Federal Appeals Court Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional
August 17, 2011
On August 12, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled that the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is unconstitutional. This is the second federal appellate court to rule on the issue. In June, the 6th Circuit federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
With two federal courts split on whether the federal government exceeded its authority in including the individual mandate in PPACA, it seems increasingly likely that this issue will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, possibly in the fall term with a decision in 2012.
The provision requiring all Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty has been at the center of the legal debate. Although the 11th Circuit found the individual mandate unconstitutional, it also held that this provision is “severable” from the rest of the legislation. This means the individual mandate could be struck down, but the rest of the law would stand. The lower federal court had ruled that the mandate was not severable, which would have thereby invalidated the entire PPACA.
The ruling from the 4th Circuit court in Richmond, VA is expected in the near future. "
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