Opinion by Patricia L Johnson
United States District Judge Gladys Kessler is the 5th Federal Judge to rule on the constitutionality of PL 111-148 and 111-152 a/k/a “Affordable Care Act or ACA”. Before Judge Kessler’s ruling, the score was 2-2, but she has now ruled stating the law, as written, is constitutional providing us with a new score of 3-2.
Civil Action 10-950 (GK) is a case brought before the court by five plaintiffs against Defendants Eric H. Holder, Jr., Kathleen Sebelius, and Timothy F. Geithner in their official capacities and Defendants United States Department of Health and Human Services and United States Department of the Treasury. The plaintiffs in this case are asking the court to declare that the individual insurance mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010), as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, Publ. L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat. 1029 (2010) (“Affordable Care Act” or “ACA”) is unconstitutional on its face.
Obviously I can’t take a 64-page decision and cut it down into a few paragraphs, but that’s what I’m going to attempt to do.
The major argument here is the requirement that beginning in 2014 each individual must obtain health care coverage or pay a monetary penalty. If you combine the length of time the five plaintiffs have not had insurance, it comes out to 61 years, and what they are basically saying is that, even though they can afford health insurance they choose not to have it and therefore, should not have to pay for it. They claim they’re all in good health and if they need medical attention they would prefer to pay ‘out of pocket’.
In the past three years I’ve had six surgeries and believe me, once they get the bill for ‘services rendered’ they might be giving some serious thought to changing their minds
The plaintiffs argue they don’t believe the government has the authority to mandate them to buy insurance or access a penalty and note that between them they would have to pay shared responsibility payments of $27,265.00 for the seven year period beginning January 1, 2014 and ending December 31, 2020. For the sake of reviewing the numbers, we’re going to assume everyone is equal, and we’ll divide the total figure by 7 (years) to come out to $3,895.00 per year. If we divide that by the five people, we’re down to $779.00/per person, per year or $65.00 per person, per month. The first time I laughed was when I saw the total figure of $27,265.00.
One of these people may be able to get cut open for surgery for $27,265.00, but they’d better have some more funds stashed away because believe me, they’ll need more money to have someone come along to insert the stiches. $27,265.00 doesn’t get you much in a hospital setting any more.
Their next argument is along religious grounds. Three of the plaintiffs “believe that God will provide for their physical, spiritual, and financial well-being, and that “[b]eing forced to buy health insurance conflicts with [their] religious faith because [they] believe that [they] would be indicating that [they] need a backup plan and [are] not really sure whether God will, in fact, provide for [their] needs.” Two of the plaintiffs “do not wish to purchase health insurance because it is contrary to their beliefs in a holistic approach to medicine” And in general they claim the mandate to purchase insurance “conflicts with their Christian faith because it requires them to perform an act that implies that they doubt God’s ability to provide for their health.”
I’m as much of a Christian as the next guy. I believe in a higher power, I believe that true faith in a higher power allows miracles to happen here on earth, but just like anything else in life you have to draw a line in the sand. Your belief in a higher power will assist with your recovery, it will help you through periods in your life when you have little hope or faith, but before any of that happens you have to have medical personnel there to ‘do their thing’ when necessary.
I pray none of the plaintiffs in this case will ever need to have one life-saving surgery after another as hundreds of thousands of others in this country needed.