February 24 2011
On January 31, Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the individual mandate of ObamaCare - oh wait, and the rest of the 2,000-page law too - is unconstitutional. And, he made special note that, as a federal judge, his declaratory judgment was as good as an injunction and that the law was null and void. (At least until further review.)
But that wasn't good enough for the Department of Health and Human Services. The bureaucrats in Washington are just going to pretend like Vinson did not just say that. But some states, like Florida and Alaska, are taking Vinson's ruling seriously. As I wrote on the Health Care Lawsuits blog, is it "Rebellious States? Or Rebellious Sebelius?"
In their Motion to Clarify, the federal government is quick to point out that the individual mandate does not take effect until 2014. But there are other "programs currently in effect, duties currently in force, taxes currently being collected, and tax credits that may be owed at this time or in the near future."
That's right. And the American people are also already feeling other effects of the law. Like the consolidation of the health care market and increases in health insurance prices. Judge Vinson has said he will "promptly" answer the Motion to Clarify.
Ironically, the real root of the great need for clarification is the ObamaCare law itself. Vinson's ruling is only 78 pages, and it's easy to read. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is what really created mass confusion for America's patients, doctors, businesspeople, and consumers. I move that we clarify that first. Let's clarify that this law twists and stretches an already failing, already over-regulated health care system. Let's clarify that, even in Obama's wildest dreams, this law cannot and will not lower the deficit. Instead it will cost us $1 trillion.
The Department of Health and Human Services can ask the judicial branch to clarify a ruling. But the American people deserve clarification about where this law is taking us. Instead we are stuck with an administration that continues to defend an unpopular law and make promises it cannot keep.