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Florida Judge Invalidates Entire Health Care Bill

Another Judge weighed in on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  Finding the individual mandate unconstitutional, Judge Roger Vinson of the District Court in Florida invalidated the entire law and ordered the federal government cease implementation of PPACA’s provisions. 

The lawsuit in Florida was brought by twenty-six states, claiming the individual mandate of PPACA was beyond Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.  The individual mandate requires all individuals purchase healthcare or pay a penalty.  (For an in-depth discussion of the constitutional implications of the individual mandate, see our article published in the Connecticut Law Tribune last month.)  Judge Vinson found Congress does not have the authority to regulate a person’s decision not to buy health insurance in the market.  He analogized that if the government were allowed to regulate a decision not to buy something, they could mandate that everyone must buy broccoli or else pay a fine. 

Judge Vinson did not stop at finding the individual mandate unconstitutional.  He issued an order declaring the entire Act unconstitutional and ordered President Obama to stop instituting its various provisions.  Judge Vinson concluded the individual mandate was such an integral part of the legislation that the rest of the law could not serve its purpose without the individual mandate. 

As a result of this decision, Florida stopped implementation of PPACA within the state.  As is the case with all the other PPACA decisions, it is likely this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.  So far two judges upheld the law, two found portions of it unconstitutional, and twelve judges dismissed challenges to the Act.  As always, we will continue to keep you updated on the latest developments in the continuing legal battle over PPACA.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying and remaining up to date with state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.