Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution states:
“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”
This has become known as the Origination Clause and is at the heart of a lawsuit that the US Supreme Court is being asked to hear involving the constitutional legality of certain provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act.
Contained in the 2000+ pages of the Affordable Care Act are a number of provisions that generate tax revenue. Most were hidden within the legal language of the bill and created new taxes or increased existing taxes on things like medical equipment, flex accounts, investment income, Medicare payroll and itemized medical deductions to name a few.
The most controversial of all of the taxes created by Obamacare is that associated with the individual mandate. To avoid violating the Origination Clause, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi kept telling everyone that the penalty imposed for not obtaining healthcare insurance was not a tax but a penalty that would be collected by the Internal Revenue Service.
The constitutionality of the individual mandate was challenged in court and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court. Many expected the high court to rule the mandate as being unconstitutional, but Chief Justice John Roberts betrayed the American people by casting the deciding vote to keep the mandate. In his ruling, Roberts said if the penalty was just a fine, then it would be unconstitutional, but since the penalty was being collected by the IRS in association to the filing of income taxes, that it was a tax and not a penalty fine and therefore constitutional.
This ruling sets the foundation for a lawsuit filed by small business owner and Iraq veteran Matt Sissel. His lawsuit is being handled by the Pacific Legal Foundation who on Oct. 26 asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. The basis of Sissel’s lawsuit rests on the Origination Clause. He contends that the bill that became the Affordable Care Act originated in the Senate and not the House and since the Individual mandate created a new tax, it is therefore in violation of the Origination Clause in the US Constitution.
The lawsuit is calling for the entire Affordable Care Act to be struck down not only because of the individual mandate tax, but for the other twenty taxes created or increased by the bill.
Timothy Sandefur, the Principal Attorney with PCF, commented about the lawsuit, saying:
“Every day it becomes more clear that Obamacare is bad medicine for America. Obamacare cancels freedom of choice in people’s medical decisions and swamps healthcare providers with micromanaging federal dictates. And more and more, it is triggering unaffordable insurance-premium hikes for tens of millions of families and individuals.”
“But beyond its assault on healthcare freedom, Obamacare represents an attack on some core constitutional principles and protections for taxpayers. Obamacare raises taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, but it was enacted in violation of the Origination Clause, which was designed to safeguard against arbitrary and reckless taxation. Obamacare was unveiled in the Senate, even though the Origination Clause requires taxes to start in the House, the body closest to the people.
“Pacific Legal Foundation and Matt Sissel are asking the Supreme Court to accept our challenge to Obamacare, in order to uphold and enforce the Constitution’s safeguards against arbitrary taxation, and to liberate Americans from a harmful law that was imposed in defiance of those procedures and protections.”
What happens now will determine just how authoritative and strong the Constitution remains. If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, then they are saying the Constitution is not important and no longer the governing document of the United States of America. If they take the case and then rule against Sissel, they are saying the same thing. If they take the case and rule that the Affordable Care Act did violate the Origination Clause then complete turmoil will ensue in the healthcare industry, but the Constitution will be upheld.
The decision before the US Supreme Court is much bigger than most people realize.