A federal appeals court today issued a ruling declaring the Obamacare individual mandate unconstitutional.
The individual mandate is a portion of the Obamacare law independent and conservative voters most strongly oppose because it requires Americans to purchase health insurance, and that health insurance could fund abortions with taxpayer funds or premiums, whether they want to or not.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional but in need of further analysis so it sent the case back to lower federal courts. The case as Texas v. Azar and it was brought by Republican state officials with the support of the Trump administration.
The decision means that Obamacare’s future is unlikely to be resolved before the 2020 elections because the case would have gone to the Supreme Court prior to the 2020 elections had it not sent the case back down.
“The individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power,” the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stated. “On the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist.”
The suit alleged that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unlawful under the federal government’s taxing powers after Congress reduced the penalty for not having insurance to $0 in 2017. Texas argued that therefore the ACA, more commonly known as Obamacare, must be scrapped.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas ruled in December that the entire health law was unconstitutional because the individual mandate penalty was essentially eliminated. A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, appealed the lower court ruling.
Every leading pro-life organization opposed Obamacare at the time over the abortion funding and rationing concerns.
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GAO found that, in 2014, taxpayers were funding over a thousand Obamacare health plans that subsidize abortion on demand—even late-term abortion. About half of all states have opted out of covering elective abortion on the Obamacare exchange but the remaining states (and the District of Columbia) permit elective abortion coverage in Obamacare plans.
In other cases, pro-life organizations have been concerned about health care rationing. That is especially the case in states where assisted suicide is legalized and patients have already reported health insurance offering to pay for assisted suicides but not for appropriate medical care or treatment.
In 2017, an estimated 57 percent of the Obamacare exchange plans in states that have not opted out of elective abortion coverage will cover elective abortion. This amounts to around 891 plans.
In addition, four new states in 2017 will only offer plans that cover abortion, bringing the total to six locales that lack even a single pro-life plan: Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Washington.
By contrast, in 2016, Hawaii and Vermont were the only two states offering no pro-life plans.
This is a concerning development. In five additional states, 85 percent or more of exchange plans will cover abortion on demand in 2017. Those states include California, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.
In three other states, the majority of exchange plans will cover abortion on demand in 2017. Those states are Oregon, Rhode Island, and Montana.
People in the above states (which are 14 in total) who do not want an abortion-covering health care plan are left with either no pro-life options, or very limited ones. So much for choice.