Judge Roger Vinson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled today that the federal government does not have constitutional authority to require citizens to purchase health insurance. This ruling concurs with a separate ruling last December in Virginia that invalidates the ‘individual mandate,’ a core provision of President Barack Obama’s (D) landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Notably, Vinson’s ruling invalidates the entire health care reform bill on the argument that the unconstitutional individual mandate is ‘not severable’ from the rest of the act.
The health care reform act was signed into law in March of 2010 and immediately challenged by many states on Constitutional grounds. This particular case, ‘Florida et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (3:10-CV-91-RV/EMT), is the largest challenge with 26 state plaintiffs: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.