American Sauce: Health care lawsuit cheat sheet
February 1st, 2011
05:02 PM ET
12 years ago

American Sauce: Health care lawsuit cheat sheet

Washington (CNN) - Following this week's health care ruling out of Florida and because we are all about substance, American Sauce brings you this cheat sheet on the four major lawsuits moving their way, somewhat unpredictably, through the system.

For those keeping score, in these big four cases it's 2-2 for supporters of the law v. opponents of the law.

What do you think? Any information we missed? Leave a comment.

FLORIDA RULING: Unconstitutional, Must be voided entirely.
State of Florida, et al. v. US Department of Health and Human Services, et al.

Judge's conclusion: The law is unconstitutional because the individual mandate contained in it exceeds Congress' powers as determined by the Constitution. The judge found the provisions expanding Medicaid were constitutional, in part because the program is voluntary for states.

Quote: "I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandateā€¦ Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications."

READ the opinion here.
Length: 78 pages
Judge: Roger Vinson, in the Northern District of Florida. Vinson is a Reagan appointee.

Plaintiffs: 26 states and the NFIB or National Federation of Independent Business, a small business advocacy group.
Plaintiff's website here. (Site led by Florida.)
The 26 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

VIRGINIA RULING: Unconstitutional. Individual mandate cannot stand, other portions can remain.
Commonwealth of Virginia, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius.

Judge's conclusion: The individual mandate exceeds Congress' constitutional power and must be severed from the law. Other portions of the law, which do not present a constitutional problem, should remain intact.

Quote: "At its core this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance – or crafting a scheme of universal health care coverage – it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

READ the opinion here.
Length: 42 pages
Judge: Henry Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia. Hudson is an appointee of President George H. W. Bush.

Plaintiff: The Commonwealth of Virginia.

Liberty University, et al. v. Tim Geithner, et al.

Judge's conclusion: The individual mandate falls under the Constitution's Commerce clause, which has been interpreted as giving Congress the power to regulate "activities that substantially affect interstate commerce". The opinion concludes that people are not able to opt out of the health care system now (see quote below). The judge additionally found that challenges in this lawsuit on religious grounds are not proven and miss the mark.

Quote: "Regardless of whether one relies on an insurance policy, one's savings, or the backstop of free or reduced-cost emergency room services, one has made a choice regarding the method of payment for the health care services one expects to receive. Far from "inactivity," by choosing to forgo insurance, Plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now,
through the purchase of insurance."

READ the opinion here.
Length: 54 pages
Judge: Norman Moon, in the Western District of Virginia. Moon is a Clinton appointee.

Plaintiffs: Liberty University, Virginia Delegate Kathy Byron (R), Lynchburg City Councilman Jeff Helgeson, David Stein, a physician in Milwaukee, and uninsured Americans Joanne Merrill and Michele Waddell.

Thomas More Law Center, et al. v Barack Hussein Obama, et al.

Judge's conclusion: The individual mandate meets the Constitutional standard that Congress can pass laws on areas that substantially affect interstate commerce. It does not impose a new, unconstitutional government burden. The judge concludes that Americans cannot opt out of the health care system now (see quote below). Challenges in this lawsuit based on religious ground are without merit.

Quote: "The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market."

READ the opinion here.
Length: 20 pages
Judge: George Steeh, in the Eastern District of Michigan. Steeh is a Clinton appointee.

Plaintiffs: The Thomas More Law Center and four uninsured individuals: Jann DeMars, John Ceci, Steven Hyder and Salina Hyder.

Follow Lisa Desjardins on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Filed under: American Sauce • Health care
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Enrique

    And I thought the Republicans abhorred legislating from the bench. Hypocrites!

    February 1, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. You call yourself Patriot, We the people call you a lunatic

    Why do republicans want to add $2.3 billion to our national debt and eliminate any hope for 50 million Americans to have health insurance? Even republicans should be able to see this is a two time loser.

    February 1, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Only one crazy activist right wingnut FL judge has ruled the whole bill unconstitutional. It was for political reasons, even though he must not have gotten the message from big insurance that they support 50 million being added to their roles. The reform can be easily fixed with a public option, and big insurance will not be happy with republicans.

    February 1, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. annie s

    Republicans apparently have no regard for the health and welfare of American citizens. The bad thing here is that the bill will end up in the hands of the activist right wing Supreme court, meaning we're probably sunk. And Americans will go on dying needlessly.

    February 1, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. mike4ever

    I think what the republican is doing is wrong. The american people are tired of watching their premiums increase from year to year before Obama. Those who said it didn't are not being truthful and they know. The judges that voted against are republicans and in republicans states who is broke.

    All these states are behind the scene asking for help with their healthcare budget in their states and yet they are against this bill. They are cutting benefits and people off the rolls left and right yet they claim they care for the welfare of their people in their states.

    True be told the majority of the people who do not have insurance are those who figure that if they get sick enough they can get medicaid or help from the state. Then the government have to step in and pick up the pieces too. Yet they keep hollering smaller government but not to ashamed to holler for help when it suits them.

    Is it fair that people who do pay for insurance be responsible to cover the medical costs of those who refused to purchase insurance but yet seek medical care when needed. It seems that the ones who try to do right has not rights and those who are so selfish has all the rights granted to them. It seems those who refused to purchase insurance are very selfish and do not care about the american people who work just as they do and have to either give up some luxuries items or work an extra jobs just to do the right thing.

    Republicans and teaparties are really not againt the bill but against the person who got it passed. They claim they had solutions when they were trying to get elected but once elected they admitted that they wanted to go back to the same old status quo of the insurance companies having the upper hand. They fooled their followers into believing they had change and they knew they hadn't but their agenda was and still is to make the president look bad.

    They have failed to realize that people are getting tired of the mud slinging and name calling. and want action. They want jobs and the republicans have no intentions of working on that problem either. But the president is working on both, improving the healthcare reform bill and creating jobs. Small business are now hiring and big businesses is falling the same course. Big business is beginning to realize that staying with the republicans will make them go bankrupt because it is turning the american people off by not hiring. They also see that the small business will continue to do better and make news and will eventually become big businesses and out do them. Companies should be happy to help cover their workers because a healthy worker means a happy worker and the longer they will stay on the job. The more they show how they care about their employees the more they will want to stay.

    February 1, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Liberal Idiots

    Still waiting for that proof it doesn't add to the debt. CBO has already stated last year that the doc fix wasn't included in the CBO's report. What else wasn't added? I believe much much more.

    February 1, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Katie

    Oh yeah, republicans HATE activist judges...until the activist judges are working for them. The latest ruling took text almost verbatim from the Americans for Prosperity propaganda on health care reform. Check the critiques from credible lawyers on the latest ruling, it won't hold water.

    Where are the jobs Mr. Boehner. Quit relitigating the past – where are the jobs????

    February 1, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's mandatory you have auto insurance and Republicans never fought against that. Republicans value big insurance companies more than they value the lives of people with pre-existing conditions or a child whose parents can't afford insurance. Why, because they get big bucks in return from the insurance lobbyist and don't give a damn about the innocent who can't speak for themselves but Republics are the first to stand on a moral high ground.

    February 1, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Dad of a Diabetic

    This is not a parlor game with a score card for children with deadly diseases!! It is a life and death issue. Maybe, if republicans had to set their alarm clocks every night at 3 am so that they could get up and check their child's blood glucose level, then they might not want to deny sick children health insurance. Maybe, if Republicans tried to wake thier child up, but could not because their blood sugarwas below 20, then they would not want to deny sick children health insurance. Maybe, if Republicans had children that ran and hid when they heard their parent's voice, because the child does not want another insulin shot, then they would not want to deny children with diabetes and other deadly diseases the health insurance that they need. The Republican record toward "unisurable sick children" is cold hearted indifference!!!! In the last 100 years, the Republican Party has never lifted a finger to help a child with diabetes or cancer get health insurance, but the Republican Party has fought to keep children with deadly disease "uninsurable"!!!

    February 1, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Marcus

    The more the time passes the two rulings AGAINST the ACA looks more politically based ones than legally based ones.

    February 1, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Gary Wood

    The question is that Obama took an oath to uphold the

    February 1, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Gary Wood

    The question is that Obama took the oath to uphold the AMERICAN CONSTITION if the Supreme Court says it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL then does he step down from office or does he get impeached????

    Gary- Charlotte

    February 1, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The doc fix has not been passed, as the GOP morons in the senate only want to repeal the bill. So, that means that the savings for tax payers is still $2.3 billion from the health reform.

    February 1, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. kyle

    The Republicans will spend the next two years on trying to repeal healthcare unsucessfully, where are the tax cut jobs!!!!!!!!!!

    February 1, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Root and stem

    The passage of the bill was rape, pure and simple. Obama pushed it, CNN touted it, the Socialists embraced it. All are responsible for the rape of the American people, the American economy, and the American healthcare system.

    February 1, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Sam Sixpack

    There is no such thing as an "activist judge." It is just another propaganda lie. Federal judges are appointed to follow their consience, which is what they do – every time one rules. You can't handle the truth so you have to make up activist nonsense.

    On a side note, if the government tells me how to spend my money, how am I not then a slave of the state?

    February 1, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. Sam Sixpack

    Federal judges can't help but tell the truth. By law, their rulings ARE the truth. Whitehouse shills and media lackeys, on the other hand...

    February 1, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |