Health Overhaul Is Dealt Setback
Wall Street Journal
August 13, 2011
A U.S. appeals court in Atlanta handed the Obama administration its biggest defeat to date in the battle over the health-care overhaul passed last year, ruling the law's mandate on Americans to carry health insurance was unconstitutional.
[You may wish to read the following earlier WSJ articles:
* Employers Lobby to Weaken Insurance Mandate 7/13/11
* Appeals Court Says Health Law Is Constitutional 6/30/11 ]
The 2-1 ruling directly conflicts with another appellate ruling in June, making it a near certainty that the Supreme Court will eventually step in and provide the final word.
Friday's 207-page opinion ...view middle of the document...
The ruling marked the first time a Democratic-appointed judge has found part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Judge Hull was appointed by Bill Clinton, while Judge Dubina was a George H.W. Bush appointee.
Several legal challenges are working their way through the nation's courts, but Friday's ruling came in the highest-profile lawsuit, brought by governors and attorneys general, almost all of them Republicans, from 26 states including Florida, Michigan and Texas. The National Federation of Independent Business and two individuals were also plaintiffs in the case.
Stephanie Cutter, an adviser to President Barack Obama, said in a statement, "We strongly disagree with this decision and we are confident it will not stand."
"Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us—when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab," Ms. Cutter said.
The individual insurance mandate is set to go into effect in 2014. It requires most Americans to carry insurance—through the workplace, a government program such as Medicare, or individual purchase—or pay a penalty that eventually could go as high as several thousand dollars per year. The act exempts some people for religious or income reasons.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette called the ruling "a huge victory in the fight to protect the freedom of American citizens from the long arm of the federal government."
The decision affirmed part of a January ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger...