Healthcare Law Ruled Unconstitutional
Special Report - February 1, 2011
A federal district court judge in Florida has ruled that the provision of the recently-passed healthcare reform law that requires all Americans to purchase insurance or pay a penalty makes the entire law unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson, a judge in the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, ruled on January 31st that the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represents an unconstitutional overreaching of Congressional authority and is therefore void. The suit, State of Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, which was brought by Attorneys General and/or Governors of 26 states, was filed within hours of the President signing the bill.
In his ruling, Judge Vinson stated:
“[T]his case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation, or whether it will solve or exacerbate the myriad problems in our health care system. In fact, it is not really about our health care system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of the federal government.”
He went on to conclude that:
“Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.”
The Family Research Council had filed an amicus brief in the case, emphasizing the fact that the individual mandate cannot be severed from the rest of the law. Judge Vinson recognized that fact in his decision, stating, “I must conclude that the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit. The individual mandate cannot be severed.” He continued, “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”
The Justice Department intends to appeal the case, which is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
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House Passes Senate Healthcare Bill - March 22, 2010
Health Summit Yields Stalemate - March 1, 2010
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Senate Votes to Cut Off Healthcare Debate - December 21, 2009
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Pivotal Abortion Amendment in Senate - December 8, 2009
US Senate Debates Healthcare - November 20, 2009
Health Bill Passes with No Abortion - November 10, 2009
Healthcare Debate over Abortion - October 26, 2009
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