NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Court Upholds Individual Mandate Based on Origination Clause Challenge

July 31, 2014

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sebelius that Obamacare's individual mandate -- which requires the purchase or insurance or else extracts a fee from the non-enrollee -- was a tax. According to the Court, the tax was what made the mandate constitutional under Congress's taxing power.

In response, a new set of legal challenges emerged, because the tax originated in the Senate, not the House of Representatives. Why is that a problem? Because the Constitution requires that all revenue-raising measures originate in the House, not the Senate. The idea behind the Origination Clause rule was to give voters some measure of control over Congress' taxing power.

But the Daily Signal reports that a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Origination Clause does not make the individual mandate invalid. In Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the federal court concluded that the purpose of the mandate was to incentivize the purchase of health insurance, not to raise revenue. As such, the judges wrote that the Origination Clause did not apply.

Slattery writes that the Affordable Care Act is one of the largest tax increases in United States history.

Source:  Elizabeth Slattery, "It Wasn't a Tax Before It Was a Tax: Court Upholds Obamacare Individual Mandate," Daily Signal, July 30, 2014.


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