by Glynn Wilson
A federal judge in Florida has ruled that the health care overhaul law passed by the Democratic Congress last year should be considered unconstitutional, although two other federal judges ruled the other way, setting up a showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The White House called the ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson “a plain case of judicial overreaching,” according to the Associated Press.
In reacting to the news, Health Care for America Now, the nationwide coalition that helped drive the successful fight for the Affordable Care Act, called the ruling “Judicial activism on steroids.”
“Judge Vinson gave Republican governors and attorneys general what they wanted, a decision that advances the GOP’s extremist agenda to return control of our health care to the insurance companies. This is judicial activism on steroids,” the group’s executive director Ethan Rome said in a statement. “The U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say on the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, and it has corrected such lower-court mistakes when other major laws like Social Security, the minimum wage law and the Voting Rights Act were passed.”
Two other federal district judges have already upheld the new health care law.
“Congress clearly has the authority to regulate the health insurance market, including protecting consumers from insurance industry abuses and reducing costs for families, seniors and businesses,” Rome said. “The best way to protect consumers and control costs is to make sure everyone has health insurance, and that’s what the Affordable Care Act does.”
With consumers already benefiting from the law, this litigation is really about the Republican Party protecting health insurance company profits at the expense of working families, he said.
“The Republican politicians who marched in lockstep to bring this suit aren’t really interested in the new law’s individual-responsibility rule. This lawsuit is just another tactic in the Republican Party’s campaign to give our health care back to the insurance companies no matter what the cost,” Rome said. “The American people will not allow the courts or the Congress to bring us back to the time when insurance companies could exclude people because of pre-existing conditions,drop people for getting sick, or let benefit caps force people with serious diseases into bankruptcy.”
Health Care for America Now is a national grassroots coalition of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 statesrepresenting 30 million people. HCAN led the fight over the past two years to win passage of health reform and to keep Congress from being steamrolled bycorporate special interests.
© 2011, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.