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Court will decide if its constitutional to require people to buy health insurance
By Insure.com staff

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of health care reform is moving forward. A U.S. District Court judge in Florida ruled Oct. 14 that certain key elements of reform need to be further examined for constitutionality.

The lawsuit – filed by 16 state attorney generals, four governors, two private citizens and the National Federation of Independent Business - challenges several health care reform provisions, mainly the expansion of Medicaid and the so-called "individual mandate" that requires people to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty starting in 2014.

"Of course, to say that something is 'novel' and 'unprecedented' does not necessarily mean that it is 'unconstitutional' and 'improper.' There may be a first time for anything," U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson wrote in his 65-page ruling in reference to the individual mandate. "But, at this stage of the case, the plaintiffs have most definitely stated a plausible claim with respect to this cause of action."

The judge set a court hearing for Dec. 16. The ruling came a week after a Michigan federal judge dismissed another lawsuit challenging the health reform law.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum called Vinson's ruling a "victory for the states, small businesses and the American people" in a press statement.

Stephanie Cutter, assistant to President Obama for special projects, posted in an Oct. 14 White House blog that the federal government "fully expects to prevail on the merits.”

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