Lawsuits to undo key parts of health-care law move forward, so far
Challenges to the new health-care law have met with some sympathy in court. Twenty-one states argue it's unconstitutional to require individuals to buy health insurance, as the law requires. Here's a guide to the cases.
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To bolster their 10th Amendment claims, Virginia and five states in the Florida suit – Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Utah, and Arizona – created conflict between federal and state laws by passing laws prohibiting government from compelling their citizens to purchase health insurance.Skip to next paragraph
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What has happened? What's next?
Judge Hudson, a Reagan appointee, found that the conflict of state and federal law created a sufficient injury to allow Virginia to sue. He rejected the federal government's argument that the case would not be ripe for adjudication until the individual mandate's 2014 implementation.
Regarding the Commerce Clause, Hudson ruled that the federal government's arguments on the law's constitutionality did not definitively overcome Virginia's arguments to the contrary. The federal government's Commerce Clause claims included the assertion that everyone falls sick and therefore will inevitably participate in the health-care market.
The judge concluded that the unprecedented issue of "whether or not Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce" deserved a hearing on the merits. Oral arguments on motions for summary judgment are slated for Oct. 18.
Meanwhile, Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida – an appointee of President George W. Bush – is at work on his own opinion regarding the federal government's motion to dismiss the Florida case. At the Sept. 14 hearing, Judge Vinson reportedly indicated he was leaning toward denying the motion to dismiss on at least one count.
Vinson's opinion is expected by Oct. 14. Should the states' suit survive the motion to dismiss, oral arguments on motions for summary judgment will take place on Dec. 14.
Does the public back repeal of the law?
In a Rasmussen poll released Sept. 20, 61 percent of likely voters favored repeal. In August, the Missouri legislature placed on the state's primary ballot a proposed statute rejecting the individual mandate. The referendum passed with 71.1 percent of the vote. Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado will have antimandate constitutional amendments on their ballots on Nov. 2. Twenty-six states have not passed or have rejected repeal bills or resolutions.