Many of us, especially small business owners, are keeping an eye on the latest developments regarding the Obama administration’s health care reform — and for now at least, nothing has changed.
A federal judge in Virginia has rejected a challenge by Liberty University and five people who had claimed that the new law doesn’t hold any safeguards to make sure mandatory insurance payments weren’t used for abortions, alleging a violation of their constitutional rights, namely their rights of freedom of religion, association and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon wrote that the “[p]laintiffs fail to allege how any payments required under the act, whether fines, fees, taxes, or the cost of the policy, would be used to fund abortion.” Judge Moon further ruled that the parts of the health care law challenged by the Christian college and others “are well within Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause.”
The Constitution’s Commerce Clause gives the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce.
This decision is in line with the October decision of a federal judge in Michigan who also rejected the constitutional arguments of a Christian law center. On the other hand, a Florida district court judge has allowed a challenge filed by 20 state Attorneys General to move forward; arguments on the case are scheduled for December 16.
Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the President on special projects, wrote on the White House blog that the administration is “confident” that the law will survive legal challenges. Specifically regarding the individual mandate, Cutter writes:
The judge’s ruling today only underscores the importance of the law’s individual responsibility provision. In order to make health care affordable and available for all, the Act regulates how to pay for medical services – services that account for more than 17.5% of the national economy. This law came into being precisely because of the interconnectedness of our health care costs. People who make an economic decision to forego health insurance do not opt out of the health care market, but instead shift their costs to others when they become ill or are involved in an accident and cannot pay.
Liberty University and the other plaintiffs are planning to appeal.
What do you think about the mandate that individuals and employers purchase health care insurance? Is it necessary to achieve true health care reform or does it step on individual constitutional rights?