Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini
August 12, 2011
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s healthcare law suffered a setback Friday when a U.S. appeals court ruled that it was unconstitutional to require all Americans to buy insurance or face a penalty.
The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also reversed a lower court decision that threw out the entire healthcare law.
The legality of the individual mandate, a cornerstone of the healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Opponents have argued that without the mandate, which goes into effect in 2014, the entire law falls.
The law, adopted by Congress in 2010 after a bruising battle, is expected to be a major political issue in the 2012 elections as Obama seeks another term in office and as all the major Republican presidential candidates have opposed it.