Commerce and Health Care: The Eleventh Circuit Speaks
Last week the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the individual mandate of the ObamaCare law. In tackling the issue, the court framed the question as follows: ”Whether the federal government can issue a mandate that Americans purchase and maintain health insurance from a private company for the entirety of their lives.” The Court accurately described the government’s position as claiming the authority to control how Americans spend money in order to accomplish regulatory goals. The Court found this claim to be unprecedented and contrary to the federal structure of the Union.
As for the monetary penalty for refusing to buy insurance, the Court held that this was not a “tax” and thus cannot be supported under the federal taxing power. The Court rightly concluded that this was a non-revenue raising penalty with little to do with legitimate taxation.
The opinion can be found here.