Rob Henneke, the attorney who argued in federal court for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is celebrating the verdict and predicting the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately uphold the verdict.
On Friday, Federal Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare, agreeing with Henneke and officials from 20 states that the ACA is unconstitutional now that Congress has ended tax penalties for those refusing to purchase health insurance as mandated by the law.
“This is a great win, an historic outcome, with the federal district judge ruling that all of the Affordable Care Act is invalid because of the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate,” said Henneke, who directs the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
While allies are hailing the decision and opponents are decrying it, Henneke points out that there are multiple legal steps remaining before the case is resolved. He fully expects opponents to appeal O’Connor’s decision to a federal appeals court and one side or the other will then appeal that verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts saved the ACA in 2012 by citing the tax component of the individual mandate, but Henneke says that same logic is how he expects to win the case this time around.
“The whole basis for the court’s ruling this past Friday was based on John Roberts’ opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius. He found the Affordable Care Act constitutional because he said the individual mandate penalty was a tax and it was a tax because it generated revenue for the federal government.
“Now that Congress has set the individual mandate penalty at zero, it doesn’t generate revenue. It is Chief Justice Roberts’ own analysis and own opinion which forms the basis of this case,” said Henneke.
Henneke is also firing back at media coverage suggesting millions of Americans will lose coverage and be thrown off their insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
He says the other side needs to be heard too. Henneke represents two individuals in this case, Neill Hurley and John Nantz, who allege they have been unconstitutionally burdened by Obamacare.
Because of the limited options in Obamacare, Hurley had to choose whether to keep his own doctor and lose the pediatrician for his kids or keep the pediatrician and lose his physician. He put his kids first but was still staring at $24,000 out-of pocket expenses before the insurance ever kicked in.
Henneke says there are millions of people like Hurley and Nantz who are suffering but never get their stories told.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Henneke discuss the Obamacare repeal in more detail, what he expects to happen in the legal, fight, and why he strongly rejects accusations that Judge O’Connor engaged in judicial activism similar to liberal judges striking down President Trump’s travel bans.