BREAKING: Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional
December 13th, 2010
12:06 PM ET
11 years ago

BREAKING: Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional

(CNN) - A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional - setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson struck down the "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge's findings in a federal appeals court.

The case is Virginia v. Sebelius. See the ruling here.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Sarge1

    Seen one comment that really made sense and will remember. lol, Republicans will be quick to say, and very stupidly say it, that Auto insurance is mandated because it helps save lives and medical insurance doesnt. I have had some conservative republicans tell me that they even want the prior existing condition part repealed. I asked if a child of theres had cancer and no insurance if they would rather child die and the answer 100 percent of time was yes. They say politics comes before family

    December 13, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Kevin

    The Analogy of having to buy auto insurance is dumb and uneducated. The law requires you to buy auto insurance(liability) to protect other drivers not yourself. You are only required by law to have liability insurance. The healthcare law mandates that you buy insurance to cover yourself, which is unconstitutional.

    December 13, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Jim

    Mandatory auto insurance is not federal-it is a state jurisdiction. Mandatory home owner insurance is normally a commercial condition for obtaining financing. If your home is paid off, you do not need home owner insurance.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. schnauzertdad

    Americans should be able to "opt out" of health insurance...with the understanding that they are also "opting out" of emergency care that they cannot pay for at the hospital. The moral of the story is that health care in NOT FREE for some just because they want to spend their money elsewhere. You want health care, you buy it, one way or the other.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. mike

    Auto insurance is state law. I have. Health insurance just don't wanna pay for yours. We could be like the countries that have universal coverage and pay 40% in taxes.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Christina

    Why are people on her comparing buying health insurance to car insurance?? States mandate different types of insurance you have to purchase, not the fedeal government. Also, you can choose not to drive, hence no purchase of auto insurance. Goverment has no business telling people they HAVE to buy health insurance. What's next?

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Ramrod

    You can't compare Auto Insurance to Health Insurance. The premise is rediculous. Driving is a priveledge in most states I know of, not a right or, in many cases, a need. When you get behind the wheel, you are piloting a deadly weapon with the propensity to kill people. I doubt if you have a hung nail anyone else will feel the ramifications for the rest of their life.

    Get real and please think before you espouse these rediculous analogies.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. PHIL

    Donna- In Texas you can be arrested for not having car insurance. I'm pretty sure that would constitute being "illegal".

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. Gary S. VA

    That's where the law should have gone in the first place. As this law affects all citizens in all 50 States and territories, only the Supreme Court has the legal standing to review and rule. All other federal courts at whatever level have zero abilities in these, or similar, matters. We've failed to follow our legal requirements again.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. jk

    Great! Now that that is ruled unconstitutional, must mean that Medicare and Medicaid is too. So, I don't have to pay that either. For this I am grateful. No longer have to sit back and watch every old frt suckup the $s that they did not put into the system. Maybe now those 65yr old lazy a$$$ will think a little bit about how good they really have it, AND how bad their children and grandchildren will have it because of the excessive $ spent to keep them alive.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. Bobrob

    you have to operate a vehicle to be required to buy auto insurance to be required to buy this health insurance the requirement is that you are living.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Da Professor

    So - These "no health insurance" people will continue to go to emergency rooms where they cannot be refused and get their care free?

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. David

    For those of you complaining about being forced to buy car insurance, you are in correct. No where in law does it state you are mandated to buy car insurance. Period. Now, if you are complaining that because you elected to buy a car, that the states have implemented a mechanism in place to purchase car insurance as a requirement to your choice to purchase a car, then you really have no gripe. You don't have to buy the car. To compare car insurance and health insurance is rediculous at best. You should not be required to purchase either and right now our government isn't requiring everyone to have car insurance (at least not yet).

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Dan Thomas

    This may have already been pointed out but a previous poster said something about auto insurance, it should be noted that you dont have to have auto insurance if you dont own a car. For those of you who think this is a crazy ruling please read George Will's latest column 10 Years after Gore v Bush. It should explain the real issue here. If the federal government can mandate that we buy a product from a private company, there is nothing they can't do. We no longer have limited government but rather an al mighty government. The "test" that this is a good thing is really irrelavent it is an overreach of federal power.

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. andy

    U don't have to get health ins. U just pay the fines if u get caught and what u pallin freaks don't understand is health insurence will be a lot cheaper and easier to get I got turned down for health insurence bc I was to tall and under weight I'm 6'2 and 150lb now explain how that's right

    December 13, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Greg

    This ruling is correct. The federal Government cannot and should never be allowed to force its' citizens to purchase anything. And yes, the 1993 Massachusetts Health care law was signed by Romney. He was the governor then and he did sign the land mark Massachusetts Health care reform act. That's the way it should be, this is a States’ Rights issue. By the way, the federal government doesn’t mandate auto insurance- that’s a state issue too. I’m not a big fan of the Massachusetts law but at least it was done the right way; at the state level.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Al

    Dear All,
    I would like to encourage a healthy debate minus the hateful language. I am a charitable person with a good heart who opposes the mandated portions of this legislation. I feel that Americans, all Americans; Democrats, Republicans, rich, and poor, should have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to purchase a good. Requiring people to purchase a good is not the type of thing we should be encouraging in a free society.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. M-AZ


    Great news! Nobody should be mandated to buy health insurance or get fined....
    And for those of you who compare it to auto insurance: If you don't want to purchase auto insurance, then don't buy a car.

    And for all those who don't want health insurance...don't get sick, don't seek preventative health care, and don't ever go to a hospital. Citizenny, your rationale is plagued. The whole reason behind everyone purchasing a mininum plan of coverage is to reduce and control rates. All said, for those who say they can't afford coverage, you CAN'T AFFORD not to have either.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Grumpyitis

    Auto Insurance is NOT mandated by the feds – it's a state level mandate that I believe every state has, but it's still state level and therefor not a valid argument here. Not 100% certain about this one, but I believe the only time you're mandated to have home insurance is while you're carrying a loan on the property.. which means it's mandated by the mortgage holder, not a government agency... but as I said I'm not 100% certain about that one.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. tony

    I want a ruling that I shouldn't be taxed against my wishes to support the parasites of the State of Israel.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Cal Vet

    Your state has the authority to mandate that you buy a product like auto insurance, but the federal government does not have the same authority. Our forefathers were adamant in seeing that our federal government not overreach, and Obamacare is a perfect example of government overreach. With the oportunity to answer the wishes of their constituents and adopt policies that would have brought down the cost for all of our healthcare, the 11th Congress instead chose to take a year and a half running roughshod on the Constitution, delivering the most corrupt piece of legislation in modern U.S. history. Now the Judiciary branch is doing it's appropriate job of holding the Congress to the limits allowed them in our Constitution.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. AVA

    Also, to the car insurance issue, car insurance is mandated so you can cover damages you cause to others. Your broken arm or appendicitis don't directly cause damage to others. True, an argument can be made that the uninsured tend to use high-cost emergency care instead of lower-cost preventive or routine care, and those costs are not covered, thus requiring care providers to raise costs for the rest of us, but it's not a direct, one-on-one injury.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. PJ

    Wow.. some of you geniuses need a refresher on state law vs. federal law, especially as regards car insurance. There is no federal law mandating car insurance. For that matter, there are no state laws mandating it, either - UNLESS YOU DRIVE A CAR!!! If you walk to work, or ride public transportation, or ride a bike, you are NOT required to buy car insurance.

    Did you even KNOW that?!?!? Or are you so blindly in favor of whatever Democrats want that you'll just follow, lemming-like, without thoughts or cares?

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Andrew

    Further, for those comparing it to home owners insurance, again it's not the same at all. As far as I know there is no federal or state law on the books requiring that any person carry homeowner's insurance; HOWEVER, if your home was purchased with a mortgage loan, chances are that your lender WILL require you to carry homeowner's insurance as a condition of your loan. Similarly, banks issuing car loans will require that you maintain current auto insurance. The lender is entitled to specify terms of the loan, which will ensure that the property is well maintained and paid for in case of disaster.

    Many of the problems we have are simply due to the fact that we Americans often want to think of ourselves as legal experts, when in fact, we have no freaking idea what we're talking about. (And yes, I'm an American from the South, so I speak from experience.)

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Jack Dallas TX

    For those of you comparing health insurance with auto insurance you are very wrong in your statements. Mandated auto insurance amounts only to liability in most states and protects the OTHER individual with whom you hit or have an accident. The mandated insurance is to protect other people you may harm and it is part of a licensing process (license for your car and driver's licence). I do not know how you not having health insurance can directly impact the well being of another nor do you get licensed to get healthcare treatment. So those of you using that as a comparison need to go back and do a little more research because you are way off base.

    December 13, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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