ObamaCare has seen the ins and outs of courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, several times in the past few years. With the District Court of Columbia ruling that the USD 473 billion worth of taxes currently embedded in ObamaCare cannot be seen as revenue, it looks like it is headed for the portals of the Supreme Court yet again.
A question of revenues
Since the district court has ordained that the taxes are not revenue, it is not in a position to rehear a case that questions whether the healthcare law is constitutional. On the back of this announcement, the Pacific Legal Foundation has announced its intent to bring the fight up to the Supreme Court. This particular case has been brought to court for Matt Sissel, a self-employed artist from Washington. Sissel wants to have the option to pay his own medical bills without being compelled to invest in a health plan he feels he does not require.
According to PLF, since the Supreme Court modified the definition of fees in the original law to include taxes, it falls under the domain of the Origination Clause of the Constitution. They say the Affordable Care Act is in violation of the Origination Clause since it is a revenue raising bill and has not originated in the House.
While the primary goal of the Affordable Care Act was to get more Americans under the umbrella of insurance cover, taxes were imposed over the past few years to avoid growing the country’s annual budget deficit and impacting national debt levels. The judges used this logic in their ruling stating that a bill that resulted in raised taxes could not automatically be considered a revenue raising bill, unless taxation was its primary aim.
Origination Clause causes a split vote
While there was a majority that believed the plaintiff’s challenge would not hold, the reasoning behind it was fairly varied. Most DC Circuit judges, when asked, are reported to have said that they feel the USD 473 billion in question from the bill is not actually revenue.
According to reports, a minority say they would have gone in favor of a rehearing. To them, not reviewing it sent the wrong signals, giving out the message that if something was to raise taxes for a ‘specific purpose’ it needn’t have originated in the House of Representatives.
No stranger to the Supreme Court
ObamaCare related cases have become par for the course in the highest court in the United States, with three high profile cases making the news in recent times. As a result of the first case, the court ruled that revenue can be seen as tax income as opposed to fees.
This latest decision comes as no surprise to the PLF team, as spokesperson Timothy Sandefur confirmed, saying they knew the case would eventually end up in the Supreme Court and they were ready to take the battle there.