A recent Florida judge’s partisan ruling that the new health care reform law is unconstitutional wasn’t unexpected and is far from the last word on the issue.
U.S. District Judge Robert Vinson ruled in favor of 26 states, including Oklahoma, which have sued to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional. The states and Vinson have focused on the provision of the law that requires all Americans by 2014 to have insurance, which they claim is a constitutional violation. Unlike a previous judge who limited his ruling, though, Vinson ruled the entire law was unconstitutional. The government is expected to appeal the ruling.
But two other federal judges have ruled the law IS constitutional and the issue could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The longer the judicial process works, the more unpopular it will be to overturn the law, which will eventually ban insurance companies from denying all people coverage for preexisting conditions and allows parents to keep their children on their policies until they turn 26.
According to an Associated Press story, Vinson used a broccoli analogy in his ruling:
“Or, as discussed during oral argument, Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals,” he wrote, “Not only because the required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce, but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier, and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the health care system.”
The broccoli reference seems terribly inane, overly political and a classic case of GOP fear mongering. Don’t forget Sarah Palin’s recent rant over Michelle Obama’s campaign to get children to eat healthier foods. It also lacks commonsense. What is the likelihood of Congress passing a specific law dictating regular broccoli consumption? Can we at least talk about the real issue here, which is whether the law will burden some people financially in the future?
The story noted this:
Florida’s former Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the lawsuit just minutes after President Barack Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill into law in March. He chose a court in Pensacola, one of Florida’s most conservative cities. . . .
Officials in the states that sued lauded Vinson’s decision. Almost all of them have Republican governors, attorneys general or both.
So let’s be clear. This was as much a political decision as a judicial decision. It’s ironic that the party that pushes “tort reform” the most goes court shopping to get a favorable ruling. I guess court shopping is only bad when Democrat attorneys are doing it.
The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, and is in some ways a work in progress. So let’s improve the law if we need to. Let’s don’t make it about broccoli or Republican election strategy.