PENSACOLA, FL – A Florida federal judge has ruled that President Obama’s health care overhaul, “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional. The judge based his ruling on the law’s mandate that citizens must purchase health care, a requirement he said violates the Constitution. The ruling affects the 26 states who had joined together to file a case against the law, yet still has implications for the entire country.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled Congress overstepped its bounds by instituting the individual mandate, but also said the entire law was unconstitutional since the individual mandate is not “severable.” Vinson ruled that as a result of the unconstitutionality of the “individual mandate” that requires people to buy insurance, the entire law must be declared void. Vinson did not go as far as to issue an injunction blocking the law from being implemented.
“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform andregulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here,” Vinson wrote.
“While the individual mandate was clearly ‘necessary and essential’ to the act as drafted, it is not ‘necessary and essential’ to health care reform in general,” he continued. “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.”
The decision will likely face an immediate filing by the federal government for a stay, and the case is undoubtedly headed to the Supreme Court.