The Pacific Legal Foundation filed an appeal Monday asking the Supreme Court to hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act which argues that the ACA’s taxes are unconstitutional because they originated in a bill written by the Senate.
Under the Constitution’s Origination Clause, all bills that levy and raise taxes must begin in the House of Representatives. Contrary to this provision, the text of the ACA was written by the Senate and later adopted by the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gutted an unrelated House bill, leaving only the bill number, and in its place, he inserted the 2,076 pages of the ACA.
The PLF contends that the ACA’s taxes were therefore unconstitutionally created in a bill written by the Senate.
In 2012, the Supreme Court decided in NFIB v. Sebelius that the individual mandate, a requirement in the ACA forcing Americans to purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty, is indeed a tax. The Supreme Court did not however address the implications of the Origination Clause on this conclusion.
PLF’s lawsuit, Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, specifically targets the individual mandate to prove that all of the ACA’s taxes are unconstitutional under the Origination Clause.
“Beyond its assault on healthcare freedom, Obamacare represents an attack on some core constitutional principles and protections for taxpayers,” according to PLF’s Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur. “Obamacare raises taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, but it was enacted in violation of the Origination Clause, which was designed to safeguard against arbitrary and reckless taxation.”
Four of the nine justices must vote to hear the case before it is placed on the court’s docket.
View PLF’s petition for writ of certiorari here.
Our health care system is a complex system. As I explained in Priceless, there is no known, reliable model of how it works. Whatever policy changes we make, there are certain to be unintended consequences and they may make matters worse than when we started. So how should we approach health policy? In an article in the Journal of Legal Medicine, I argued that before we try to solve social problems in health care we should first make sure that government is not the cause of the very problems we are trying to solve. How do we do that? By identifying the major ways in which government policies create harmful, perverse incentives and then replacing them with neutral (do no harm) policies. Once we have removed the perverse incentives government has created, we will be in a position to see if there are any remaining problems that need to be solved.
HealthCare.gov is going to see some shrinkage in 2016. The number of health insurance plans available on that huge federal Obamacare marketplace for 2016 is decreasing by up to 12 percent compared with this year, industry sources told CNBC. And there will be an even sharper reduction — of more than 40 percent — in the number of health plans on HealthCare.gov known as PPO plans, which offer customers the most flexibility in where they can get medical services covered by their insurer, sources said.
After months of internal debate, the House passed a budget-reconciliation bill last Friday taking aim at Obamacare, but it is far from assured that the bill, or even an amended version of it, will ever emerge from the Senate. Budget-reconciliation bills are powerful legislative vehicles because they cannot be filibustered in the Senate (it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture and close off debate on most bills). That means, in theory at least, that the Republican majority in the Senate should be able to pass a reconciliation bill and send it to the president for signature or veto without needing any Democratic support.
The Pacific Legal Foundation filed an appeal Monday asking the Supreme Court to hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act which argues that the ACA’s taxes are unconstitutional because they originated in a bill written by the Senate. Under the Constitution’s Origination Clause, all bills that levy and raise taxes must begin in the House of Representatives. Contrary to this provision, the text of the ACA was written by the Senate and later adopted by the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gutted an unrelated House bill, leaving only the bill number, and in its place, he inserted the 2,076 pages of the ACA.
In sum, of the 24 Obamacare co-ops funded with federal tax dollars, one (Vermont’s) never got approval to sell coverage, a second (CoOportunity) has already been wound down, and nine more will terminate at the end of this year. So what is behind this, so far, 46% failure rate? To start with, the program was a Congressional exercise in not merely reinventing the wheel, but doing a bad job of it.
Favorable and unfavorable views of the health care law are tied this month with 42 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable. Compared to when most of the law’s provisions were just taking effect in early 2014, more now say their impression of the health care law is based on their own experience (35 percent now, 23 percent in February 2014), while fewer say it is based on what they’ve seen in the media (30 percent now, 44 percent in February 2014). In addition, the public continues to be divided on what Congress should do about the law – 32 percent say repeal, 11 percent say scale back, 16 percent say move forward with implementation, and 28 percent say expand the law.
Mississippi will be ground zero for ObamaCare’s individual mandate to buy coverage or pay a tax penalty. The state already is near the bottom when it comes to the percentage of the subsidy-eligible individuals who are enrolled via HealthCare.gov — just 38%. Now Mississippi’s subsidized premiums are about to jump far more than any of the 36 other states using HealthCare.gov.
It isn’t just Obamacare premiums that are set to spike next year. The rates on commercial health plans that are sold off the Obamacare exchanges will also rise, by double digits in most states. Inflation in the health plan sector continues to grow. The latest data comes from a regular survey of commercial insurance brokers, conducted by the investment bank Morgan Stanley. The survey tracks how much the annual increases built into the price of insurance are rising or falling.
Yesterday, the White House and Congressional leaders announced a last-minute budget agreement that avoids a so-called government shut-down for now. The deal has four health-related items, and is expected to reduce net federal health spending by about $4.5 billion over five years, and $15.5 billion over ten years. Overall, it is not a bad deal with respect to health care. However, some of its budget savings are fragile and it largely avoids reforms that will actually reduce the growth of health spending.