Ace policy analyst Hadley Heath is too humble. Hadley has an incredibly clear explanation of what happened in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments yesterday about the constitutionality of Obamacare. But Hadley didn’t toot her own horn, so I’m going to do it for her.
Avik Roy, who blogs for Forbes as The Apothecary, is one of the most respected commentators on health care issues. Guess who he just cited by name? Well, none other than Hadley Heath, if you haven’t guessed. Roy mentioned Hadley in referring readers to healthcarelawsuits.org over which Hadley presides with such aplomb. It is a must-stop for Obamacare watchers.
I must admit I was distressed that Roy felt that the lawyers arguing that Obamacare is unconstitutional didn’t have their best day yestrday. Writing on The Corner, Roy noted:
I agree with most commentators that the three-judge panel, comprised of two Clinton appointees and a George H. W. Bush appointee, appeared quite skeptical of the constitutionality of the individual mandate. But Paul Clement, who represented the states, and Michael Carvin, who represented the National Federation of Independent Business, made a number of unforced errors in their defense of Roger Vinson’s lower court ruling that Obamacare was unconstitutional in its entirety.
Specifically, while it’s true that acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal was “on the ropes” for most of the discussion of the individual mandate, it was Clement and Carvin who were on the defensive when challenged on whether or not the mandate could be severed from the rest of Obamacare, leaving the remainder of the law intact….
Judge Vinson, in his lower court ruling, made a far more reasonable case. He conceded that “in a statute that is approximately 2,700 pages long and has several hundred sections – certain of which have only a remote and tangential connection to health care – it stands to reason that some (perhaps even most) of the remaining provisions can stand alone and function independently of the individual mandate.” But Vinson pointed out that judges are not equipped to “try to infer Congress’ intent” and become health policy wonks….
Constitutional arguments shouldn’t require a discussion of the intricacies of health policy. But the core of the pro-Obamacare case is a policy argument: that the individual mandate is a necessary component of Congress’ efforts to improve our health-care system. This argument is plainly false, and Clement and Carvin need to make that clear.
While I’d love to see the whole law overturned, I’d settle for having the requirement that citizens buy health insurance declared unconstitutional. It would be the beginning of the end