Will Obamacare Be Declared Unconstitutional After All?

LEGAL GROUP CONTENDS BILL RAISES REVENUE, DID NOT ORIGINATE IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

by Sharon Rondeau

The health care bill signed by Obama on March 23, 2010 was opposed by a majority of Americans

(Apr. 3, 2013) — A lawsuit claiming that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional could potentially overturn it.

The case, Sissel v. U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services, was brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution states that “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”  The bill began as HR 3590 and was entitled the “Service Members Home Ownership Act,” but the Senate completely “gutted” the language and created a health care bill from it.  The U.S. Justice Department is arguing that precedent has been set for such action to be constitutional, while the plaintiff’s attorney argues that the Origination Clause of the Constitution should prevail.

The same issue, among many others, was cited in Purpura v. Sebelius, which was not one of the cases chosen to be heard by the Supreme Court last year.

The bill began as 2,700 pages and was expanded to 5,931 pages by its two-year anniversary.

A Library of Congress archive on the topic of the Origination Clause states:

The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a “bill for raising revenue.” This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding what constitutes such a bill. The precedents and practices of the House apply a broad standard and construe the House’s prerogatives broadly to include any “meaningful revenue proposal.” This standard is based on whether the measure in question has revenue-affecting potential, and not simply whether it would raise or lower revenues directly. As a result, the House includes within the definition of revenue legislation not only direct changes in the tax code, but also any fees paid to the government that are not payments for a specific service, and any change in import restrictions, because of the potential impact on tariff revenues. The precedents of the Senate reflect a similar understanding. The Supreme Court has occasionally ruled on origination clause matters, adopting a definition of revenue bills that is based on two central principles that tend to narrow its application to fewer classes of legislation than the House: (1) raising money must be the primary purpose of the measure, rather than an incidental effect; and (2) the resulting funds must be for the expenses or obligations of the government generally, rather than a single, specific purpose.

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare could not be considered constitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution but that it could be interpreted as a tax.  Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote what appeared to some to be a political statement indicating that if voters did not approve of the bill, they should take action to replace the elected representatives who voted in favor of it.

Roberts’ majority opinion said that the states could not be forced to expand Medicaid as expressed in the bill, and many have opted out of the expansion plan, including the northeastern state of Pennsylvania.

The controversial bill, passed in March 2010 and which then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said must be passed “so that you can find out what’s in it,” while not yet fully implemented, has caused physicians to consider early retirement or to leave the medical profession altogether.

Employers have reduced employee hours in many cases to avoid the mandate to provide costly health insurance to those working 30 hours a week or more.

Dozens of lawsuits were filed over the bill’s mandate to religious institutions to provide abortifacients and other services which they find objectionable on moral and religious grounds.  Some have been dismissed for lack of ripeness, while others are still under consideration.

Obama had promised Cardinal Timothy Dolan that there would be an exemption in the bill for religious institutions and organizations but broke his promise.  Following that revelation, Dolan invited Obama to attend a “white-tie fundraiser” as a guest speaker.

Abortion is reportedly framed as a “preventive service” in the bill and will be paid for by taxpayers beginning in 2014 if it is upheld.  The bill also funds pills used to cause a woman to spontaneously abort a fetus.

Obama has given the appearance of weeping after 20 children and seven adults were murdered by a mentally-disturbed man on December 14, 2012 but advocates the killing of unborn children.  He has used the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary School to push an aggressive gun control agenda.  The Connecticut General Assembly is prepared to vote on a new package of gun restrictions on Wednesday which it touts as a model for the remaining 49 states and Washington, DC.

Despite his words of condolence to the families who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook, Obama did not allow a “serious crisis to go to waste” by posing for photo-ops with survivors’ relatives, the results of which were placed in a photo montage on the White House website.

Speculation exists that members of Congress were intimidated into voting in favor of the bill in 2010 when they actually opposed it. On July 12, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the bill, the but Senate did not follow suit.  CBS News reported last July that Supreme Court sources indicated that Roberts had penned both the opposition and majority opinions.

Frequent unpublished comments left at The Post & Email, particularly in the last 30 days, claim that Roberts was intimidated with threats to his safety and that of his family if he did not approve the health care law.

The U.S. Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison declared that any “law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument” (second-to-last paragraph).

Nicholas Purpura, one of the plaintiffs in Purpura v. Sebelius, predicted in December that Obamacare would eventually be overturned by “case law.”  The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that many Americans “could get stung by surprise tax bills if they don’t accurately project their income” as a result of their accessing medical coverage through Obamacare.

Many call the bill “socialist,” and rationing of care, particularly for the elderly, is expected if the law survives.

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