid, cuz it’s up to 130% of poverty-level (or more in some States)
    Typical ‘Medicaid nursing home’ will accept the $7-9K monthly government payment, and bill you roughly 85% of your SSA check as a co-pay.
    (and there is a 60 month look-back to determine if you qualify. If you transferred your house or car to your kids within that period, they will eventually claw ALL that back.)
    [you need to plan 6 years in advance]

    Referencing pre-existing conditions– the number of people that actually impacts is very low, but our mastermind leader’s are prepared to (continue to) up end the entire system to pacify those people.
    (The 25 million diabetic’s, all want their test-strips & insulin for free, no matter what.)
    I have a pre-existing condition and I’ve had to maintain my “insurability” by continuously being covered.
    Pre-socialized medicine, the exclusion period was generally 12-24 months until a private insurer would fold you back into the ‘normal” risk-pool.
    We do this all the time with auto-insurance, but they aren’t as organized as the “professional mass consumers of healthcare.”

    Once the government declared “healthcare” a Right, all semblance of private-insurance went out the door, never to return.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “In the meantime, expect the reappearance of low-cost catastrophic insurance plans, the kind of plans that Obama called “junk” and banned with Obamacare

    Except for the low-cost part, this is exactly what Obamacare is, catastrophic health insurance. As wodun noted, the deductible for the Bronze (turd-of-a-)Plan is far higher — four times higher — than the deductible of the so-called “junk” plan that I had had, making Obamacare more junky than the plans it replaces. The major difference is that the premiums for Obamacare are twice as expensive as the “junk” it replaces. Other Obamacare (turd-of-a-)plans are even more unaffordable. The benefit of Obamacare is supposed to be that it covers “preventive” medicine, but Obamacare requires that we spend thousands of dollars more on premiums for a few hundred dollars worth of “preventive” medicine.

    Instead, everyone will wait until they are diagnosed with an illness, and buy the insurance then.

    Being unable to afford Obamacare, this is what I am stuck doing. Once it becomes more expensive to be self-insured than to be Obamacare-insured then I will have to seek the insurance. Then either stop eating or go broke a few years later. Meanwhile, I can still afford to eat.

    Wait. Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to prevent us from having to choose between eating and insurance? What a failure.

    Meanwhile, the government telling us how to spend our own money — mandatory health insurance — is more tyrannical than any other government. What other tyranny in all of history has had the audacity to direct its people as to how to spend their own money? Obama certainly made a fundamental transformation to America.

    From the U.S. Constitution Preable: “We the People of the United States, in Order to … secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity …” What is it about coercing us to spend our own money as government wants that is a part of liberty? What is it about government directing us as to how to run our lives and businesses that is a part of liberty?

    What surprises me most is how few people complain about how tyrannical America has become and how many have accepted the government telling us how to spend our own money, live our own lives, and run our own businesses.

  • m d mill

    I would like to restate a comment I made on this web site years ago:

    In 1998 I was getting private hospitalization insurance in Washington State. It cost $40/month($55 for over 65’s), with $500 deductible, with 20% copay up to $2000 total maximum!!! I kid you not. Affordable and sane.
    Then “progressives” in Washington state invoked Obamacare lite(~1998 health care “reforms”) which restricted and mandated the Washington private policies, in ways you would expect “progressives” fools to do. The health care private insurers warned that this would cause prices to skyrocket. And so it came to pass within a few years.
    Don’t allow anyone to say private healthcare was not affordable.
    “Progressives” could simply not “stand” that it was not free for some guy living in a van down by the river, that’s all…but they were not willing to simply provide “free care” with general funds…that would cost real state money. So they forced the burden on others(as “progressives” authoritarian despots always do), and destroyed a VERY affordable private system in the process. Obamacare is the federal version of the same story.
    Even vouchers for the “poor” using that private system would have cost far less than what we have gotten.
    Almost certainly, these facts will not matter to “progressives”. They will find some way to ignore them. The tragedy is that a “Tyranny of the Majority” can force those authoritarian inanities on the rest of us.

    But I suspect even “conservative” republicans like Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell would not propose going back to the totally free market insurance principles (no Government mandates/restrictions at all) that created such an affordable sane health insurance market…and prices from now on will always be exorbitant, and options limited.

  • wayne

    Edward/m d mill
    good stuff.

    (I can’t resist…)
    Matt Foley: In A Van Down By The River
    SNL 5-8-93
    https://youtu.be/Xv2VIEY9-A8?t=105

  • commodude

    Edward, this, in a nutshell, is why I will continue to pile derision on those who say “there outta be a law for….”. You cannot legislate every outlier, to do so is to squeeze jello.The tighter you make your grip, the more escapes.

    Prior to the legal bureaucracy which exists now, someone could get pulled over and ticketed for wandering in a lane for any reason, it was called distracted driving.

    Enter the “We need to ban…..” crowd, combined with legalistic bureaucrats. You can’t pull someone over for distracted driving, there has to be a specific. So we ban driving while using cell phones. Doesn’t do ANYTHING to solve the problem, but gives police another revenue stream.

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