Matt Sissel may be health care’s Horatius at the Bridge.In the lore of the ancient Romans, Horatius was a soldier who single-handedly fought off an invading army. The Etruscans had attacked in order to impose a despot on Rome and, by holding them back while his comrades destroyed the bridge that was the only practical route to the city, this single warrior saved the free republic. Obamacare is certainly the bridge via which the forces of despotism plan to “fundamentally transform” the United States, and a decorated Iraq veteran named Matt Sissel may be the Horatius who prevents them from crossing.
This 32-year-old artist, businessman, and holder of the Bronze Star is the plaintiff in Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which Sissel sees as “a battle for my liberty — my freedom to live out my life to the fullest.” This is the only remaining lawsuit that has any chance of bringing down the entire health care law. His lawsuit, which was filed in July of 2010, was put on hold during the run-up to last June’s Supreme Court decision to uphold most of Obamacare. Ironically, that controversial ruling gave his case a new lease on life.
In that ruling, the Majority held that the individual mandate was essentially a tax. This finding prompted the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), which represents Sissel, to file a new constitutional cause of action based on the way the law was rammed through Congress. What we now know as Obamacare was initially cobbled together in the Senate, and that body of Congress is not permitted by the Constitution to write tax bills. Sissel and his PLF lawyers have therefore amended their complaint to say that the “reform” law violates the Origination Clause.
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