BREAKING: Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional
December 13th, 2010
12:06 PM ET
9 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.
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Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. a health economist

    @ Donna who said " "Amanda
    So, it is illegal to mandate that Americans buy Health Insurance?
    Then it should also be illegal to mandate Americans buy Auto Insurance also."

    It's not illegal to NOT buy auto insurance. You can drive without it, you have to pay a fine if you do and get caught. First rule of effective debating – Get your facts straight."

    If driving without auto insurance is not illegal than why do you say that you get a fine if you do and get caught? Does that not imply that it is illegal if you are being fined?

    Anyway, comparing health insurance to auto insurance as far as 'mandates' go is an apples to oranges comparison. There is a 100% sure fire way to never get in an auto accident and never have an auto claim, don't drive. Aside from being dead, there is no way a person can be 100% guaranteed to not have medical expenses.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. ATL Guy

    One day in our near future, we will look back at this moment of Republican idiocy and realize that we've made a huge mistake. If the healthcare law is deemed unconstitutional, Americans will be the pawns of the health insurance companies for a very long time to come. We may never get another chance to reform healthcare after this.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. batjubatju

    at Wv6324, medical costs keep going up because those who have healthcare are being over charged to cover what it costs to cover the ones who refuse to buy healthcare and use the emergency room as a regular doctor's office.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. rk

    @Amanda
    "Then it should also be illegal to mandate Americans buy Auto Insurance also" – you dont seem to get it, you have a choice to "drive" if you dont want to drive you dont have to have auto insurance. You really dont have to the choice to live... so your statment holds zero water. Your thinking sounds like "you live in the US you should be mandated to serve in the armd forces" even though you didnt have a choice where you where born.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Bmac

    What do ppl not understand. Making people have health insurance is only tring to help the tax payers. You will be taken care of at a hospital either way, this just says you have to have insurance that you pay for or we will fine you for not paying. Its like not paying your car payment. They will take your car and hurt your credit. C'mon

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Josh

    This laws mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitational. This would be the first time the government has mandated we buy something period. No, we are not required to buy auto insurance because you are not required to have a car. So every american does not have to have auto insurace. As opposed to health insurance that every living american would be required to buy period. If the government can do this they can do anything. Why not mandate all americans only by american made goods? That would be good for the country too, right? But it would be a real boost to the economy????

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Mike

    Amanda: "So, it is illegal to mandate that Americans buy Health Insurance?
    Then it should also be illegal to mandate Americans buy Auto Insurance also."

    Only one problem with that argument...it's a privilege, not a right, to be able to drive, so each state can regulate that privilege and the associated requirements as it sees fit. Not going to touch whether the government should mandate health insurance...the SCOTUS is apparently going to have to address that.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Republican

    Dave for you and the others that say you already buy car insurance – don't be so DUH! You are not forced to buy that. You can choose not to drive! So we just want for ourselves – another DUH! I bet I give more to charity than you ever thought about giving!!!! I do it because I love to give but don't force me to give or I will not want to! Another thing – none of you look at the fact that some people simply cannot afford to buy health care!!! Some people would choose not to get health care! Everyone can go to the ER and they will take you even if you don't have a dime. You are so righteous that you see no further than end of your nose. When will you people wake up and see what is really going on!!! It is not about Republican or Democrat – wake up – it is about America and I'm not against you – I'm for you!!!

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    can not make or mandate any citizen of nation buy anything.... unconstitutional totally unequivacbally unconstitutional...........

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. EMD

    The federal government does not mandate that anyone buy auto insurance. States only require that one carry public liability but one is not required by state law to insure oneself when it comes to auto insurance.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Dave

    Most of the comments here entirely miss the point (and demonstrate extreme ignorance of our American system of government). The question here is whether the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can mandate that everyone buy health insurance. STATE GOVERNMENTS can and do mandate the purchase of insurance, such as car insurance, because general powers relating to the health, safety and welfare of the people rest with the states, not the federal government. States could mandate the purchase of health insurance. I believe Massachusetts has done so. But there is nothing in the US Constitution that gives the federal government such powers. If we (mis)read the Constitution to allow this federal mandate, there are no longer any actual limits on federal power.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Bill

    @EdD P
    as with the previous posts, the mandate you're referring to is a NYC mandate, not a federal mandate. It's unconstitutional for the government to require you to purchase a product or service.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Bob M

    Stop comparing buying car insurance to health insurance. You are only obligated to buy car insurance if you own a car and want to drive it legally (millions of people in major cities do not own cars and therefore do not buy insurance, millions more use public transportation). Health insurance you will be obligated to pay simply by living in the U.S.

    People try to think before posting nonsense.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Publius

    The Federal Government has NO power to mandate that anyone do anything. They can however coax the states into doing their bidding i.e. The drinking age being a rediculous 21.

    As for those of you "worried for the misfortunate" why don't you use YOUR money to purchase them an insurance plan and stop trying to pick the rest of our pockets.

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Linda

    It doesn't need to be an individual mandate. It can just be HealthCare for all citizens over the age of conception. Just like Medicare is for all those over 65. Then it will be constitutional!

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Ong

    Amanda, driving is a privelidge.
    No one is required by law to buy a car.
    Understand ?

    December 13, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. XWngLady

    All of you folks saying " I shouldn't HAVE to pay for health insurance" don't seem to realize that when someone doesn't have health insurance and they go to the emergency room for care or are in an accident, the rest of us WITH AND WITHOUT insurance end up paying for it one way or another. I don't want to have to pay for someone else's irresponsibility when they have an emergency.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Guest

    The city is not forcing you to enter into a contract with a private organization when they require you to shovel your snow.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. rachel

    Why the comparison to auto insurance from some people. In one instance you are buying something that is regulated, in the case of the healthcare they are mandating you for just beign.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Absurd

    Why can't you require everyone to pay in just like they pay in for taxes and social security? Many people never see any direct benefit from those programs but they must contribute for the greater good. Same with healthcare, nobody gets a free ride regardless of whether they go to the doctor or not. Why should people be able to choose to not have insurance while knowing that hospitals will not refuse care, which will likely be much more costly since they wait until something gets bad rather than take preventative measures.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. fxdesigner

    For Amanda
    "So, it is illegal to mandate that Americans buy Health Insurance?

    Then it should also be illegal to mandate Americans buy Auto Insurance also."

    There is a difference. Driving a vehicle is a PRIVILEGE not a constitutional RIGHT.

    Driving is an OPTION, therefore, you have a CHOICE to drive (participate) or NOT to participate. If you choose to OPT-IN (drive), then you have to have insurance. It is NOT an unreasonable law.

    The health care issue is in terms of having insurance is a constitutional issue, because it MAKES (forces / mandates) that regardless of who you are, as a U.S. Citizen have health insurance. There is no OPT-IN, by 2014 unless you are granted an exemption by the same government mandating the coverage, you MUST have it or face a fine (and possible other sanctions). In other words, the government is FORCING EVERYONE to BUY something to stay LEGAL and within the law. That is where the breach is regarding the constitutionality of the law is being challenged.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Dustylevi

    Most people who can't afford health insurance STILL won't be able to afford it when the government exchanges open and they'll just end up having to pay the fine. So not only will they still not have health insurance they'll have to pay even more money to Uncle Sam. How is that helping the middle/lower class? There are some people living in this country who don't even believe in going to the doctor due to religious beliefs. Is it ok for the government to force those people to pay a fine for not having health insurance? Also I'd like to hear from one working person who's cost for health insurance hasn't drastically gone up since this new law was passed.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Tired

    Car insurance and health insurance are NOT the same. If you do not want to pay car insurance, ride a bike. I do not want to pay for people who would rather buy cigarettes, lottery tickets, booze, McDonalds, cable tv and cell phones then provide health coverage for themselves and their families.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. D

    State vs Federal Mandate.

    If you don't drive, you don't have to get auto insurance. You can also move to a different state depending on those mandates. A Federal Mandate doesn't allow you those options.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Tundra

    Requiring to buy car insurance is legal because you "choose" to drive a car. You have the full right to take public transportation, ride a bike, walk and not have auto insurance.

    Requiring you to by health insurance because you "live" is not legal. You do not have a choice.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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