Health-Law Mandate Ruled Unconstitutional


BRENT KENDALL
Wall Street Journal
August 12, 2011

A divided U.S. appeals court in Atlanta ruled Friday that a key provision of last year’s federal health-care overhaul is unconstitutional, siding with a group of 26 states that challenged the law.

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The 2-1 ruling marks the Obama administration’s biggest defeat to date in the multifront legal battle over the health-care law. The decision directly conflicts with a ruling issued in June by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati that upheld the law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that Congress exceeded its constitutional powers when it required individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

“This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives,” Judges Joel Dubina and Frank Hull said in a jointly written opinion.

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