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Federal Judge Rules Part of Healthcare Law Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Virginia has found a key provision of the health care law unconstitutional, the first such ruling on President Obama's landmark reform....
December 14, 2010

A federal judge in Virginia has found a key provision of the health care law unconstitutional, the first such ruling on President Obama's landmark reform. Judge Henry E. Hudson of the Eastern District Court in Richmond, appointed by George W. Bush, ruled that the law's mandate that all Americans have a minimum level of coverage, or pay a fine if they do not, exceeds federal authority. Virginia's Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli challenged the law by rejecting the federal government's view that the mandate is enforceable under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The Obama administration has vigorously defended the law and said that the state of Virginia did not have the legal standing to challenge it on behalf of its citizens, particularly for something that has yet to take effect. The individual coverage mandate is a major component of the overhaul law, a bid by the Obama administration to expand coverage to the tens of millions of Americans who are without insurance and to thereby help lower exploding healthcare costs.

A federal judge in Florida ruled in October that a separate suit challenging the law brought by 20 states and the National Federation of Interdependent Business could move forward. But a Michigan judge had dismissed a third suit earlier that month. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the issues being litigated.

Click here to read Virginia Judge Finds Mandate Unconstitutional (Insurance Journal 12/13/10)

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