Federal Judge in VA Strikes Down Insurance Mandate in Healthcare Reform

Posted on Dec 13, 2010 in Legislation, National Issues

A Federal Judge in Virginia has ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed in March by Virginia Attorney General, Kevin Cuccinelli which claims that the mandate requiring almost everyone in the U.S. to have health insurance as part of President Obama’s healthcare reform bill is unconstitutional.

According to US District Court Judge Henry Hudson, the provision oversteps Congress’ limitations with respect to interstate commerce as delineated in the Constitution. Judge Hudson’s ruling differs from earlier rulings this year in which other judges have upheld the constitutionality of the provision.

Proponents of the provision argue that everyone, at some point, becomes a consumer of health care services and thus it is not, in fact, a constitutionally protected right to choose whether or not to maintain health insurance coverage.

According to the mandate, individuals who do not receive coverage either through their employer or seek it out themselves would have to pay a penalty. The insurance mandate does not take effect until 2014, however, so ample time remains for appeals and litigation.

This case is expected to ultimately arrive before the Supreme Court on appeal at which point the final decision regarding its constitutionality will be decided.

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