Healthcare Reform 104
What does the lawsuit mean?
The Healthcare Reform Act, signed into law March 30, 2010 is a complex document which will take several years to fully unfold and develop. And it may not come to fruition.
Currently 26 states have joined a Florida lawsuit that attacks the law as unconstitutional. Whether or not the suit is successful, it will be costly for all involved.
And it will slow the process of healthcare reform in the United States.
In January six states joined the lawsuit. They were Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Maine. States that have already joined the suit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington. Virginia did not join the Florida lawsuit, but filed its own lawsuit. Oklahoma stated its intention to file its own lawsuit also.
In these cases, both states have laws which forbid individuals from being forced to carry health insurance.
Healthcare Reform Lawsuit
The 10th Amendment and the Constituition
The core contention of states joining the lawsuit against the Healthcare Reform Act is that Congress has no authority under the US Constitution to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
As stated in previous hubs, the health insurance mandate is a linchpin (cohesive source of support and stability) of the reform act. While this mandate is central to the healthcare plan, it remains the most controversial of the provisions.
In addition to the insurance mandate, states contend that the Healthcare Reform Act violates their 10th Amendment rights. The tenth amendment provides that powers not granted to the federal government, and not prohibited by states' individual constitutions, are reserved to the states or the people.
The states in the lawsuit contend that the law forces them to subsidize costly Medicaid expansion, which necessitates cuts from other critical programs.
On January 31, 2011, US District Judge Roger Vinson stated, "I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate." Vinson declared the entire law to be void because "the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable" from the law. He expressed regret for what he believes go be a necessary decision. "Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the constitution."
The issue will likely be appealed by the Obama administration, and is expected to eventually end up before the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, Americans wait for real healthcare reform.
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