Matt Sissel: opposing the individual mandate
The ACA violates the constitutional procedures for imposing taxes
After serving eight years in the Iowa National Guard, including two years as a combat medic in Iraq, Matt Sissel set out on a new career as a professional artist. He finished his studies at the Toronto Academy of Realist Art in Canada, where he specialized in realistic painting and portraiture, and in August, 2010, returned home to Iowa City to produce and market his artwork. He now lives in Washington State, where he continues his art and remains in the National Guard Reserve.
Sissel is healthy and current on his medical expenses. He chose not to buy health insurance because he wanted to be free to invest in his own business instead; and costly insurance premiums aren’t worth the money to him. Sissel says he wants the freedom and flexibility to do his own budgeting, including setting aside money for his medical needs as he chooses, without government oversight. “As a small business owner,” Sissel says, “I don’t need the government telling me how to manage my expenses; they can’t even manage their own.”
Indeed, the financial consequences of the Act are already being felt. The ACA has begun burdening businesses with “more government-mandated paper work, fewer choices in health plans for their employees, and no mechanism to control costs.” Millions of Americans have either lost their health insurance plans and been forced onto government alternatives such as Medicaid, or have been allowed to keep their plans only because of the White House’s ad hoc decisions to withhold enforcement of key provisions of the ACA. Employers have been forced to postpone hiring, or to reduce working hours or to hold off increasing them, in order to make ends meet. And insurance premiums are on the rise nationwide.
Yet Sissel’s objection to the individual mandate is about more than dollars and cents. He believes he should be free to live his life without the federal government meddling in his most personal affairs. “I object to being conscripted into a federal health care program,” he says. Sissel’s fundamental opposition to the individual mandate is rooted in the Constitution’s principles of limited government: “My principles, I believe, are the same ones held by our Founding Fathers,” says Sissel. “To defend individual freedom, they tried to limit the size of the federal government and what it could do. They could not have conceived of the degree of federal entanglement in people’s personal, private choices that the Act represents.”
Shortly after the ACA was enacted, PLF attorneys filed suit challenging its constitutionality on Sissel’s behalf, arguing that the Individual Mandate violated the Commerce Clause. That case was stayed by the trial court while the Supreme Court took up the NFIB case (in which PLF participated as a “friend of the court”). The Court decided that case on June 28, 2012, ruling that the Individual Mandate did exceed the Commerce Clause power, but upholding the Mandate as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax, instead.
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PLF Is Back In The Supreme Court March 20, 2017
PLF Director of Litigation Jim Burling, interviews client Donna Murr, PLF General Counsel John Groen and PLF Attorney Dave Breemer about Murr's case which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 20, 2017.
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