Judge tosses challenge to Obama healthcare law

(Reuters) – A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the landmark healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, upholding key provisions that require health insurance coverage.

The challenge, one of several attempting to strike down the law passed earlier this year, was brought by the conservative Christian Liberty University and individuals who said the law would violate several parts of the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ruled that the law requiring individuals to buy health insurance coverage as well as requiring employers to buy coverage for their employees was legal under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Moon found that without the coverage requirements in the law, the cost of health insurance would increase because the number of insured individuals would decline, “precisely the harms that Congress sought to address with the Act’s regulatory measures.”

Further, interstate commerce would be hurt by large employers failing to offer adequate healthcare coverage, thus “the employer coverage provision is a lawful exercise of Congress’ Commerce Clause power,” said Moon, who was appointed by then-Democratic President Bill Clinton.

A lawyer for Liberty University, which was founded by conservative evangelical Jerry Falwell, said they will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and argued the law would be found unconstitutional.

“Congress does not have the authority to force every American to purchase a particular kind of health insurance product,” said Mathew Staver, who is dean of Liberty’s School of Law and runs Liberty Counsel, which represented the plaintiffs in the challenge.

ONE OF MANY CHALLENGES

The lawsuit is one of many challenging the healthcare law. The state of Virginia has filed its own challenge and 20 other states have sued to strike down the law in a federal court in Florida. Rulings are expected in the coming weeks and months.

Many of the challenges center on whether the federal government can regulate whether or not someone fails to buy a good or service under the Commerce Clause and whether the fines are a tax.

Even though Obama has said previously that the penalties would not function as a tax, the federal government has argued in court that they are and it is entitled to levy them. Opponents counter that they are punitive fines which the government is not entitled to impose.

Judge Moon characterized the fines as “penalties” rather than a tax, noting that they are not designed to raise revenue but merely to “enforce the requirement that individuals and employers purchase or provide health insurance.”

Further, opponents of the law have argued that it illegally permits federal funding for abortion but Moon said “they fail to allege how any payments required under the Act, whether fines, fees, taxes, or the cost of the policy, would be used to fund abortion.”

He also said that the law has several safeguards to prevent that from occurring.

The Obama administration welcomed the decision, the second major ruling backing the law. A federal judge in Michigan last month upheld provisions requiring Americans to buy health insurance coverage.

“The judge’s ruling today only underscores the importance of the law’s individual responsibility provision,” Stephanie Cutter, a White House adviser, said in a blog post. “In order to make health care affordable and available for all, the Act regulates how to pay for medical services.”

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4 thoughts on “Judge tosses challenge to Obama healthcare law

  1. The fundamental underlying problem is that federal judges hearing the challenges to Obamacare are bound by 70 year old Supreme Court precedents which vastly expanded the original scope of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. We will not be able to stop and roll back the ever-increasing expansion of the federal leviathan until we have restored the original meaning of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. This can only be accomplished by amending the Constitution to reverse the Supreme Court’s misinterpretations of the the Constitution’s original meaning and structure. see http://www.timelyrenewed.com.

  2. I sincerely hope this gets to Judge Moon. I honestly don’t know if Judge Moon is against abortion being outlawed under this health care law and that is why he dismissed it, but I can surely tell him that I WILL NOT abide by the “individual mandate”. I didn’t serve 4 years in the U.S. Air Force to have my right to privacy infringed upon by the government. I will NOT allow the government, IRS or anyone to tell me what I can purchase. If by some quirk, the Supreme Court doesn’t get it and arrive at the correct opinion, perhaps you Judge Moon and they will think about this: if your reasoning for upholding this sinister mandate is because, “everyone will eventually seek medical coverage” therefore everyone should be forced to buy it”. Then my good man, why the hell (excuse my language, but I am so adamantly against this mandate, I can hardly compose myself), isn’t a mandate given to FORCE FOLKS TO BUY LIFE INSURANCE AS SURELY EVERYONE DIES. It’s the same premise. Life insurance is expensive and often folks don’t have it when a loved one passes, but I don’t see any requirement from President Obama (the marxist) to force this kind of insurance. In closing, I am fearful, very fearful that this government has gone stark crazy with power. I ask, no I pray that all courts and the judges that preside over them stop and think about what is happening to our INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. P.S. What about the Amish? Are they going to be forced to pay a tax if they don’t have coverage? (most don’t).

    • Thanks for your comments. You did forget to mention the fact that Muslims will not be forced to buy health coverage.

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