A federal appeals court today ruled that the “individual mandate” in Obamacare, Barack Obama’s signature legislation to take over health care decision-making across the nation, is unconstitutional. Critics of the law say that’s a “critical step” in ridding the nation of the trillion dollar social program.

Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, said, “Today’s ruling striking down the individual mandate is welcome news. The federal government does not have the authority to force individuals to purchase health insurance.

“Obamacare represents the biggest government intrusion into the private lives of every American. The court of appeals should have thrown out Obamacare in its entirety. Without the individual mandate, the law will cause the insurance industry to implode. With or without the mandate, Obamacare has been a catastrophe.”

Graphic of Obamacare posted by House Speaker John Boehner

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 opinion, said the individual mandate – the portion of the law that requires every person to buy government-approved insurance, simply is something Congress cannot do.

There is no authority in the Constitution for Congress to order “that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”

While the court ruling said the rest of the law could remain in effect, the Liberty Counsel analysis noted that the entire law will collapse without the “mandate.”

“There are three interwoven provisions of Obamacare – the guaranteed issue which requires that all pre-existing conditions be covered, the removal of community rating which prevents insurance companies from balancing coverage risks, and the mandate for individuals and employers. The former two cannot work without the mandate. Without the mandate, the other two requirements of Obamacare will collapse the insurance industry. Seven states have attempted the guaranteed issue and removal of community rating without the mandate and the attempts in all seven states failed because the insurance industry collapses under such a system. With the mandate gone and the rest of the law intact, Obamacare will cause health insurance to collapse, thus necessitating a repeal of the law or a total government takeover of the health insurance market, which would be a Medicare or Medicaid on steroids,” the group explained.

The American Center for Law and Justice said the decision was a step forward.

“The appeals court got it right and the decision represents a critical step forward in undoing ObamaCare,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, which is involved in litigation challenging Obamacare.

“The individual mandate, which forces Americans to purchase health insurance, exceeds the authority of the Commerce Clause. We’re delighted that the appeals court recognized that fact. While the appeals court did not declare the entire law unconstitutional, by striking the individual mandate, the entire law is clearly in jeopardy. We remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will ultimately declare the entire health care law unconstitutional.”

The ACLJ has filed an amicus brief backing the plaintiffs in the 11th Circuit case. It also is preparing for oral arguments in its own federal court challenge of ObamaCare. The ACLJ will present arguments to a federal appeals court in Washington Sept. 23.

The case at issue before the 11th Circuit was brought by 26 states that wanted to block Obama’s signature plan.

The ruling said, “This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority.”

The Obama Justice Department has claimed in the case that Congress has the power to order people to buy the products Washington thinks Americans should pay for.

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