Virginia judge’s ruling shines light back on health care debate
By striking down a key provision of President Barack Obama's health care reform, a federal judge in Virginia has re-ignited a debate that seemed to have been put to bed with the landmark legislation's passing earlier this year. Though the ruling is hardly a fatal blow to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it does place the issue of mandatory coverage back at the center of discussion, The Washington Post reports.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson is the first to strike down any provision of the law and puts Obama back in the position of having to defend one of his most ambitious endeavors. The Justice Department said that it plans to appeal the decision and the case could eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The lawsuit dealt primarily with section of the legislation stipulating that all Americans are required to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face the possibility of incurring a fine. While similar ideas were put forth by Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Orrin Hatch, it has become one of the most unpopular parts of the bill.
Opponents of the measure claim that compelling an individual to purchase health insurance is evidence that the Federal government is overstepping its boundaries. However, those in favor of it claim that it's a necessary part of the bill and will reduce costs in the future. Currently when individuals enter the emergency room without insurance, the cost is footed by the American taxpayer.
Still, the ruling does not discourage Democrats who supported the law. Sander M. Levin, a democratic congressman from Michigan, says that further discussion will reveal the benefits.
"The more heated this becomes, the more light there will be, because the more this is discussed, the more our country will realize that the status quo is simply unacceptable," he told the New York Times.