My standard disclaimer: None of this will matter until the Supreme Court weighs in. But the 11th Circuit has ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional:
The individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives. We have not found any generally applicable, judicially enforceable limiting principle that would permit us to uphold the mandate without obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers.
This one is also a big deal because two of the three judges were appointed by a Democratic President, so it’s getting more interesting in terms of party affiliation not exactly predicting how rulings will go.
However, this ruling was different from that which preceded it, in that it said the whole law isn’t unconstitutional; the rest of the ACA can stand without the individual mandate.
I need a lawyer here (paging Kevin!). Does this leave only two outcomes then: (1) this is overturned and the ACA is constitutional, or (2) the individual mandate is unconstitutional but the ACA stands otherwise? If that’s the case, then the insurance companies better hope for (1). As I’ve discussed before, (2) is their nightmare scenario. There are alternatives, though.