Author: Luke A. Wake
It is interesting to consider what yesterday's vote may mean for citizens like Matt Sissel. We are representing Matt in a challenge to the new federal mandate that every American must purchase health insurance, on pain of financial penalty. Matt is an uninsured small businessman, and objects to being conscripted into this new health care regime. PLF filed suit against the federal government on July 26, 2010 to defend Matt's liberty to choose to remain a non-market participant. Along with PLF, several organizations and 24 State Attorneys General have also filed suit.
As we now know, the Republicans have taken control of the House, but not the Senate. Republicans have also taken control of the Governor and Attorney General's office in several states. How might this impact these health care challenges?
Many in the Republican caucus, and in the "Tea Party" movement, have advocated repealing, or amending, the recently enacted Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Indeed, with Republicans now in control of the House, one might expect an attempt to amend or repeal the PPACA. Such an act could potentially save Matt Sissel, and similarly situated individuals, from the unconstitutional mandate that they must purchase health insurance. But, realistically, its highly unlikely that opponents of the PPACA will be able to muster a coalition strong enough to dismantle the constitutionally repugnant provisions of the Act, even though this election represented a dramatic swinging of the political pendulum. Given that the Democrats still maintain control of the Senate, it is highly unlikely that any such bill could pass. It is all the more unlikely given the fact that the this was President Obama's signature initiative; one would expect the President to veto any substantive amendment, or a repeal of the Act, and it takes a 2/3 vote to override a Presidential veto.
Nonetheless, we may see a new wave of legal challenges to the PPACA's individual mandate. In several states, conservative and libertarian-minded politicians have taken control of the Governor and Attorney General's office. With this change of guard, we might see a string of new states joining the legal battle against the PPACA.
To be clear, Pacific Legal Foundation takes no position on any political issue, or race. Our concern is simply with ensuring that individual rights are respected. Regardless of what may, or may not, play out in Washington's political arena, we will continue to fight for Matt Sissel's liberty to make his own decisions about his health care needs.