EDITORIAL: Obamacare on life support

White House attempts to stall Supreme Court consideration

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The Obama administration this week tried to buy time for its legal defense of its health care takeover legislation. This move merely delays the inevitable, as everyone knows the Supreme Court will decide the ultimate fate of Obamacare. Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli simply wants to skip the irrelevant step of waiting for the case to wind its way through the court of appeals.

Two federal district judges already ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, and Mr. Cuccinelli believes it makes no sense for states and businesses to waste time and money implementing a law that the Supreme Court may very well end up throwing out.

The administration responded earlier this week by saying the short-term burdens on Virginia and its consumers wouldn’t be too heavy and that the case should move forward through the ordinary process. It noted that just two weeks earlier it filed a full constitutional argument with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and begged that this court - thought to be more friendly territory - be allowed to weigh in. The O Force argument boiled down to this: Congress can force people to spend their own money even on a product they don’t want.

According to the brief, “Participating [in the health care market] is essentially universal; the need for medical treatment may arise unexpectedly and not as a matter of choice; the cost of care may overwhelm the typical family budget; and, in many cases, an individual can expect to receive expensive medical services without regard to his ability to pay.”

Mr. Cuccinelli’s argument is that when an individual chooses not to buy health insurance in the first place, there is no “commerce” for Congress to regulate. Congress may regulate commerce that already exists, but it cannot force people to create or participate in commerce to start with. The Constitution’s main purpose is to ensure that the federal government’s powers are limited rather than universal.

The transparent stalling tactic has an air of desperation to it. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday showed 62 percent of likely voters supported repeal of the health care law - nearly the highest level of opposition since the unconstitutional law was enacted. It’s likely the high court will serve as the death panel for Obamacare.

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