11th Circuit Strikes Individual Mandate from Health Care Law:
A Good Day for Small Business
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 12, 2011 — Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center, issued the following statement in response to the decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals finding the individual mandate in the health care law unconstitutional:
“Small-business owners across the country have been vindicated by the 11th Circuit’s ruling that the individual mandate in the health-care law is unconstitutional. The Court reaffirmed what small businesses already knew – there are limits to Congress’ power. And the individual mandate, which compels every American to buy health insurance or pay a fine, is a bridge too far.
“We were hopeful that the Court would take the extra step and find, not only, that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but that it cannot be severed from the law. Still, today’s ruling is a true victory for all Americans because it respects the constitutional limits of Congress’ power over all Americans.
“It will be incumbent on the Supreme Court to determine the ultimate future of the health care law. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case to the Court.”
NFIB is the only business organization in the lawsuit brought by 26 states against the health care law.
Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute reacts to the ruling:
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“Today is a great day for liberty. By striking down the individual mandate, the Eleventh Circuit has reaffirmed that the Constitution places limits on the federal government’s power. Congress can do a great many things under modern constitutional jurisprudence, but, as the court concludes, “what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.” Indeed, just because Congress can regulate the health insurance industry does not mean it can also require people to buy that industry’s products.
“One of the striking things about today’s ruling is that, for the first time in one of these cases, a Democrat-appointed judge, Frank Hull, has ruled against the government. Just as the Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton made waves by being the first Republican appointee to rule in the government’s favor, today’s 300-page ruling shows that the constitutional issues raised by the healthcare reform—and especially the individual mandate—are complex, serious, and non-ideological.
“Supporters of limited constitutional government need to temper their celebrations—just as they wisely tempered their sorrows after the last ruling—because we must all now realize that this will not end until the Supreme Court rules. Nevertheless, today’s decision gives hope to those who believe that there are some things beyond the government’s reach and that the judiciary cannot abdicate its duty to hold Congress’s feet to the constitutional fire.”