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. Jerry

    We already have socialised health care, who do you think pays for the health care for all the congressmen and senators.

    August 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AGallon

    The vote was 2-1. Judge #2 was a democrat, appointed by Clinton. Finally, a democrat who is not unreasonable.

    August 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Drew

    As a fan of the health care law as presented to congress I actually don't have a problem with this. I never liked the mandate, and Max Baukus is a dick for suggesting it.

    August 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 009

    @ Ninja:
    If the health-care law is repealed, you won't die for lack of treatment.
    If you are disabled and cannot work, you may not be able to keep all of your assets and still get massive amounts of medical treatment.
    That's why we have Medicaid, public housing, and other social programs: to keep the unfortunate alive.
    The programs are not to make the unfortunate and disabled rich.

    August 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. s kel

    ok we lost, so what it was a good fight and there will be more,yeah im upset, but thats what makes this nation great, win some ,lose some, I love America, (still totally dislike the tea party) but I love this country. And yes im a democrat.

    August 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. edged

    Well you pay for it up front and legitimately or you pay for all of the people who choose not to have healthcare and then get free care from the emergency room. the second way comes more indirectly, but which sounds more like socialism?

    August 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    @US Citizen: seriously you would ask that? Well then to answer-no, the Supreme Court is the law of the land.

    August 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dman

    Thank goodness- finally starting to make the general public (that relies on continual government support fro everything from public housing to free all inclusive mobile phone – yes) gets set back to where they belong, lower class. We need to become a country in which working hard pays off – as opposed to – not working hard gets you everything you want. Fueling lack of desire (government support) will put this country into the bottom tier of everything from education to financial stability.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john

    @Tennyson98: Roads are a socialist idea? What? Most roads are built by communities as the population grows and more businesses are built, many times the businesses have to help pay for building the roads-that's called capitalism not socialism. The Federal Government only funds interstate highways and most of those were built to transport troops and machinery, they were later co opted for civilian travel but that wasn't the original intent for them.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john

    @Robert: it's also criminal how much hospitals charge for services rendered. I just had a bout with a kidney stone that they had to go in to pull out so far my bills are up to 14grand and still rolling in. That's outrageous in the extreme.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gung hoe

    Bye bye obamacare well not totally as of yet That comes after the election

    August 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john

    BTW I had passed the stone the morning of the surgery but since I could drink any water to use the restroom I didn't know. Point is they didn't even have to pull the stone out, they did however leave another stone in each kidney which I'll end up having problems with later. If I'd been allowed to write my own prescriptions I could've saved myself and my insurance company a lot of money-not that my insurance company is paying very much since they've denied 85% of the claims so far. Again-criminal.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. john

    Could not drink any water, sorry. My insurance policy is supposed to be an out of pocket maximum of 6grand but by their fuzzy math in order to hit that 6grand I will have to pay out 60grand. Oh I should also mention that the hospital I went to receives a god awful amount of money from the state taxpayers like me to keep their charges low. Sound like they did that? No.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shirley Acebedo

    We need to vote all the Tea Party candidates, many Republicans and a few democrats out of office. Let's get rid of every congressman in both the State and Federal Government who wants to keep the Bush Tax Cuts for all people. In a short time if we let it expire, we could pay the debt way down and then be able to maintain Social Security and Medicare and the bill that was passed during Obama's first year in office. We need to ask every man running for office if they want to get rid of Social Security and then act accordingly.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gung hoe

    Hows that hope and change working for you

    August 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tea party is over

      It was hi-jacked by some christian fundamentalist for a while and then people started wising up and found out they really were not christians just prejudice hate mongers, with no real ideas if it wasn't taking from the middle class, lining the pockets of the rich and bambozaling people with weak minds.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
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