VA Judge Rules against Obama Mandatory Health Insurance
U.S. district judge Henry E. Hudson of Virginia
ruled on December 13th that it is unconstitutional to force all Americans to purchase health insurance
Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, filed the suit on the basis that the Minimal Essential Coverage Provision of Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
is in violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
While Cuccinelli argued that decisions on whether or not to purchase medical insurance can not be considered commerce, Lawyers for the Department of Justice countered that all Americans take part in the health care system at some point in their lives and thus Congress has the right to regulate it.
Both sides believe the matter will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
Hudson concluded that the provision would invite un-checked exercise of federal power. He believed the core issue at stake is not health care insurance, but the individual’s right to choose whether or not to participate.
Hudson is the first judge to rule against the health insurance mandate which has already been upheld by two other judges in Virginia and Michigan. Other lawsuits are still pending including a 20 state lawsuit filed in a Florida court.
Even though Virginia has state laws stating that residents can not be forced to buy health insurance, the state has been moving forward on meeting requirements of the Health Reform Act that are slated to go into effect in 2011.
While Obama intended for the measure to help millions of uninsured Americans get appropriate and affordable medical care, many critics are opposed to a system that forces consumers to purchase insurance that they might not need or be able to afford.
Figures show that almost 45 million American’s are uninsured, nearly 15% of the population. These people typically allow medical issues to worsen and eventually use emergency services as their primary source of medical care. Obama hopes the increase in insured persons lightens the burden on emergency care providers. Last year US government was forced to cover over $40 billion dollars a year in unpaid medical costs.