HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Third Judge Finds New Healthcare Law's Individual Mandate Constitutional

For Those Keeping Score: The WSJ reports that U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler is the third U.S. trial judge to hold that Congress was within its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce when it chose to penalize people who forgo health insurance.

'Congress had a rational basis for its conclusion that the aggregate of individual decisions not to purchase health insurance substantially affects the national health insurance market,' Judge Kessler wrote in a 64-page opinion. 'Consequently, Congress was acting within the bounds of its Commerce Clause power.'

The judge also rejected an argument that the law was an undue burden on people who opt not to receive any medical services for religious reasons.

Two other judges have ruled against all or part of it. Most recently U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson in Florida, who ruled on a legal challenge brought by a group of 26 states, voided the entire law. [KVT]

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