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. aquart

    Democrats, this is why we have to show up for every election no matter how small, no matter how betrayed we feel. We cannot let them continue to monopolize judgeships.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      You are sooooo right!!!

      August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tcaud

      Our choices are clear: left leaners must reign in the Right by showing up at the ballot box, or face the disaster of civil war. If you don't like the candidates the dems give you, RUN YOUR OWN.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • lois richards

      Right on...everyone needs to vote the people who want us to be a third world country leaving the sick, poor and old people to die should wake up!

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

      I don't think they do monopolize judgeships. I wish they did though.

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

      Why just Democrats? Why not Americans? I find your post devisive and that is what is destroying America. Having said that..I am not sure why the judicial branch gets to over rule Congress and the President. I know I probably need to go to a civics's been a while.
      American's need to know that the people who are fighting against this most are the Health Insurance companies. They are putting a lot of misinformation out there! We are enslaved to them now...Obama care is our only way out. I did not vote for Obama and I am not his biggest fan, but Obama care is important for our people!

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

      Actually TCaud, do your homework, during the civil war, the south was led by a DEMOCRAT, not a republican. Look at the facts:

      I love hearing Left Leaners go on about the "Racist Republicans" when in fact, (since you brought up the civil war) Abraham Lincoln was a repbulican, and the vast majority of politicians who supported and or introduced/ratified things like Jim Crow laws were in fact Democrats. Have fun researching the truth. Stop letting others fill your mouth with their opinions and learn your own facts.

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

      If you don't know why the Judicial Branch can rule over Congress/The President, you shouldn't be in the USA

      August 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      To the other Robert. The one talking about doing your homework. The names of parties have changes numerous times throughout this country's history. Just because Lincoln was a republican does not mean he stands for the same political ideologies that republicans do today. Maybe you should do a little bit of homework yourself before you just start blasting people.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Robert, he wasn't talking about THE civil war... he was talking about A civil war. I never use the abbreviation for "shaking my head" but... geez. SMH.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @the "Other" Other Robert
      Seriously? Maybe I should start doing my homework? Do you honestly want me to try to prove to you that Abe Lincoln, a man born in the 1860's was somehow less of a conservative than todays republicans? I won't even dignify that with a link!

      August 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • michaelfury

      August 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @ the other Robert again. Please send me the link!!!!

      August 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cali

      by today's standards, Lincoln would have been considered a moderate, Reagan would have been considered a progressive. Neither of them would be considered conservative. and if you really want to talk about the civil war, the part of the civil war that everyone forgets about it that the south was a champion for states rights. they wanted strong state governments and a weak central government. this is still a mantra of the GOP/TP. they want a small and weak central governments and they want the states to rule themselves.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • iHateStupid

      You're an idiot, the Federal Courts do have a left-of-center advantage in the courts. Hypocrite.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • slider

      Fact...2 of the judges were appointed by Clinton.

      August 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ProudVeteran

    One more for liberty & for taxpayers!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another Proud Veteran (Doctor)

      If ProudVeteran loses his or her job, and is not eligible for Medicare, then what? Why all the pushback from those that should know better? ProudVeteran may be eligible for Tricare, but all veterans won't be and some sort of universal health care is essential, unless the theory is that if you can't afford it you should die.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • taffd

      and long life to rich republicans and death to the poor!! Yay!

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

      Why the pushback? Why don't people like Obamacare? Because - as shown by the history of similar plans - it will increase cost and decrease the quality of care.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • J2

      @ Bob

      Where are you getting your numbers? Like every conservative you just parrot what you hear from Glenn Beck.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @Another Proud...

      "unless the theory is that if you can't afford it you should die" This is just plain fearmongering. Stop trying to poison the atmosphere. If you go to an emergency room and don't have a dime to your name, they MUST care for you regardless FREE of charge. That's not obamacare. Here are the facts:

      A federal law was passed in 1986 to prohibit a practice commonly known as "patient dumping" and it gives you the right to emergency care regardless of your ability to pay.

      I don't know about you, but the "you should die" part of what you reference likely falls into the emergency category.

      Read on here:

      The problem with Obamacare is that it doesn't address the core problem of the COST of healthcare – which is still ludicrously high and will stay that way with things like Obamacare in place.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      A few countries that are way ahead of us in life expectancy, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada (all single payer/universal healthcare). It does not seem like their quality of health insurance is effecting their life expectancy. Additionally, we spend at least 5% more of our GDP on health care than the countries I just listed. So like J2, where are you getting your numbers and facts from. Either you have none or you are just misinformed

      August 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Speaking on behalf of Bob, here are some numbers for you to read, but in the future, do your own research, it took me 3 minutes to find this for you, read and enlighten yourself.

      Please note that none of the above are Fox News or Glenn Beck. There is a silent majority out there that KNOWS what a bad thing this is.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @the "other" other robert
      Regarding my numbers, I presume you saw my other post just below yours. There are LOTS of numbers out there supporting what I posted. Regarding your comment of Life Expectancy equating to Healthcare, you're arguing apples and oranges my friend. Life Expectancy has far less to do with healthcare than it does with lifestyle choices – things like exercise and diet. All of the nations you listed are known for leading far healthier lives than the typical (myself included) Big Mac swilling american who would rather surf the internet than take a walk.

      Regarding the GDP outlay that America makes, I would suggest it's related to the lifestyle differences I listed above, in addition to a larger population than any of the countries that you listed. It's all relative.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @ the other Robert. Half your links are opinionated blogs. I understand that life expectancy is not directly associated with health insurance but if the government suggested you lower your salt intake you would cry a river about the government telling you what to eat.

      Your GDP arguement is just wrong. Our country is bigger, but so is our GDP. That is why it is a percentage and not a dollar amount.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • J2

      @ Robert

      For the record, I didn't ask you to google anything for me. You did that on your own buddy.

      I'm glad you know the power of Google but it still doesn't prove you know what you're talking about. It only proves that you can google your favorite conservative websites and use the copy and paste feature. Anyone can do that, even I can. So before you think you know your educated response, next time do 'your own research', as you put it, instead of generating random links to regurgitated jargon.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. DeniM

    Which parts?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • shmeckell

      If I had to guess I'd say the part about fining individuals for not buying something.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    In Obama's war on America, America has won! America has won! America has won! The center has held! The center has held! The center has held!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • CW

      Obama is pretty centrist.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      How is Obama at war with America? He is trying to give us the most affordable healthcare possible. If everyone was on single payer, premiums would be lower and our collective bargaining would be greater with drug and medical companies. Think about the basic concept of insurance. You pay into insurance in case you have an emergency but you hope you do not have to use it. The more people that pay into it the cheaper it is. You hardly seem like a centerist because they typically use the most logic, but you are just typing a one liner from the fox news machine.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby

      Yes CW Obama is centrist. he is somewhere between the far left and the extreme far left.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ban

      CW. You are crazy to think that.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoeSpislack

      Really? This is what you're bringing to the table? Obama has a war on America? What give you the right to only conceive of your views as American?

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

      Make no mistake it is not "Obama's war on America" it is the corporate war on America that is facilitated by every politician there is. As long as the only way to get reelected is to accept massive bribes I mean campaign donations from the corps this country will continue to be run without its best interests or those of the people at heart. Both parties are hopelessly corrupt and dance on the strings of their corporate owners.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another Proud Veteran (Doctor)

      Tom, stop parroting Fox "News". Obama is no more at war against America than are you. He is a citizen, born in America, is not a racist, and is a fairly centrist man. He is a good father, has only had one wife (how many Republican leaders can say that?), and he is concerned about all. He's just not in a position to say what many including I feel.
      If the g..dd..n Republicans would stop this asinine philosophy of being for Obama "failing" at the expense of all of us, maybe we could get some things done.
      Be grown ups people! You can't take your ball (the country) and go home if you don't like the game.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. K from AZ

    Finally, some common sense and a turn away from communism.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Since you're from AZ I accept the fact you don't actually know the meaning of 'communism'. Your state's education system just moved up to the 48th best in the nation.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      How is healthcare for everyone communist or socialist? Can you explain that?

      On a side note:

      I know that Americans throw around socialism like it is a bad word, but do you know anything about it? Have you ever been to a socialist country?
      Did you know: Switzerland is one of the richest countriesin the world by per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capitaGDP of $75,835. In 2010, Switzerlandhad the highest wealth per adult of any country in the world (with $372,692 foreach person). Switzerland also has one of the world's largest account balances asa percentage of GDP, only placing behind a few oil producing countries. Zurichand Geneva have respectively been ranked as the cities with the second andthird highest quality of life in the world. They are a socialist country.
      China, is a socialist country and although they have their flaws, their economy seems to be working pretty well.

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

      What are you smoking?? This is so far from communism wow are some of you in the Excited States a bit slow.

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

    I don't think I have time to read all that.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken


    August 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nelson

    It is funny that this ruling only get a one line notice.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    It's not over until it gets the partisan stamp of the "Supremely Activist" Court.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. us1776

    So, now we have appeals rulings all over the map on this.

    Obviously, this is all headed to the Supreme Court.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Iheartobama

    Yes aquart we cannot let them monopolize judgeships, just like the 9th district court in happy San Fran-pycho. How is the "change" treating everyone?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. God

    K from AZ is confusing communism with compassion

    August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • silvershado

      No. Taking money from those who earned it and giving it to those who didn't is Red.

      The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. – Aristotle

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

      What about money that WASN'T "earned" but made through exploitation of labor and manipulation of prices via a Communist dictatorship? Start looking up quotes about hypocrisy and willful ignorance, silvershado.

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

      Like taking away one of your family members' right to live because they can't afford their own healthcare or medication. Nice name since this "God" person was supposedly for everything that you're so against. Compassion and care for those in need (your neighbor) is kind of paramount in the book you call "the Bible."

      August 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • whodacares

      Sorry God, I mistook your comment for silvershado's. Carry on in your ways.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Mandating that insurance policies must cover certain areas, whether the buyer would want it or not. Mandating that all people must buy a certain product. Writing rules such that many employers eliminate coverage for their employees. Restricting choices. All this in not compassion.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Being against Obamacare certainly does not mean that one is lacking in compassion or care for others, and certainly does not mean that one wants others to die.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gezellig

    Didn't you read the article? It said the key parts. No seriously, all this he said/she said from the lower courts is not all that important; as the Supreme Court will make the final decision.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gezellig

      Oops, meant to be a reply to DeniM. I suspect this is breaking news, hence the short treatment. It will be interesting to see what parts were objected to. As for the Supreme Court being activist, isn't it interesting how people want the court to interpret the law in their favor, and only object to them being activist when they rule against their position?

      August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ban

    My good day has been made better.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J

    Good to hear there are some people that still feel that they need to work for what they earn.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • J2

      Uhh, you can't work for what you earn if you have cancer, guy. Just sayin.

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

      You're right, you can't work for what you earn when you have cancer – that's why there's insurance that you pay for YOURSELF while you ARE healthy enough to work. You see, you purchase this thing called insurance, that way when you get cancer and are so sick that you cannot work, your insurance kicks in and you don't have to work to receive care while you're getting your treatments. Just sayin.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Robert... It's all so simple isn't it? Too bad there are a lot of people in this country who DO work and yet STILL can't afford health insurance. Just sayin.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • J2

      @ Robert

      Blah blah blah.

      Yeah, I could go to work and pay for insurance. Right, but when I get Cancer I'm not actually working, so where does your logic fit in? Have you ever been slapped ten thousand dollar treatment bill before that your 'insurance' couldn't cover? No? I didn't think so. Just sayin.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
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