Since the United States House of Representatives and Senate passed President Barack Obama’s health care initiative Affordable Care Act (ACA), dubbed by many as “Obamacare” last spring, judges all over the country have ruled either that the mandate is constitutional or unconstitutional.
In January, Florida Judge Roger Vinson of Pensacola, ruled that the mandate to require U.S. citizens to buy health insurance is unconstitutional and the entire law must be made void because it does not fit within the parameters of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, according to the Politico.
“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate,” wrote the U.S. District Judge, reports Reuters. “That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.”
The full summary can be viewed here.
The New York Post reports that Vinson has urged the Obama administration to seek a higher court to review the national health care law.
According to Fox News, Florida Governor Rick Scott commended Vinson’s decision and said that the judge’s decision has now confirmed what many Americans suspected: “ObamaCare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people.”
Prior to his election victory in November, Scott was one of the leaders to accuse the mandate of being unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, Department of Justice spokesperson Tracy Schmaler said the department is already planning to issue an appeal to Vinson’s ruling, reports the Associated Press. Schmaler said that the department disagrees with his ruling because they believe ACA is constitutional.
“There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing this law and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal,” said Schmaler. “We are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any – including seeking a stay – are necessary while the appeal is pending to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides, that the millions of children and adults who depend on Medicaid programs receive the care the law requires, and that the millions of seniors on Medicare receive the benefits they need.”
In the end, though, it is expected that majority of the rulings across the U.S. will ultimately lead to the Supreme Court, notes MSNBC.