The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.
The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the 2010 healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional.
The case stems from a challenge by 26 U.S. states which had argued the individual mandate, set to go into effect in 2014, was unconstitutional because Congress could not force Americans to buy health insurance or face the prospect of 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," a divided three-judge panel said.
Obama and his administration had pressed for the law to help halt the steep increases in healthcare costs and expand insurance coverage to the more than 30 million Americans who are without it.
Yet what has been the result of Obamacare? Healthcare premiums have gone up even more, so much so that it is killing jobs.
The only way to get rid of this job killer and deficit grower, is to completely repeal it, and elect a Congress and President who will do just that.
UPDATE; Virgina Senate candidate Jaime Ratdke sent out the following in an e-mail:
This is an important win for America, individual liberty and Constitutionally limited government.
However, the battle is not yet over. Our courageous Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, continues the fight to overturn ObamaCare through the 4th Circuit. And we must elect courageous conservatives next year to Congress who will drive a stake in the heart of this governmental monstrosity once and for all.
As your United States Senator, I will fight the Washington Establishment and work tirelessly until we eliminate ObamaCare and send it to the ash heap of history, where it belongs.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said:
“I am pleased that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the individual insurance mandate and penalty unconstitutional. The court determined that the power to force one citizen to purchase a good or service from another is outside the established outer limits of both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. The court also ruled that although the president and Congress want to now call the penalty a tax to make it pass constitutional muster, the penalty cannot be sustained under the federal government’s taxing authority because the penalty is clearly not a tax.
“I congratulate our fellow attorneys general in this major victory, and although this court is not in our circuit, I am pleased that the judges ruled in favor of the two key arguments that are present in our Virginia suit.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, one of the driving forces in opposing Obamacare, said:
"Obamacare is closer to an end. The federal court of appeals agrees that the federal health care law’s individual mandate violates the U.S. Constitution – and cannot be enforced against the American people. This is an important ruling for freedom and limited government.
“As we have maintained since before the law was first enacted, the individual mandate exceeds the constitutional limits on Congress’ authority. The federal government cannot rely upon Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce in a misguided effort to require that every American purchase government-approved health insurance – whether they want it or not. No public policy goal, no matter how important or well-intentioned, can be allowed to trample the protections and rights guaranteed by our Constitution.”