A U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower court’s ruling that concluded Congress did not overstep its authority by passing President Barack Obama’s health care law. Drawing the question is the section that requires Americans to secure health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The penalty is set to begin in 2014.
The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by evangelist Pat Robertson, brought the suit to the Washington court. There have been a variety challenges presented throughout the country and the rulings have varied as well. The decision of this particular court sends a strong message because the consensus among the law’s opponents was that the conservative-leaning court offered the best chance of scoring a ruling against the national health care plan.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to accept appeals from some of the rulings and resolve the constitutionality of the health care law.
As the Associated Press reported, Judge Laurence Silberman, appointed by President Ronald Reagan wrote in the court’s opinion, “That a direct requirement for most Americans to purchase any product or service seems an intrusive exercise of legislative power surely explains why Congress has not used this authority before — but that seems to us a political judgment rather than a recognition of constitutional limitations.”
The opinion went on to say, “The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who worked for and was appointed by President George W. Bush, disagreed with the conclusion without taking a position on the merits of the law. His opinion argued that the court has no jurisdiction to review the health care mandate until after it takes effect in 2014, AP reports.
Among the other courts that have reviewed and commented on suits, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the law, while an Atlanta court struck down provision that Americans buy health insurance or be penalized. However, it upheld the rest of the law. An appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled it was premature to decide the law’s constitutionality until after it goes into effect.
The White House is optimistic that the health care law will stand.
“People who make a decision to forego health insurance do not opt out of the health care market,” wrote, Stephanie Cutter, an Obama advisor, in a recent White House blog post. “Their action is not felt by themselves alone. Instead, when they become ill or injured and cannot pay their bills, their costs are shifted to others. Those costs — $43 billion in 2008 alone — are borne by doctors, hospitals, insured individuals, taxpayers and small businesses throughout the nation.”
Source: Associated Press, The White House