Judges uneasy with individual health insurance requirement law

Health Care Reform NewsThree judges from a federal appeals court have questioned the element of President Obama’s health care changes that would require almost every American to obtain health insurance in order to avoid penalties. 

At hearing held on June 8, 2011, three 11th Circuit Court of Appeals judges in Atlanta who had been on a panel debating whether keeping the new health care law should lead to the adoption of other wide reaching economic mandates by Congress, expressed concerns about the new requirements. 

The ruling on a lawsuit filed by 26 states across the country – a coalition of individuals and small businesses – was not ruled upon immediately by the judges, though the plaintiffs did press the three judges to take the side of the federal judge who had previously struck down the law in Florida. 

The primary issues regarding the individual insurance coverage mandate were discussed and argued over almost three hours, indicating that the panel of judges is deciding whether or not to rule against a portion of the federal law that would extend health insurance over millions of additional Americans.

 Last month, comparable legal struggles regarding whether or not the law is constitutional had also occurred in Cincinnati and Richmond federal courts of appeal, and lawyers on either sides of the argument have agreed that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually be hearing the case. 

The primary topic of argument on June 8 was the ruling in Florida by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, which nullified the law in its entirety, from its change that permits adult children to remain covered by the insurance of their parents until they reach the age of 26, to the expansion of Medicare.

 Chief Judge Joel Dubina, questioned the attorneys of the government early in the session, saying “if we uphold the individual mandate in this case, are there any limits on Congressional power?”

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