Affordable Care Act opponents are getting a chance to continue their legal attack on a provision that could require most legal U.S. residents to own health coverage.
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson has decided to let the plaintiffs — officials from 20 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, Nashville, Tenn. — move ahead with parts of a suit that alleges that the Affordable Care Act package violates states’ Constitutional rights.
Vinson has been hearing oral arguments at the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Fla., on whether he ought to dismiss the case, State of Florida et al. vs. United States Department of Health and Human Services et al., Case 3:10-cv-00091-RV-EMT.
The defendants include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. Labor Department, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
The Obama administration has argued that the government needed to create the Affordable Care Act, the package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), to tackle a situation in which care is more expensive than in the rest of the world, some have no health coverage, and competition among private health insurers is dwindling. They say the government must require individuals to own health insurance or pay a penalty tax to prevent antiselection.
The plaintiffs in the State of Florida suit say the individual health insurance ownership mandate is unconstitutional, and that the government is commandeering state resources to force a