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Promising Future For The Affordable Care Act

From The Huffington Post:

Ron Pollack–06/ 9/11 02:22 PM ET

There’s encouraging news out of Atlanta today for all Americans. The third hearing before the court of appeals left me feeling optimistic about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

But let’s start from the beginning. There have been approximately two dozen suits filed against the Affordable Care Act’s individual responsibility provision. All but two of the cases decided so far by federal district courts threw out those challenges, most on procedural grounds but several on the constitutional merits.

But Florida judge Roger Vinson, weighing in on a 26-state lawsuit against the new law, took his anti-health reform stance to the extreme. In February, he ruled that because he found the individual responsibility provision unconstitutional, the entire law should be thrown out with it.

Roger Vinson’s ruling is simply conservative judicial activism run amok. Long-standing judicial principles make clear that courts should deal with constitutional challenges as narrowly as possible — a principle Judge Vinson cited in his opinion and then did the exact opposite. Additionally, experts from both sides of the aisle have said his ruling goes too far. Continue reading

Is The Individual Insurance Mandate Unconstitutional?

From Politico:

Judges are exploring whether there is precedent in upholding law requiring purchases.         |AP Photo


ATLANTA — A federal appeals panel asked pointed questions Wednesday about how much of President Barack Obama’s health care law would have to be struck down if they ruled that its individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional.

But the three 11th Circuit Court of Appeals judges also were receptive to the government’s argument that the health care market is different from all others and needs that kind of regulation — giving the law’s supporters some hope that the appeals panel would side with them.

The judges’ questions were mixed enough to give encouragement to both sides in the oral arguments in the multistate lawsuit, the most significant of the legal challenges against Obama’s health care overhaul.

But supporters of the health law cringed as the judges spent a significant amount of time questioning both sides over how much of the law they would have to void if they struck down the most controversial provision at the center of the suit: the requirement to buy insurance. Continue reading

Health Law Suffers New Blow In Court

By JENNIFER HABERKORN | 2/1/11 4:38 AM EST Updated: 2/1/11 6:11 AM EST

The Obama administration is vowing to move full speed ahead with implementation of the health care reform law, even after a federal judge Monday declared the legislation unconstitutional.

It was the most striking blow yet to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic initiative, though it certainly won’t be the last ruling on the issue. The Justice Department plans to appeal. Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida ruled that the law’s requirement that nearly all Americans purchase health insurance is not within the legal bounds of Congress’s power under the commerce clause. But he stopped short of issuing an injunction to keep the federal government from enacting the law.

The administration called the ruling “well outside of the mainstream judicial opinion” and said implementation won’t change.

“I don’t think you should view this as the opening of the government shutting down the implementation effort,” a senior administration official said. The ruling is unlikely to derail implementation of the health reform law in the states. Each of the states that are party to the lawsuit has received some funding to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Even more conservative states concede that while they oppose the law, they would rather lay the groundwork themselves than cede control to the federal government. That’s the view of Rep. John Zerwas, a Republican in the Texas House of Representatives who introduced legislation to authorize his state to set up a health insurance exchange. “There’s one thing we know for sure: Health care reform is the law of the land,” he said Monday. “All of our efforts to declare it unconstitutional are aspirational at this point. I’d much rather be in a situation where we have a way to deal with this at a state level than have the federal government come in.”

Continue reading