Commentary

States Should Seize on Obamacare Unconstitutionality Ruling, Run with It

Twila Brase
By Twila Brase | January 17, 2019 | 5:16 PM EST

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 01: A computer screen shows the enrollment page for the Affordable Care Act on November 1, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Two weeks ago, our organization called on States opposing Obamacare to take the judge’s ruling and run with it. The ACA was ruled “invalid,” giving states an easy opportunity to break free.

We asked States to move forward with laws and regulations not compliant with the ACA; to ask insurers to offer the affordable major-medical catastrophic policies now prohibited by the ACA, and to re-open high-risk pools for people with uninsurable pre-existing conditions.

Judge Reed O’Connor rightly ruled the mandate “unconstitutional” and the Affordable Care Act “invalid.” The penalty-tax for failing to comply with the coverage mandate is considered essential to the law and the basis of its constitutionality. Since the tax no longer acts as a tax by dropping to $0 on Jan. 1, he ruled the mandate unconstitutional. And because the mandate is inseverable from the rest of the law, the entire Affordable Care Act must be struck.

The judge’s ruling is an opportunity for states to remember their constitutional 10th Amendment rights and to take steps to restore affordable health insurance options to their residents. It’s an opportunity to push the public debate in the right direction—away from the ACA’s socialized medicine system and back to state and individual freedom.

Last week the judge put his ruling on hold, pending appeal. But that doesn’t mean Republicans shouldn’t use their 10th Amendment rights to act. The law has always been unconstitutional. Republican-led states should seize the day, not sit in silence.

Twila Brase, R.N., has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.” She is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a national, patient-centered health freedom organization that exists to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights.

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