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Implementation of Healthcare Reform Should Cease

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-02-02 - The individual mandate is imposed to try to avert adverse consequences of the Act itself - Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

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Now that U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson has declared the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) void because it is unconstitutional, implementation should cease, states the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

While the Judge did not issue an injunction prohibiting implementation, he stated that his "declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction." This is so because of the long-standing presumption "that officials of the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court."

The Obama White House, however, called the decision "a plain case of judicial overreaching," and intends to proceed without interruption to carry out the law. Two courts have now declared the individual mandate unconstitutional, while two have upheld it. The Supreme Court will ultimately resolve the issue.

"Whenever the legislature passes a law that progressives object to, such as regulations on abortion, courts immediately stay enforcement," notes AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. But this case is apparently very different.

"Congress defied the will of American voters in passing the Act," she stated, "and now the Administration will defy the Court, spending billions of dollars on implementing the Act while the courts proceed."

Individuals and businesses are already being forced to alter their financial decisions in anticipation of the mandate's taking effect in 2014, the Judge noted.

The harm that many anticipate from the Act is shown by the 773 waivers that HHS has already issued to protect current benefits.

The Judge cited Congress itself concerning the dependence of the Act on the individual mandate. In fact, in including it, Congress was "essentially admitting that the Act will have serious negative consequences, e.g., encouraging people to forego health insurance until medical services are needed, increasing premiums and costs for everybody, and thereby bankrupting the health insurance industry."

The individual mandate is imposed to try to avert adverse consequences of the Act itself. Applying the Necessary and Proper Clause to justify it would have the perverse effect that the more disruptive a statute is, the more "necessary" a statutory fix would be.

"Senators need to abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution, and act promptly to repeal this unconstitutional bill," Dr. Orient stated.

AAPS (www.aapsonline.org) was founded in 1943 and represents physicians in all specialties nationwide.

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