Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The "Commerce Clause" and how it applies to the Federal Court rulings on the Obama healthcare law.
You may have read or heard about the recent ruling by a federal judge in Virginia who struck down a portion of what is commonly called the "ObamaCare" health reform bill. The Judge declared that the provision of the reform bill that required all Americans to have some sort of health insurance violated the "Commerce Clause" of the US Constitution. The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution gives the federal government legislative powers to regulate matters that affect interstate commerce. The Judge ruled, however, that a person who simply fails to act (i.e. refuses to buy health insurance) cannot be said to have actually engaged in commerce. This war of semantics is nothing new when it comes to constitutional challenges, and almost all legal scholars agree that the United States Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide the matter - but this may take at least a few years. In the meantime, only those citizens of Virginia who do not want to buy health insurance will be affected by this ruling. All other state challenges to the health insurance reform law have failed for the time being - including another federal ruling by another federal judge in Virgina. Stay tuned for this one - Ohio has a new Governor and Attorney General coming into office next year - both of whom are not fans of the health insurance reform law.