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. CK

    I could care less if the mandate to purchase health care is shot down. Since this bill also prevents pre-existing clauses The cheapest health insurance one can have is to simply pay the Federal Fines of not having health insurance and then sign up when medical care is needed. The idiocy of this bill under the guise of compassion is beyond understanding. If this bill somehow remains law, the only possible outcome is the failure of private heath industry which will result in a government bailout and take over. Makes you wonder if the bill is written by an idiot or by someone who really believes the govenment can do better than free market capitaliism.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. John

    Amanda, you have to buy Auto insurance as part of the privilege, you don't want to buy auto insurance you don't have to drive, also you don't have to buy comprehensive coverage, you are only required to have liability, and that is for when you damage other drivers. Also if people treated auto insurance like they treated health insurance and put every single fill up, oil change, and set of tires on it, than auto insurance would be ridiculously high too. You can't just expect that you can give an insurance company a couple months premiums and then be able to get treatment for cancer, and not have those cost recouped somewhere.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Fizzi

    folks on this board who are comparing car insurance to health insurance: govt mandates that folks who own cars have car insruance, but the government does not force you to buy a car. you have a choice of not buying a car. here the govt is saying that you need to have health insurance or else i will fine you. it is akin to saying that you eat food, if you dont eat the food then we will fine you.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. jules sand-perkins

    We are working from several POVs here.
    This judge spoke from his reading of the Constitutionality of a law.
    My POV is that it is immoral for me to have to pay for another person's health-care insurance because I work to earn money and he does not.
    Before insurance existed, charity provided health care for those who could not afford it. In my hometown, some patients paid the good and kind doctor with chickens and eggs when they broke their legs.
    I don't want to pay for your health-care insurance through ObamaCare.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. mat

    People who dont drive dont have to have auto insurance. This is a faulty argument and I cant believe Obama's controllers would actually let him go out and say something so absurd.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Zaggs


    The Party of No at it again! Sorry, but this Judge just bit off more than he can possible chew. It is clear that the majority of Americans want the Health Care Bill. This ruling will be overturned."

    Um, no. A majority want health care reform. But a majority are against OBamacare and the individual mandate.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. mkjp

    this judge can start paying my taxes then to cover healthcare costs of everyone who is uninsured and ends up in the ER with $50,000+ bills they can't pay.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Janelle

    The only auto insurance you are required by law to purchase is insurance that covers you for hurting someone else.

    The health care insurance hurts NO ONE ELSE if you don't buy it. THINK before you speak.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Getting on my last nerve!

    If you drive without car insurance and have an accident AND you get hurt – let's see...can you afford to pay for your car repairs, and if the accident is your fault can you pay for the damage to the other car (not to mention medical bills) guess would be NO (since you couldn't afford/or didn't get car insurance) – and if you can afford to pay – you're stupid for not buying auto insurance......THEREFORE, if you don't want a mandate to buy health insurance, let's propose it is treated the same as car insurance....if you get hurt, sick/need to see a for it yourself if you don't have health insurance.....please don't go to the local public hospital for free (gov. burden) health services (as so many do) wouldn't be able to take your car to the free public auto repair shop....

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Little Tin God

    Here's the deal. If people don't have a health care policy, we, you and I, end up in the end paying for their health care when they go into a hospital or what ever facility they go too and CAN'T pay for medical services. If you DON'T want to force people to buy/have health insurance, then you'd damn sure better pass a law saying they CAN'T be treated if they DON'T have health insurance. I sure as hell am tired of paying for them!

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Nurse Manager

    I see the effects of this Country's health care firsthand. The money that we spend on health care is atrocious (and thats being nice).

    We're the richest Country in the world. We spend the most on health care. Or should I say we WASTE the most on healthcare.

    Our system of health needs an overhaul. As a First World Country we have some of the worst health stastics world wide. It's offensive that I live in a country where we waste so much and have next to nothing to show for it.

    We don't properly educate our citizens regarding PREVENTATIVE measures to help reduce health risks (diet being at the top of the list). This alone has reduced health care costs in other nations significantly.

    I am FOR health care reform. We are overdue for it. Until then we will continue to waste money and lives. The lobbyists and corporations who line the pockets of government officials to withhold reform will continue to profit.

    Reform begins at the top, not the middle. Or the bottom.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Palin2012

    I think this is the right move. You can't force people to buy health insurance if they cannot afford it.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Steve

    Doesn't matter if the SCOTUS rejects this judge's decsion. After 2012, this piece of the health care legislation will be repealed. We don't need to throw out the whole ball of wax, but this piece of it needs to go.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Jay-Day

    They don't want mandates becuase if you make americans have to purchase then what do you do about the poor who doesn't have the means to consistently pay for their own insurance. So owners would get less money off the top while providing more insurance. "LESS MONEY!!!!" OH NO!!! "It's Illegal right!!! Real reform would be individual mandates that cuts the "insurance companies" out of the deal. Of course this adds to unemployment, and John Boehner was adimately opposed to this legislation so I take it conservitives own most health insurance firms. Republicans play a good game, I wish we liberals, or democrats, as I like to call us "the devided part" or whatever we are, stuck together any issue. Sarah Palin can be dead wrong on national telivision, republicans still support. Democrats....Need I say more!

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Bill, Bloomington Il

    I wonder if dems cant read or just dont. Why force someone to pay for something they cannot afford?

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Robert W.

    Someone said "Then it should also be illegal to mandate Americans buy Auto Insurance also". people are not forced to have a car, there is a choice there. There is no choice on this socialized insurance plan.

    December 13, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Minuteman

    You are NOT mandated to buy Auto Insurance – you are only required to buy auto insurance if you OWN and DRIVE a vehicle. The choice is yours. There are lots of Americans that CHOOSE not to drive and therefore DO NOT have to buy auto insurance.

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Ann

    So, someone helpo me with this? If a person goes into an emergency room with no unsurance, tax payers pay for it? Or is that person simply stuck with an extremely high medical bill? Let's say that person can't pay for it, then tax payers do end up paying for it. How is this any different from tax payers having to pay health care insurance for people who can't afford it after the government mandates coverage for everyone? Either way, middle America is stuck paying the bill....except now, with the new law, everyone is being forced to pay for health insurance (except those who are exempt, at which Middle America would get stuck paying for). How does this lower my medical bills?

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. gene from Tennessee

    Smart ruling from the Judge.
    Remember this! "Do not argue with an IDIOT. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience!"

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Steven

    They could just pass a no sue law. To each is on and let freedom reign!

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Bill

    Rather than mandate every single person have insurance – and get the government involved (see Post Office, Medicare, Welfare, etc. as proof the government is not a good choice to run ANYTHING – why not subsisize insurance for those with pre-existing conditoins, etc. that makes it impossible for them to get insurance – and leave the rest of us alone.

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Julnor

    Every American should have the right to decide how they want to pay for THEIR healthcare. Forcing you to buy insurance is wrong. Remember, a large majority of people will pay more for insurance than they would spend on healthcare without insurance.

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Amanda

    And just like you CHOOSE to live in America and go to public places when sick.

    So, if someone comes into work while sick and gets me sick, I should sue them for the Doctor Bills.

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. 0bamaFree2013

    You liberals that equate this with car insurance don't know what you are talking about. You don't have to drive a car. If you choose to drive a car the rules of driving are that you have insurance. The mandate on HC insurance is completely different. 0bummercare mandates that if you are breathing in the US that you have to buy insurance – big difference from choosing to drive a care. I suppose you could choose not to breath anymore and then you only have to pay inheritance taxes but no longer have to buy healthcare. It's not wonder this was shot down. The govt can regulate via the commerce clause – they can't mandate via the commerce clause. If you don't understand this – go back and study for the GED all over again.

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Amused

    Dear Palin Power: Perhaps a bit of home work is in order for you. The outcomes of the U.S. healthcare system are no better (and in many cases worse) than that achieved by the majority of the systems in other industrialized nations. However, the U.S. system does deliver those outcomes for 30, 40 or even 50% more cost. That isn't to say that I am enamored of the healthcare bill as I am not. The problem is that the healthcare bill doesn't address the root cause of the problem, but only the most visible symptom – insurance companies that have to charge ever increasing premiums to cover their outlays and to limit those who can participate. All the healthcare bill does is to force them to take on the least healthy soon-to-be insureds and to increase everyone else's premiums as a result. It then punishes those who may not be able to afford or choose not have insurance. What happened to personal freedom of choice in this process? Better yet, how about the Democrats in Congress actually addressing the disease and not the symptoms of our health care system? Oh wait, I forgot, their allegience to the plaintiff's personal injury lawyers won't permit that!

    December 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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