The 11th Circuit majority argues that the individual mandate can be broken off from the broader PPACA and dismissed without negating the entire package. This opinion, if upheld by the Supreme Court, has huge implications for the future of the PPACA. Obamacare is completely undermined without the individual mandate. Its guarantees of coverage for preexisting conditions alone will cripple the insurance industry if healthy Americans are not forced to participate in the system. The PPACA depends on forcing the healthy to subsidize the costs of the sick. Without the individual mandate, insurance rates will skyrocket.
If the Supreme Court agrees with the 11th Circuit Court, we are left with two primary alternatives: Either we subsidize the resultant rapidly-rising cost of insurance policies through taxation or we massively reform the PPACA.
Democrats would likely peddle the former option. This would produce something like a single-payer system that provides insurance for all by taxing all. Essentially, we would have another massive government entitlement.
Republicans would favor the latter option. If the Supreme Court eliminates the individual mandate and Republicans gain seats in the Senate (and maybe the Presidency) in the next election, watch for them to try to strip the PPACA of all significance.
The 11th Circuit Court's opinion will not be the final appellate ruling. There are two more cases that will likely make their way to separate appeals courts (3rd and 4th Circuit) within the next few months, and we are a long way from a conclusive ruling from the Supreme Court, but it is good to see at least one appellate court standing up for the Constitution. When it comes before their bench, hopefully the Supreme Court upholds our founding principles and blocks this overreach. If the individual mandate is struck down, Republicans will have an excellent opportunity to overturn the PPACA after the 2012 elections.