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. AL


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

      Apparently you are very upset, so upset that you have forggoten that communism and socialism are two very different things. Perhaps instead of CAPS yelling on CNN you should go and get a home in the woods without any services such as running water, sewage, road access, or electricity if you are so staunchly against government services...just a thought.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      tea party terrorist...

      August 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ?

      Ladies and gentlemen – A fine example of an underfunded educational system. Thanks again cons!

      August 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Dear AL. You talk good. Keep up the good work slugger. *eyeroll*

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

    Good. It wasn't healthcare reform, it was insurance reform, and all those reforms should have been there to begin with. I hope this plan gets totally blown out of the water. Then maybe if Obamacare is repealed and companies STILL send jobs overseas and healthcare costs keep increasing, people get thrown off their policies and get turned down for pre-existing conditions, no one can blame Obamacare anymore. Maybe then, with enough people suffering, we'll finally get a single payer system.

    This country is getting what it deserves. Cut, cut, cut. Keep your government hands off my [everything], no taxes. What a bunch of mindless sheep we have become.We are the laughing stock of the world. I hope all you rednecks and teabaggers lose your medical coverage and your kids get cancer. Then see how you feel about single payer care.


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

      It's unreal how liberals lash out when they might not get what they want. Your statements are disgusting. Especially your second to last sentence. "Let's tone down the divisive rhetoric", isnt' that what liberals were saying when the Tea Party gained a voice?

      Can you explain how, exactly, a single payer system would bring costs down? What exactly is raising the actual cost of healthcare?

      August 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike in Montana

    Let's be honest with ourselves, ObamaCare was NOT that good in the first place. When Senator Max Baucus, D-Montana, came up with the health care bill, that should have told us something right there.., it wouldn't work, especially in the judicial system. ObamaCare has to many flaws.., especially for people that cannot afford to buy health care insurance. ObamaCare is somewhat of a nightmare to the middle-class and poor.., or is the middle-class becoming the poor. Senator Max Baucus can barely tie his own shoes, let alone, to come up with a excellent health care bill for all citizens of the United States and affordable for all. The Judge is right on this one.. Mike in Montana

    August 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Perhaps...but at least it was something and a great deal more than the Republicans / tea baggers had to offer...

      August 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Allen

    If someone truly needs help then medicaid is there for them. Obamacare was not medicare. Many Americans have seemed to have lost the determination to be self reliant. They whine about having this wrong or that is bothering them. What happened to the backbone that Americans used to have? There was a time that Grandpa would harp about walking 10 miles to school uphill both ways, he cut his pointer finger off in a hay bailer and stopped the flow of blood with some twine. He would proudly say he still completed his day of work and went home to Grandma. Today our kids get a ride 10 blocks to school and people complain that the government is not giving them free aspirin.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mb2010a

    Inquiring minds would like to know which parts are they referring to?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AGallon

    Ninja: If you have to lie down or pass every 4 hours for health reasons, consider a government job. Your going prone in a cubicle for 1/2 the day will be no problem. As a matter of fact, unless you tell someone, no one will be the wiser.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Perr

    Finally some sanity. Next we will all be required to buy a Chevy.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Compromise

    I want to see the judges birth certificate!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marianne Stefanik

    Money talks!!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    any kind of health care reform that deems my child ABLE to receive it for having AUTISM a pre existing condition is FANTASTIC with me. i'm middle class and the healthcare reform isn't the problem the HEALTHCARE INSURANCE INDUSTRY is the ISSUE!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rich

    They call it a fee, call it a tax like they do in MA, this will avoid any issues. It is the same like telling people they have to buy car insurance! It is funny, if you have a job or health insurance everything Obama does is wrong, socialism, but once you lose your job or insurance then it is right, we need it!

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

      It's not the same as car insurance, you don't have to drive a car. Buy forcing people to purchase health insurance, you are essentially making them pay to exist.

      Unfortunately, I worked hard to have my career and if Obamacare is implemented, my company will be forced to drop our health benefits plan because it will be entirely too expensive (small business but more than 50 employees).

      August 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ron B

    Good, now we can go back to insurance companies being able to dump anyone who gets sick......... Power to the insurance companies...... Long live corporate greed!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    Obamacare is hurting small businesses in simplicity; if management can't afford insurance, how can the government expect the hired help to get it?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • J2

      Yeah because companies all over America have raised insurances rates and / or dropped their coverage completely. Get real. Instead of letting people think for you. Start doing your own research.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim

    as far as i'm concerned, i don't want the health care law if it doesn't include the public option. Another example of the president compromising too much with the republicans. He needs to show he has the ba**s to ask and get what he wants. Otherwise i'm not voting for him next time. I don't want a weak, always compromising, no ba**s, kumbaya singing president. " guts, no glory".

    August 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J

    The insurance company lobby and the CEO's whose bonuses are based on increased profit through reduced loss would like to thank you all., These wonderful profits have only been possible by denying claims, dropping high risk subscribers, and raising premiums regularly. Thankfully the millions spent by big insurance companies fighting against a plan that would insure everyone like the rest of the developed countries in the world is paying off. Keep believing what they tell you America, It's really for your own good you know...

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