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Suit Against Health Care to Move Forward
Suit Against Health Care to Move Forward

A challenge to the Obama administration’s health care law is able to move forward thanks to a federal judge, according to a New York Times article.

The federal judge, Henry E. Hudson, has refused to dismiss the challenge by Virginia’s Attorney General Ken T. Cuccinelli II, despite the administration’s request.

Mr. Cuccinelli argues that Congress exceeded its limits under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and tax powers by passing a measure that requires people to buy insurance or face a penalty otherwise. He also argued that the federal law was in violation with a state law, the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which declared that residents cannot be forced to buy health insurance, according the article.

Mr. Cuccinelli is one of 21 state officials fighting the health care law and finds himself in a very important case. His claim is the first ruling by a federal court on the question of whether states have the power or standing to sue.

The federal government, however, argues that Virginia cannot win the case and that it is unable to sue over the law.

The article notes that the federal government stated in their briefs that “this court would have to make new law and ignore decades of settled precedent and ‘step beyond the proper role of the judiciary’ to claim jurisdiction and block the legislation.” “Case after case has shown that the government’s powers to regulate interstate commerce and to create taxes reach far,” according to the article.

Judge Hudson isn’t so convinced. Judge Hudson, who was placed on the federal bench by President George W. Bush, wrote a 32-page opinion in which he states that the law “radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America,” as quoted in the article.

Judge Hudson also wrote that the case “raises a host of complex constitutional issues”; the idea that the government’s authority could incorporate “the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product” was novel to the federal courts, the judge concluded, and so the state’s objection could not be dismissed completely.

So, is this just a bureaucratic decision to allow the case to move forward? Will it withstand inspection of the court? The current administration is convinced that it has no chance.

Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman states, “We are confident that the health care reform statute is constitutional and that we will ultimately prevail.”

Whether or not this suit against the health care law prevails, we are sure to see more like it to come. With every case like this, we are closer to seeing this current health care law repealed and replaced.