Appeals Court Rules Individual Health Care Mandate Unconstitutional

Appeals Court Rules Individual Health Care Mandate Unconstitutional

A circuit court of appeals has ruled that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The matter will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Published August 12, 2011

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta struck down the individual mandate in President Obama’s signature health care reform bill, siding with the 26 states that had sued to stop the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from being implemented. The legislation prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions and from imposing lifelong limits on costs. It also requires Americans aged 18 and older to carry health insurance and enables young adults to remain on their parents’ plans up to age 26.


“What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die,” wrote Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull, The Associated Press reports. A third judge on the panel dissented.


Although the ruling is a blow to the White House, the circuit court panel did not go as far as U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson did in June, striking down the individual mandate as well as other provisions, including Medicare discounts and the provision that allows adult children to be covered by their parents’ plans. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati also has weighed in on the issue, upholding the individual mandate.


The White House said it disagrees with the circuit court ruling and that ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court will make the final decision.

(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Written by BET-Staff


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