Thursday, June 1, 2023
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Breaking: Obamacare individual mandate struck down by appeals court

The U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals, based in Florida, has struck down the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The law forced those without health insurance to purchase it. Many of those who purchase it receive federal tax breaks to help offset some of the cost. There are severe penalties in the law for those who don’t have health insurance. For many Americans, the law meant losing their doctors and paying huge premiums.

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The three-judge panel did not address the rest of the Obamacare structure, but sent the rest of the law back Judge Reed O’Connor, the same Texas federal judge who one year ago declared Obamacare unconstitutional.

O’Connor has previously ruled that the rest of the law cannot stand on its own. The appeals court wants him to now to consider the question again.

O’Connor has a conservative record. In 2016, he struck down the Obama Administration’s guideline to allow transgender minors to use school bathrooms of their choice. In 2018, he agreed with a coalition that included 20 states that said Obamacare is unconstitutional.

Those states were Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

Alaska was noticeably absent from that lawsuit under former Gov. Bill Walker, even though Alaskans were forced to pay the highest prices in the nation for health insurance. Walker’s signature achievement in his administration was expanding Medicaid along with enacting Obamacare as a law in the state, something Gov. Sean Parnell would not do, based on constitutional questions.

O’Connor has also previously ruled in favor of Texas in a $300 million lawsuit over fees associated with Obamacare. He also ruled that an Obama Administration rule that was intended to prevent discrimination against transgender patients could violate the religious freedom of doctors who were forced to accept and treat them as patients.

Now, Obamacare heads back to O’Connor’s court, where it’s a familiar territory for him. It’s unlikely the judge will have a ruling prior to the 2020 election, which means it will kick this question into the Supreme Court following the 2020 election.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. How well would auto insurance if everyone wasn’t compelled to have it??

    If you choose not to have healthcare insurance, fine. But then please don’t go to the hospital, not pay your bill, and have the cost passed on to me via inflated rates.

    Single payer universal coverage is coming. Having lived in countries where it exists, there is no doubt in my mind that it’s better than the rationing-by-wealth system we have here that exposes many (of all political flavors) to personal bankruptcy.

    And all of that talk about Freedom to Choose…what a crock. Real freedom is being able to live and work without needing to worry about if and how you will obtain health coverage for yourself and your family. Other countries are so far ahead of us on this one…

    Really want to MAGA? Move towards universal coverage.

    • You need to venture out of your cave and visit other countries and ask them how much they like their socialized medicine. Freedom? Socialized medicine is bondage. You get horrible, impersonal care that is very minimal as you will be ‘profiled’ to determine if you are worthy of any medical investment. Just wait, you will know soon. It is already happening to seniors and veterans. The left are doing their best to lull the “dumb, drugged and dependent” into believing they are getting all this wonderful “free” care. Once we are all forced into it I assure you it will be far less than stellar and those that can afford to pay out of pocket for better care will.

      • Well Elizabeth, I’ve lived it and used it and it works just fine. Have you?

        You should think for yourself and not just repeat the mantas of Fox and Rush. You’ll be happier and all around less bitter.

        There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • Whidbey, I love your “rationing-by-wealth” observation on health care. It seems to me obvious and right that everything be rationed by wealth. Let’s call it “Supply and Demand”. Where things are “free” they too are rationed-by-wealth, the absence of wealth. It’s a bad idea as ALL historic examples of such economic voodoo teach so clearly.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Who cares? The penalty was done away with in January. Not to mention it was a Republican idea to begin with. Kind of ironic the party spent so much effort repealing the fundamental component of their own idea.

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