BREAKING: Virginia federal judge rules federal health care reform unconstitutional
By Kyle Maichle
RICHMOND, Virginia: Federal judge Henry Hudson ruled that portions of the Affordable Patient Protection Act of 2009, also known as the federal health care reform law, were unconstitutional on Monday, December 13th, 2010.
The judge struck down the individual mandate provision in the law that requires all individuals by 2014 to buy health insurance. In the ruling, Hudson said that the individual mandate “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.” However, the judge did not rule on blocking implementation of the law until a higher court rules on it. Hudson also said in the ruling, "the final word will undoubtedly reside with a higher court." Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sued U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Seibelius after Governor Bob McDonnell signed a law that would bar Virginians from being forced to buy health insurance.
Officials for President Barack Obama's Administration argued that cutting the individual mandate would increase the number of uninsured Americans along with preventing individuals with pre-existing conditions from getting insurance. Under the health care reform law, no person can be denied coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition. The Obama Administration is expected to appeal the ruling to the Richmond, Virginia-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judge Hudson's ruling is the first ruling to strike down any provision of the health care reform law. Other cases pending against the health care reform law include one in Florida filed by 20 states in addition to 4 other cases filed in different federal courts. A total of 20 cases have been filed in federal courts nationwide challenging health care reform.