Health Care Reform: Court Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

A federal appeals court has ruled that the individual mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, but the rest of the law can remain intact. The individual mandate prescribes that all Americans must have health insurance, essentially, mandating Americans buy insurance.

The concept, originally a Republican idea, was roundly excoriated by today's ultra-right wing. Michele Bachmann was the subject of ridicule last night at the GOP debate in Iowa, when she, as the AP wrote this morning, "cast her opinion as a settled fact when she told the Republican presidential debate Thursday that a key element of President Barack Obama's health care law is unconstitutional."

"Nothing is unconstitutional until courts declare it to be so," the AP continued. "The constitutionality of the individual mandate has been challenged in lawsuits in a number of states, and federal judges have found in favor and against. The Supreme Court will probably have the final word. But for now, the individual mandate is ahead in the count. And the first ruling by a federal appeals court on the issue, by the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in June, upheld the individual mandate."

While this is a set back for the White House, as many expect, no doubt it will be taken to the Supreme Court.

A reporter for the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein, wrote, via Twitter, "11th Circuit: Congess cannot 'mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die'."

Klein, in a "quick write-up," added, "The three-judge panel that made the ruling was comprised of two Democrats, so this will be hard for the Obama administration to dismiss as the work of a lone activist conservative judge. And this virtually garuntees that the Supreme Court will take up the case."

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