Appeals Court to Hear Obamacare Challenge, Poll Shows Opposition

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 9, 2011   |   1:24PM   |   Richmond, VA

One of the cases challenging Obamacare will receive a federal appeals court hearing tomorrow and the oral arguments in the case come at the same time as a new poll shows opposition to the health care law rebounding.

Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia, has filed a lawsuit against Obamacare saying its rights are violated by forcing it to purchase certain insurance coverage for its employees that may require it to pay for abortions.

The oral argument in Liberty University v. Geithner will be heard at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Immediately following the Liberty University case, the court will hear arguments in the Virginia case filed by pro-life Attorney general Ken Cuccinelli that had a federal judge declare Obamacare unconstitutional and is considered the more prominent case in terms of its ability to ultimately overturn the law.

“This health insurance law is unprecedented in scope and far beyond the power of Congress. What Congress seeks to regulate is not commerce, but rather Congress has attempted to exercise a police power which the Constitution forbids,” says Matt Staver, a pro-life attorney who will argue the case for the college. “This health insurance law is one step away from a centralized government that seeks to control every aspect of private life. The individual and employer mandates are unconstitutional. These mandates are so essential and intertwined with the entire law that when they fall, the entire law must fall. The courts cannot unscramble the legislative omelet. The entire law must go.”

In one of many lawsuits filed against the Obamacare law, the state of Virginia challenged the individual mandate — which compels Americans to purchase health insurance that could fund abortions with taxpayer funds or premiums — and the federal judge in the case ruled the mandate unconstitutional.

The Obama team filed legal papers in March urging the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the judge’s ruling and argued that the individual mandate is allowed  under the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.

“As Congress found, the means of payment for services in the interstate health care market is economic activity that substantially affects interstate commerce,” the Justice Department wrote. “The requirement that participants in the health care market have insurance to pay for the services they consume is thus a quintessential exercise of the commerce power.”

A Florida federal judge ruled the entire Obamacare law unconstitutional in a separate lawsuit Florida and more than two dozen other states filed.

Meanwhile, support  for repeal of the national health care law has rebounded after falling below 50% for the first time since it was passed by Congress in March of last year, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll. The latest survey  shows that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor repeal of the law. Thirty-six percent (36%) oppose repeal. The new findings include 44% who Strongly Favor repeal of the measure and 26% who are Strongly Opposed.

“Rasmussen Reports has tracked support for repeal every week since the bill became law. Prior to last week, support for repeal has ranged from a low of 50% to a high of 63%. Last week, for the first time ever, support for repeal fell below 50%,” pollster Scott Rasmussen indicates.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Republicans and 56% of voters not affiliated with either major party favor repeal. Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats oppose it. Fifty percent (50%) of all voters believe the health care law will be bad for the country. Thirty-two percent (32%) hold the opposite view and believe the law will be good for the nation. Four percent (4%) say it will have no impact and 13% aren’t sure.

In the Virginia case, the judge ruled on December 13 that  no court had expanded the Commerce Clause to allow the government to regulate a person’s decision not to buy a product.

“At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate,” Hudson wrote.

Recently, the U.S. Senate rejected a move by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to have the Senate approve a bill the House approved to repeal Obamacare. Senators voted along party lines with all Democrats — including three who say they are pro-life — voting against repealing the abortion-funding bill while all Republicans supported repeal.

When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances. Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.

However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.

Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.