A federal judge in Florida ruled the president’s health-care reform law unconstitutional on Monday, citing the mandate that requires Americans to buy insurance. Because the provision is key to the rest of the law, the judge declared it unconstitutional in its entirely but stopped short of ordering the federal government to suspend its implementation.
Last year, a federal judge in Virginia similarly declared the mandate unconstitutional though not the reform effort as such. Two other federal judges have upheld the mandate.
Suit was filed by Florida’s state attorney after Congress enacted the reform law in March. Since, 25 additional states have joined the legal battle. The constitutionality of Obamacare is widely expected to ultimately reach the Supreme Court.
The individual mandate is but the most obvious affront to civil liberties that is embedded in the health-care overhaul however.
Insurance companies are businesses like any other, entitled to charge premiums that reflect actual risk. Obamacare would force them to cover almost every American, no matter how ill they are; no matter how bad their health habits; no matter how high the cost of their exotic treatments.
Premiums, logically, will mount for every American. In anticipation of the law’s full implementation in the years ahead, many insurers have already begun raising premiums.
Like insurance companies, health-care providers have a right to turn a profit. Doctors and nurses are not public servants. They are entitled to charge fees that reflect the value received by all parties to the transaction.
Obamacare, by driving down permissible fees, will force physicians into a deadly conflict of interest — lose money by doing everything necessary to meet patients’ needs or make money by satisfying minimum bureaucratic standards.
The health-care reform law moreover does nothing to address a major impediment to a full and free competition in the health insurance market — antitrust legislation that prohibits insurers from consolidating and operating freely beyond the boundaries of their own state. People should be able to buy insurance from whatever company they want, wherever it’s settled.