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Old 12-14-2018, 11:07 PM
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Federal judge rules Obamacare is now invalid

I admit I haven't seen the actual ruling yet, just this story on the AP.
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In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under “Obamacare” by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage. The rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and is therefore invalid, he wrote.

Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.
Well duh.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:24 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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I hope to god the appeals court or supreme court still uphold it.

And I hope Roberts doesn't have second thoughts.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:31 PM
Skypist Skypist is offline
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Fuck that judge sideways and fuck "Individual 1" for not defending it after he lied to his fans/voters/MAGAts/deplorables that he wanted to leave it in place. Of course I was sure that was a lie even back then, and a lot of his MAGAts probably cheer the idea of those with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer being thrown on the side of the road to die on a piece of cardboard, but some of them actually believed him. How can they not see it? Even now they don't.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:04 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Fuck that judge sideways and fuck "Individual 1" for not defending it after he lied to his fans/voters/MAGAts/deplorables that he wanted to leave it in place. Of course I was sure that was a lie even back then, and a lot of his MAGAts probably cheer the idea of those with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer being thrown on the side of the road to die on a piece of cardboard, but some of them actually believed him. How can they not see it? Even now they don't.
A lot of the diehard MAGA types are on medicare and are happy to be on medicare.

However the ones I've met think the program should be abolished after they die. Fuck their children I guess.

I'll never understand the mentality.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:25 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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On the other hand, the news that Democrats are going to win the White House and the Senate in a landslide two years from now is a silver lining.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:02 AM
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This ruling was released right at the end of the enrollment period, which is the busiest time. It was calculated to make people think they shouldn't bother.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 12-15-2018 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:11 AM
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I don't understand the legal basis of this ruling.

As originally passed, the individual mandate in the ACA was enforced by requiring those who were uninsured to pay a fine/fee/tax. The Supreme Court held that this was constitutional under Congress' power to levy taxes. Since then, Congress lowered the fine/fee/tax to zero as part of Trump's tax bill. The District Court in Texas just ruled that, with a fine/fee/tax of zero, Congress lost its authority to have an individual mandate under its taxing authority, because with a zero rate it's no longer a tax. The court also ruled that without the individual mandate, the whole law falls apart, so the whole thing is invalid.

It seems to me that, with a fine/fee/tax of zero, the so-called individual mandate isn't a mandate at all. That is, without an enforcement mechanism, the so-called mandate is merely a suggestion. As far as I know, that's the only part of the ACA that depends on the authority to tax. Yet the court threw the whole thing out.

You could make a good case that the ACA won't work well without the mandate. In fact, I believe that's what Republicans were hoping for when they eliminated it; that the ACA would eventually collapse without it. Whatever the thinking behind it, though, that's the law that Congress passed. That the law won't work well is not an argument for declaring it unconstitutional. What is it about the individual mandate that this court claims turns the rest of the ACA from an unconstitutional law into a constitutional one?
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:14 AM
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It's so dumb. He ruled that Congress wouldn't have kept the whole law without the mandate, so without the mandate, the whole law must go.

Exact Congress literally did that exact thing, by leaving everything else intact and stripping the mandate of any effect.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 12-15-2018 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:26 AM
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The legislative fix is, I think, very simple. All it needs is a simple severability clause. Nancy Pelosi should provide no votes for an appropriation bill that doesn't insert one into the law, which would void this decision immediately.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 12-15-2018 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:37 AM
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this is going to get overturned in a month or less simply because the scotus said it was legal

.ust because this hick judge thinks he found an end run around the highest court in America dosent meat its gonna stand
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Old 12-15-2018, 03:01 AM
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I'm sure that somewhere in DC, right now, Roberts is facepalming and saying to himself "I thought we already told you twice about this shit."
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Old 12-15-2018, 03:52 AM
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Link to the decision (55 page pdf) in Texas, et al. v. United States, et al., Defendants, California, et al., California, et al. Intervenor-Defendants

A group of Attorneys General from Republican leaning states sued in federal court arguing that the PPACA (often known as Obamacare) is unconstitutional since Congress repealed the tax penalty for not having insurance with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The federal government under the Trump administration declined to defend the PPACA as the named defendant. The court permitted California and other states to stand in place of the federal government to argue in defense of the PPACA as Defendant-Intervenors.

Previously the SCOTUS upheld the constitutionality of the PPACA in NFIB v. Sebelius under Congress' taxing power. The sole legal reasoning used by the Roberts court to uphold the PPACA was the Congress' authority to lay and collect taxes. Now that the tax has been repealed the federal court ruled that there is no valid authority to uphold the PPACA since the SCOTUS, under Part III-A of their decision in NFIB ruled that the PPACA could not be upheld under the Interstate Commerce Clause.

The real issue in the Texas case was whether the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional in the absence of the tax that was the basis for upholding the PPACA, and if so whether the Individual Mandate is severable from the rest of the PPACA. The Plaintiffs and Federal Defendants agreed that "the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional and inseverable from the [PP]ACA’s pre-existing-condition provisions." However the Intervenor Defendants did not agree that the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional and inseverable from the pre-existing condition mandate. The decision in Texas focused on the severability question.

Judge O'Çonnor in Texas cites Ginsburg in concluding that the Individual Mandate is not severable from the rest of the PPACA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by O'Çonnor citing Ginsburg
“Congress could have taken over the health-insurance market by establishing a tax-and-spend federal program like Social Security.” But it did not. “Instead of going this route, Congress enacted the ACA . . . To make its chosen approach work, however, Congress had to use . . . a requirement that most individuals obtain private health insurance coverage.”
Concluding that the Individual Mandate is not constitutional on its own and that it is not severable from the rest of the PPACA, Judge O'Connor ruled the entire PPACA is unconstitutional. He quotes extensively from the NFIB majority in reaching his conclusions. This would be a tough one for the Fifth Circuit or SCOTUS to overrule.
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman View Post
I don't understand the legal basis of this ruling.

As originally passed, the individual mandate in the ACA was enforced by requiring those who were uninsured to pay a fine/fee/tax. The Supreme Court held that this was constitutional under Congress' power to levy taxes. Since then, Congress lowered the fine/fee/tax to zero as part of Trump's tax bill. The District Court in Texas just ruled that, with a fine/fee/tax of zero, Congress lost its authority to have an individual mandate under its taxing authority, because with a zero rate it's no longer a tax. The court also ruled that without the individual mandate, the whole law falls apart, so the whole thing is invalid.

It seems to me that, with a fine/fee/tax of zero, the so-called individual mandate isn't a mandate at all. That is, without an enforcement mechanism, the so-called mandate is merely a suggestion. As far as I know, that's the only part of the ACA that depends on the authority to tax. Yet the court threw the whole thing out.
Judge O'Çonnor addresses this quite extensively in his ruling in the Texas case.

My own analogy is to imagine this situation:
Law 1 provides "motorists must come to a complete stop at STOP signs."
Law 2 provides that "a payment of $200 is due if a motorist fails to come to a complete STOP at a stop sign."

All good so far. But if a later legislature amends Law 2 to read "a payment of $0 is due if a motorist fails to come to a complete STOP at a stop sign." that does not eliminate Law 1. There is still a requirement to to come to a complete STOP and indeed many people comply with laws with no enforcement mechanisms. A law without an enforcement mechanism is still a law. And if it may be a basis for standing in court if relevant standards are met.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman
You could make a good case that the ACA won't work well without the mandate. In fact, I believe that's what Republicans were hoping for when they eliminated it; that the ACA would eventually collapse without it. Whatever the thinking behind it, though, that's the law that Congress passed. That the law won't work well is not an argument for declaring it unconstitutional. What is it about the individual mandate that this court claims turns the rest of the ACA from an unconstitutional law into a constitutional one?
This is more the meat of O'Connor's decision. He notes that within the text of the PPACA many times Congress refers to the Individual Mandate provision as essential. The SCOTUS decisions in both NFIB and KING repeatedly refer to the Individual mandate in the same terms.

In order for an unconstitutional provision to be severable (could be eliminated but leave the rest of the law intact) the court must look to legislative intent. In short, Would the legislature have enacted the other parts of the law knowing that the Indivudual Mandate is unconstitutional?

Again within the text of the PPACA and SCOTUS precedents it is noted that similar health insurance regulatory reforms in several states proved untenable without an Individual Mandate provision. Insurance premiums "skyrocketed" and resulted in "death spirals" with massive cost shifting by requiring insurance companies to accept customers with pre-existing conditions but not require health individuals to sign up. O'Connor concluded that Congress specifically intended to avoid such an outcome and that they would not have implemented the various other provisions of the PPACA without the Individual Mandate.


As to an appeal of O'Connor's ruling... an attack on Standing is one avenue. Though the cases is titled as Texas et al. v United States et al. the standing issue was decided on a finding that two individual plaintiffs had standing. (In accordance with precedent judge O'Connor did not analyze whether Texas and the other state plaintiffs had standing.) California and the other Defendant-Intervenors argued that these individuals do not have standing reasoning that without an enforcement mechanism they are not harmed by the PPACA. O'Connor disagreed and cited precedent extensively on that point.

Last edited by Iggy; 12-15-2018 at 04:13 AM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:33 PM
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Isn't the question of severability about whether the courts can declare one part of a law invalid while letting the rest of the law stand? In this case, it's Congress (not the courts) that eliminated the individual mandate by setting the tax to zero. Judge O'Connor is applying the question of severability to Congress.

I'm not a lawyer, but this seems bizarre to me. One could argue that Congress amended the ACA in a bad way, but Congress has passed bad laws in the past, and the courts have been stuck with interpreting them. Unless a law is unconstitutional, aren't courts supposed to do their best to interpret laws as passed, no matter how poorly written?

This whole thing seems like a Catch-22.
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Old 12-15-2018, 01:55 PM
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Federal judge rules Obamacare is now invalid

I don't understand why Republicans are so against the ACA. People are required to have auto insurance before they can drive on public streets and get ticketed if they don't have auto insurance. Health insurance should be treated the same way.
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Old 12-15-2018, 01:56 PM
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A lot of the diehard MAGA types are on medicare and are happy to be on medicare.

However the ones I've met think the program should be abolished after they die. Fuck their children I guess.

I'll never understand the mentality.
From my experience, a lot of them would realize this if they thought it through but their primary desire is to stick it to people they either dislike or just don't give a damn about. It's "angry drunk" logic, and this visceral feeling overrides the desire to reason and kill the thunder of their indignation.

Last edited by BrickBat; 12-15-2018 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:36 PM
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On the other hand, the news that Democrats are going to win the White House and the Senate in a landslide two years from now is a silver lining.
Not sure if it will work that way. The GOP seems to have unlimited talent in getting elected even after debacles like this that will hurt millions of citizens.
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Old 12-15-2018, 06:20 PM
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Not sure if it will work that way. The GOP seems to have unlimited talent in getting elected even after debacles like this that will hurt millions of citizens.
Yeah, I have no faith in the American public after 2016. No matter what the GOP does, they don't lose votes because of it.

Roy Moore abused his power as DA to sexually abuse children, and he almost became a senator.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-15-2018 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:18 PM
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Isn't the question of severability about whether the courts can declare one part of a law invalid while letting the rest of the law stand? In this case, it's Congress (not the courts) that eliminated the individual mandate by setting the tax to zero. Judge O'Connor is applying the question of severability to Congress.

I'm not a lawyer, but this seems bizarre to me. One could argue that Congress amended the ACA in a bad way, but Congress has passed bad laws in the past, and the courts have been stuck with interpreting them. Unless a law is unconstitutional, aren't courts supposed to do their best to interpret laws as passed, no matter how poorly written?

This whole thing seems like a Catch-22.
Severability is a long standing issue with plenty of precedent. Sometimes legislation is written with specific severability provisions and the PPACA was no exception. The PPACA had a provision under 42 U.S. Code § 1303 that if the Medicaid Expansion was deemed unconstitutional that in that case the intent of Congress was that the unconstitutional portion should be severed and the rest of the law left intact. And that is exactly what SCOTUS did when they found the mandatory Medicaid Expansion unconstitutional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by From Judge O'Connor's decision in Texas at page 36
... the test for severability is often stated as follows: “Unless it is evident that the Legislature would not have enacted those provisions which are within its power, independently of that which is not, the invalid part may be dropped if what is left is fully operative as a law.”22 Alaska Airlines, 480 U.S. at 684.
The converse, of course, is that a court does not automatically assume severability, particularly when legislatures chose to implement such a provision in one part of the law but not another. Presumably the legislature knew how to insert a severability provision and for whatever reason chose to do so with respect to Medicaid Expansion but not with regards to the Individual Mandate.

But the court can look at legislative intent in deciding whether a provision is severable even though it is not specified in the law. Judge O'Connor conducts such an analysis, beginning at page 34 of his decision, and determined that the rest of the PPACA was not severable from the Individual mandate provision. His analysis goes on through page 55, examining SCOTUS' prior decisions in NFIB and King as well as Congressional Intent. He concluded that severing the unconstitutional Individual Mandate from the rest of the PPACA would leave intact a scheme that was doomed to failure (as similar systems in individual states had resulted in rising premiums and shrinking insurance pools) and would not accomplish the act's stated goals of lowering premiums and increasing availability of insurance. As such O'Connor concluded that the Individual Mandate was inseverable and thus the PPACA as an entirety must be ruled unconstitutional.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:27 PM
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Severability is a long standing issue with plenty of precedent. Sometimes legislation is written with specific severability provisions and the PPACA was no exception. . . And that is exactly what SCOTUS did when they found the mandatory Medicaid Expansion unconstitutional.
Yes, but my point is that severing a part of a law is something that a court does. In this case, it was Congress that effectively eliminated the tax by setting it to zero. This is a different situation from one in which, hypothetically, a court ruled the tax to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, in which case it would have no choice but to throw out the whole law. Judge O'Connor seems to be saying that Congress cannot amend the ACA in this way, because the remainder of the law is not severable. In other words, O'Connor imposed a standard meant for courts that interpret laws on the body that passes laws.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman View Post
Yes, but my point is that severing a part of a law is something that a court does. In this case, it was Congress that effectively eliminated the tax by setting it to zero. This is a different situation from one in which, hypothetically, a court ruled the tax to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, in which case it would have no choice but to throw out the whole law. Judge O'Connor seems to be saying that Congress cannot amend the ACA in this way, because the remainder of the law is not severable. In other words, O'Connor imposed a standard meant for courts that interpret laws on the body that passes laws.
I think the bolded part is incorrect.

I've been reading about this for several hours now and I think I understand the decision and I think I agree with it, from a legal perspective (although IANAL).

O'Connor is saying that Congress made the two inseparable, by design, when they created the PPACA. He's saying that previous rulings upheld that and pointed it out, so he can't ignore it: it's the way things are intended.

And since Congress and SCOTUS agree that you can't have one without the other, and since Congress did away with the one...
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:05 PM
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GOP attitudes about the ACA (Obamacare) seem to me to be similar to how British conservatives view the Brexit plan; they hate it but don't have any better idea.
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
O'Connor is saying that Congress made the two inseparable, by design, when they created the PPACA. He's saying that previous rulings upheld that and pointed it out, so he can't ignore it: it's the way things are intended.

And since Congress and SCOTUS agree that you can't have one without the other, and since Congress did away with the one...
That's not how things work, though. The 2010 Congress, in passing the original PPACA, declared the two inseverable. However, the 2017 Congress saw fit to eliminate the individual mandate. The 2010 Congress cannot bind the actions of future Congresses. The 2017 Congress was perfectly in their rights to eliminate the mandate, and nothing that the 2010 Congress did can stop that. In other words, the 2010 Congress said that they are inseverable, but the actions of the 2017 Congress in amending the PPACA say otherwise, and it would be the actions of the last Congress to amend this part of the law that would take priority in determining severability.

It's also worth noting that the legislative tool used to repeal the individual mandate was reconciliation. Under the rules they were operating under, they could only pass a bill related to taxes and spending. They could not repeal any other provisions of the PPACA other than the mandate (because the mandate was technically a tax). If the change to the mandate is deemed to be unconstitutional, I do not see how their can be any response other than to restore the mandate. Otherwise Congress would have repealed the PPACA in its entirely without going through the proper legislative channels.

Last edited by Rysto; 12-15-2018 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:01 PM
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That's not how things work, though. The 2010 Congress, in passing the original PPACA, declared the two inseverable. However, the 2017 Congress saw fit to eliminate the individual mandate. The 2010 Congress cannot bind the actions of future Congresses. The 2017 Congress was perfectly in their rights to eliminate the mandate, and nothing that the 2010 Congress did can stop that. In other words, the 2010 Congress said that they are inseverable, but the actions of the 2017 Congress in amending the PPACA say otherwise, and it would be the actions of the last Congress to amend this part of the law that would take priority in determining severability.

It's also worth noting that the legislative tool used to repeal the individual mandate was reconciliation. Under the rules they were operating under, they could only pass a bill related to taxes and spending. They could not repeal any other provisions of the PPACA other than the mandate (because the mandate was technically a tax). If the change to the mandate is deemed to be unconstitutional, I do not see how their can be any response other than to restore the mandate. Otherwise Congress would have repealed the PPACA in its entirely without going through the proper legislative channels.
I was right there with you until your second paragraph. AFAICT, the fact that the PPACA would not and could not work without the mandate was, or should have been, common knowledge amongst lawmakers: it was written into the language of the Act and referenced in two SCOTUS decisions about the PPACA.

I'm not at all sure what you mean by "without going thru the proper legislative channels"; doesn't Congress have the power of taxation? If the PPACA was an elaborate tax, then doing away with it is their business, isn't it?
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:24 PM
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I was right there with you until your second paragraph. AFAICT, the fact that the PPACA would not and could not work without the mandate was, or should have been, common knowledge amongst lawmakers: it was written into the language of the Act and referenced in two SCOTUS decisions about the PPACA.

I'm not at all sure what you mean by "without going thru the proper legislative channels"; doesn't Congress have the power of taxation? If the PPACA was an elaborate tax, then doing away with it is their business, isn't it?
Now admittedly, I'm no legal scholar, healthcare scholar, and barely a scholar of English lit, plus I've had a few pours of wine tonight, but I think this is the argument:

-The PPACA is constitutional only with the mandate/tax.
-The legislature didn't have the votes to repeal the PPACA, but did have the votes via reconciliation to repeal the mandate/tax.
-Only the repeal of the mandate/tax makes the PPACA unconstitutional. (With the mandate/tax in place it's been deemed Constitutional.)
-Therefore, it was unconstitutional to repeal the mandate/tax. Congress' action in 2017 made the PPACA unconstitutional. So the only thing that should be overturned is their repeal of the mandate/tax, NOT the law that was passed by the 2010 Congress.

Last edited by Happy Lendervedder; 12-15-2018 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
Now admittedly, I'm no legal scholar, healthcare scholar, and barely a scholar of English lit, plus I've had a few pours of wine tonight, but I think this is the argument:

-The PPACA is constitutional only with the mandate/tax.
-The legislature didn't have the votes to repeal the PPACA, but did have the votes via reconciliation to repeal the mandate/tax.
-Only the repeal of the mandate/tax makes the PPACA unconstitutional. (With the mandate/tax in place it's been deemed Constitutional.)
Oh yeah, I'm with you here.[quote]
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
-Therefore, it was unconstitutional to repeal the mandate/tax. Congress' action in 2017 made the PPACA unconstitutional. So the only thing that should be overturned is their repeal of the mandate/tax, NOT the law that was passed by the 2010 Congress.
I don't see the argument for this conclusion. Congress can do away with any tax they want, right? Why does it matter how complicated the tax was?
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:33 PM
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I don't see the argument for this conclusion. Congress can do away with any tax they want, right? Why does it matter how complicated the tax was?
I think the argument is that they can do anything they want, including pass or repeal a tax, but their action can't violate the Constitution. Repealing this mandate/tax may have done just that.

Last edited by Happy Lendervedder; 12-15-2018 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:47 PM
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I think the argument is that they can do anything they want, including pass or repeal a tax, but their action can't violate the Constitution. Repealing this mandate/tax may have done just that.
Ah okay, I follow the argument now. Thanks for taking an extra minute to write this post; it helped me.

ETA: Gotta think about it now to see if I agree with the reasoning tho.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-15-2018 at 11:47 PM.
  #29  
Old 12-15-2018, 11:50 PM
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Ah okay, I follow the argument now. Thanks for taking an extra minute to write this post; it helped me.

ETA: Gotta think about it now to see if I agree with the reasoning tho.
I may be completely wrong. So don't think too hard. I'm still thinking my own way through it.
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Old 12-16-2018, 12:04 AM
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No, I'm pretty sure you got the argument right. Stuff I'm reading elsewhere seems to back you up.

ETA: Is the PPACA just a really complicated tax? I'm having a hard time figuring out how that isn't the case.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-16-2018 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by medstar View Post
I don't understand why Republicans are so against the ACA. People are required to have auto insurance before they can drive on public streets and get ticketed if they don't have auto insurance. Health insurance should be treated the same way.
No analogy is perfect; but I believe that, if you choose to so drive, you’re required to have liability insurance — because you may hit me, in which case I want you to pay my bills. And depending on how you feel about your own bills, you have the option of also buying yourself some insurance, if you want, I guess.
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Old 12-16-2018, 12:51 PM
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No one if forcing you to obtain a drivers license and drive a car so therefore no one is forcing you to buy auto insurance. Driving is a privilege. By contrast the act of mere living is not a privilege. What's the alternative if don't want to be forced to buy health insurance? Killing yourself?
  #33  
Old 12-16-2018, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
No, I'm pretty sure you got the argument right. Stuff I'm reading elsewhere seems to back you up.

ETA: Is the PPACA just a really complicated tax? I'm having a hard time figuring out how that isn't the case.
It is not a really complicated tax. The individual mandate was a tax. However other parts like Medicaid expansion, or pre-existing conditions protections are not taxes. That is why Congress could get rid of the mandate through reconciliation but not all of the PPACA.
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:17 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is offline
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
No analogy is perfect; but I believe that, if you choose to so drive, you’re required to have liability insurance — because you may hit me, in which case I want you to pay my bills. And depending on how you feel about your own bills, you have the option of also buying yourself some insurance, if you want, I guess.
There is also the issue that if I total my car, it can go to a junkyard and no one much will care. Can the same be told of an un/underinsured person with a recently diagnosed illness that is expensive to treat?

Do we treat the un/underinsured as though they are damaged or broken down cars, not worth fixing so should be discarded?

Also, many, many people are required to have full coverage, as part of the loan terms on their car, as the bank is very aware that some situation could come up and leave you unable or unwilling to keep paying on the loan. The bank has a vested interest in the well being of your car, similar to how the government has a vested interest in the health of its citizenry.
  #35  
Old 12-16-2018, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Rysto View Post
It is not a really complicated tax. The individual mandate was a tax. However other parts like Medicaid expansion, or pre-existing conditions protections are not taxes. That is why Congress could get rid of the mandate through reconciliation but not all of the PPACA.
(bolding mine)

There are no other parts, is the thing. The Medicaid expansion was the only "other" part of the Act, if I'm understanding this correctly. It was the only thing that was severable from the mandate by design. So it appears to me that this ruling says "okay, if that was the design, and the new law knows that and removes the mandate, they must have known the two weren't severable and so the intent was to make the PPACA invalid". The court is affirming that the removal of that mandate did, in fact, make the rest of the PPACA invalid.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-16-2018 at 05:23 PM.
  #36  
Old 12-16-2018, 06:34 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Also, many, many people are required to have full coverage, as part of the loan terms on their car, as the bank is very aware that some situation could come up and leave you unable or unwilling to keep paying on the loan. The bank has a vested interest in the well being of your car, similar to how the government has a vested interest in the health of its citizenry.
I hope you’re mistaken about the relationship between citizen and government.

That bank can tell a guy to do X and Y and Z because he asked for a loan and heard what he’d have to do in exchange; I’ve asked no such bank for no such loan, and as far as I know I can reply to a bank telling me to do X or Y or Z by telling them to go screw themselves. You know, until and unless I sign on for that.

I don’t believe I’m currently serving in the military. When I was, they for some reason kept giving me paychecks, and I for some reason kept saluting folks and hastily doing A and B and C when they told me to do it — which, since they had an unusual interest in me then, included What I’d Consume and When I’d Exercise.

I’d signed on for that, back when. I worked for them, back when.

As far as I know, I’m now a guy who says “no, I don’t work for the government; the government is supposed to work for me.” As far as I know, I’m now a guy who can reply, if told to Eat Right and Exercise More, by saying “no, I’m — wait, are you from the bank I don’t have a loan with, or the military I’m not serving in? It doesn’t much matter either way: you can but make me an offer I’m free to accept or reject; and, just between us, I’m not big on ‘accepting’ right now.”
  #37  
Old 12-16-2018, 07:28 PM
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I really don't understand Americans. It seems like chaos now. (Sorry, love you guys and always got treated the absolute best as a tourist)

But. You spend literally a year and a half having elections that cost the GDP of India to send over 500 people to congress, spend months passing a law, and then some rube in Texas has the power to strike it down.
  #38  
Old 12-16-2018, 07:39 PM
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Is America that unique? Don't most countries have judicial systems that can overturn laws passed by the legislatures?
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:40 PM
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I don't think Medicaid for all is the solution, because it would cost to much. Not that it wouldn't be worth it, but too many Americans would fight it that it would eventually fail. Even if it could be passed, too many people would want to kill it that they'd vote in people who would kill it.

What instead might work is to increase Medicaid taxes, but use it to create a new kind of insurance that only kicks in once your health expenses hit a very high level relative to your income. So maybe 50% or 75% of the household's income. This insurance would be to prevent catastrophic illnesses from bankrupting the family. It wouldn't be for the more mundane and ordinary things that come up. Those more minor expenses would still need to be covered out-of-pocket by the family. So essentially, it's like an HSA health plan with 0% coverage until an extremely high deductible kicks in. And once it kicks in, you'd be responsible for a percentage based on your income. So if you were poor, you would be responsible for 0%. But if you were rich, you might still be on the hook for 20%.

In addition, it should only cover things that are life-threatening. Not things like abortion, birth control, lap band, gym memberships, etc. Including that kind of stuff is just providing ammo for people who want to kill the coverage.

The reason I think something like this might work is because:

1. It's an expansion of Medicaid taxes, which is already allowed
2. The coverage wouldn't kick in until expenses are very high, which will keep the price of coverage low
3. Hi Opal, who might still be here to read this if she had access to proper healthcare

Whatever health care system we eventually come up with, it has to be something which will withstand the hordes of people who are upset about it for one reason or another. I think if the Dems try to create a quality type of universal health care, enough people will try to kill it that it won't last. Instead, create a minimum level of coverage that acts as a safety net which can be expanded at a later time.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:25 AM
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In my state the law on going slightly over the speed limit is restricted to prevent speed traps. If pulled over by a state trooper going less than 5 over, no penalty. Pulled over by a local cop going less than 10 over, no penalty. You can still get a ticket (rarely done) but no fine or points consequences.

But they can still pull you over. Check license and registration, ticket you for no seatbelt on, etc.

No judge would throw out a "no insurance" ticket just because your were only going a couple mph over due to not being a "legal stop".

Tons of laws are like this. I have no idea what "logic" the judge was using.
  #41  
Old 12-17-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
GOP attitudes about the ACA (Obamacare) seem to me to be similar to how British conservatives view the Brexit plan; they hate it but don't have any better idea.
Two years and they still haven't gotten around to "repeal and replace". I think I heard that term about a million times prior to 2016. Why are we still talking about Obamacare? Oh yeah, because the Republicans are worthless and can't get shit done, nor do they have any idea what they would do if they could get anything done.
  #42  
Old 12-17-2018, 12:27 PM
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Are there people nostalgic for the days when, for example, you could be unable to buy health insurance if you had a pre-existing condition?
  #43  
Old 12-17-2018, 12:28 PM
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I think the argument is that they can do anything they want, including pass or repeal a tax, but their action can't violate the Constitution. Repealing this mandate/tax may have done just that.
Then the obvious judicial solution would have been to reinstate the mandate, since repealing it was unconstitutional.

Unless the ruling was partisanly conclusion-driven. That couldn't be true, could it?
  #44  
Old 12-17-2018, 01:19 PM
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Are there people nostalgic for the days when, for example, you could be unable to buy health insurance if you had a pre-existing condition?
I have heard many people complain that "Obama lied!" -- they didn't get to keep their old health insurance.

What they are missing is that the old, less-expensive insurance didn't cover critical things they need covered. It was costing them less per scheduled payment, but merely taking the money and not providing real value in return. The ACA simply required real insurance coverage instead of snake oil.

As far as the expense goes, hospital emergency rooms were already covering uninsured people quite extensively, and passing the bill on to the rest of us with a healthy markup. IN THEORY, the ACA shifts that cost burden more equitably back onto the people who get the services. But either way, health care is costing us all a lot -- that problem is independent of Obamacare (and per-existing).
  #45  
Old 12-17-2018, 01:25 PM
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Here's a thought experiment. Suppose Congress had passed the current version of the ACA from scratch, rather than amending the previously existing ACA. The question of severability wouldn't exist, because they wouldn't have severed anything. Would the law be constitutional in that case?
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  #46  
Old 12-17-2018, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Are there people nostalgic for the days when, for example, you could be unable to buy health insurance if you had a pre-existing condition?
I have heard many people complain that "Obama lied!" -- they didn't get to keep their old health insurance.

What they are missing is that the old, less-expensive insurance didn't cover critical things they need covered. It was costing them less per scheduled payment, but merely taking the money and not providing real value in return. The ACA simply required real insurance coverage instead of snake oil.

As far as the expense goes, hospital emergency rooms were already covering uninsured people quite extensively, and passing the bill on to the rest of us with a healthy markup. IN THEORY, the ACA shifts that cost burden more equitably back onto the people who get the services. But either way, health care is costing us all a lot -- that problem is independent of Obamacare (and per-existing).
Having uninsured Americans use emergency departments for primary care (or delaying care until it's a real emergency) is a really expensive, inefficient way to deliver health care.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 12-17-2018 at 01:28 PM.
  #47  
Old 12-17-2018, 03:11 PM
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Are there people nostalgic for the days when, for example, you could be unable to buy health insurance if you had a pre-existing condition?
I miss the days where the government couldn't pass laws that get construed as taxes forcing people to buy broccoli. The government should not have this power.
  #48  
Old 12-17-2018, 04:55 PM
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Congratulations on your ability to grind your own axe, Bone!


Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-17-2018 at 04:56 PM.
  #49  
Old 12-18-2018, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I think the bolded part is incorrect.

I've been reading about this for several hours now and I think I understand the decision and I think I agree with it, from a legal perspective (although IANAL).

O'Connor is saying that Congress made the two inseparable, by design, when they created the PPACA. He's saying that previous rulings upheld that and pointed it out, so he can't ignore it: it's the way things are intended.

And since Congress and SCOTUS agree that you can't have one without the other, and since Congress did away with the one...
I'm typing with one hand while pouring Clorox in my ear to get to my brain with the other hand because you are arguing a right wing position and I am arguing a left wing one.

The proper way to look at this is not to say that this Congress did X or that this Congress did Y. We assume that Congress as a body meant to enact the entire state of the law that it enacted.

When we do that, we see that Congress meant to enact the remainder of the ACA with an individual mandate set at a tax penalty of $0. We know from human experience that those inclined to violate the law obey it because of penalties, financial or otherwise. Why don't I drive 90mph when I am in a hurry? Because I might get a ticket.

Likewise, if I did not want to buy health insurance (I do, but assume I don't as any law is only applied to those who have the inclination to violate it) and the law said I had to but the penalty was nothing and fuck all, I would not buy it.

But this court has deemed that this toothless individual mandate is nonetheless so critical to the rest of the provisions that the rest of the provisions must fall because surely no Congress would want them to stand without an individual mandate with a $0 tax.

However, that is EXACTLY what Congress did. I don't see where the Judge addresses that except in broad language. Congress has passed the ACA with an individual mandate with no penalties.

Remove the individual mandate entirely and it is still the same as a law with no penalties. As stated above, if the state legislature says you may not drive more than 70mph, but so long as you are not driving 100mph or more, the fine is $0 with $0 in court costs and no points on your license and police may not pull you over and no insurance may increase your rates, and we really mean it no penalties at all, is this really any different than setting a 100mph speed limit?

I think not. The court seems to think somehow it does.
  #50  
Old 12-18-2018, 09:59 AM
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n/m

Last edited by JohnT; 12-18-2018 at 10:00 AM.
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