In light of recent campaign promises, Congressional Republicans have pushed to quash the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the healthcare reform law or “Obamacare.” On January 20, the US House of Representatives voted 245-189 to repeal the Affordable Care Act while yesterday, Senate Democrats, by a 51-47 vote, defeated the repeal-attempt. However, all hope is not lost for opponents of the Affordable Care Act.
On January 31, Judge Roger Vinson, a US District Court judge for the Northern District of Florida, in an order granting the state of Florida summary judgment, framed the issue as follows:
This case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation, or whether it will solve or exacerbate the myriad problems in our health care system. In fact, it is not really about our health care system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of the federal government.
In examining two main issues: the individual mandate and the expansion of Medicaid, Judge Vinson concluded that the entire law was unconstitutional:
I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.
Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.
This opinion is one of many that have been and will be issued in the coming months as over twenty-five states are challenging this law. Please continue to follow the Health Law Attorney Blog for updates.
For more information, please contact the Health Law Partners, PC at 248-996-8510, 212-734-0128 or 770-804-6475 or visit the HLP website.