A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that healthcare reform is unconstitutional and expects the Obama administration to honor that ruling while it’s being appealed. But states and private companies are continuing to plan and budget for it nonetheless.
The court ruled that Congress exceeded its constitutional powers in compelling Americans to buy health insurance. Judges elsewhere have ruled the law is valid or dismissed the cases on procedural grounds, while a judge in Florida will hear another case later this week.
In the meantime, though, employers and healthcare companies have to continue adjusting to the reform law’s many provisions. States will continue to set up their health insurance exchanges, and they’ve already budgeted for the additional 16 million people who will qualify for Medicaid under the law. And the Obama administration is unlikely to stop what it’s doing, since many of the provisions won’t take effect until 2014.
A key of the lawsuit is “economic inactivity.” The ruling says that while Congress can regulate interstate commerce, it can’t regulate…well, non-commerce, in this case the decision not to buy health insurance. The judge’s decision is online. (Politico, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, MSNBC)
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*