A Florida judge has ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, a victory for the 26 states that joined in a suit challenging the law in federal court.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled Monday that the “individual mandate” portion of the health care reform, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, cannot be severed from the rest of the law, rendering the entire act unconstitutional. Vinson’s ruling does not, however, stop the law from going into effect.
Vinson’s ruling is the second against the law; two other judges have ruled in favor of the legislation. The Obama Administration is expected to appeal the decision, which likely will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
While Vinson found the individual mandate unconstitutional, he was unpersuaded by the states’ argument that the expansion of the state-federal Medicaid program is “coercive,” and ruled in favor of the federal government on those counts.
Gov. Rick Scott quickly issued a statement praising the decision and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, but made no mention of former Attorney General Bill McCollum, who filed the original complaint and lost to Scott in last year’s Republican gubernatorial primary:
I applaud the ruling today by Judge Vinson. In making his ruling, the judge has confirmed what many of us knew from the start; ObamaCare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people. I commend Attorney General Bondi and her team for their work to present the state’s case, and I will continue to work with her to protect Floridians from this overreaching federal mandate. Patients should have more control over health care decisions than a federal government that is spending money faster than it can be printed.
Vinson’s full ruling is below: