In the first of many reviews of the new Obama health care laws, Obama has come out victorious. But it’s certainly only the beginning. On Wednesday, the Obama administration prevailed in the first appellate review of the 2010 health-care law. The three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that it was, indeed, constitutional for Congress to mandate that Americans have to buy health insurance.
The First of Many Rulings
This was the first of three rulings that will be delivered on the topic by three different courts of appeals. Opinions are expected to come out soon from the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia and from the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia.Lawyers on both sides understand that the fight won’t stop here. They expect the Supreme Court to end up taking at least one of the cases on at some point.
Issues at Hand
The issues all stem from the mandate, starting in 2014, that will require American to buy health insurance or to pay an income-tax penalty. The Affordable Care Act, as it’s called, was upheld by the 6th Circuit as the majority held that the mandate was “constitutional under the Commerce Clause” for two reasons. “First,” as Judge Martin wrote, “the provision regulates economic activity that Congress had a rational basis to believe has substantial effects on interstate commerce. In addition, Congress had a rational basis to believe that the provision was essential to its larger economic scheme reforming the interstate markets in health care and health insurance.”Time will tell what other controversies this law will create and whether the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue.