ObamaCare Still Might Be Dismantled By Court
November 15, 2012
Unaffordable Care: Voters had an opportunity to get rid of ObamaCare last week by voting President Obama out of office. But they declined. There is still a chance to rid the land of this pestilence, though. Maybe the last chance.
America doesn't like ObamaCare. Polls have consistently shown that. Just before the election, Rasmussen found that support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was weaker than it was in 2010 when it became law. Half of Americans wanted to get rid of it. Support for repeal has run as high as 63% and never less than 50%.
Many opponents were counting on the Supreme Court to strike down the measure, but it didn't. That left the election as the next opportunity. Yet voters refused to put Mitt Romney into the White House, though he pledged to get rid of the program they so dislike.
ObamaCare is not yet fully operational and won't be for years. Meanwhile, Washington moves ahead with implementation while the courts give ObamaCare another look. This time, it's a federal court in Muskogee, Okla., weighing a challenge to the IRS' ObamaCare tax levy on exempt employers and individuals.
The only active lawsuit against ObamaCare, filed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, argues the IRS oversteps its legal authority if it taxes Oklahoma businesses to subsidize the federal health insurance exchanges that the law creates.
Taxing Oklahoma businesses to pay for a federal exchange established by Washington in his state — which will happen as Oklahoma is declining to set up its own exchange — is not authorized under the law, Pruitt contends.
While the suit isn't getting much attention, Business Insurance magazine says its "ramifications ... are huge." Gretchen Young, senior vice president for health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee in Washington, told the magazine that Pruitt's suit is a clear threat to ObamaCare.
"The whole structure created by the health care reform law starts to fall apart" if the courts side with Pruitt's complaint, she said.
John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, holds a similar view. He says the law's lack of a legal funding mechanism for the federal exchanges could be a "fatal blow" to ObamaCare.
While the suit works its way through the legal system, there's trouble for ObamaCare in the states. As of now, at least 13 have said they will not set up the exchanges, leaving it to Washington to establish federal exchanges in those states.
The exchanges, which will cost taxpayers in each state between $10 million and $100 million a year, are supposed to be operative by Oct. 1, 2013. The states have until Friday to declare their intentions.
One that's considering its own exchange is Ohio. But doing so would apparently violate the Ohio Constitution, which says: "No federal, state, or local law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system ... 'Compel' includes the levying of penalties or fines."
Cato Institute analyst Michael Cannon notes that 13 states "have passed statutes or constitutional amendments ... that bar state employees from carrying out these essential functions of an ObamaCare exchange."
Cannon says he wouldn't be surprised if the Nov. 16 deadline is pushed back. If so, full implementation of ObamaCare will also be delayed and the entire process will be thrown into some form of chaos.
Washington will have the Oklahoma suit hanging over its head while more than a quarter of the states are refusing to participate in the Democrats' communal health care system and others consider doing the same.
At the same time, House Republicans have said they will challenge the federal exchange funding during the lame-duck session. It will be their first of many promised attempts to derail the law.
Things might look bleak, with first the Supreme Court and then the voters refusing to liberate the country from government-controlled health care, but there's still a chance. It's something to hang on to.