A Florida federal judge, citing the illegality of mandatory purchase of medical insurance, ruled that the universal health care law is unconstitutional. This is the fourth federal court ruling on the constitutionality of the law, and the second time that it’s been ruled unconstitutional. The first ruling against the law’s constitutionality came from a Republican appointee, followed by two rulings in favor of the mandate from Democratic appointees who ruled consistently in favor of the Obama administration. This latest ruling, by a Republican judge appointed by President Reagan, continues the partisan divide, leading many to speculate that the Supreme Court will ultimately make a decision on the constitutional provisions of what has become known as “Obamacare.” Proponents of universal health care argue that Congress has the constitutional right - Article I, Section 8 - to regulate interstate commerce, which includes health care insurance from state-to-state. What will these court rulings mean for the millions of uninsured Americans, including children who are already feeling the impact of the reform law?
Timothy Jost, professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law