Tom Schoenberg and Margaret Cronin Fisk
Dec 13, 2010
The Obama administration’s requirement that most citizens maintain minimum health coverage as part of a broad overhaul of the industry is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy insurance, a federal judge ruled, striking down the linchpin of the president’s plan.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, said today that the requirement in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. While severing the coverage mandate, Hudson didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid that are unrelated to it. He didn’t order the government to stop work on putting the remainder of the law into effect.
Hudson found the minimum essential coverage provision of the act “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.” Hudson was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002.
The decision left intact other provisions of the law and only affects the part that requires most U.S. citizens to maintain minimum health coverage beginning in 2014.