Judge Says Health Care Law Constitutional, No Violation of Commerce Clause
A federal judge has ruled that the new health care law, a mandate of which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty tax, is indeed constitutional and does not violate the “Commerce Clause” which grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.
Judge George Caram Steeh ruled in the Michigan lawsuit, the first in about 15 to 20 filed across the nation challenging some aspect of the healthcare law according to Department of Justice estimates. Most argue that the federal government does not have the right to force individuals to buy a product, in this case health insurance, just because they are American citizens.
The plaintiffs in this case, four uninsured individuals (by choice) and the Thomas More Law Center, argue that the decision to buy insurance is a form of inactivity rather than an economic activity and therefore isn’t covered by the Clause.
Judge Steeh ruled that by choosing not to obtain health insurance,”plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for healthcare services later, out of pocket, rather than now through the purchase of insurance.”
“These decisions,” wrote Judge Steeh, “have clear and direct impacts on healthcare providers, taxpayers, and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance.”
"The court found that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable means for Congress to take in reforming our health-care system," said Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. "The department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation."
Robert Muise, senior trial counsel for Thomas More Law Center, plans to appeal the decision with the US Court of Appeals of the 6th Circuit.