Today, US District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the key requirement in the new Healthcare Reform Law. The “individual mandate requirement” which provides for a penalty to be assessed to a citizen who does not purchase or carry health insurance as the law mandates.
Hudson indicated in his brief, “An individual’s personal decision to purchase — or decline purchase — (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution,” Hudson wrote. “No specifically constitutional authority exists to mandate the purchase of health insurance. Despite the laudable intentions of Congress in enacting a comprehensive and transformative health care regime, the legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds,” Hudson added. “Salutatory goals and creative drafting have never been sufficient to offset an absence of enumerated powers.”
Without this requirement healthcare reform is likely to fail as the premise and funding for the healthcare reform solution was based on every citizen being included in the pool of insured. This is one of twenty cases brought by the attorney general’s of various states in an effort to derail the reform law. Two of the cases have already been heard and no parts struck down. The Department of Justice is now reviewing its options and determining what its next steps are. Expectations are they will have the President request an expedited appeal to have the case brought before the Supreme Court in the very near future.
Virginia lawmakers contend the Commerce Clause in our Constitution does not give our government the authority to impose this penalty that the individuals may not want, need or are able to pay for. Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had this to say, “”Ultimately, we must ensure that no American will be forced by the federal government to purchase health insurance they may not need, want, or be able to afford. In this challenging environment, we must not burden our states, employers, and families with the costs and uncertainty created by this unconstitutional law, and we must take all steps to resolve this issue immediately.”
Department of Justice officials are optimistic, despite this setback, that the law will be found constitutional. In the meantime, the entire healthcare industry gets to wait to determine what the end result will be to this and many more legal challenges awaiting the law and its supporters.