ByÂ Jerry Seper-The Washington Times
In a major setback for theÂ Obama administration, a federal judge inVirginia struck down as unconstitutional a key provision of the landmark health care law, saying that forcing all Americans to buy health insurance “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.”
“At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance â€” of crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage â€” it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate,”U.S. District JudgeÂ Henry E. Hudson in Richmond said in a 42-page opinion.
JudgeÂ Hudson concluded thatÂ Congress lacked the power under the commerce clause “to compel an individual to involuntarily engage in a private commercial transaction,” warning that the “unchecked expansion of congressional power” as suggested by the law “would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers.”
There are other pending challenges to the health care law, which has been upheld by two other trial court judges. TheÂ Supreme Court is therefore likely to decide the law’s ultimate fate â€” a process that could take up to two years.
JudgeÂ Hudson‘s ruling was broadly critical of the health care act, signed into law in March and known as the Affordable Care Act. However, the ruling applies only to the mandate that Americans must buy health insurance and those provisions that hinge on it. The law as a whole was not struck down, and the judge declined to grant an injunction that would have suspended the law immediately.
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