Via Talking Points Memo:
A federal district court judge in Florida ruled today that a key provision in the new health care law is unconstitutional, and that the entire law must be voided.
Roger Vinson, a Ronald Reagan appointee, agreed with the 26 state-government plaintiffs that Congress exceeded its authority by passing a law penalizing individuals who do not have health insurance.
"I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate," Vinson writes. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void."
"We strongly disagree with the court’s ruling today and continue to believe – as other federal courts have found – that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. This is one of a number of cases pending before courts around the country, including several that the government has won in the district courts that are now before the courts of appeals. There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing this law and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal.”
“We are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any – including seeking a stay – are necessary while the appeal is pending to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides, that the millions of children and adults who depend on Medicaid programs receive the care the law requires, and that the millions of seniors on Medicare receive the benefits they need.”