A Florida judge has given the Obama administration at least 7 more days to proceed with implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has issued an order granting an Obama administration request for a 7-day stay of a declaratory judgment Vinson entered in January.
To get the stay, the administration must file a notice of appeal within 7 calendar days and seek an expedited appellate review, according to Vinson, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Fla.
Vinson issued the order in connection with State of Florida et al. vs. United States Department of Health and Human Services et al., (Case Number 3:2010-cv-00091-RV).
Vinson held in the ruling that Congress has no authority under the Commerce Close to enforce the “minimum essential coverage provision” in PPACA, a major component of the Affordable Care Act package.
THE MINUMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE PROVISION
Starting in 2014, the minimum essential coverage provision would require most individuals to buy health coverage.
If the minimum coverage provision takes effect as enacted, it will require many people with incomes above a certain level who do not get health coverage from their employers to buy a minimum level of health coverage or else pay a penalty. The provision, set to take effect in 2014, provides for exceptions for individuals with religious objections to owning health coverage and individuals who cannot find affordable health coverage.
Health insurers have argued that they can provide affordable health coverage for all, without basing rates on health status, only if the government requires all people – including relatively young, healthy people – to have health coverage.
Vinson has ruled that, because, in his eyes, the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and because PPACA is not written in such a way that the mandate can be considered separately from the rest of the act, “the entire act must be declared void.”
THE NEW RULING
The Obama administration did not immediately ask for a stay of the January order, and it later filed a motion seeking clarification of the order.