Posts Tagged - ‘constitution’

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Virginia Judge To Rule on Health Insurance Mandate on New Year’s Day

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Image: USA Today

Those hoping for a quick resolution to the lawsuits seeking to overturn a portion of the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law are out of luck. At least one of the suits–the one filed by Virginia–will take longer to resolve. According to U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, he will rule on whether the affordable health insurance mandate provision is constitutional on January 1st.

If Hudson determines that the state’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has a case for the federal government overstepping its boundaries, the challenge will be one step closer to the Supreme Court. Since Virginia has its own specific law forbidding anyone from mandating that its residents purchase health insurance, it filed a lawsuit separate from the class action joined by over 20 states.

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Is There Precedent To Uphold Healthcare Reform?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Image: BAR Photography under CC 3.0

One of the main arguments against the legality of healthcare reform is the contention that it is unconstitutional. Many opponents believe that the individual health insurance mandate, in particular, violates the 10th Amendment. That amendment says that all rights not specifically given to the federal government in the Constitution or its amendments are left to each state.

However, a competing interpretation–accepted by some conservative justices, no less–states that at times, the national government can exercise powers not expressly mentioned in the document. A recent Supreme Court decision (approved by seven out of the nine members) upheld the federal government’s right to indefinitely detain sex offenders after serving their sentences. Surely, the specifics of ankle monitoring or house arrest for child molesters and others were not on the founding fathers’ minds.

Granted, U.S. vs. Comstock is relatively less controversial an issue than affordable health insurance reform. Still, it’s a sign that the highest court is willing to consider the application of the “elastic clause”, which states that the federal government is allowed to pass laws to help it execute the powers it was expressly given.

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Arizona Joins The Healthcare Reform Lawsuit Bandwagon

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

(Image: Rob Inh00d under CC 3.0)

Now there are 16. That’s the number of states involved in a lawsuit which contends that the individual health insurance mandate included in federal healthcare reform legislation is unconstitutional.

Arizona is the latest addition. In order to avoid what a handful of other governors have dealt with–uncooperative state attorney generals that refuse to file what they believe is a frivolous lawsuit–Republican Governor Jan Brewer recently signed a bill that allows her to circumvent the normal requirement that the AG files the suit. She believes that penalizing people who refuse to buy a health insurance plan oversteps Congress’ power.

In addition to the Democratic attorney generals’ doubts about the lawsuit’s merits, they also fear that it will be costly to the taxpayers at a time when the state can’t afford it. However, Gov. Brewer claims that Arizona’s portion of the expense will be less than $5,000.

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North Carolina To Pass Bill Against Health Insurance Mandate?

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

(Image: taberandrew under CC 3.0)

Following the lead of legislators in several other states, Republicans in North Carolina are planning to propose a bill–called the Health Care Freedom Act–that would make the mandate provision of national health insurance reform illegal in their state.

According to State Rep. Paul Stam, the commerce clause of the Constitution does not apply because the purchase of a health insurance plan does not normally cross state lines. Health coverage has historically been sold within the state.

The bill will be officially proposed next month. Those behind these bills are begging for a legal showdown in the Supreme Court, and they are fully aware of that.

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