Virginia Federal Judge Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional Appeal to Supreme Court Likely
December 13, 2010
On Dec. 13, 2010, a Virginia federal judge declared the “individual mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) unconstitutional, ruling that the government cannot require Americans to purchase health insurance starting in 2014. The case is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court, a sentiment echoed by the ruling judge. "…this will certainly not be the final word,” said U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson.
This is the first federal district court decision against the individual mandate. Two earlier decisions in Virginia and Michigan found the mandate constitutional. Other cases are pending including one in Florida filed by 20 states. Several other lawsuits have been dismissed.
Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, has urged President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to request that the Supreme Court hear the appeal directly, bypassing the appellate court.
Under the PPACA, starting in 2014, individuals must be enrolled in a health insurance plan that meets basic minimum standards. Health care exchanges, also starting in 2014, will provide a new insurance marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy qualified health benefit plans.
As the individual mandate is not effective until 2014, the Dec. 13 Virginia ruling has no immediate impact.
It’s unknown if the Supreme Court will agree to bypass the federal appeals courts and hear the appeal of this and the other federal court decisions. Either way, it’s likely to be some time before there’s a final decision. For updated information as the case progresses, please visit www.informedonreform.com.