A federal judge in Pensacola, Fla., seems to have questions about whether the Affordable Care Act individual health coverage ownership mandate is constitutional.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson asked during oral arguments Thursday whether Congress could use the same rationale to require citizens to eat broccoli that it wants to use to make some taxpayers have health insurance, according to press reports.
The Obama administration officials defending the mandate say the commerce clause, a part of the U.S. Constitution, gives the federal government the right to regulate economic activity that has an interstate impact; Vinson asked whether inactivity – a failure to buy health coverage – is the kind of activity that the government can regulate.
In Richmond, Va., another federal judge, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, ruled Monday that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority when it included the individual coverage ownership mandate in the Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
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“Minimum Essential Coverage Provision,” would require many people with incomes above a certain level to buy a minimum level of health coverage starting in 2014 or else pay a penalty.
The provision provides for exceptions for individuals with religious objections to owning health coverage and individuals who cannot find affordable health coverage.
Supporters of the provision, including America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, have