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Obama Administration Fights To Save Healthcare Law

Lawyers for President Barack Obama go to court Tuesday to try to save the cornerstone of his healthcare overhaul, arguing that the requirement for Americans to buy insurance is constitutional.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will consider whether a lower court was correct in striking down the requirement. But they will not be the final arbiter in a fight that is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

Legal scholars see the case as pivotal because it is the first to have oral arguments before an appeals courts. That means its ruling could affect other courts and become the first challenge to the law to reach the high court.

The healthcare law, which requires Americans to buy insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, was a major victory for Obama, one that the Republican party is working to undo in the courts, statehouses and Congress.

Obama’s Republican opponents are expected to make the issue a theme during his 2012 re-election bid by arguing it is a costly and unnecessary government expansion.

The panel of judges — selected at random by a computer — turned out to have all been appointed by Democratic presidents, including two by Obama: James Wynn and Andre Davis. The third, Diana Motz, was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

Last year a Republican appointee, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, ruled that Congress exceeded its authority by forcing Americans to buy health insurance, a key piece of the law aimed at keeping premiums low through ensuring everyone buys coverage.

Virginia had passed a law barring the federal government from making its citizens buy health insurance.

The state filed a legal challenge arguing that the federal government cannot penalize citizens for not buying goods or services under the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.


3 Responses

  1. I voted for Judge Hudson in his first campaign for public office — local prosecutor in Arlington County, VA. Note that he ruled that every part of the Affordable Care Act save one was constitutional and could go into effect. If his ruling is upheld, the cost of health insurance won’t just go into orbit, it will go into interglactic space!

  2. Judge Hudson was right, people can’t be forced to buy health insurance.

    And the CBO showed that under ObamaCare, health care costs will skyrocket.

  3. #2,

    It is not clear that Judge Hudson was right; other Federal District Judges have ruled otherwise. And Congress passed a law in 1798 that required privately employed merchant seamen to purchase health insurance and that law was never invalidated by the courts.

    Health care costs are increasing with our without the Affordable Care Act. It is essential to get the freeloaders who don’t have insurance into the system, so that the rest of us can stop paying for their care.

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