Origination Clause Could Derail Obamacare in the Supreme Court


free lunch

Obamacare is the most expensive free lunch in the history of the world as we are beginning to find out with its initial unveiling. It gives the government the power to spend our money without limits.

There is hope that it could still be overturned with an upcoming lawsuit, Sissel v. United States Department of Health & Human Services. It’s a longshot but it’s a chance. It received strong House support in mid-November when 40 members signed on as Friends of the Court.

The origination clause of the Constitution requires all revenue raising bills originate in the House. Obamacare did not. Harry Reid took a House appropriations bill for veterans housing, deleted its contents, and replaced them with the 2,000+ page Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or PACA or ACA).

The Pacific Legal Foundation took up a lawsuit, on behalf of Matt Sissel, a two-tour Iraqi War veteran who earned a Bronze Star, and who wants to buy his own health insurance. He says the ACA violates his constitutional rights under the origination clause. Sissel v. U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services initiated in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The principle behind the origination clause is ‘No Taxation Without Representation’.  It was the moral justification for our War of Independence.” Our representation is in the House which had no say in this bill.

Mr. Obama originally said Obamacare was not a tax. When the argument on behalf of Obamacare in the Supreme Court appeared to be floundering, the federal government said it was both a tax and not a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion was that Obamacare was a revenue-raising tax and while Congress did not have the power to require citizens to buy insurance, it could require them to pay a tax.

Justice Roberts upheld the mandate as a tax, not a penalty.

Justice Roberts also ruled Obamacare as a penalty to avoid the Tax Anti-Injunction Act for the purpose of ruling. The Act would have prevented the SCOTUS from ruling.

A House resolution adopted this year confirmed that “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 did not originate in the House of Representatives.”

If it is a tax, it is unconstitutional since it hardly originated in the House.

On June 28, 2013, the District Court dismissed the plaintiff’s – Sissel’s – suit, holding (1) that the Commerce Clause challenge to the ACA was foreclosed by the Supreme Court decision in NFIB v. Sebelius, (2) that the Origination Clause challenge failed, as the bill enacting the individual mandate was not a bill for raising revenue, and (3) that even if the bill enacting the individual mandate were a bill for raising revenue, the Origination Clause challenge failed because the bill was an amendment to a bill that had originated in the House of Representatives.

As of early November 2013, that decision was being appealed by the plaintiff  to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The case now has 40 members of the US House of Representatives in support. It should have 200.

In mid-November, Forty members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Trent Franks, filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of Sissel’s appeal.  Also, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Claremont Institute, each filed an amicus brief.

The briefs discuss the Origination Clause’s history and purpose, and why the Obamacare tax on those who choose to not purchase a government-prescribed health insurance plan, violates that constitutional provision.

The Federal Government’s answer brief is due on December 9.

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed the suit on the basis that the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, originated in the Senate instead of the House, as required by the Constitution’s Origination Clause for new revenue-raising bills (Article I, Section 7).

ACA’s fee has been determined to be a federal tax because it requires a payment to the federal government from people who decide not to buy health insurance. Revenue-raising bills must originate in the House.

The government claims that the bill did originate in the House as the Service Members Home Ownership Act. It was a shell bill and shell bills are often modified by the Senate. The government (DOJ) said the Senate can amend any bill originating in the House. However, the bill in no way resembles the final bill. The Service Members Home Ownership Act was completely gutted and completely replaced.

The foundation said the government merely substituted one Senate bill for another.

The government (DOJ) asserts that the House does allow for this when “the money raised was incidental to the bill’s mission.”  The claim is that the mission was to improve the nation’s healthcare system and the revenue was incidental, though there are more than $500 billion in new taxes in the bill.

The foundation asked the question, “What kinds of taxes are not for raising revenue?” [Don’t forget, Obamacare was ruled a tax for purposes of funding.]

At the time Obamacare was passed, the government lied and said it would be revenue-neutral. They also said it was not a tax and then called it a tax as the lawsuit evolved.

The Senate didn’t want to send the bill back to the House to be written properly because if it went back to the Senate for a vote, they’d lose. Sen. Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts for the express purpose of providing the 60th vote against passage.

Justice Roberts put some constraints on the government by limiting the Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately, the governors are caving on Medicaid as the government bribes them to take it with a temporary guaranteed payment, the key word here being “temporary.”

Obamacare is a bad bill, poorly written, and unaffordable. It will destroy the healthcare system in this country and it will destroy our economy. Obamacare gives the government control over one-sixth of our economy and to implement it, the government now has unlimited power to tax thanks to the SCOTUS.

Obamacare is fatally flawed. How it works is of no consequence, it’s about the government controlling your healthcare, period.

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