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. Mogdaork

    The difference between health care insurance and auto insurance is YOU DO NOT HAVE THE BUY A CAR. a car is a luxury not a necessaity

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. BradKT

    This is just one round. The legal status if this law won't be clear until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on it. As far as I can tell, the opinion hasn't been published yet. I would like to read it.

    I suspect that the part of the health care law that was ruled unconstitutional is the criminalization of the failure to buy health insurance. The mandatory requirement to buy auto insurance is a condition for being issued a driver's license. You can't be criminally prosecuted for failing to buy auto insurance. You driver's license can be revoked, but that's all...at least that's what I think the state of the law is. A previous poster said that you could be fined by a court. Presumably, if you failed to pay the fine, you could then be jailed for contempt of court.

    That's not imposing a criminal penalty for failing to have auto insurance. That might be the distinction.

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Dave

    I'm neither democrat or republican. But I am 100% American
    and you DON'T mess with our constitution.
    TSA to this issue, get the Govt out of our lives and back to
    what it's supposed to be doing.

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. michelle

    Really? Govt has no business in health care? What about social security? What about health care for our Vets? Do they have business protecting our children from lead paint? Keeping food contaminant free? We subsidize oil, farmers, why can't we help people get health care? Anyone ever notice how much un-insured's are costing the rest of us?? If we can't afford it maybe we should close the useless military bases we have all around the world in friendly nations!! Defense Dept does not deserve a blank check. Wake up people! President Palin?!?!! Give me a break, there is a reason she sank McCains campaign!!!!

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. James Mason

    So will those who think this is a good idea also support allowing ERs to decline to treat the uninsured?

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Eric

    Amanda, its a STATE law to buy auto insurance not FEDERAL. States makes their own laws. This would be the first time the Federal Gov has forced people to buy a product and face consequences if they don't.

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Alex

    The comparison of Auto insurance and health insurance is apples and oranges.

    You are only required to have liability auto insurance. Meaning, if someone hits your car, you know that you will get the money from somwhere. This is a good thing to be required, because the victim is protected.

    Health insurance, on the other hand, is the equivalent of "collison" auto insurance. It only affects you. If you break someones leg, your health insuracne does not pay for it.

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. D Brown, NYC.

    The republicans are fighting a losing battle on this one. Too many people see the benefit in having healthcare. I dont think this one will take long for them to rule with the president

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. John

    Hey Amanda you said "Then it should also be illegal to mandate Americans buy Auto Insurance also". Well Amanda I don't know where you live but where I do, if I do not OWN a car I do not need insurance. Huge difference huh?

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Mike

    Once again Virginia leads the way in protecting individual freedom from an overreaching socialistic Democratic Congress. Thank God there are some who still remember the principles that this Nation was founded on.

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. KB

    Some of you need some basic civics lessons before you tripe about things you do not know.

    December 13, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Doc

    Some people are misinformed; some people are ignorant of our laws. We are forced to buy car insurance by the bank that holds loan. States, not the Federal Gov., require you to have insurance to renew your registration, but guess what? There is no fine if you have no insurance between renewals. The reason this was struck down is because the Federal Government, not a state, is mandating everyone buy or be fined. That's a no-no.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. bp

    @ 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."

    Not the best argument I've ever heard. Americans are not required to own automobiles. This is an example of why democrats had it handed to them in the midterms. Acting before you think. Cannot wait for 2012 and finally put an end to ALL of this madness when we get the rookie out of the WH.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Billy

    Amanda.... You are not mandated to buy auto insurance, if you do not have a car and do not drive then you are not required to have auto insurance.

    But if you choose to drive an automobile then you are required to have auto insurance. NOTE the use of CHOOSE as in you have a choice.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Jan

    While it would be wonderful if everyone who wants it had health care insurance, I do have a problem with the government dictating that I MUST purchase it. Way too intrusive, and hopefully not a sign of more dictatorial events to come.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Steve

    Please stop embarrassing yourselves comparing the mandate to car insurance.

    1. Car insurance when mandated is only mandated by the state governments, not the federal government.

    2. You are only required to purchase auto insurance if you wish to drive an automobile.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. JimL

    I never liked that provision and was disappointed we didn't get a public option. For those of you screaming about the government in your healthcare, I assume you'll give up your access to Medicare?

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Re: EdD P

    EdD P,

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably entered into an agreement with the NYC Gov't when you purchased your house to shovel the snow. If you didn't want to shovel the snow on that sidewalk in front of your house, you shouldn't have bought the house.

    The difference here is, thanks for ObamaCare, there is nothing you can refrain from doing to avoid having to purchase health insurance.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Dave from Georgia

    If it is unconstitutional to force Americans to pay for healthcare, then it is unconstitutional to force them to pay for auto and home insurances. Where were Republican's outcry when they were forced to pay for auto and home insurances? Interesting.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Sherri W.W.

    THAT IS MY 1ST THOUGHT EVERY TIME I READ THIS NONSENSE~you get fined and go to jail for having no car insurance nearly everyplace!~This is NO different at all~and before anybody starts howling about that~think~Somebody with no car ins puts you in hospital,either you pay or YOUR ins.does!~Then YOUR premium goes up! People with no HEALTH ins.are going to the ER at the hospital,which you and I ALSO pay for~that IS FACT! There will be help for folks too poor to AFFORD health ins.and NO ONE will be fined or arrested if they CANNOT BUY IT~ONLY IF THEY CAN,AND REFUSE~so we continue to pay THEIR bills! The new Health Care Law stops insurance co.from ABUSING all of us,and NEARLY ANYONE can find themselves facing a Million$ HOSP.BILL you didnt know was coming yesterday~thereby RUINING your life if you DO get well!

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

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

    Aahhhh.. the old auto insurance analogy. So – once more – you are required to purchase auto insurance to protect the note holder of the car (if money is owed on it)... to protect yourself from lawsuits in the event of your negligence.

    You're entitled to your own opinion, just not your own facts.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. David

    What a bunch of whiny bleeding heart liberal progressives! There is no federally mandated car insurance. That's a STATE thing and is covered by the Constitution in the 10th Amendment. I guess if you never read it, it would be hard to know that. Also any STATE CAN mandate health insurance. Massachusetts is fine example of that failed policy.
    The judge is a Republican? Really? That's your whole argument? Puh-lease.............go play your Alinsky games elsewhere. Isn't it cool that your "messiah" Obama was standing side by side with "Bubba" defending Bush? Now that there was funny...I don't care who ya are!

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Jordan

    You guys are missing the point on the Auto Insurance. It is only "mandated" if you choose to drive. Driving is a privelage not a right, and you can choose to not own a vehicle or drive a car. However should you choose to do so, then Insurance or proof of financial liability is required.

    The healthcare law requires everyone to purchase health insurance. There is no choice to be made.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Bob M

    "It is clear that the majority of Americans want the health care bill"??? LOL apparently someone is living under a rock and missed the midterm election results.

    The only ones who want it is Perlousy (probably because her husband will benefit in some way), Harry Greed and Barny Frankly Terrible.

    The majority of Americans are not ultra-conservative either. A moderate voice is needed. Parts of the health care plan are GREAT and parts of it are WAY over the top.

    Some sanity in Washington would be nice (though highly unlikely).

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. LG

    Here is a solution. Let the hospitals turn patients away that can not pay the cost of their health care. This will also solve the nursing shortage because 80% of our population can not afford the cost of a stay in the hospital.

    December 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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