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Second Judge Rules Health Mandate Unconstitutional

Judge Roger Vinson of Florida, a Reagan appointee, also said that the law should remain in effect through appeal, and upheld a requirement for states to pay Medicaid costs.

A Florida judge ruled today that Congress overstepped its bounds in the healthcare reform act by requiring that Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson joins Judge Henry E. Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia in criticizing that mandate.

While Vinson said that the law should remain as is through the appeal process, he also said that the entire law should be struck down if appellate judges agree that the requirement is unconstitutional.

From The New York Times:

In a 78-page opinion, Judge Vinson held that the insurance requirement exceeds the regulatory powers granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Judge Vinson wrote that the provision could not be rescued by an associated clause in Article I that gives Congress broad authority to make laws “necessary and proper” to carrying out its designated responsibilities.

Vinson ruled in favor of the Obama administration, the Times added, in deciding that the federal government could require states to pay part of a Medicaid expansion.

"Judge Vinson, the first judge to address that question, dismissed the contention that states were being illegally commandeered by the federal government. He said they always have the option, however impractical, to withdraw from Medicaid, a joint state and federal insurance program for those with low-incomes," the Times said.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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