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. A from Boston

    America 40 million people without health insurance and the Christian right is thrilled. What hypocrites! How UnAmerican!

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

      They only care about you when you're a fetus. Once you are born, you're on your own.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. K from TN

    It amazes me how individuals believe that the governement should NOT be involved in healthcare and should not provide universal coverage. I would recommend all those not supporting government involvement, please turn your Medicare and Medicaid cards back in to the government and fine your own insurance. Stop speaking on both sides of the argument, either you are for government involvement or not. I am sure there are many republicans on Medicade and Medicare. How about all those Tea Party folks on Medicare and Medicaid.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joseph

    What an informative and deep article. Keep up the great journalistic integrity CNN!

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


    August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. William

    Why would this be a surprise to anyone? I mean in what world could we be America and Communist Russia at the same time. When the GOV. can tell you what to buy and dictate to you what you will do then their is no longer an America just communist Russia.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BK

    aquart, you do realize that Judge Frank Hull is a woman and was nominated by Clinton, right? Just want to be sure about that before we all jump to the conclusion that this is some "Good Old Boy conspiracy" between Republican judges.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AZRuSure

    This is just to bad for so many Americans. Another victory for the Insurance companies and big Pharma. For millions this will be little or no access to health services, now or in the future. For all you young folks and those with health care... G bless you ... but remember you to could loose your job and Yes you will get older... Taking care of all of us really is a team effort. The folks at Atnea, blue cross etc.. just toasted the wine... They will make millions more now that they can turn away the sick and make beggers out of hard working men and women around this nation. If you think your health care costs and premiunms will go down think again... this is truly tragic!!!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. oake

    Obama is a LOSER just like every SOCIALIST program he promotes!!!! Send his scrawny butt back home where it belongs- Kenya, of course!!!!!!

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

      Your argument, along with your severe overuse of the exclamation point, paint a vivid picture of your level of intelligence.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tennyson98

      Wow. Did you use all that grey matter get that thought out? You should just stop; I don’t want you to hurt yourself with all the thinking. I know the Google on that internet machine is tough stuff. Go back to being ignorant. When you understand what being socialist really means then you can have opinion. Another example of the quality citizen who used the Google on that internet machine. And lets be honest where is your family from, not from america unless you are an american indian. We all come from somewhere else.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    The "little guy" takes another "hit." Next will be legislation that eliminates Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and relieves wealthy corporations from paying any taxes because they are the "job creators." Oooops – I forgot, they already don't pay taxes. Silly me.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ash1

    Communism? What a bleeping joke. Our country is broke and the government continues to let health care companies increase our premiums and walk away with huge profits. The heath care companies don't pay taxes, they don't create jobs, matter of fact, they are cutting jobs. The people that are complaining about this bill already have health care coverage. Just wait until you old farts get older and need it and you cannot afford it....your time is coming..

    August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ed

    To the first comment what do you want more free handouts I worked 26 years for my health care paid for ot every month
    And the bill made mine go up yea real help for the working people

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

      News flash: Health insurance costs are constantly going up regardless of this bill.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Burton3696

    This is GREAT news! Now...The Supreme Court needs to drive the "Final Nail" in this Monster Mess!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. p

    good! now lets end soc sec, medicare and m/a. oh wait the gop love those social plan created by the dems.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tippycanoe

    Didn't the Congress pass this law? No matter what you call it, it is still the law of the land until the Supreme Court rules.

    There have been a couple of other federal appeals courts that have ruled otherwise.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DaveH

    @Greg, I completely agree! We need to work together in this country and not against one another. That is the real problem in America right now, and it comes from the people not just the politicians. We have become so fractured and intolerant that no progress is being made in any way. I don't necessarily hold the govt at fault, the people of this country are to blame since so many folks are unwilling to see someone else's opinion in a constructive way.

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