August 12th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Parts of health care law ruled unconstitutional

A federal appeals court has tossed out key provisions of the sweeping healthcare reform bill championed by President Obama, setting up a likely election-year showdown at the Supreme Court over the landmark legislation.

A divided 2-1 panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Friday found the law's "individual mandate" section, requiring nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties - was an improper exercise of federal authority.

"The individual mandate exceeds Congress's enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional," wrote Chief Judge Joel Dubina. "This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives."

Significantly, the court concluded even though that key section to be unconstitutional, the entire law need not be set aside. In fact, the judges said law's expansion of the federal Medicaid program was constitutional, since states - which administer it - would not bear "the costs of the program's amplified enrollments."

This appeal resulted from in a massive lawsuit brought by Florida and 25 other states opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Filed under: Health • Health Care • Health care reform
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Great news!!! To bad Barack, your socialist healthcare plan didnt work out.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louie D.

      Please specify what is "socialist" about the healthcare law. Extra points if you actually know what Socialism is.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Red Soxer

      ... unless of course his administration appeals the ruling.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MS

      If I'm getting it's "what I deserve"

      If they're getting it's "socialism"

      August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenMaine

      Socialism? I think you need to retake your level I history class over again. Stop believing everything you hear on Faux news or from Michelle Bachmann....they are both ignorant.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tennyson98

      citizenMaine – Thank you.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 1termlimits

    American companies have over 2 trillion in profits over the last two years. No one is hiring becasue of the Mess they call "Obama Care". Until it's fully repealed we will continue to see 9 to 10% unemployment, if not higher! Until we get our budget mess in order and more people back to work, we just plain stuck. We need to make our congress understand that they need to pay attention to the VOTERS and not the lobbyists! Time to take back AMERICA and lets start with Term Limits!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BB

      That is not why no one is hiring you are limited in your knowledge if you think that is the case.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • For Serious

      No one is hiring because of a health care law? That's like saying the NFL lockout was because of the Cowboys Thanksgiving game. Technically it was an issue, but how FAR down the list is it? I'll give you a hint...very.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Well, my company has 60 employees, we are still hiring, we already have a healthcare plan for our employees, and Obamacare's effect will be negligible. And that's pretty typical. This is just overblown by the Republicans.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimo

      Making up your own facts? If industry is sitting on two trillion, then tell me why we need tax breaks for the rich.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenMaine

      1termer.....interesting conclusion although you are totally out-to-lunch. The private sector in the US is not hiring for a few reasons...and Obama's healthcare reform program is NOT one of them:
      1) There is a lack of confidence in the overall economy and CEO's don't want to be stuck in a position of laying off workers...it's fear of an already soft economy in the private sector.
      2) US Corporations are not only allowed but are still being encouraged to expand operations in Chna, India, Vietnam, and etc... instead of in the US because we have a totally broken government trade policy. Even the Chinese thinbk we are totally crazy to let other countries take out jobs. Free trade is killing us...it needs to be fair trade....which requires a longer discussion than you can handle.
      3) SME companies can't get capital to expand operations....the big banks aren't lending to Main Street – PERIOD! This will continue for as long as we don't break up the big banks and for as long as we don't bring back Glass-Steagall.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BB

    Another activist judge, depending on which side of the isle their political views are determines their decisions, so what is new. Really, what a bunch of judicial bullsh_t!!!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. merchgirl1

    what needs to GO AWAY are the BUSH TAX CUTS- people seem to forget BUSH made are economy bad and handed it off to Obama- NO ONE republican or democrat is going to be able to fix his mess in one term

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iheartobama

      Amen. Bill Clinton had nothing to do with this right? Oh, you will probably talk about the "surplus" that Clinton had. You do understand that the Fed should be running at net zero. If you have a surplus, it means they took to much from the people.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Friet

      When will you people accept responsibility for the current problems? It is happening on Barack Osama's watch.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BB

      Bush was given a surplus, did nothing to control spending, nothing to create jobs as they were disappearing and the economy was going down the tubes. He handed the debt created under his administration and a worsening economic outlook and economy to the poor, working poor, elderly, middle class and future generations while protecting his wealthy buddies and corporations. The mess he handed over took 8 years in the making and it is going to take a great deal longer to fix. No fast fixes here, everyone including the wealthy need to share the pain.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenMaine

      Amen brother...you got that right. The Bush tax cuts, especially the heavily reduced CAPEX tax rate of 15% is killing the economy.....why would anyone believe a deeply reduced Capital gains tax rate would create jobs? Capital gains is a resource EXTRACTION transaction....NOT a business expansion transaction...CAPEX pulls money from companies...it atually kills hiring and kills jobs. The CAPEX tax rate should go back up to 35% ASAP...or even better, take it to 50%.....and offset that with an INVESTMENT tax credit for all business expansion that happens in the USA and tied to Y-O-Y headcount increases.

      Then we have what I will call the WAR tax.....you hear that big ongoing sucking sound.....that is US capital being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan each month by the boat load. Here's a fact: it costs $ 1,200 per gallon of gasoline for our military in Afghanistan. Here's another fact: it costs $ 1 M per year to keep a foot soldier in Afghanistan.....making Afghanistan the most expensive war in history.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ninja

    If the law is repealed, I will probably die. I hope you Republican pro-lifers are happy.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      How did you survive before this? Just asking.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ban

      I am. The world is overpopulated and we have to tone it down. So making people live longer is a burden on mother nature.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      So if a law that has not been implemented and will not provide any benefits for many years is repealed, you will die. Is that at your own hand or is this metaphorical? Great hyperbole – sort of like the name you provide.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ninja

      I was under 18 before, then I turned 21, now I'm 23 and I have a chronic condition so if I lose my coverage it's gone...then I can't afford medication or rent because I can't work due to my condition, so I wind up homeless, then I wind up dying probably, so yeah.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      It is really pitiful that you see no alternative to a bloated, wasteful ober-bureaucracy funded by taking money at gunpoint from your fellow citizens.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Then what is the alternative Allen? While this health care reform might not have been perfect, you have to admit something needed to change.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AnotherJudicialConsolidation

    Hum... Again the Judiciary attempts to usurp the checks-and-balances powers of legislative and executive branches.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ban

      It is part of the checks and balances process. Take a middle school government why don't you.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • westgang

      hmmm. I thought the judicial branch was a part of the "checks and balance" system our government is built on. You learn something new everyday...

      August 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bigred

    The party's not over until the Supreme Court makes its rulings in due time.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Red Soxer

      Exactly...

      August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GJGVT

    @BellaBiv – you have NO IDEA what you are talking about? somehow the healthcare law is causing job losses? If anything, healthcare companies are HIRING out of control – you obviously have NO IDEA what you are talking about, but I picked that up quite easily from your Fox News/Rush Limbaugh post.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. whodacares

    Yes, 1termlimits. You truly are a brilliant economist.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dutspup

    doesnt count, he cheated on his bar exam

    August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      DOES TYPING IN CAPS AFFECT YOUR GRAMMAR OR ARE YOU DRUNK?

      August 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. America83

    Shouldn't most of the people delcaring this a "victory" (Supreme Court here we come) be reading Fox news or watching Jerry Springer?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ct

    Welcome Georgia. You will now be known as Terrorist and Racist.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ninja

      already racist

      August 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenMaine

      Racism has been their state motto from the beginning.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Perr

    Finally some sanity. I figured the next move was to require everyone to buy a Chevrolet.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenMaine

      Or to require everybody to buy car insurance...or require everybody to buy fire insurance for their mortgaged homes...or require everybody to pay taxes....or require everybody pay telecom tariffs.....or require everybody to pay taxes to fund the military...or require everybody to fund highways for trucking companies that pay their fair share for chewing up the roads...

      August 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JRG701

    Now all the AAA credit rated countries have universal health care ... mmmm

    August 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AmazedinVA

    There goes the "liberal" media again prominently covering court cases against Obamacare. You never hear about the cases where the courts uphold Obamacare. Why is that?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
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