Health Care Reform Act Headed for the Supreme Court due to Partial Victory by Virginia Constitutional Challenge? Yes.

by Bill Golden and

The Health Care Reform Act, AKA ObamaCare as it is called by both supporters and detractors, has stumbled badly in its attempt to fend off a constitutional challenge posed by Virginia.

On Monday, August 2nd, 2010, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson denied Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of Virginia challenging the new health care insurance law. His ruling stated that it is far from certain Congress has the authority to compel Americans to buy insurance and penalize those who don’t.

The stumble comes from the entire Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) depending upon the individual mandate for the HCRA to have meaning. Please remember that Virginia chose carefully as to how it challenged the HCRA’s constitutionality: it did not challenge the power of the Congress to pass such a bill; Virginia challenged the constitutionality of requiring individuals to have health insurance.

Failing to overcome Virginia’s challenge, the fate of the HCRA now goes to a court trial to begin October 18th, 2010. Win or lose, both parties will undoubtedly appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The effective outcome is that many states will delay beginning to implement the HCRA until its constitutionality is determined. Just as Arizona is stymied in its ability to implement portions of SB1070 so is it the same for the HCRA whose first requirements and benefits went into effect as of July 2010.

My view is that Arizona will ultimately prevail at the Supreme Court level and Virginia may well also prevail.

Back on March 21st 2010, just hours before the vote was taken in the House on the Senate version of the HCRA, I gave my opinion and an overview of the constitutional issues facing the HCRA.

My opinion then and now:  “As much as I believe health care reform is needed, and needed now, the senate version of health care reform is both unconstitutional and overreaching. If the senate bill should be passed by the House then it will be more of chimeral victory that will be defeated in the SCOTUS due to its many flawed provisions, rather than the total sum value of its intent.”

For more info: What the press is saying about this development.

Bill Golden is an independent observer of American politics, trends and economics. Bill’s political views meet at the crossroads of conservatism, libertarianism and being a practical centrist. No longer a member of any political party, Bill would undoubtedly be declared a DINO if he were a Democrat and a RINO if he were Republican.


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