Yes, states mandate car owners to buy car insurance.
But those folks are choosing to drive.
If a driver argues that it is unconstitutional to force him/her to buy insurance, the state can say "Hey, we're not forcing you to drive. Don't want to buy insurance? Don't drive!"
But that is not how the HCR mandate works. EVERYBODY has to have health insurance or is mandated to buy it - from a private company.
There is no way out of the mandate and frankly, I always thought this was a problematic part of the law.
Turns out a judge thought the same:
A federal judge on Monday ruled that the entire health care overhaul is unconstitutional, the most striking blow yet to President Obama’s signature domestic legislation.
But Judge Roger Vinson stopped short of ordering the federal government to stop enacting the law.
Vinson ruled that the law’s requirement that nearly all Americans purchase health insurance coverage is not within the legal bounds of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. (Read Judge Roger Vinson Healthcare Ruling [PDF])
Because the provision is instrumental to the rest of the law, he declared the entire law unconstitutional. The law also doesn’t have a severability clause, a common legal phrase that prevents courts from striking down a whole law because one piece has been found to be illegal.
“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void,” he wrote in his 78-page ruling. “This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”
Because several district courts have ruled differently on the issue, the ruling is unlikely to have an immediate impact on implementing the law, but it is expected to increase the partisan, political rhetoric for and against health reform. The U.S. Department of Justice said it plans to appeal the decision and is considering whether it needs to ask for a stay.
The case now goes to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals - a fairly conservative court.
And of course there are five Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republicans ready, willing and able to declare the law unconstitutional.
Doesn't look good for that signature Obama HCR policy.
Maybe we can go at the education policy next.