A second federal judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision requiring most Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional. In two other cases, federal judges have upheld the law. The issue will likely have to be resolved by the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Vinson found that Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause by passing the ACA with an individual insurance mandate.
Furthermore, the judge wrote “because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”
The plaintiffs of the case included 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and 2 private citizens.
Judge Vinson ruled in favor of the defendant, the Obama Administration, in one aspect of the suit. He found that the ACA’s expansion of the Medicaid federal-state insurance program does not violate the constitution.
White House officials declared that the ruling should not deter the rollout of the law. The Obama administration is “confident that the Affordable Care Act will ultimately be declared constitutional by the courts,” according to a White House blog.
The insurance mandate is scheduled to take effect in 2014. For more information on the ACA, visit Healthcare Reform: A Resource Center for Employers.
In Early December, a federal judge in Virginia also ruled the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance surpassed the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause. For more information, read Federal Judge Says Affordable Care Act Provision is Unconstitutional.